President Muhammadu Buhari does not care – about you, about me, about doctors’ strike, even about himself. The pair of trousers he wore for his visit to Imo State said a lot about our President.
The visit to Imo State must have its significances for those who have chosen symbols for substance. The boldest issue out of the visit was the public’s disappointment with the President’s fashion sense, another indication that people still have expectations from the President, among them that his trousers should fit better.
How can a President, who does not care about himself, maybe not care for himself, promise to look after us, protect us, and stabilise Nigeria?
“If there is no security, there is nothing anyone can do no matter how much you try or the initiative you have. Security is number one priority and then the economy. When people feel secure they will mind their own business,’’ he said tritely, according to a statement by his media aide, Femi Adeshina.
Even President Buhari knew the emptiness of those words. Their incoherence echoed the jumbled thoughts of the President who could, like some, have wondered what he was doing in Imo State.
Nobody should ask what Buhari was doing in Imo. He has the same bounteous freedoms of association, movement, thought, speech, pondering, wandering, and wondering that are available to the rest of us. Unlike him, we do not have security to go as we please rather the security agencies think their work is to curb our freedoms. The South East is their favourite play ground.
We concede to the President the right to choose a visit to Imo over Sambisa forest. The grieving ones in Barkin Ladi, Zangon-Kataf, Bokkos, and Mangut need the President. Expectations are that he would maximise the impact of a presidential presence particularly where it could soothe fraying nerves. Why waste a precious presidential resource, time?
Could the time not have been more useful in boosting the morale of our troops battling bandits? What if the President winged his way to the Nigerian Defence Academy, where bandits killed two officers, wounded one, and has another in captivity for weeks?
NDA should have been a defining venue for recounting victories in profound tackling of insecurity harnessing apt character and courage from the carriage of the President.
Should he speechify security when actions would have had more celebratory outcomes? Did the President think he was on a campaign, the season of meaningless words?
He regurgitated promises in Imo while swathes of Nigeria, add his native Katsina, were falling into the reign of lawlessness. Bandits are over-running Nigeria.
Where have speeches addressed emergencies? The President spared no efforts in not articulating the purpose of his visit to Imo. Perhaps, there was none.
Things are spinning out of control. Governors are shutting down schools. Governors have barred farming in some locations. Governors have wined and dined with bandits to make obtuse points of negotiations. We are ceding territories to bandits.
Why would Buhari be preaching the imperatives of securing Nigeria? Does he think we do not know that it was just one speech for one more occasion?
The President wants to be remembered for stabilising Nigeria in three areas – security, economic prosperity, and his anti-corruption wars. Nobody will forget his wish. But when he speaks in this manner, he seems to have resigned to the fate, waiting for the expiration of his tenure.
At least, he cares about something. He has concerns about how he would be remembered. Is he already afraid he could be forgotten?
Residents of parts of Imo made a bold statement on their stand with the President. They had been hounded for years by security agencies whose siege to the South East is becoming a permanent pillar of national pettiness.
Did you hear any threats from the President?
There is no point bothering about who made the most spectacular trousers for a Nigerian leader in our entire history. The many significations of the trousers are coloured in economics and politics.
Just some – scarcity of clothing materials affected what the President could get for his trousers, an angry tailor exercised his sentiments, Imo State wanted to get people talking about the visit, and they succeeded.
If there can be unknown gunmen, the maker of the President’s trousers is the unknown Imo tailor, who like the gunmen cannot openly claim credit for the unintended interests his artistry has imposed on us. He is still among us talking about the trousers like all patriotic Nigerians.
Unlike the President, the tailor made us laugh. And we are still laughing.