Clearness of thought, that’s tonic for good governance. The growing intricacy of Nigeria’s polity demands it. How clear is Buhari even on simple issues? The man next to him is Yemi Osinbajo, he called him Osindobu, according to reports. Imo State, he called Ibo State. These things may not look serious at face value, but they are.
If Buhari does not know the name of the man next to him, it gets clear that the man was shipped to him. He doesn’t know him, just trying to with so much difficulty. Now, how would you run a government with a man you don’t know? If the name is so difficult, think of the character? He wants to become president with a character he does not know and not used to. What’s the implication? By the time he discovers that the man isn’t quite what he thought, we have a problem. We haven’t forgotten that both come from devout extremes: devout Muslim and devout Christian. At least, for the sake of public appearance, he should have dutifully rehearsed the name, but is the memory playing along? Imo State became Ibo State, he had forgotten too; the only thing his memory stored is Ibo. All these other names – Abia, Anambra, Enugu, etc – became instant burden: his memory couldn’t carry them, they have become categorized to reduce load and, hence, omit details. But in details lies wisdom. Take it further. When you call a people BLACK, you have reduced the load of details to help manage information, but that reduction makes you see every black person as the same and treat them as such. There is the problem. They’re individuals or groups with interests so diverging that colour becomes insignificant. Yet, they have been categorized as black and the same treatment served. That’s what’s going to happen to the Ibo states in Buhari’s mind because they have become the same: Abia, Enugu, Imo, etc have become one in Buhari’s memory. Their different interests, dispositions have vanished. The same goes for other categorized ethnics. The lucky ones may be the Yoruba since Yemi is around to constantly remind him that there’s Osun, Oyo, etc. If he can’t remember names so close, how can he remember infrastructure, budget, agitations, education, so far?
Interpretation: people will run his government from behind. I laughed when Tinubu said he gave up his presidential ambition to let Buhari through. Smart guy. But that’s not true. There was this pursuit of Gaddafi from power four years ago. Obama led the coalition from behind. That was the first time LFB- LEADERSHIP FROM BEHIND was introduced. France and Britain to the fore, America to the rear and Gaddafi gone. The real president will be behind Buhari. They’ve calculated and summed him up. He can’t remember many things, they have to fill the space and a large one indeed. That’s the smart thing: to play the president-role without being elected. Invariably, that ambition isn’t given up, it’s merely repositioned. Add these to the reports that the man slumped on two occasions, then you have a leader that can’t remember and can’t withstand.
My worry is that the North is rejoicing now with their ‘Sai Buhari’ without seeing the danger. I quickly recall Obasanjo placing a call to Yar’Adua on his hospital bed in Germany in 2007 with something like, ‘Umaru, they said you’re dead oh, speak, let them hear.’ Umaru spoke, the drama went on. Umaru won, because the powers-that-be wanted it. Umaru came to power and Umaru died. Then the rejoicing North called it a grand design to marginalize their power quest. Obasanjo was tagged the brain behind their ordeal. Now enter round 2. The nation personally wishes Buhari well but I must be frank, a northern mistake is in the offing. If this man is ailing, let him be and use him another way. What’s at stake is too large a risk for him and for his people. If anything should happen to him, God forbid, the constitution will take its full course and the North, not anyone else, will be the grand designer.
Jonathan may be slow and compromising, but he knows where he’s going. A nation needs that. It could be he has taken time to do his tutorials these four years, it makes sense to let him showcase it. People have variously attested to Buhari’s integrity. I have no cause to doubt it, certificate or not. But one thing clearer than his integrity is his CONVEYOR BELT aura. Candidates come as cartons on Buhari’s belt, they’re delivered into positions and the belt returns to court or now, parallel government. To many, Buhari is a dependable delivery mechanism and that’s another tenable interpretation of ‘Sai Buhari’. But it’s not about ‘Sai’, it’s about survival.