Un-Smart: Dissecting Buhari, Abba Kyari, Others With Historical and Global Perspectives – Ajiroba Yemi Kotun

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“I am not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945)

ON SUNDAY, March 4, 1759, the French king, Louis XV (1710-1774), goaded by his mistress, Jeanne Antoinette Poisson (1721-1764) – known a dime-a-dozen as Madame de Pompadour, appointed the very frugal and thrifty Étienne de Silhouette (1709-1767) as his finance minister (Ancien Régime Controller General of Finances). The job of Silhouette, the translator into French of several works by Alexander Pope (1688-1744), Henry Bolingbroke (1678-1751), and William Warburton (1698-1779), was to lay down stringent measures designed to save money to bail out Louis’ government from the bankruptcy and utter failure on its doorstep.

Even so, applying trailed shapes produced by shadows had then become popular again. Because they substituted more expensive paintings, these sharpening contours were ridiculed as ”à la Silhouette” – the minister’s additional economical measures. In spite of his short tenure as Finance minister [he actually lasted less than a year in office], Silhouette not only provoked hostile action, but also achieved a kind of immortality as his name came to be endlessly fraternized with “a two-dimensional representation of the outline of an object, as a person’s profile, generally filled in with black.”

In like manner in the regime of General Muhammadu Buhari, Mallam Abba Kyari (1952-2020), Buhari’s former powerful Chief of Staff and ‘colleague’, was also strikingly silhouetted against his weak principal. Put differently, Buhari’s fallen CoS projected himself on the absentee and ‘un-smart’ President of Nigeria like a silhouette against the rest of us. Interestingly, as Louis XV lacked the power or ability to lead the people coupled with his failure to provide the country the very much needed reforms which played a significant part in bringing about the crisis that produced the French Revolution (1789-1799), so also did the inability of the Nigerian President (2010-2015), Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, to decisively end the insecurity challenges (occasioned by the Boko Haram insurgence – “a ragtag army”, which General Buhari promised at his campaigns to wipe out within two months but have only managed to defeat “technically” -whatever that means – after six months, and still waxing strong five years on) contribute to the difficult or dangerous situation or radical change that brought about Bola Tinubu’s “Commonsense Revolution” of 2015.

The Ghanaians say, “Kola nuts last longer in the mouth of those who value them.” The much valued Kyari, GMB’s well-known “Svengali,” completely dominated his principal and became the most important person in the Buhari regime’s covert pecking order. He allegedly acted for Mamman Daura, the actual or real controller of the affairs of Nigeria, who secretly and truly exerts political mastery or prominence in the government. In one of his most memorable film roles, the great matinee idol, John Barrymore (1932-2004), steals the show as the evil hypnotic Svengali, a mad genius whose intense, piercing gaze is irresistible to the innocent artist’s model, Trilby, the heroine of the novel published in 1894 by George Du Maurier (1834-1896), a Franco-British cartoonist and writer. Under his tutelage, Trilby is transformed into a great singer. Barrymore appears as a ghoulish, bearded creature dressed in disheveled clothing like a sort of dissolute monk. The 1931 film, of course, was called “Svengali,” not (like the original novel) “Trilby”. His is the image we summon up when we think of a “Svengali,” a person (like Kyari) who completely dominates another [like GMB], usually with evil or selfish motives.

If truly the 32nd U.S. President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), could admit that he was not the world’s smartest fellow (and he probably needed not to be) – yet attained greatness through his appointing smart people to work with him while in office – then the Nigerian ‘President’ should at once admit that he is not just smart at all, to say the least. Otherwise GMB, like FDR, would have become very good at learning or thinking about governance enough to show intelligence or good judgment by also settling for smart colleagues, too. But, since “leadership molds individuals into a team”, according to Harold Koontz (1909-1984), an American organizational theorist and professor of business management, who worked in league with his co-author of “Principles of Management” (a book that sold over two million copies worldwide and was translated into 15 languages), Cyril O’Donnell (1900-1976), also a prolific professor and teacher of management, can General Buhari, a politician who lacks leadership obviously, be smart enough to pick smart colleagues like FDR? The answer is a capital “No!”

