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Pres. Buhari’s ostentatious integrity

What a funny country we are. Very interesting country woven in several contradictions and a potpourri of multiple eye-opening scenarios that easily confound our sensibilities.


The wedding ceremony of President Buhari’s son, Yussuf, in Bichi Kano State, on Friday, 20th August is the height of hypocritical realness and unprovoked affront on our collective failures and consciencelessness.


As president, I thought Buhari would have behaved differently and showed some remorse over the spread of insecurity in the country.


I thought he would have opted for a low-keyed celebration knowing full well that many underage children are still sleeping and waking up with dare-devil kidnappers and bandits in different parts of the country: Niger, Katsina, Kaduna, Kebbi and Zamfara, to mention but a few.


The ostentatious showmanship of the Bichi assembly speaks to the heartlessness of a president who loves his own comfort zone at the detriment of others. How can a president that is supposed to be there for all, chose to celebrate his son’s wedding at a time when so many children of the poor and hapless Nigerians are being traumatised under very agonising conditions in the forest for so many weeks now. If I was in President Buhari’s shoes, I will display some emotional intelligence by carrying out a low-key celebration or cancel any celebration, for that matter. Setting up a 150-member committee ab initio, gave an indication of the kind of ostentatious display that was to come. It shows how tactless this government has become. It tells of the crudity of its action and the wickedness of a system that has failed on all fronts to combat the twin evil of kidnapping and armed banditry. It is a system that cares less for the poor and suffering Nigerians in their millions against the protection of the elite consensus, a hurting conspiracy that exposes a decadent society with too much attachment to crass materialism.


Coming from a president that is generously touted by his supporters as a man of integrity, it is shocking that the president himself took Nigeria’s presidential jet to attend a private ceremony of his son’s wedding, lavish so much funds, at a time when the nation is undergoing economic conundrum. How do you define integrity in the midst of ostentation? How?


How do you celebrate as a president when so many children from ages 6, 7, 8, 10 and 13 are languishing in the forest for close to two months, by no ordinary design of their own.


How do you have a heart to even celebrate a wedding ceremony in the midst of such pains and agonies in the hearts of Nigerians and the victims of your incapacity to provide security for all? I accompanied a friend to Kano and waited at the Kano airport, while he travelled to Bichi to participate in the ceremony.


He had prevailed on me to accompany him there but I opted to remain at the airport because it would hurt my conscience to go to Bichi for such ostentatious display. At the Kano airport, I saw the maladies of a Nigerian society and the madness of the elite conspiracies at full glare.

I counted 21 jets and also saw the president’s jet touched down before he took the chopper to the venue of the ceremony. I shed tears seeing how big men were falling over one another, under the scorching sun, sweating profusely to be part of a ceremony that was needlessly a sheer waste of our collective patrimony. Yussuf barely finished his national service three years ago.


I doubt if he had saved enough to take a new wife, knowing full well that his father, the president pretends to us that he lives an austere lifestyle of no riches.


The same president that has been chasing corrupt Nigerians all over the place with EFCC officials, received some of those Nigerians who are standing trials in the show of wealth and riches at Bichi.


Integrity in the midst of ostentation, how recondite? That is the hypocrisy of a system that has become nepotistically grounded by a president that has shown manifest failures in dealing with Nigeria’s challenges. The kidnapped children are still crying in the forest, being beaten by heartless bandits, aside from being starved and underfed. Those children, who set out to learn the rubrics of the religion they belong, are still shedding tears of pains in the forest. Just imagine, if the president’s son was to be involved, God forbids, would there be celebration? Would there be this ostentation? I am shedding tears uncontrollably as I write this because I am just imagining what those little kids are going through in the hands of their wicked captors, alone and all alone in the thick forest. Tears, tears, tears all in my eyes. From Kaduna to Katsina the story is the same. From Zamfara to Kebbi, kidnapped victims are still languishing in the forest with no help in sight. Some have been killed, while the fate of others hangs in the balance.


The only thing that they have become familiar with is the sound of gunshots. Kids, at such young ages? I had thought a Buhari’s presidency would help to redirect our priorities and inject a new paradigm into our value system.


I had thought he would preside by example. But when he displays this nauseating manner of ostentation, he follows the path of Obi Cubana, the money rain Nigerian who lavished money at his mother’s burial.

A society of crass materialism breeds its own crime and criminality, by setting bad examples. Each time I interrogate my conscience to truly comprehend the maladies that confront us, I am reminded that that is our Nigerianised way of showing the common malaproprian bluff; “I don arrive”, a euphemism to announce that someone has attained some financial up stake level. How ridiculous!


Were I to be in President Buhari’s presidential shoes, rather than fly to Bichi, I would fly to Niger State to rub minds with the governor on the way forward for those little kids out in the cold. I will give marching orders to the security agents and wait to receive their report of breakthrough.


But, can I tell you something. Some of the Service Chiefs were in Bichi also, to fulfill eye-service syndrome. I saw them in their parachute gowns, sweating like food hawkers in the sun, to attend the wedding of their president’s son. Some of them were being shove aside in the thick of the crowd at the airport, where I sat, watching the tragedy of a nation with decayed value system.


Who then comes to the aid of the poor, the forgotten members of the society? Those who were supposed to be at their duty post on a working day, left their office to attend a wedding ceremony. When their subordinates dare such a venture, queries would be handed down to them.


Security Chiefs that ought to be up and doing to see an end to this overwhelming madness, still find time to “jollificate”, some kind of romanticization of their collective failures.


In Nigeria, under President Buhari, it is becoming a case of “ who cares”, Nigeria is not worth dying for. Just cast your mind back to Plateau state and imagine the ugly scenario playing out there; the carnage and wanton destruction, then you will realise that Nigeria is presently ungoverned.


The killings and slaughtering going on, are unconscionably disturbing. Who do we cry to? The president who is uninvolved or the security chiefs that are overstretched and over burdened?


Rather than surrender to fate, with global terrorism assuming a more frightening dimension, we may have to prepare for the worse by ensuring that citizens arm themselves, the Bello Masari way. When crimes assume such unimaginable level, we seek for novel and improvised ideas to contend with the situation.


That may just be the last option in a season of failed reason when the falcon can no longer hear the falconer. It is shame of a nation, of a president who does not care about our comfort. His failures are the reason why we have gotten to this crossroads, and it truly hurts




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