First of all, it was really great to see him at his best. I have not seen a more eloquent Buhari, he was very clear, sounded healthy and clear in thought.
I am again convinced that the President has two major challenge; first one is that he is old, gracefully. The second one is that he trust too much and takes things lightly. This is a cultural thing as I see it. Let me break these two down.
Think of your grand parents. They are not like your parents. Your parents are the ones who get scared about your safety, your grandparent are the ones who just pray for you and they already know life is here and there, you may be fine at the end of the day, you may not. That was what I saw with Buhari. While he obviously means well, there seems to be no urgency in his tone or positions.
This is compounded when you consider he is not just an elder, he is a Fulani Elder. Even a young man that is Fulani is very calm, complacent and patient, think of an elder. We must discuss our cultural difference without hate, let us just know ourselves and know how to live together.
I told a brother with me about how Buhari trust his aides so much (I can’t narrate some stories here) and he said to me “yea, that is a Northern attitude”, he himself is a Northerner.
For long this has been dismissed as lack of standard and “anyhowness’ but it has its good. A father of ours from the North once narrated to me that he saw the man who married his daughter the first time on their wedding day.
He says my brother was the one who knew him and vetted him as ok. Down South this is almost impossible. There is beauty in this culture of trust and loyalty but our dear President must know that he is leading Nigeria and the culture is different.
From the elder status and Arewa culture is why you will hear him say to a question of attracting foreign investment that if the youths can agree to be peaceful then foreigners will trust Nigeria more.
Now, that the youths will hold one mega meeting and decide to check insecurity and crime among themselves is slightly possible in Katsina, but in Edo it is a laughing matter, the only deterrence is effective policing. We must understand our differences.
At some point Baba appeared to be lamenting also. You doubt if he understands that in the modern understanding of governance the bulk stops at his table.
It is obvious that when his tenure is done it will be good that we get a younger person that understands modern challenges better. One that would have sat on the edge of his seat during that interview and given the sense that there is urgency in this matter.
I don’t have to blame, hate or criticize Buhari to make this point. He is who he is and he has a lot of good. But after him we need someone that will be on the edge about national issues.
I generally saw a lovable person that means well. But perhaps he got power too late. You may find it hard to fix a dilapidated nation with this amount of chill, but who says it is not why we are not presently at full scale war? You never really know.
Eseoghene Al-Faruq Ohwojeheri is based in Benin City, Edo State