More Time Plea: Is Buhari Trolling Us Now?

President Muhammadu Buhari

With the substantial part of his first-term, four-year tenure gone and some few days shy of 60 to the 2019 presidential election, President Muhammadu Buhari has been widely reported to have pleaded with Nigerians “to understand my intensions and give me more time.”
The President made the plea at a special parade mounted by the Brigade of Guard, Nigerian Army as part of a handful of lavish events to celebrate the President’s 76th birthday, which featured an endless stream of full colour pages of congratulatory messages in national dailies from all sorts of quarters, noble and otherwise, in a clear departure, perhaps a new normal, from past presidential birthday celebrations of the first three years of the Buhari Presidency.
At the parade, the President was reportedly in a light mood, even joking over a reporter’s gaffe on his age by asking the latter: “why would you reduce my age by one?” Perhaps the President therefore, made his plea for a national understanding of his intentions and more time to perform either before next year’s presidential election or in the sought second term of four years.
If, as some have surmised, the President’s comment was a veiled campaign for votes and therefore more time in office till 2023, then the perceptive might consider, very seriously, if President Buhari has taken to trolling the Nigerian people in their new depth of misery since 2015.
This suspicion appears even more plausible as we recall that the President had some days earlier, in a Pharaonic statement made to the 36 state governors, told the suffering masses of this country to expect that their situation is “going to be harder than before.”
The question is: How long does it take to register intentions and implement them in government?
“Four years,” is the answer from the makers of the Nigerian Constitution and similar documents like the U.S. constitution on which me modelled ours. We concur with this constitutional answer, like millions of Nigerians today.
It does not take eternity to change the course of a nation for good. Even if 2015 Nigeria were 1945 Berlin post-Allied Forces’ brutal bombing, even if 2015 Nigeria were the hell of Leningrad under Nazi siege as depicted by Soviet-era poets like Anna Akhmatova, if 2015 Nigeria were Eliot’s poetic dystopia in The Waste Land, surely four years must be enough for a serious, focused leader to register his intention and make enough mark to make his or her re-election fait accompli. Chances are that if Nigerians cannot perceive a change for the better in four years of any administration, an additional four years won’t make any difference, except they have a fatal propensity to gamble with their lives.
President Buhari’s recent statements as cited above seem to indicate that he is either shielded from the hellish, daily grind of Nigerians under his watch since 2015, or he is now being schooled in the dark art of public trolling as his Special Assistant on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, is infamous for on Facebook, Twitter, etc – preparatory to the President hitting the road for his re-election campaign.
Any of both propositions would be quite an unfortunate personal regression for the President. For one, President Buhari was elected in the belief that he was in touch with the sufferings of the masses who set him up in messianic halo, which image he lapped up and appropriated for his 2015 victory, after three failed attempts. Is President Buhari of today a faux saviour?
One the other hand, if President Buhari is now so cocksure of a second term re-election victory even before the ballots are cast as to adopt this emergent devil-make-care rhetoric, then may be the “go and die” riposte to the widow philosophy of a latter-day Buharist is now the fulcrum of the President’s 2019 re-election campaign, and decent Nigerians might as well resign themselves to a Bolekaja (come down, let’s brawl lout style) campaign next year, which some public affairs analysts-clairvoyant had actually forewarned would be the case following the Game-of-Thrones ouster of the Chief John Odigie Oyegun leadership from the national headquarters of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
For a Buhari who was plucked out of secondary school as a teenager and has since lived the good life on Nigeria as an Army officer, former head of state and elected President in service and retirement, these propositions would amount to a vicious kick in the teeth, a betrayal of his Talakawa (proletariat) supporters who have been laid lower and grounded in the dust since 2015 afflicted by the blues of Buharinomics.
Assuming that his handlers still allow him to read editorials like this and not the panegyrics published by so many swindle sheets masquerading as national newspapers in this country today, assuming that those shadowy members of the President’s infamous cabal would indeed pass this particular one to him, we want President Buhari to know that the street-level view of his performance in office and his Presidency thus far is very poor and that he is un-relectable on this honest, grassroots’ assessment in a free and fair presidential election.
The President should know that in fact there is an ongoing transnational debate among Nigerians and friends of the country – away from the pages of groveling newspapers and the air-waives of sycophantic radio and television stations in Nigeria – online on the comment sections of respectable newspapers, online news outlets, blogs, facebook, twitter and other social media platforms where his leadership competence is being weighed against the evidence of his first-term performance.
The intemperate view which, in a honest appraisal of all strands of the debate, appears tilted towards the consensus submission, – and a good barometer for the President to test his re-election campaign template against with a view to resetting it – is that these four years have been wasted and show that President Buhari cannot lead a queue, talk less of leading a nation of 200 million people.
But, it may well be that this online debate is off the mark and that the Nigerian People have never had it so good under any government since 1960, as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, presidential aides, ministers, APC members and other Buharists apparently believe.
However, if things have indeed gone from bad to worse since 2015 as millions of Nigerians also hold like an article of faith, if the President indeed doesn’t care anymore, if President Buhari is in fact trolling the Nigerian people now in his public statements, the President can be sure that he would receive his due comeuppance via the ballot box next February, no matter the assurances to the contrary from fawning courtiers.

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