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Between the President and the King

Those who accuse President Buhari of being insentient need to have their heads examined. Our president is very current, very savvy and fully aware of…

Those who accuse President Buhari of being insentient need to have their heads examined. Our president is very current, very savvy and fully aware of his surroundings and of global affairs. He spends half his time flying to global events and since updating his geopolitics about the unification of East and West Germany has not made any other global gaffe.

Before jetting off to London for his usual medivacation, President Buhari hosted some vaguely aware interviewers who bought the hocus that the president is ignorant of his duties towards the supposed suffering of the masses. The president answered their questions with the characteristic candour of a father unhappy with the blaming tactics of his lazy children.

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The interviewers tried to tell the president that there is hunger in the land; a ploy to make the president to shelve his travel plans in solidarity with the suffering of his people. It failed woefully as the president told them that the so-called hunger is as a result of the laziness of the citizenry and their recalcitrance to return to the land.

Of course, just because the price of bread made from Ukrainian wheat has gone up in the city is definitely no reason why any villager should be complaining of hunger. If they are not drones waiting for their monthly welfare cheques to drop, they had an option – take their cutlasses and hoes and grow their own food.

This is the classical retort since Olusegun Obasanjo introduced Operation Feed the Nation in 1976 meant to redirect Nigerians back to farming, albeit with prehistoric instruments. The few that have heeded the clarion call have become millionaires. Their rice pyramids were commissioned by the president himself after it was discovered by Sabo Nanono that an average Kano household could feed with just N30 or less than a dime. So, what are these reporters insinuating?

It is always painful when reporters interview the president by playing the devil’s advocate. These ones failed to ask about the welfare of the First Family. They asked no questions about the president’s farm since his cows were delivered from barrenness. Nigerians are eager to know how the cows are faring – not who is sleeping on an empty stomach in Daura or Okeagi.

These TV hosts could have embarrassed the president with phantom insecurity in the land. These are the types of journalists who believed that bandits taxed Kaduna farmers N12 million to harvest their crops in September and that it is now a norm in other parts of the North. Before then, they had kidnapped some villagers and turned them into harvesters on their (bandits’) own farms, molesting women in the process.

Forget about the insecurity here, people should not forget the lesson, which is that while citizens make excuses for not farming; public enemies take the president’s self-sufficiency in food production challenge seriously.

Among the many layers of authority in Nigeria under the direction of the All Progressives Congress, elected government that Buhari heads is the lowest on the ladder. It relies on persuasion to get things done. The boys and girls in the bush do not have time for niceties; they pick up victims from their homes, roads, and farms or on their way to watering holes. As patriots, potential victims should obey the presidential directive even at their own risk.

Real Nigerians could teach the world something about resilience and self-sufficiency. With the exception of those who live in proximity to the presidency and posh neighbourhoods the average Nigerian is bohemian.

Nigerians are by nature republicans, by which we mean good citizens of an UN-recognised republic who also run their individual republics. Nigeria has no social housing; every citizen strives to build or buy his own home from the scratch when they are lucky to find a parcel of land not confiscated by the government. Then they provide all the necessary amenities to make the home habitable by constructing their own access roads, potable water, electricity and of course security.

No Nigerian ever waits for government’s provision to survive even though they pay taxes. On its part, government looks forward to levying more taxes to feed the rising cost of bad governance.

Thanks for time limits at presidential interviews. Imagine these interviewers reminding President Buhari of the record number of coffins interred in a single raid in Benue or video clips of entire farm harvests being fed to sacred cows (not from Buhari’s kraal). The interviewers could have whined about the endless killings in Kaduna that has threatened to turn these food baskets into a valley of death, destruction, destabilisation and starvation.

They might have reeled out the casualty figures from farms in Nigeria’s South West before Sunday Igboho attempted an insurrection after the ranching of Oke-Ogun axis. They would have told our sentient president that except those who want to grow within their gated compounds, the road to the farms; once the road to knowledge and folklore has become a sure pathway to death, destruction and uncertainty. Many, including some greedy diasporans have paid the supreme price for heeding the president’s charge.

Thank heavens that the president knows all these facts as mere excuses hence his tepid anger. After all, if Nigeria were that insecure, how come his own farm is spared the carnage? Thank God for the limits of time, there was no moment to argue these things with the president before he flew off to London to visit the King.

In London, King Charles hosted our president, perhaps the first since ascension and immediately recognised our president as a legend in frugality. Apparently briefed by M15 and M16 about the president’s air travels to the centre of his reign, the King asked President Buhari if he has bought a house in London yet. The president responded that not only has he not bought a house in London but that unlike some of the president’s citizens that scramble to enter modern-day slavery in London, he has no such intention. That open display of parsimony made the King to shelve the idea of ceding a posh part of Balmoral Castle to the World’s most noted Talaka. The headlines could have read – world’s frugal leader reject’s King’s gift of iconic castle. The embarrassment could have been worse for the new king.

Of course, enemies were saying that the King was speaking tongue in cheek about how the president is not ashamed of jetting off to London whenever he suspects a headache rather than build a hospital in Nigeria. These interpreters forget that British monarchs do not have to use irony. Britain could revoke a president’s immunity if they found him wanting. But who revokes immunity of a country whose resources sustain yours?

From this conversation between the King and the President, it is a special privilege that anytime a Nigerian appears before an entry clearance officer at the British High Commission they are assured of a visa especially if they have skills that Britain can use. If our president is known for his frugality and his contribution to London’s air congestion every time he suspects a headache coming on, we his loyal citizens should have similar privileges.


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