September 23, 2016

The Style of Buharism

THERE is no iota of doubt about it after all: we have ceaselessly experienced a crisis of Buharism since our present president,Buhari, was exalted by us into the presidency of our country. Glaringly, diurnally it is entering our exalted consciousness and imagination that our pre-election idea or picture of him was one that exalted a man who had (and still has) an exalted impression of himself.

But we must make no mistake about it. The man has elegance, but we have come to realize that this elegance that enabled some persons to call him “Mr. Integrity” possesses some veneer that is not well irriguous. Perhaps I, in my creative imagination, am deficient in my employment of language to characterize the kind of president that we have witnessed since Buharism entered our authoritative lexicon of political thought.

In the present writing I am not too certain of the language to employ to depict Buharism. In fact, I am inclined to employ a language that cannot but be deader than Latin: the language called Fula of the Fulani people. How I wish and itch in vain to speak and write Fula! Let me be uneconomical with words. I itch to understand and express Buhari’s thoughts in Fula, but how deader than Latin is Fula to me! Thus in vain and in vain will I try to understand the great man Buhari and his Fula philosophy of political governance in a democracy and republic such as ours, such as our country’s – our Nigeria’s that always we must hail.

Recently I had a lengthy conversation, which spoke volumes, with an octogenarian who is based in the South West of our country. The octogenarian is fully at breast with our president’s mind-set and the happenings in Aso Rock.

Lengthy  conversation

He bared and opened ad infinitum his mind on the Buhari presidency. He informed me, among their things, pertinently of how Hadza Bala Usman came on board as the current managing director of our Nigerian Ports Authority. The details the octogenarian provided me constitute part of what my critical imagination would call here the style of Buharism. Everything Buhari has publicly said, un-said, done or un-done so far is embroidered with an irritating veneer whose glistening exterior conceals his deep hegemonic tendencies.

Clearly, I appreciate Buhari’s plain style any time he addresses us on television or radio or on election campaign grounds (as we witnessed recently on the occasion of the grand finale of the APC gubernatorial election campaign in Benin City). But the plain style usually – and this is very ironical – obscures what truly is in his mind. In fact, almost everything his prolix-less style gives us or dishes out has proved to be the opposite of his ideas and thoughts.

Some examples: Buhari plainly told us that he would not devalue the naira, but what do we have now? A dying naira; Buhari plainly told us that he would never ever increase fuel pump price, but what do we have now?  An inflated fuel pump price that would soon be re-inflated despite his and his presidencynologists’ new denials; Buhari plainly told us that he would fight corruption without fear or favour, but we now know otherwise with his action and in-action with respect, for instance, to the discovery of the budget-padding in the House of Reps. I can go on and on,

I can give a comprehensive list of President Buhari’s plain language without metaphors or circumlocutions or dense images, but the effect of my critical rendering of the list on you will be such that will agonize and traumatize you further. It is simply better for me to state simply that Buhari has found his presidential style in just above one year of his spiritual presidency. This style which deserves our special attention is the style of the plain dissembler and disguiser.

And he is a gentleman officer with the veneer of integrity, accountability and gentility whose goodness and trust we no longer can confide in – in these very trying times. Never ever will I believe again what he says or does or doesn’t say or doesn’t do until he himself reaps the effects of his own words and actions that don’t give us presidential food or drink to nourish our well-being as Nigerians and human-beings.

But sooner or later Buharism will fail tactically and woefully. In fact, we will not allow the president, to paraphrase one of my pen-pals, to end tactically “our hard earned democracy.” What does this mean? Guess. But the exhibitionism of Buharism may thrive still everywhere for the lack of immediate alternative.

By Prof. Tony Afejuku, scholar-poet of renown, is of the University of Benin, Benin City.