Editor’s note: In light of Nigeria’s current national situation, the writer, Buchi Obichie, is asking herself what the nation’s leader means to her. She expresses her frustration with President Muhammadu Buhari and proceeds to outline what the president means to her, as a series of negatives. However, she ends with hope for a sudden change, and a chance to insert some positivity into her descriptive essay of the president.
In primary school, we were usually asked to write essays. Being that I went to one of the best schools in town – true story – an essay was not just ‘written English’; it was a ‘work of art’. My best subject to write about was my mum; as she was without doubt, the most important person in my life. In those instances, I could go on and on with lengthy paragraphs filled with adulation which would easily exceed the required number of words.
Anyway, in those days, a typical composition question would have been phrased like this – “What does your mother mean to you? Answer in 5 paragraphs.”
To me, my mother meant strength, warmth, undiluted love, tenacity, stability, humility, immense wisdom, resourcefulness, humour, solid spirituality and much more. For these reasons and more, even now in death, she is still the best person I have ever known!
Well, I’m way passed the primary school phase of my life now and instead of writing essays to be marked by a school teacher, I now write for a living. Yet, from time to time, when I can steal a few moments to myself, I still borrow that phrase from years ago and ask myself questions like ‘what does life mean to me?’, ‘what does friendship mean to me?’, ‘what does family mean to me?’.
And then, over the weekend, as I pondered once again on the messy state of our nation’s affairs, I found myself asking, ‘what does Buhari mean to me?’
As someone who had high hopes for this government but who has since gotten disillusioned, there were no words of adulation my mind could come up with, as I struggled to put my self-assigned task together.
So, what does Buhari mean to me? Well, I’ll tell you.
To me, Buhari means missed chances. How one person could ride in to power on a wave of overwhelming support and well-wishes, and not be able to use that as fuel to drive through policies that affect the masses positively, is just beyond me!
After being led by ‘cluelessness’, we were believing for something different…but all we got was the same sour-tasting wine in a different bottle!
Buhari means promises made with no intention of being kept; excellent campaign ads driven by savvy PR people, but no real road-map for governance.
Free meals have turned into feeding our children with stomach-churning substances packed in ‘ice water nylon bags’, 5k for the poorest Nigerians is hardly being spoken of these days, and corruption is left alone once it moves away from under the ‘umbrella’ and picks up the ‘broom’!
Buhari means becoming tone-deaf due to the trappings of power and looking away from the pain and suffering of the masses.
It means surrounding oneself with individuals who are only fighting for one thing and one thing only – their own selfish desires.
It means endless foreign trips without attending to the problems at home.
It means constantly blaming the past instead of working to solve the problems of the present.
And through it all, it means a seeming arrogance, where one even contemplates staying on instead of giving way and giving the nation, perhaps, a chance at rebirth!
But in all fairness though, Buhari also means never giving up. I mean, the man did try to become president three times before. But you know, in that same vein, it might also mean not knowing when to quit.
Sometimes we want something so bad but we don’t understand that God doesn’t give it to us because he knows we can’t handle it! But then, stubborn mortals as we are, we push and shove until the creator relents and allows us to see the end of the matter. Then we proceed to make a huge mess because we were never meant to have that particular thing in the first place!
Unfortunately, in this situation, the consequences of one man’s decision are now being borne by an entire people! I just tire!
Well, maybe by some strange stroke of luck, things may just get better at some point in the near future, and I may find some real positives to insert into this emotionally-stressful essay…who knows? But for now, this is what Buhari means to me!
This opinion piece was written by Buchi Obichie.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of NAIJ.com.
What would you do differently if you were Nigeria's president? - on NAIJ.com TV: