Buhari! Absent. That’s the class teacher calling the attendance and Nigeria’s president’s classmates responding. The Hausa will say, Ba anan. My Yoruba brethren will say, Kosinle. And the Biafrans refer to him as “Jibrin-al Sudani,” a clone.
There are a few that still believe Muhammadu Buhari is aware and running the affairs of Nigeria. Africa’s largest nation is visibly on cruise control. The latest evidence of disconnect was when president Buhari denied knowing how the nation is be riddled with terror.
“I was taken aback by what is happening in the North-West and other parts of the country. During our campaigns, we knew about the Boko Haram. What is coming now is surprising. It is not ethnicity or religion rather it is one evil plan against the country,” Buhari said when confronted by citizens from Nigeria state, the past Monday.
But while there has been some uproar, no one is really shocked by his distance from the happenings in the country. “Buhari does not read,” his Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi once said.
A Senator from Adamawa state, whose home was invaded by terrorists described the state of insecurity as “worse than ever in recent history.” Another called for Buhari’s sack. The entire House of representatives asked for the dismissal of Nigeria’s heads of service. That’s how bad the security situation in Nigeria is, yet Buhari “does not know.”
There is something amiss, apart from the president. There is a secret being held in high corridors. After the gravely ill president got miraculously “fixed” in the United Kingdom, something got broken. And those at the head know. It is not in contention that Nigeria’s heads of service have failed in their obligation to secure the nation. There are more daily gruesome deaths and kidnappings in Nigeria than any other nation on earth right now, including those at war. But while most of the failed security chiefs are past retirement, there is no one to fire them, because they know the secret. Every one at the top knows the secret and so they are all immune, co-rulers of Nigeria, doing as they may with no fear of consequence. “Fire us and we’ll tell.”
Nigeria’s “First lady” is seen publicly dismissing the president’s— her husband’s — spokesman and his nephew. The spokesman fires back at her. Everyone sits and waits for the president to moderate the embarrassing disputes, but there is silence. The man of the house is absent.
When his chief of staff sacked aides of Vice president Yemi Osinbajo, the president responded to interviewers with an expression of surprise. “Were they fired? I only thought they were moved around.” They were fired and still are. But wait not for the president to acknowledge, agree or overturn. There will be no response.
Everyone at the top is enjoying the freedom of a nation on auto-pilot. No one is talking. No one will talk…well, except for one man. One very loud man who is not known for silence.
When president Buhari visited the United States, it was rumored that president Donald Trump told his aides he never wanted to meet someone as “lifeless” as Nigeria’s president again.
The teacher is putting the grades in. “Buhari!” she calls again. “Absent.” “Failed,” she records. But it is not a single exam for a single student. It is a terminal exam for an entire nation. The “fail” is written in red ink. Blood from the wounded, dying and the dead.