Instead GMB, with obvious disabilities affecting his cognition and judgment, as well as lacking impassioned, bodily, and cerebral presidential competence or fitness, picked a very sectional chief of staff, Abba Kyari, who almost singlehandedly ran the country aground since the so-called president could not provide leadership. As the Malawians are wont to say, “A big goat does not sneeze without a reason”; thanks to Kyari’s nemesis, Babagana Monguno, Buhari’s National Security Adviser, who recently blew the lid by telling off the former CoS. The NSA got away with the act as the powerful Kyari failed to get him punished, reprimanded or penalized in any way. Remember, it was the duty of the Greek goddess of vengeance, Nemesis, to punish “the proud and the insolent.” Today, a “nemesis” is a driving force or means of reckoning or retribution, or something that a person cannot defeat, vanquish or get the better of [as Mongunu proved to Kyari]. In fact, both the ‘President’ and the ex-CoS had this infinite capacity for incompetence, nepotism, cluelessness, vengeance, cronyism, ineptitude, clannishness, corruption, etc.

Earlier, one bright morning soon after he was declared ‘winner’ of the 2019 presidential election, the all-time lazy and slothful blood-soaking “monkey and baboon” tub-thumper woke up and decided to outsource his presidential powers to his CoS, Abba Kyari, then the regime’s “Pooh-bah” (Lord High Everything Else (baritone) [Ibrahim Gambari, Kyari’s successor relishes, and has sworn to uphold, the status quo]. Devoid of any real purpose or value and with a general feeling of indolence that usually overtakes him, GMB ordered that “all things” be rooted through the CoS. Since then, Buhari seems to be practicing “indolence”, which originally meant “indifference”, as an official state policy, a word used in that sense until the 16th century. Probably because indifference is frequently accompanied by an unwillingness to bestir oneself, the term has now come to mean slothful or lazy; Buhari’s unfitting diatribe for Nigerian youths. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! He constantly blames his government’s inertia on the corruption caused by past governments, particularly his immediate predecessor.

But, Pooh-bah? Yes! How many of us remember or have heard of one of the most constantly performed works in the history of musical theatre? “The Mikado” or “The Town of Titpu” which opened Saturday, March 14, 1885, in London? It was probably the most popular comic opera by the league team of English composer Arthur Seymour Sullivan (1842-1900) and English dramatist W.S. Gilbert (1836-1911), the longest original run of any of their operetta in two acts for 672 performances. Supposedly the story of the foiled love of Nanki-Poo (His Son, cloaked as a wandering minstrel) for the gorgeous Yum-Yum (tenor), and set at Japan’s imperial court. As a matter of fact, it is clearly and directly a lampoon on the people of the Victorian age (1837-1901). The ridiculously unreasonable character of the dominant high official known as Pooh-Bah [a Kyari-type] would go on to give the world this common term used to describe “a person who holds several positions at once or – more pungently – any pompous, self-important person.”

That’s who the late Abba Kyari, a chief of staff, who developed into ‘president,’ ‘vice president,’ ‘national security adviser’ de facto, among others, became under, sorry to say, over Muhammadu Buhari, a ‘president’ who cannot exercise the purposeful leadership that his country required and requires. Rather, GMB indolently prefers to only eat and drink, perhaps, to merely observe the critics of Epicurus (341-270 BC), an ancient Greek philosopher and sage, whose “Epicureanism is a form of hedonism insofar as it declares pleasure to be its sole intrinsic goal.” The sage believed that pleasure, raked up largely “through pure and noble thoughts,” formed the greatest happiness. After his death, critics of his theory, spread by his disciples, described this view as merely justifying debauchery. And, from the description came the contemporary meaning of “epicure,” a person with luxurious tastes or habits, especially in eating and drinking [like the pleasure excursion-loving-General Buhari]. The general, who delights in the Aso Villa’s abundance, which symbolizes a cornucopia, a horn containing food or drink in endless supply or a horn of plenty that refills itself magically such that no matter how much Buhari, his nucleus and extended families and hangers-on ate, it cannot be exhausted or made empty.

