By Jude Ndukwe
Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, could not hide his joy as he announced with unrivalled glee the phone call of Mr President to him all the way from London. Certainly, this is not the first time President Buhari and Femi Adesina would be discussing over the phone since the two tenants of Aso Rock moved to the seat of power in 2015.
However, this particular phone conversation elicited an excitement, the type usually associated with primary school pupils who have found the last of a set of bottle crowns needed to claim some insignificant prizes in a soft drink promo.
The presidential spokesperson went ahead to give vivid details of the conversation including how the president had asked after his family and thanked him (Femi) for “holding out against mischief makers”.
For a man who had been mischievous about the true state of health of Mr President, one would have thought that his excitement about the phone conversation which he needlessly shared with Nigerians would be that Mr President asked after Nigeria and Nigerians and how they are coping in his absence beyond just asking after Adeshina’s family. In the absence of this, publicizing of the conversation is an exercise in mischief. That was at best a private conversation that should have been left private except that Femi is happy to show to Nigerians how lowly his boss holds his countrymen by referring to them as mischief makers.
However, Femi’s excitement is understandable considering the fact that Nigerians have seen the drama playing out in Aso Rock over the president’s health as the chief of mischief. He probably thinks those who have been asking after the president’s health status are mischievous but did not know how to say it until Mr President came to his rescue.
If Femi wanted to be fair to himself, his boss and Nigerians, he would have reminded the president that the citizens are not the ones who are mischief makers for asking after him, but that the mischief makers are those who are churning out confusing stories about the president’s London vacation.
For while some government officials have told Nigerians that the president is “hale and healthy”, others have told us that we should “pray for him”. Some others have told us that “there is no cause for alarm” while at the same time some have told us that the reason the president would not be returning as earlier scheduled was because he needed to run some more tests concerning his health, with others saying he merely needs to “rest”.
These contradictions are typical of our presidency whose record of Buhari’s recent telephone conversation with Mr Trump is reported to be at distant variance with what was released by the White House. That is an issue for another day.
The cacophonous of excuses for the president’s unexpected elongated stay in London would naturally get citizens worried, hence, the agitation to know his correct health status. This is why the mischief makers are those government officials who have kept spinning stories around the president’s health for their own selfish reasons.
The simple thing Nigerians have asked all these days that the president has been in London is for him to speak to them. They just want to hear his voice and probably get excited just like the presidential spokesman did.
But like a man holding irreconcilable malice against his own citizens, he would rather speak with Osinbajo, Saraki, Dogara, Tinubu, Ganduje, Femi and even Donald Trump of the US to the exclusion of his employers the citizens. For a president who had once described Nigerians as criminals and corrupt people from foreign lands, calling them mischief makers, also from a foreign land, is actually nothing new. It is only a proof that his London experience has had little or no learning impact on him.
The fact of the matter is that Adeshina’s juvenile reaction at hearing the president’s voice is a confirmation that, just like many Nigerians, he himself was not sure of the president’s health status; that he was so full of apprehension until that call came across.
It is therefore most unfortunate that the same people the presidency has been asking to pray for the president are the same people the president called mischief makers, a ridiculous term Femi Adeshina ill-advisedly celebrated on his Facebook page. Even if they pray for Buhari as they are being urged to do on a daily basis, how will God answer the prayers of mischief makers especially when the one they are praying for is the one who has said to God’s hearing that those praying for him are mischief makers?
In conclusion, Mr President can continue to rest in London for as long as he wants. We do not mind paying his entitlements continuously even while he rests. We are very happy to do that. What Femi Adeshina forgot to tell him is that Nigeria is actually getting better without him. That is another mischief from Femi!
It is the height of another mischief for anyone to think that Buhari’s call to Femi and the gang would improve the abysmal performance of the naira, put food on citizens’ tables, stop the oppression of citizens by government and the continued deliberate defiance of court orders, and other undemocratic and unconstitutional actions of this administration. The lack of answers, expertise and capacity to improve the rapidly dwindling fortunes of Nigeria under Buhari is the reason the president would not speak to Nigerians but would only speak with his Mischief-Makers-in-Chief who would tell him only what his ears are itching to hear.
With what has been happening in the country, the whole world certainly knows who our mischief makers are. They are definitely not the citizens; they are those who live and work in Aso Villa!
—[email protected]; Twitter: Stjudendukwe