Of Failed Buhari Wedding, Aisha-Daura Fiasco and Other Stories

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Aisha Buhari

SATURDAY COUNTERPOINT

By Akintunde-Johnson

Ordinarily, we have no business poking our noses in the family affairs of our president. It is quite distressing that we have digressed to a point where the banters, tantrums and vituperations of the President’s wife, Aisha Buhari should occupy our space and interest so much that people who have more drama and dysfunctionalities in their homes now sit in magisterial judgement over what happened, what could have happened, or what shouldn’t have happened. How is the tension within extended families of our number one citizen, or the matrimonial upheavals of Aisha translate to a national concern so widely, frantically and so passionately comparable to some entertainment reality TV shows!? It ought to be a private matter! Not a political capital.

 Without dignifying the current fiasco by narrating the trysts and turns of the tale; apportioning blames or reprimands like an “Olori-Ebi’ (head of the lineage); it is important to point out that the reason entertainment and ribaldry have been upgraded to the cornerstone of what is essentially a minor family dispute is because, as the sensational press will remind us, this is the First Family we are talking about! 

 Like it or not, the Aisha-Daura imbroglio reveals certain clear features that highlight the fault-lines of the Muhammadu Buhari administration. One, the image is slowly being imprinted in the hearts of Nigerians that perhaps the man we have mandated to watch over the affairs of Nigeria until 2023 may not be up to the task, after all. As the ancient sage would say, if you cannot “rule” your own house such that skirmishes and tensions, which are common to all men, have now turned to some sort of public soap opera, featuring distinguished figures within your family to the benefit of interested Nigerians who relish the prospects of great entertainment and occasions for gossip – how then can you effectively manage a vigorously divisive and diverse country like Nigeria?! 

  Secondly, leakages of sensitive audio and video recording materials from the recesses of the seat of power, making their ways into social media, becoming viral and trending all over the world…images that unflatteringly depict absolute lack of respect for the monuments, paraphernalia, and occupants of the highest offices in the land, leave discerning people shell-shocked with worry. That such sensitive and explosive information can freely stroll into the world wide web without serious sanctions and retribution does not cover this government and its guardians in glory. 

  Another fallout of the Aisha-Daura debacle is what seems to have now reinforced the perception that certain shadowy figures are the real powers behind the throne… as the word on the streets now is something like this: if they can deal with the immensely popular Aisha Buhari, a vocal and visible wife and sometime critic of her husband’s policies…what will be the fate of less strategically positioned voices who have one axe or two to grind with the government? 

  As we yet await the reaction of the Presidency on a matter that should ordinarily be laughed off the table if it wasn’t so embarrassingly distressing, it is nonetheless understandable when you consider that few days before this Aisha-Daura fiasco, we have had the unfortunate pleasure of reading a statement from same Presidency disparaging a wildly travelling burlesque story of our President secretly organising a wedding ceremony with one of his new ministers, who conveniently was far away in Geneva, on official assignment, same day of the wedding mirage. No head has rolled for that disparaging cancerous caricature.

  It is truly sad the sort of ridiculous and harebrained scenarios our friends in the Presidency are induced to respond to in order to set the records straight…and keep many Nigerians from falling off the wagon. 

  Sometimes, one is forced to ask oneself thus: Is it the pain, despair, frustration, gloom or distraction of living and surviving in Nigeria that we now seem to get excited and wax lyrical over mundane inanities of government excesses, inactions, dereliction of duties, etc… when we should hold our leaders to a higher threshold of service and promise delivery? Let’s cut out drama and tantrums in our engagements with building a great future for our country…no matter the temptation, or how highly placed the tempters.

Nation Identity Trouble

Time and seasons are cyclical. It is time we joined hands to demand that the scurrilous attempt to fleece Nigerians by operators of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) be dropped, and the perpetrators of this latest attempt to castrate the already “disabled” populace be sanctioned. The agency, under Rauf Aregbesola’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, has allegedly claimed that the renewal of the National Identity Card shall go for N3,000, and replacement a hefty N5,000!

 If this is true, then something is wrong with the air around government ministries? When our people get there they lose any sense of restraint in how they deal with their fellow citizens. It’s already a “crime” to want a driver’s license, international passport, vehicle license, among tens of other levies…all of which you pay heavily for the privilege to use, or renew! Now, they want to add National ID card…a scheme that millions of Nigerians are still unaware of its importance. Rather than devise  plans to capture more biometrics, they scheme to “punish” those who obey and comply. We may soon pay to walk on the roads, if they remember to maintain them! Strange people.

We Chase One Robber to Protect Another

Recently, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele appealed to members of Rice Millers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN) and other stakeholders in the rice value chain to not increase the price of rice due to the ongoing border closure. 

  Too late, sir. The markets have made nonsense of any gains the closure could have brought to dining tables of Nigerians. Now, the price of a bag of our local rice is barely N2,000 less than the smuggled “imported” ones. In one shop, a 50kg bag goes for N22,000 (and at least five different brands to pick), while our own rice, just one brand available, sells for N20,000.  

  So, Emefiele should send out monitors to confirm and evaluate the sense in closing borders to protect local producers who still jack up price to exploit the situation…and please, don’t bother checking with the Agriculture minister… he’s not part of us!

In Other News:

It is not only Mamman Daura’s daughter, Fatimah, that deserves flogging (as vehemently prescribed by my sister, and publisher of The Source magazine, Comfort Obi)…the Agriculture minister who recently stated carelessly, and callously, that no Nigerian is suffering from hunger should be publicly flogged. He should then be dragged through neighborhoods where he would be given megaphones to reiterate his statement, and give cogent reasons. The failure of Minister Sabo Sabo Sani Nanono to convince Nigerians at any of those points of public interrogation should end in more severe floggings (something similar to what was gravely captured in Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ”). 

  Of course, just as he has shown no respect to the harsh reality of living  in Nigeria; with a huge dose of insensitivity and distantiation usually found in high officials of government in denial, we also shall show no regard for his advanced age and frail stature. His hide let it be flogged, properly. Nonsense!