Like Peak Milk, it’s in GMB. So, let no one blame Abba Kyari because, universally, nature abhors a vacuum. Brigadier Tunde Idiagbon (1943-1999), the then youthful Chief of Staff to Major-General Buhari during his first coming (December 31, 1983-August 27, 1985), was also allowed greater leeway by his boss than Kyari in making decisions and running the draconian military regime of the period simply because Buhari just wasn’t ready to lead anyone. Draco (c. 650 BC-c. 600 BC) was a Greek politician and Legislator, who is best known for his codification of Athenian customary law. Notwithstanding that only a modicum of his code is in existence, commentators on his work subsequently criticized the prescription of death penalty for the simplest cases, wrongdoings or breaches. On that ground, his name came to be referred to correction, discipline, or a government that is extraordinarily sadistic or vicious [the Buhari-type]. In fact, anyone who saw the prominent comedian’s air of swaggering braggadocio at the launching of the War Against Indiscipline (WAI), the junta’s anti-corruption programme, at the National Arts Theatre, Igannmu, Lagos, on Tuesday, March 20, 1984, would conclude that he was indeed the regime’s top banana or foremost kingpin. No one blamed the equally corrupt Idiagbon then, as his principal – Buhari, just like Louis XV, took only nominal interest in ruling his country. Also as Louis was frequently influenced by his mistresses, so also is Buhari controlled by his uncle, guide and trusted mentor, Mamman Daura, the power behind the throne who, it was said, brought Abba Kyari into the Villa and to national limelight. As also found in the Odyssey, an epic poem, that is one of the central works of ancient Greek literature, the other being the “Iliad”, which powerful influence keeps echoing through Western culture, was written by Homer (c. 800 BCE-c. 701 BCE), the legendary Greek author. In it, Mentor is Odysseus’ friend and tutor to his son, Telemachus. Any wonder the word “mentor” continues to mean a trusted teacher or guide who gives help or advice [like Mamman Daura] to less experienced and often younger persons [like Buhari and Kyari?]

Every now and then whenever Nigerians hear in the news that President Buhari did this or that, they simply laugh. They laugh because they are amused. They know it is not true at all and that it was the ventriloquist, Abba Kyari that was at work, outsmarting everyone as usual by name-dropping the President to have his way… and he actually did a ‘good’ job of it. As did Edgar John Bergen (1903-1978), an American actor, comedian, radio performer and ventriloquist, who amused audiences for many years while trying to outsmart his character, Charlie McCarthy, a monocle wooden dummy. Certainly one of the most followed entertainers of his era, Bergen used his knowledge of ventriloquism (producing voice or sound in such a way that it seems to come from a source aside the vocal organs of the speaker, as from a hand-controlled dummy, to awestruck audiences. Also like a skilled ventriloquist, the silver-tongued Kyari always conveyed this hoary craft as not hard to do, since he equally qualified his voice by way of gentle blowing out, tactically playing down the maneuvering of his tongue and lips, and keeping up apathetic acts or looks to further direct the focused enthrallment of Nigerians to the deceptive point of origin or procurement of his voice. That was how Abba Kyari chose to express or carry out his views, attitudes, wishes, and commands through using ‘President Buhari’, as a somewhat fictional character or literary persona, not distant from one “Jubril al Sudani”, which the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, has become obsessed with lately. According to Halton Arp (1927-2013), an American astronomer known for his “Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies” (1966), “those who seek power will most likely wind up exercising it.” Whether it is for good or ill is another matter.

Also, when one finger contacts palm oil, it smears the rest; show me your ‘colleagues’ and I will tell you who you are. How can success lay within Buhari’s control when he remains happy with characters marked by contemptuous or cocky boldness or disregard of others… like Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu who continue to behave and talk rudely or impolitely to everyone? God help you if you oppose or criticize their principal in anyway, you reap in return an appallingly insolent reply to even a reasonable request as for General Buhari to address the nation on the “KOFIK One-Nine” pandemic as the president chose to call it when he finally agreed to do so. They [Femi and Garba] respond to every problem with invectives and refuse to adapt to the occasion much less engage creatively. They grasp at straws repeatedly and haul abusive remarks at you in quick succession as well as strike terror in critics of the government. The word “insolent” which is used here to depict the two men comes from Latin “insolentem,” and literally means not according to custom. Because those who abuse or show disrespect to custom are likely to offend, “insolent” thus evolved to imply that the person was also vain and conceited, perhaps, like Femi and Garba, who are forever contemptuously rude or impertinent in speech or behavior. The popular saying in Cameroon is, “The talk coming out of your mouth is not something you can carry on your head.”

