RATS, projects, TSA

Those who think that the resume-or-resign protest was a disturbance by rascals who wanted to be noticed should now have a rethink. The police used tear gas to disperse the protesters but provided adequate security for those who marched in support of the President, a clear indication that the authorities may have been uncomfortable with the move. Sixty-six-year-old musician and now activist, who bears the ironic name Charly Boy, got a bad dose of tear gas. His group stood their ground, insisting that President Muhammadu Buhari had stayed away from office for too long and Nigeria could not continue to exist under the looming image of an absentee president. The Presidency deemed it fit to dispel anxiety about the president and opened the doors of Abuja House in London, where the Commander-in-Chief had been on medical leave for over 100 days. The Vice President, governors, Senate President, Speaker, the president’s media team, church leaders and the like all began to take turns to see the president and have their pictures in the media. They all testified that the president had become fit and would return to office soon. Some Nigerians who lived in London felt that, given his pictures in the media, he should go back to Nigeria and return to the Presidency. They held a protest vigil at Abuja House, London. The protests in Abuja and London yielded fruits.

The president came home last Saturday and said he would return to office on Monday. It had been said, in some media circles, that his doctors had recommended that he stayed in London for another month. It would seem such a stay would swell the rising protests and his people decided that he should return. But there are now indications that he should have stayed back. It is an anti-climax for the Presidency to announce that the man would work from home just two days after he had returned to a rousing welcome. We shall return to the politics of the president’s health. His broadcast on Monday morning, which was reproduced in the newspapers same day, gave the impression that he had followed events in the county while he was away. The president has not gone back on his die-hard belief in the indissolubility of Nigeria and his address gave that away, an indication that the agitation for Biafra has unsettled the polity as to require presidential comment. President Buhari has never held two views on the matter, given that he fought to keep the nation united during that civil war and he would have fought in vain if the nation splits under his watch. The Obasanjos, the Danjumas and people in that ilk would line up behind the president. The indivisibility of Nigeria is fast becoming a concept retained and promoted by the older generation and it would seem that it has held sway because they have retained the levers of power. They would step out of the seat of power willy-nilly and soon find that they merely mouthed their belief rather than address the underpinning issues leading to the agitation.

The late Ken Saro-Wiwa said he would rather stay in a tiny Ogoni nation than stay in a big Nigeria, where injustice had replaced justice. If a people continue to receive the short end of the stick in the polity, they would continue to feel uncomfortable and may continue to seek dissolution. The president disclosed the contents of his private meeting with the late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu who led the defunct Republic of Biafra during the civil war. He said in his meeting with Ojukwu in 2003, the former Biafran leader agreed with him that Nigeria was better united than divided. Ojukwu contested for the presidency that year and made a rather profound statement in my view. He said his election into that office would mean the final healing and reconciliation the nation needed from the ugly past. Of course, he did not win and none of his kinsmen has been deemed good enough to sit on that seat; a manifestation of clear suspicion, fear or hatred of a people. That is a matter for another day.

The president’s speech did not address his health challenges and the people still do not know what ails their leader. It has remained a closely guarded secret. The only ailment that has been made public is that he had problem with his ears. Now rumours of prostrate ailments have been left to hold sway, since nothing is forthcoming. We are grateful to God for the improvement we have seen though some of us still hold that the president has lost his privacy to his office, which is why the people deserve full disclosure on the matter. His rousing return, which the grapevine says is against the advice of doctors, did not meet with a rousing return to office. Perhaps the return was to shame detractors who had written the president off and were bent to on proving that he had become incapacitated and should now resign. He is back but what is this they tell us about rats ravaging his office?

Rats in Aso Rock? No one fumigates the place or the president’s office was too hallowed for cleaners to enter? There is more than meets the eye on this rat matter. If the president’s office is left to the mercy of rats, it says something about those who oversee that office and their tendency to allow rodents infest things put in their care. The foregoing holds, if we take their explanation on the face value. It is a clear indictment on the Presidency for which some people ought to have been handed their sack letter. It was the same office that gave Nigerians notice that President Buhari was homebound and yet could not get his office ready for him. There was no need for a spin doctor in this matter. It was enough to say the president would work from home since he was still recuperating. No one would have picked any hole with such a reason.

Some lies should protest in the mouth of those who tell them. Perhaps there are other kinds of rats in Nigeria’s seat of power.

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