It was yesterday, September 4, 2017 after the game between Nigeria and Cameroon had ended 1-1 in Yaounde and while some of us revelled over the hard earned invaluable point that was got by the Super Eagles in that game, suddenly, I started seeing pictures of president Buhari watching the game flooding the social media space. At first, I did not pay attention to it but after I took a closer look, I saw that because of the “modesty” in the picture as evidenced by the cost of the room divider, the flat screen and the curtains, Nigerians were saying that the president is a very modest man and is not corrupt. Again?
One poster on facebook wrote, “how I wish that every Nigerian leader can live like this” while another one brought up the picture of former president Jonathan hosting his former ministers for sallah and juxtaposed it with this current trending picture, trying to prove that because of the bar, barman and finery that was observed in the Jonathan’s picture, the man was “corrupt” and was clearly the opposite of the incumbent president. Pictures speak volumes they say.
The presidency posted that picture on all the social media handles of the president including that of the spokespersons Garba Shehu, Femi Adeshina and all of them. I make bold to say that they were brimming with smiles as Nigerians poured out their emotions and “goodwill” on the president. A perfect strategy with much achieved. 2019 here we come! But lets x-ray this a little.
The president, as reported, earns a minimum of N3,514,705 a month and this is excluding other allowances accruable to the office like furniture, medical, duty tour allowance and so many others. There are also the estacodes from foreign trips(payable per night) and being one of the most widely travelled presidents in recent times, one can at least begin to imagine the amount that has made its way to the bank account of the president.
We must also not lose sight that the president is a former General in the Nigerian Army and as one who has served his country, he is paid pensions not only as a former General in the Army but also as a former Head of State of Nigeria (unless this has stopped since he became president). He also owns a cattle farm and from all indications, that business should be booming by now because of his current position. Some seekers of public office will patronize the president’s cattle in a way of trying to curry favour from the president and his handlers. I can say for a fact he is not a poor man and he is not a middle class citizen like some are trying to portray.
Based on this premise, it must be made clear that for the president to display such “modesty” in his sitting room(if that was his sitting room) in Daura means that it is a question of choice and not because he cannot afford it. It is a question of personal taste and what works for you. He has all the money to buy what he wants for himself and for deciding not to, is a matter of taste and not because he is as hungry as you and I. His monthly bank statements attest to this.
Do not also forget that the presidential jet stayed in London for 103 days costing a minimum of 1,000 pounds per day. A jet that would have easily been flown back to Nigeria going by the uncertain timeline of the President’s ill health, gulped a minimum of 103,000 pounds. Do the maths in Naira as this was confirmed by Garba Shehu. This could imply that when Nigeria pays, the president can spend the money but when Muhammadu Buhari is to pay, modesty kicks in. Issokay.
However, does this trending topic ring any bells for you? Do you remember the 2014 declaration of “I do not have money to buy the APC nomination form so I borrowed money from the bank”? Lo and behold, just after seeing this pictures, I scrolled down my facebook timeline and saw “Buhari fit now, must contest in 2019” – APC as published by the Daily Post Nigeria. Lobatan. This is actually the goal of the media arm of the presidency; another packaging like the one that was shown to us before now where he and Osinbajo were drinking tea made from satchet Milo and milk. Deja vu.
I will not dabble into much politics today with this article and since we are speaking of pictures, I also did see some pictures which I think would have been a perfect strategy for the media team of the presidency. I saw Mike Pence, the vice president of the United States of America hands on and sleeves folded helping to clear sites in Texas that were ravaged by the Hurricane Harvey. It was not too long after that, I saw Donald Trump, the president of the United States of America on ground sharing relief materials to those that have been affected by the floods in Texas. These are the number one and the number two persons in the most powerful country on earth, the United States of America. Getting down to serve and inspiring the people that hope is not lost.
It then hit me that our own Makurdi in Benue state has suffered a similar fate in the hands of heavy floods but the president is in Daura, his home town resting while the vice president is chilling in Aso rock. Now, instead of to give hope and show sensitivity to those that have died and have been displaced by this natural disaster, they show us pictures of our president watching the Super Eagles in a modest sitting room. Is this what it means to lead from the front? The front of the television?
Some time ago, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were killed in their hundreds from friendly fire and it was not enough for the president or the vice president to visit them but oh well, as long as our president lives in modesty, he is good enough for the second term after all, he is fully fit.
Like Charly boy said, our Mumu don do by now but it seems the contrary because these same people that trended this picture last night on the social media will still be the ones to say he is the best man for Nigeria and he must contest again. Just one picture is enough to brainwash my people like that. One picture is good enough to wipe away all the sufferings of over two years now. Yes, my people are as gullible as that. Who knows, we might even see the president lying on a bamboo bed soon.
My people, the Igbos say “agbisi gba otile, o mulu ako” meaning once beaten, twice shy (not literal translation). Therefore, it is time for us to wake up and stop acting like people that do not know what governance should look like. We should stop celebrating mediocrity, excuses, blame games and start asking the government to what extent they have achieved all the lofty promises of 2014/2015. We are the political examiners in this democratic project and our marking schemes should be handy for that is the only way that we can make sure that these people chosen to serve, deliver and if they do not, we kick them out.
My people, our mumu suppose don do nah. Haba!
Ifeanyi Isaac. Thanks
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