By Tayo Balogun
I have always held the view that most people around our President Muhammadu Buhari are self seekers. Out mainly to fester their nests while they perpetually ingratiate his ego . They tell him he is the best our country ever had. That our nation under him never had it better. That he has successfully wiped out corruption and has won the war on terror. That the only people hungry are the lazy ones. They create imaginary foes for him to make him see them as loyal apostles of his Change mantra. They lie to him on almost every issue and create a world distanced from reality for him.
Two years ago his Agriculture Minister told him most of the rice factories in Thailand are foreclosed because of the rice we produce in our country! I got to pity our President when the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo during the Presidential Debate on national television said that his principal does not know about most things happening in the country. ‘ He doesn’t know. He is not aware’ was how he put it.
I feel a pity for our President because he does appear to be shortchanged by those around him who keep preying on his perceived weaknesses of ever wanting to be adulated and a tendency to criminally delegate authority to those who are not necessarily competent.
While I was rooting for Buhari in 2015, I knew he could only function properly as a Board Chairman who would assemble the best there are to help him rule. More like a Ronald Reagan. But instead, he chose mostly incompetent cronies . That is why we now have abundant evidence of a government on AWOL! The culminating result is that now everything is at sixes and sevens. We are properly speaking in a state of anomie.
The latest illustration of this is the preventable travel ban placed on our country by a nation that has been most helpful to us in all aspects of our development as a country. People around our President are not going to do their jobs but will seek to do others’ badly.
Let me illustrate with the wrongly handled Anthony Joshua presentation to the President in London recently. Most readers of this column would know that Joshua fought and reclaimed the WBO,WBA, IBF and IBO world heavyweight titles from Andy Ruiz late last year after the Mexican American had unexpectedly earlier defeated him. Despite fighting as a British boxer, Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua has never shied away from identifying with our country. In a recent television commercial, he proudly claimed he has been able to draw strenght from his Nigerianness which has made it possible for him to benefit from our never say die spirit of turning adverse situations around to get victories. He has not exactly become a folk hero but he surely has a huge drawing power in our country.
When he won the rematch against Ruiz, it was akin to Nigeria winning a major sporting event. Most people wanted our country to honor him and use his victory to motivate our youths. To make them believe they can possitively turn their adversity around. The expectation was that a reception would be organized for him . He would come to the country, visit a few places, get to address youths and generally have his day in our sun. Ànd in the process, give hope to millions who have little expectations for a better tomorrow.
Anthony Joshua’s anticipated official visit would have helped this administration to no end. Everyone would have benefitted – the street urchins, young Nigerians who look forward unendingly to having something to celebrate, our government looking for anything to calm and placate a restive populace. But some officials perhaps wanting to find something for the President to do, since they can not justify why Buhari would spend eight days in the UK to attend a two day so-called summit, felt squeezing the ‘Joshua Dobale’ visit to the President would be a bright idea. In the process they shortchanged our country and denied Buhari another opportunity to move this country forward.
Sports can do a lot for this country and our President must open his eyes to the numerous advantages inherent in it.
May the LORD bless our country.