By Emmanuel Aziken
The Thursday gathering of some of Nigeria’s leading personalities at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa for the launch of the book, Aisha Buhari: Being Different, was indeed, a contrast to the situation across the country.
Fittingly reflective of the title of the book, the real Nigeria, outside that gathering was remarkably different.
Indeed, the pomp and pageantry that shadowed the event was significantly different from the gloom across the land.
Earlier, in the wee hours of that morning, bandits had sacked another police station in Imo State with reports that a police officer had been kidnapped. Across the land, several Nigerians were being held in custody by different sets of bandits controlling different patches of territory across the country.
Relatives of kidnap victims audacious to disobey authorities like that in Kaduna State, took fate in the hand to negotiate the release of their wards.
In some other places, state governments were emptying their purses to negotiate. The Federal Government’s capacity for negotiations had itself become an issue after officials of the Buhari government in 2018 negotiated the release of the kidnapped Dapchi school girls and left behind the only Christian, Leah Sharibu.
ALSO READ: Tension in Ekiti as bandits shoot monarch
In other developments, unions in some key sectors in the polity downed tools to protest what they alleged as the government’s failure to keep to agreements.
Among those on strike were doctors. It seemed logical and for good reasoning in the consideration of some lovers of the president that it was wise for him to have also travelled for medical check-up in the UK, given the fact that his government had not been able to raise health standards in the country to that of Britain that he had been used to.
Besides doctors, polytechnic lecturers went on strike forcing students to go home just as judicial workers also went on strike paralysing the country’s judiciary.
Meanwhile, as the book launch got underway, a different tendency within the Presidential Villa released a statement which alluded to the fact that our President Muhammadu Buhari, admitted that he was having a little rest in London!
Yes, the admission that he was resting in the midst of the whole bedlam in the country may have shocked many. Yes, that is given the background that the president opted to take a little rest at a time the country was slipping into anarchy may have been touching.
It was also touching that the president chose the time when his wife was being celebrated with a book to take a little rest in London.
On the other hand, some may fault Mrs. Buhari for choosing the time that the husband scheduled to travel for a rest to have her book launch.
Either way, the actions of the first family show a dissonance that has been characteristic of the Buhari presidency.
Whether Mr. Buhari or Mrs. Buhari was right or wrong in the scheduling of their engagements, many Nigerians would say that both were wrong in the priorities that they gave to the feelings and concerns of those who put them in power.
Some also mutter that Buhari chose his time of little rest in London just after his wife, had had her six-month elongated rest in Dubai.
There were some who thought that Mrs. Buhari should have acted DIFFERENTLY and used a forum such as she gathered to resolve Nigeria’s problems.
Given that most of those who should resolve the problems of Nigeria were gathered before her, she could have behaved differently and signposted her name in history by getting her attendees to proffer solutions to the country’s many, many problems.
Indeed, in other climes and for example, Britain, where the president was resting such a development as happened in Imo on Thursday morning, would have necessitated a COBRA meeting, that is a meeting of some of the country’s senior ministers.
Hell would have broken loose if any member of the government’s COBRA committee were sighted at a book launch even if authored by Her Majesty, the Queen.
But here things proceeded as if nothing happened! A police station sacked, and senior government officials proceeded to a book launch!
No mention was made of the situation in Imo or of the pitiable situation of many Nigerians held in different swathes of territory by bandits.
The first lady through her outing almost covered up the growing crisis within the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC by bringing the different tendencies under one roof. However, a closer reading would still show that Mrs. Buhari is almost certainly in bed with the Asiwaju Tinubu camp which has lost control of the party just as she has lost control of the government.
Reflective of her inclination was the prominent position given to Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who was recalled from the wilderness for his first major national public function since the Edo debacle.
Given that Aisha Buhari is about the most prepared lady to have ever occupied the position of first lady, and arguably the lady with the highest academic qualification in that position, Nigerians certainly expect more from her.
Her ‘six-month rest’ in Dubai at a time when many Nigerian women are increasingly trapped in the squalor is not the difference many Nigerians who were enthusiastic with her coming expected from her.
In the two years left of her husband’s regime she would do well to apply grit and grace to position her family name in good reckoning.