Thursday, February 9, 2017 8:05 pm
By Tunde Asaju
Last week when I heard that 2Face Idibia would be leading a public protest against the rising cost of living in my homeland, my heart jumped a bit. Not too long ago, the same character, a non-governmental individual received free SUV and an all-expense-paid trip to Dubai along with handpicked state actors of Akwa Ibom state under the leadership of the uncommon ‘transformator’ Godswill Akpabio. In the year that Akpabio rewarded Idibia’s wedding, there were others who married Akwa Ibomites without a greeting card from the same government. What has changed, you may ask? Is this why some allege that 2Face’s tadpole was dancing to the drums of unseen forces in the depths?
Luck is one thing that 2Face seem to have in abundance and nobody should begrudge him his fortune, it shone in the era of the locusts. Since then music has been on the decline but for 2Face it would appear, streaming royalties are enough to care for his large family. Unlike Michael Jackson, 2Face has never had to worry about the rising cost of hair creams. We haven’t seen much of Anne in the public domain to know if she has been affected by the rising cost of Brazilian hair. As for how 2Face has changed, only those not familiar with Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus would belabour themselves.
It was well within 2Face’s right to protest and within those rights to ‘chicken out’ of his protest. Some question his rights to lead such protests on account of his many children and baby mamas. Methinks it is for them that he should be protesting because he has more mouths to feed than the average Joe Blow in a country where deadbeat dads abound everywhere. In fairness to 2Face, none of his baby mamas have reported him slacking in taking care of his children. That is more than can be said of the father’s of the almajirai giving our own north a very bad rap.
Unlike 2Face who may make some people’s one year pay from one gig, the rest of us need to make our grievances known to the change we voted for and the lemon we got. Yes, we are fighting corruption among the pests who were not clever enough to migrate to the sanctuary of deodorants before the arrival of insecticide sprayers. The protests are not about 2Face, but about us. They are about our conscience and our capacity to know when a handshake has gone beyond the elbow in our support for government and its actors.
Our landscape is stratified to the level that truth has become a casualty. There is no denying the fact that the prices of essential goods have skyrocketed while salaries have remained the same and largely unpaid as and when due. We cannot deny the fact that Mr. Buhari banned medical hajj for everybody else but himself. We cannot deny the fact that the level of insecurity in our land is unprecedented or that when our children go to school we their parents keep an eye on work, our hearts on prayer and our eyes on our cellphones hoping that when the phone rings it would not be a kidnapper demanding heavy ransom. How can we be productive or be wholesome given such an atmosphere?
The consulting clinics of Buhari’s 1984 are not even suitable as morgues today due to lack of stable power. On the economy of scale, this government is a let down. The very patriotic anti-corruption president who banned medical hajj for everyone else is himself enjoying it. The man who blocked foreign exchange access to others with children abroad has none of his kids in public schools at home.
A president with a sense of shame and national pride would give the UK a berth after its leaders described his country as being fantastically corrupt; but it remains his medical vacation destination of choice.
It was embarrassing enough that our national assembly once relied on the uncertified transcripts of a London broadcast to invoke on us the doctrine of necessity. The leader of change whose party once called for the late Yar’adua to resign has transmitted a letter to the national assembly extending his vacation from a London abode waiting for test results for an ailment that is subject only to conjecture.
Well, Nigeria needs correct diagnosis to a collapsing economy and a dying nation. We all fall sick and the strongest among us collapse and die without notice, but to whom much is entrusted, much is expected. This presidency needs to handle the president’s health status with more perestroika and glasnost instead of feeding us with half-hearted statements that heat up the polity and feed the republic of rumours. Is Buhari healthy enough to confront the arduous challenges of a nation in dire need of a sense of direction or is he too weak to lead us out of the morass?
Well, Nigeria needs correct diagnosis to a collapsing economy and a dying nation. We all fall sick and the strongest among us collapse and die without notice, but to whom much is entrusted, much is expected. This presidency needs to handle the president’s health status with more perestroika and glasnost instead of feeding us with half-hearted statements that heat up the polity and feed the republic of rumours. Is Buhari healthy enough to confront the arduous challenges of a nation in dire need of a sense of direction or is he too weak to lead us out of the morass? If his health has failed, he should do the needful and send in his resignation letter so that the constitution can take it’s normal course?
No mortal is indispensable, if Mr President is not physically and mentally fit to withstand the demanding rigours of statehood at this precarious time, he should use the iota of goodwill he has left to leave. As two-time ruler, he gets an all-expenses paid medical vacation to anywhere supported by his wife and children wherever he wants. This nation cannot survive the tension of the rumour mill about his health or the shenanigans of another cabal-in-charge. He’ll be our northern hero again if he silences those who say that our region cannot survive without holding on to power at the centre. He shouldn’t wait until the streets are filled with Romania-type protesters.
•Tunde Asaju writes from Canada