In case you’re not Daniel, and you wish to come out of the lions’ den unhurt, employ satire. Satire is the whispering roar of the ocean that sweeps away the vilest of powerful men. Satire: the claws of the whirlwind eagle that snatch up the spitting cobra before it slithers into its hole.
Snakes don’t blink. They sleep with their eyes open because they have no eyelids. So, when you choose to stand before the open end of the gun barrel and look at our tyrant in the eye, my patriots, don’t blink; use satire.
The father of American literature, Mark Twain, who’s also considered as the greatest humorist the United States has ever produced, puts a premium on gratitude in these profound words: “If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.”
Man will bite you even when you give him food, a dog will not. Despite all the record-breaking achievements recorded by Nigerian President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), Nigerians have yet remained ungrateful. The northern General has, indeed, been more “sinned against than sinned”.
If Nigerians were half as loyal as the dog, they wouldn’t look up to Aso Rock and wag their tongues because a mere 43 innocent citizens were felled by the bullets of Boko Haram on Saturday, in Borno.
They wouldn’t accuse Buhari’s overprotective government of not ensuring the safety of lives and property across the country after gunmen killed the Olufon of Ifon, Oba Adegoke Adeusi, in broad daylight on Saturday, in Ondo State.
If Nigerians were grateful, they would call a spade by its name and blame the Olufon, a first class monarch, for intentionally allowing bullets to shatter his body and die just to give the Peoples Democratic Party the opportunity to accuse the Buhari-led government of infamy.
Instead of the citizenry criticising the inability of the Buhari administration to fulfil just one of its numerous campaign promises, flunkeys benefiting from the Buhari rule, would rather want Nigerians to lift up their eyes to the Horn of Africa, to Ethiopia in particular, and behold how Addis Ababa security forces have been painting the dissident region of Tigray with blood. Although there’s no states left unpainted with blood by kidnappers, cultists, hoodlums and Boko Haram, Nigerians still need to thank Buhari for allowing the wind to blow.
Rightly, Buhari and his beneficiaries wish Nigerians were grateful for the success of the ongoing anti-corruption war, the adequate security of lives and property, the enviable economy which has delivered the promised dollar-to-naira parity, the world class infrastructural facilities and the adequate supply of power.
I understand why Buhari’s squad and its megaphone-clutching men feel gratitude should flow from Nigerians after the General acted like a father by deploying soldiers to shoot innocent youths at the Lekki tollgate.
Only a heartless father won’t be moved after soldiers fired blank bullets into the air and blood sprouted at the Lekki tollgate. Only a conscienceless father would sit on a sofa after eating tuwo and pick his teeth when the dead bodies of Shiite and IPOB members litter the streets upon the shedding of crocodile tears by soldiers.
For Buhari’s All Progressives Congress, to promise is human, to fulfil is divine. President Buhari, in his 2015 campaign promises, said: “We (APC) will govern Nigeria honestly in accordance with the Constitution. We will strive to secure the country and efficiently build the economy.”
Buhari, who also promised: “We will turn Nigeria to a position of international respect through patriotic foreign policies. Preserving the nation’s future is a sacred public obligation to all of us in this great party,” went to London in 2018 and announced before a Commonwealth summit that Nigerian youths were lazy.
Condemning the inability of the Goodluck Jonathan lame duck government to provide electricity, Buhari asked in his speech: “Shall we at home continue to live in a condition where the Power Holding Company and its successors seem only to have the power to hold us in darkness?” And the crowd thundered: “Noooooo!”
In his floundering trademark English, Buhari continued: “Shall we continue in a situation where 250 of our daughters are being (sic) abducted and the government has been unable to rescue them…?
“Shall we live in a nation where several people were trampled to death in search of jobs in a stadium and yet no one has taken responsibility for the tragedy?”
The spontaneity with which the Buhari regime attended to the #EndSARS protests after two days, the coronavirus pandemic and other critical national issues shows the President as being absolutely responsible.
Buhari, who vowed that “pregnant and poor women and children will be entitled to basic healthcare”, also promised to treat every Nigerian equally, adding that his would be a compassionate government.
A calamity can’t beggar description and require a knife to dissect it, goes a Yoruba proverb. Oro kii tobi ju ka fi obe bu. The Buhari government is a monumental failure. The Buhari presidency complements what it lacks in ideas with brute force.
For Buhari, power is the limitless force that propels a mortal into invincibility and respect, shattering compassion, responsiveness and promise along its orbit. This is why all security agencies under the Buhari administration not only see themselves as the dogs of the king but the king of dogs that must attack anyone or interest opposed to the wishes of the king.
But this notion doesn’t hold water in neighbouring Ghana or faraway US, where their outgoing President, Donald Trump (74), is three years younger than Buhari, and their incoming President, Joe Biden, is 78. Buhari will be 78 on December 17.
Government’s perennial maltreatment of citizens is partly a carryover of our colonial heritage but Buhari, who was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army in January 1963, should have used his experience, and presidential powers between 2015 and 2020 to strengthen Nigeria’s democracy.
Unlike the strong democratic institutions that withstood the attack by Trump to delegitimise the 2020 American election, democracy-protecting institutions such as the judiciary, legislature, police, military, labour, media etc, under Buhari, act in breach of their responsibilities.
This is the only reason why Buhari, whose country is not richer than any of the 50 states of the US, could be more powerful than the combination of the immediate past President of the US, Barack Obama, the incumbent Trump and the incoming Biden.
If you’re in doubt of my assertion, please, google the noun, ‘idiot’. Have you? Ok. What’s your reaction when many pictures of President Trump came up? Can such an idiotic joke happen in Nigeria, where a man was clamped behind bars just because he named his dog Buhari? In Nigeria, the name Buhari is on the Exclusive List.
When grilled by the US congress to explain why many pictures of President Trump show up when the word, ‘idiot’, is googled, Google’s Chief Executive, Sundar Pichai, said the internet reality reflected google searches by users.
For expressing that audacious consumerism flair, Google was neither fined nor shut down. Its workers were not threatened or clamped in jail by the police. Yet, in Buhari’s era, media organisations have been fined by regulating bodies for reporting the truth even as social media users, influencers and celebrities have been threatened by the government.
The fascist government of the day doesn’t want Nigerians to talk about its ridiculous actions including the multi-million dollars Chinese locomotive trains that are detaching in motion, killing cows up country, and the ones that are packing up in northern forests opening commuters up to killing by Boko Haram.
Though his weight isn’t measurable in either gold or silver, Buhari will surely tip the scales against Obama, Trump and Biden.
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Facebook: @tunde odesola
. First published by The PUNCH on November 30, 2020.