After relocating to Kano following the passing on of her controversial husband, Mrs. Abacha regrettably said and I quote verbatim: “All they were telling us was that everything was okay. We never knew they did not like us.” My goal here is not to x-ray how they spent their days in the corridors of power, but my objective here is to bring a sterling lesson from the past—to speak to power. It is one of my assignments as an active and informed citizen to speak to power; maybe those in the corridors of power would elevate their minds and—listen to a clear-cut voice of reason.
The napkin that was covering the eyes of Mrs. Abacha perhaps fell off too tardy and late. And on the condition that you ask virtually every wife of our ex-presidents, they are in all probability going to tell you same thing. The truth is: when a leader surrounds himself or herself with people—who are in the corridors of power for only what they can get, not what they can give, he or she is likely going to experience what the wife of the late C-in-C spoke about.
Some months ago, the napkin covering the eyes of Mrs. Aisha Buhari fell off and she was able to see those who surround her husband. I believe after talking to her husband for days ‘un-end’ on some critical national issues, against all odds, she came out in the open to talk to the whole world about the breed and class of people that her husband has chosen to surround himself with. Many lampooned her for speaking out to protect her husband from the same type of people that were cheering the Abachas on when they had in their possession the political power that is so transient. Aisha is such a blessed woman—because she was opportune to know so early what other Presidents’ wives got to know when it became too late for them to make any significant difference.
When I see folks cheer Mr. President on today, it reminds me of one of the stories of the tortoise and elephant. The unreliable tortoise set a trap for the elephant and covered it with a beautiful mat and smartly lured it with an appealing song, inviting it to come and become a king. The elephant did not know that the tortoise did not like it. Infact, the tortoise wanted to kill it! The elephant only got to know that the tortoise did not like it—when it had become too late for it to do anything to salvage the situation. The elephant died, because it got carried away by what was not real—tortoise’s accolades and appealing fake song to come and become a king.
Sometimes, I sit back and look at most of those cheering President Buhari on today and it is clear to me as water that they are all tortoises in human skin. I am talking about the same breed of people that surrounded late Sani Abacha. They do not tell Presidents the truth, because of the crumbs that fall from their tables. They bald-facedly and barefacedly lie to them, because of their parochial and close-minded interests. If they had told late Abacha the truth, maybe he would have led Nigeria differently. The ‘tortoises’ of those days were daily showering him with the false accolades of water and phony alluring and appealing songs till he fell into the pit they dug for him. Abacha is no more today, but most of them are still relishing the crumbs that fell from his table when he temporarily was in power.
Even if ‘men’ are going to be sent after some of us for saying the truth, we really do not care two hoots. The message always outlives the messenger. And for the record, our own loyalty is to Nigeria and not to any sectional, biased and religious man—either alive or dead. Only men who align themselves to the enduring progress and prosperity of Nigeria have an access to our own unalloyed loyalty. We have decided to always tell Mr. President the truth, no matter how inconvenient it is.
There are too many tortoises in human skin today, who are cheering Mr. President on, not because they love him, but because they want to push him into the pit they have dug for him. While it is Mr. President’s constitutional right to run again in 2019, I am of the opinion that he should go back home to take a good care of himself as late Mandela selflessly did. PMB currently does not have the required strength and health to lead a country as Nigeria.
Also, there is no history that PMB wants to make again. He is one of the few no-expense-spared citizens of Nigeria. All he can do (if he is able to get it done) is to restructure Nigeria and pass on the baton of power to someone who he knows unreservedly shares his values—and who is exceptionally brilliant and very adept when it comes to the sphere leadership—as it affects nation building in the 21st century.
Lastly, Mr. President, listen to your wife, not those who hate you, but are masquerading as if they love you. They are lying to you that everything is okay as they lied to the Abachas. They are giving you fake statistics as they gave those before you. Those you did swear to serve are daily suffering. What fiscal and economic sense does it make when the foreign reserve rises while the standard of living of Nigerians is daily falling? For the umpteenth time, listen to your wife. She has been able to see what past Presidents’ wives got to see when they had been kicked out of power.