WAITING FOR GODOT?
This great play by renowned Irish writer, Samuel Beckett in 1948 opens with two characters, Vladimir and Estragon who wait for the arrival of someone known as Godot that never arrives. While they were discussing, they encounter three other characters namely Pozzo, Lucky and a boy. This was a locus classicus play of the theatre of the absurd which swept the literary scene in the heady days of the cold war and the iron curtain.
Our dear President Muhammadu Buhari, hope I got the name rightly spelt as the dust is still yet to settle on the certificate brouhaha. He told the nation that he was going to the United Kingdom for a medical vacation. Two things disgusted me with his announcement. Firstly, responsible leaders fix their healthcare facilities as there are gargantuan security risks in embarking on a medical tourism in an increasingly unsafe world. Secondly, does a good father abandon his kids in January when it is time to pay school fees? Buhari’s decision to take a vacation in the first month of the year is not only insensitive but extremely cruel – the atrocities of Genghis Khan come to mind.
His administration has brought nothing but pain, sorrow, hardship and misery to the Nigerian populace. More than 500,000 jobs have been lost with many more on the verge of annihilation because of his nauseating anti-people policies. The so called change has seen the coinage of a new acronym ‘All Promises Cancelled.’
The level of irresponsibility is so alarming and disheartening. When the ill-fated Ponzi scheme berthed in November 2015, what did the financial regulatory authorities do? They merely issued a disclaimer and warning and smartly distanced themselves from it like the Biblical Pontius Pilate. When the scheme was about to enter the Chinese soil, the government came out hard on them and refused to let them set foot there. They were sturdy measures put in place to forestall their entry. You can call the three million Nigerians who lost billions of naira names from being greedy to gullible and idiotic excuse my French! The critical question to ask is whether any viable alternative was provided for the millions of hapless Nigerians who have been battered worse than rams in this draconian quasi-democratic experiment that has seen the clamping down of everything – journalists, ordinary citizens like Joe Chinakwe who has been facing a protracted court case for merely calling his dog Buhari, the belly which makes the man on the clapham omnibus appreciate what Ayo Fayose called stomach infrastructure. A former playboy comrade of mine has been forced to become a celibate as it makes no economic sense to indulge.
Nigeria, a supposed democracy with the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill has seen it being surreptitiously returned to what obtained in George Orwell’s 1984. Ironically that was the year Buhari spent his first day in office after the ouster of the Shehu Shagari led administration.
His contempt for the ideals of democracy makes him a protégé of Josef Stalin. He refused to honour the invitation to answer for his alleged human rights violations in the Human Rights Violations Investigations Commission popularly known as the Oputa panel. A supposed converted democrat also refused to participate in the debate in the run up to the presidential elections in 2015. Worse still he refused to disclose his health status to Nigerians. The British Prime Minister, Theresa May has type 1 diabetes and she takes a daily injection of insulin. John Fitzgerald Kennedy battled with a myriad of ailments ranging from an excruciating back pain, Addison’s disease, ulcer etc. He wrote the Profiles in Courage in 1954 which won the 1957 Pulitzer while recovering from his lifelong back pain. Buhari held Nigerians in utter contempt for failing to disclose his health challenges. As President, he has become the public property of Nigerians and has the responsibility to come out clean.
The Minister for Information, Lai Mohammed sounds more like propaganda to me recently came out to say he is not in any UK hospital. He then went to further state that there was no reason to release updates on his boss’s health. Coming from the lips of a one-time vibrant opposition spin doctor, it shows how disconnected this badly discredited government is to the people. The indefinite extension of his earlier planned coming spews out more questions. Does an employee on leave suddenly decide to extend it without any time frame? Mohammed still went on to stoke the fire by opining that there was no basis of comparison between his principal and late Umaru Musa Yar’adua. He has even opened a new vista as it is clear that the fork-tongued information disseminator has subtly admitted that his boss is battling far more severe health challenges than he had earlier imagined.
Femi Adesina played the ostrich by saying he didn’t know about his boss’s health crisis and the latter was in the best position to publicly disclose it. What a monumental tragedy! It is crystal clear that the lapdogs of this ill-fated administration are taking us for Boxer in the Animal Farm. Like Benjamin, I was cynical of his government from day one.
An obviously photo shopped picture of Buhari having a meal with Ogun State Governor appeared which only increased the comic relief that these apologists of anti-development have crudely subjected us to. His elder sister, Hajia Rekiya Adamu told the nation of how she spoke to him which was also buttressed by the revelation by Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo that he also interacted with him.
There are two sides to this. Is Buhari now running a Big Brother State where only a few enjoy the benefits of the majority? What stops Sai Baba from addressing the nation to at least calm the frayed nerves? When General Charles De Gaulle fled to England on exile, he reconnected with his French countrymen through radio fireside chats where he kept the revolutionary spirit fervently burning which eventually set the stage for his triumphal return to France. Another side to it is the possibility of mischief by his inner caucus to take us back to the gory era of the interregnum in the period before the doctrine of necessity was used to make Goodluck Jonathan take over power.
This childish display of crass irresponsibility is regrettable for a man who is already on the departure lounge if I use the Biblical argument which says that 70 years is okay for a man’s sojourn in this turbulent world.
The National Assembly should redeem its tattered image by setting a time limit for Buhari to openly clear the air on this confusion. Failure to do should make them declare him incapacitated and force him to step down either through a resignation or impeachment.
No man is indispensable and he won’t be the first to have health challenges while in office. Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill had their fair share but they didn’t hold their countrymen ransom by being incommunicado from medical exile.
The nation has more than its fair share of troubles and the needful should be done moving forward.
I depart with the slogan coined by the Grace Group led by the erstwhile PDP Gubernatorial candidate in Edo State, Pastor Ize-Iyamu ‘No man is God!’