Now, if the insolent Adesina and Shehu [who should be telling Buhari what Ugandans tell their leaders, “If you don’t want a monkey’s tail to touch you, don’t go to a monkey dance”] are bad, then the less skillful, less efficient, and insultingly contemptuous Lauretta Onochie is even worse as measured regularly on the social media. But being a woman and like the London “fishwives” of old, her billingsgate or “coarse or vulgar abusive language” can somehow be excused. Remember Belin’s gate, a water-gate and harbor found on the north side of the Thames separated by the London Bridge and the Tower of London? It was the city’s principal dock in the days of William Shakespeare (1564-1616), and was named for the ancient British King Belin who built the gate in 400 BCE according to twelfth-century writer, Geoffrey of Monmouth (c.1095-c.1155), best known for his narrative, The History of Kings of Britain. A walled town within London, Belin’s gate later became a fish market in the 1500s, and the name was soon perverted to “billingsgate” because the city’s many fishwives and sailors had by then gained notoriety for their salty tongues. That was how the word “billingsgate” came to mean “coarse or vulgar abusive language”, a negative tropism that amply defines the combative Amazon, Lauretta, almost heartily. As one Swahili proverb goes, “Better to stumble with the foot than with the tongue.”

Likewise, imagine GMB’s other colleagues or lackeys, more like these ones, too. It is pointless mentioning them [let’s talk about the ever prevaricating Lai Mohammed another day, please], but suffice it to say that they are all jesters who resort to hurling brickbats at one another whenever they please. A whole term has passed with no positive change in the system. Why? Because General Buhari will always prefer lackeys or servile followers or sycophants (who will be very obedient and trying hard to please him) to smart colleagues. And so goes the story of lackeys: Following the 711 invasion of Spain, the Moors took control of almost the whole country and set up a spectacular lifestyle, which although proved brief. But close to 1100, half of Spain had previously been pulled from the Moors by Christians in their thousands [As Ethiopians have a tendency to say, “When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion”] such that by two hundred years later, the Moors were left with only a tiny piece of the land. Improbable as it may seem, they were banished from Europe completely after a hundred years. Now, while the Moors endured steady licks or defeats, their captured troopers called “alacayo” began to serve their Spanish subjugators as slaveys or servants. The first “a” was later removed for the word to be delivered in English as “lackey,” a servile follower or sycophant [just the way General Buhari likes them].

If the president cannot realize that the time has come to make up his mind and move against these ones, is it the service chiefs, who have clearly outlived their usefulness and passed the retirement age since 2017, that he, with consequences his inaction continues to bring in its train, will take action against? Buhari is completely overwhelmed by everything, and why won’t he be? Like the Spartan soldiers of old, he was drilled in military operations between enemies, and not politics. He got trained in hostilities or war, not economics. That is why, unlike Chief Olusegun Obasanjo – a retired soldier like him, Buhari appears so unadapted, unadjusted, and unused to governance. In addition to what’s on the walls, the trappings of office, national wealth, and its attendant ways of life have suddenly beguiled and led him astray. This shameful process has been in train for years – excuse from American author, historian and university professor, Paul Fussell (1924-2012).

With the increasing gulf between the rich and the poor and the coincident evaporation or dropping out of sight of the middle classes, GMB has conveniently forgotten about his false promises to the people. And, with their sole goal as the accumulation of great wealth, his supposed ‘colleagues’ in the regime, who he puts in charge of everything including the repatriated Abacha loot, which have long re-disappeared [ask Malami, Magu and co; when a cock invites a cockroach to supper, he has his dinner prepared already]. They have also surrendered to a corruption worse than the one they claim they overthrew in 2015. Doubtless, the cats in Buhari’s government have the teeth of a lion. With the worst table manners, they, too, have now allegedly re-looted everything that can be looted to prove that they can be more corrupt, bad, evil or ill than all their ‘illustrious’ predecessors put together. How humiliating for ‘Saint’ Buhari to have so soon worsted ‘Sinner’ Jonathan? To their eternal shame, none of the “Anything But Jonathan” overbearing crowd back then ever thought this possible, and in so short a time, too.

