Whilst our president is in office, he is not in power.
If you don’t know what a ventriloquist is, or you have never seen one before, please permit me to paint you a picture with words. The ventriloquist is a western interpretation of the Yoruba cult of Osanyin, shorn of the spiritual content of the Osanyin cult, and its very caricature, if the truth be told.
Ventriloquism is the western performance art form that involves the projection of the performer’s voice, into the ventriloquist’s doll, making the audience believe, that it is the doll that speaks the words, projected by the artist. The ventriloquist and his doll, become one in animated performance, the doll acting out the spoken words of the ventriloquist in comically exaggerated motions. The younger members of the audience almost always become entranced by the performance, and might be forgiven for believing the merger of fantasy and truth. The adults, whilst entertained, are not expected to become oblivious to the truth of the spectacle that they have witnessed, and been entertained by.
A friend once lost something very valuable and dear. Irreplaceable. It happened in a house full of young men. I was also living in the house. I was not privy to the discussions, but somewhere along the line, a decision was taken to haul everyone before some Shaman somewhere in the Idimu area of Lagos. The Idimu of the 1980s was not unlike the several other towns and villages that you would find in the Yoruba hinterlands, rustic, and very communal. Everyone appeared to know everybody else.
The man had some contraption covered up in the corner of the room in which he consulted, it had all the totems and the obligatory blood and palm oil adorning it, and was designed to awe. With a series of whistles, and grunts, they communicated back and forth, the priest and his covered doll. The Osanyin eventually picked the thief by a process of eliminations, and the property owner was assured that the thief would die within days, if he refused to confess and return the stolen goods.
We left Idimu and Ajilekege’s den in awe, with everyone imploring the thief to give up his loot. His protestations of innocence fell on deaf ears, and scant regard was paid to his pleas. We got back home, only to find that the stolen item had been found whilst we were still at Ajilekege’s den, it had merely been mislaid. This was before the advent of GSM phones in Nigeria, and had their been a way for the suspect to have alerted an accomplice, we might have found some cover for Ajilekege.
The ventriloquist doll is inanimate. It lacks the capacity to speak, and it definitely is not possessed of the capacity to act independent of the ventriloquist. The ventriloquist doll, is completely unaware, and incapable of being aware, of anything.
In the early days of the Buhari regime, one of the most common explanations offered by the Nigerian presidency, was that the president was unaware, of whatever it was, that he had spectacularly failed at. Buhari was serially unaware, of the very worst, of his regime’s failings. Allied to the serial lack of situational awareness, was a constant demand of Buhari’s handlers, that we should read Buhari’s body language. His body odor was even credited with forcing NEPA to increase their capacity and productivity at the beginning of his first term. The unaware president, was capable of performing miracles, with his body language. I am sure you know where this is heading.
After months of having the airwaves agog with tales of Babachir’s grass cutting exploits, and weeks after the Saraki led senate had indicted the Secretary to the Federal Government for his unconscionable embezzlement and diversion of funds meant for Internally Displaced Persons, and whilst Buhari was in the land of the Queen, Babachir was suspended from office by the Babaloja. The clear and unambiguous words of the suspended secretary to the federation on being told of this were: who is the presidency? He asked the question in shock, because he knew what he knew: that our president is incapable of acting, as had been suggested by his announced suspension.
Every marriage comes with its own unique sets of management issues, and Buhari’s marriage is definitely not the exception to this rule. This is completely normal. But the Nigerian seat of power, the Aso Rock Villa, has not offered Nigerians a more dysfunctional view of presidential family life, than we have been made privy to, by the several vituperative outbursts of our current First Lady. If Aisha is not being consigned to the other room, she is having one public spat or the other, with her husband’s family, his personal staff, or any number of the ones that she has introduced to us as the cabal. It does not appear that the president is presiding over the affairs of his own homestead.
That the Nigerian state is being ruled by a man who has failed spectacularly at the simple task of governing his own home, would be the tempting conclusion to draw, but that would be a most erroneous conclusion. I have a completely different view of our situation, and this is where I need you to remember Osayin and the ventriloquist’s doll. They are the closest analogical parallels with which to compare the Nigerian presidency.
The ventriloquist doll is inanimate. It has absolutely no capacity to do anything for itself. It is made of rags, wooden parts, ropes, glass beads for eyes, and odd bits and pieces. It is a doll. Baba Ajilekege’s Osanyin is just as inanimate. “Ohun ti a ba fon si’nu fere, ni fere n’fon ja’de! The flute only says, what was blown into it by the piper. Buhari is certainly not Jubril, and no, nobody has done any Frankenstein experiments with St’ Bubu. But whilst our president is in office, he is not in power. I shall explain.
In the nearly half a decade that Buhari has been in office in this republic, our able president has not had a single unscripted, and or unsupervised televised interview, with either the Nigerian press, or the international press. The few times that we have been afflicted with clips of the brief, and seemingly obligatory interviews, and press events where Buhari had been obliged to answer questions, his responses were alarmingly incoherent. The Kadaria interview before the last election comes to mind, and the inescapable conclusion to draw from all of these occasions, bar none, is that our president is not compos mentis.
To be a dictator, you must be aware of what you are dictating. Buhari is constantly unaware, he is not the author of the confusion that Nigeria has become on his watch, and it is my fervent belief, that Buhari is not watching any watch. Age has been kind to Buhari, but the years have taken their toll on his mental health and capacity. He is not in any state to dictate anything, and I am not sure that he is even aware of much. Other men, and women too, are dictating to the Nigerian state in Buhari’s name.
Even if I accept Buhari’s age as offered by his handlers as given, the president is an old man. He is a quarter of a century older than me, and I am over half a century old. I forget things these days. I have grown increasingly reliant on my wife, children, and the staff at home and in the office, to remind me of things that I would have forgotten. My knees aches, as do my back, ankles, shoulders, and joints. Hell! I ache everywhere these days. But the doctors says that I am fine, exceptionally healthy for my age, they have said. But I feel every single day of my almost 52 years old.
Drop your partisan blinkers and behold the ruination of our country, the wanton jeopardization of our collective security, the wholesale destruction of the very fabric of Nigeria, and the catastrophic loss of the youth to gambling, drug addiction, miseducation, illiteracy, unemployment, the normalization of criminality, the celebration of debauchery, the erasure of morality and integrity, the transformation of our society into a giant toilet, where every sense of outrage have been lost, and we have all, without exception become only selectively outraged by what should cause us to weep inconsolably. How do you complain about your neighbor’s fart, when you are haunched atop your mound of excreta?
Buhari’s tenure ends in a few days. 2023 is just around the corner, and the ventriloquist’s show, would soon be done, the doll packed up, and then what? What does the future hold for the Nigerian state and its people? Where are we heading as a people? How much further can we travel this road that we are currently on? To where are we being led, by the ventriloquists, and their doll?
Gen. Buhari is not in charge of this regime. I repeat, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari is not in charge of Nigeria. The country is drifting dangerously in rocky and turbulent waters. There are too many people using Gen. Buhari’s name to misdirect the affairs of Nigeria. Actions taken by this regime have bothered on the treasonous in its national security dimensions, and the very integrity of the Nigerian state and its territory, are being serially compromised by the security failures of the government of the day.
Too many crooks are spoiling the broth.
First published on 9 February 2020 the