historic voter revolution has created an alarming pattern of absenteeism.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who is hyped as an orator of ‘’body language’’, has
been voting with his feet since May 29, 2015.
more than forty days and forty nights of elopement!
help break the free fall of a nation that is disappearing into an economic
abyss, a Nigeria that offers the world one of the most frequent and highest
death tolls due to terrorist attacks, he shows that he can hardly afford the
discipline of sitting down long enough to master the desperate emergencies of the
door of the presidential aircraft, waving and waving an umpteenth good bye,
Buhari has literally compelled the discerning to cotton up to the fact that he
would rather go elsewhere than fulfill the sedentary lion-share of his job!
checking his itinerary and adding small numbers, one can determine that our
brand new leader has notched a month plus stay abroad. The monetary cost is
different: It is hidden. Nigerian taxpayers do not know the irreducible minimum
amount of their money that grows wings whenever he leaves the Nigerian airspace
in his presidential glory.
festivity choreographed to celebrate every of his departure and return. The
ceremony dovetails with our uniquely Nigerian style. We don’t stage plain
stupidity: We bestow rich embroidery on it!
the Vice President of the republic, abandon their posts to accompany him to
Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. They wear a sad, somber and sober
look; saying with the loudest decibel their frowns can muster that 175 million
Nigerians would miss Baba!
He smiles a beauty pageant girl’s strained and sustained compulsory smile. He
keeps waving. Waving unrushed and unhurried. Waving in avuncular slow motion.
The slowest photojournalist clicks half a dozen times.
VIPs line up beside the sprawling red carpet. They wrench out radiant warmth
from faces that would rather not cooperate. They smile to say that the whole
nation had missed its Beloved President and is delighted to welcome him back.
are faithfully covered and reported as… monumental national news!
it is to hold the reins of leadership at such a time as this, made himself the
valid topic of flippancy. No one would have envisaged that, after President
Olusegun Obasanjo explored the world between 1999 and 2003, we would, in 2015,
return to the task of tallying the days of presidential abdication.
after four enervating electoral contests: He thrusts himself too frequently
into the sky to dramatize that he is on cloud nine!
fellowship of world leaders. He would not pass up the thrill of embodying
Nigeria in a room where a select few sculpts the fate of humanity. He would not
miss a photo-op that would enrich the album of his apotheosis as a democratic
head of state.
happens to hail from a background in which the main means of livelihood is tied
to restless motion and odyssey.
conspicuous in his absence has also made him the anti-hero of adventures!
predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan. President Jonathan attended international
summits with a mammoth crowd: In 2013, he had an entourage of 600 persons
trailing! The large company was his way of highlighting the status of the
country he rules as the most populous in Africa!
that is a cold comfort. The high frequency of his departures roughly cancels
out his lean train.
international travel. The world is a smaller habitation now than it has ever
been. Leaders of different nations must forge alliances and implement decisions
that shape the world order.
reporting for any conceivable foreign talkshop or diplomatic gathering, his
insistence on leaping at every invitation to jet out of the country, is
embarrassing. It smacks of gross irresponsibility.
Buhari’s flying out and his flying in, one would have to borrow the byword the
emcee repeats ad hominem at an auction: Going…Going…Going…Gone!
other heads of state are gathered. He would attend…even if the agenda is not
consequential enough to warrant his physical appearance: Even if there are
pressing domestic issues that need his personal intervention.
exporters’ summit. He left behind a Nigeria in petrol drought. With movement of
man and goods frozen. The President who appointed himself ‘’the substantive
Minister of Petroleum’’ left and he took his Minister of State for Petroleum
Awolowo, saw the fuel queues everywhere and flew to Malta.
photographs of the Nigerian leader ‘’sharing a joke with the Queen.’’ His
coruscating wit worked: Elizabeth smiled back at him!
Malta. Even though motorists have to keep vigils at filling stations, the
President cum ‘’substantive Minister of Petroleum’’ is serving us in a more
significant capacity. He is tickling the fancy of the Queen –on our behalf!
is a more urgent endeavor than easing petrol circulation in Africa’s biggest
either lamenting the ‘’empty treasury’’ he inherited or bemoaning the rampage
of corruption. He finds it easier to agonize than to engender the paradigm of
change he had espoused as a candidate.
symptoms of frustration. He is seizing any available opportunity to momentarily
escape the drudgery of sitting behind his desk and staring at the critical
issues that plague Nigeria.
from the pressure to deliver on his soaring campaign promise he made to
increase economic growth, create millions of jobs and build critical
infrastructure nationwide. He gets to enjoy a pleasurable vacation. He immerses
himself in the environment of his host country throughout the span of his
Assembly in New York this September, he spent time like he had plenty of it to
waste. He blew the equivalent of one week –shaking hands with this president
and posing with that president and loafing around in between!
again, to grace all manner of appointments that can be handled by a
representative, haunts one with the irony of a General and Commander-in-Chief
flitting from one foreign refuge to another.
Fight-or-Flight dynamic. Animals tend to have two mutually exclusive reactions
to any palpable problem or threat in their surroundings. They would stay rooted
and confront the trouble: Or they would flee.
defeatist resort. Because he can’t successfully administer Nigeria as a roving
leader. No single national problem will shrink because he chose to be a homing
toughest job in the land. He had underestimated the demands of the Nigerian
presidency. But now that he has the job, he must sit back and square himself to
face the prevailing challenges…even if it’s only because he had asked and shed
tears for it.
more time tending to domestic matters. He just has to wander less abroad and
work more at home!