General Buhari is not smart. If mentally alert, he would not have been put into activity or roused up from inactivity of regional distinctions by posturing as the turbaned ‘King’ of a section of the country and disbursing patronage right, left, and center to only those from the area at the expense of, equally or even more qualified country men and women from other areas. And instead of pardoning and setting terrorists free, the Daura-born retired soldier, perhaps, ought to have aligned himself with the thoughts of Russia’s Vladimir Putin who argues that although it is God’s duty to forgive terrorists; it is his own duty to send them to meet Him. To everyone’s chagrin, and that of the Nigerian Army in particular, Buhari pardoned and freed Boko Haram terrorists who are now regrouping the more and rising against the same country that forgave them while the president and his service chiefs could only watch helplessly. The effort of the soldiers at curbing the insurgency thus came to naught or has been all for nothing. They are now turning in their resignation in droves, citing “loss of interest.” You blame them?

Were Buhari a smart one, he would not have taken a form that has kept him to mindlessly justify killings by Boko Haram terrorists, Fulani herdsmen and bandits running amok nationwide. He won’t be pleading with victims of killer herdsmen to accommodate their killers. GMB, who gave his late chief of staff a notoriety he enjoyed very much, won’t be expressing “shock” and “surprise” every time these terrorists [he calls them “bandits”] strike, leaving several dead in their wake. A smart Buhari would not have supported establishing “Sharia” and “Ruga” all over Nigeria, and would not have been as nepotistic and clannish as to choose all the country’s security chiefs from his own region alone, thereby opening himself and his presidency to unnecessary attack. The Yoruba say, “A wicked elder sows suffering for his children.”

To have made nepotism such an obvious state policy of his regime, GMB must have been so impressed with the popes of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries (to whom the word patronage meaning to bestow patronage or show favoritism on the basis of family relationships, as in business or politics) have been traced. To aggrandize their power, these popes encircled themselves with members of their own family they knew or were sure would be loyal to them. Chiefly among those chosen were the popes’ own illegitimate sons, known as “nephews,” from the Latin “nepos,” a descendant, so called as a mark of respect. That’s how the term “nepotism” finally came to signify favoritism to all family members, and not just nephews [just the way General Buhari prefers them].

In some quarters of recent, Abba Kyari was seen as one huge “pretext” of the Buhari regime. This is so because, according to the literal sense of the word pretext (which comes from the Latin word “praetexta,” and meaning an “ornament” like the purple marks on a toga showing position, status or rank), additionally conveyed the connotation of something to hide Kyari’s true identity. Only the word’s figurative meaning has been retained, Kyari being put forward only to conceal his “true purpose or object, an ostensible reason.” Just as not a few wailing Nigerians, though uninformed, now see the prideful General Buhari as “Satan” or “Lucifer” personified, but which connotes “Star Light, Star Bright” coming from luc, lux, lum. Unknown to many of them, before Satan was chased out of heaven on account of prideful sin, he was known as “Lucifer,” translated as “bringer of light”. In rendering a new version of the Bible story, Paradise Lost, a 1667 epic poem widely esteemed as one of the greatest works of literature ever penned, John Milton (1608-1674), an English poet and intellectual who served under Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), an English general and statesman who led the Parliament of England’s armies against King Charles I (1600-1649) during the English Civil War (1642-1651), used the name “Lucifer” to capture the demon of sinful pride, and the rest of us call the planet Venus “Lucifer” when it manifests as the morning star, more so that “Lucifer” comes from the root “luc, lux” meaning light. The appropriate contending question now is: “Has General Buhari brought light to Nigeria and Nigerians?” How many of his supporters still see him as the Light today? His opponents much less.

If the President were smart at all, he would have known better to make a smart investment on, or to make a smart pull of the starter cord, by keeping himself protean, versatile, or adaptable to any kind of situation; like plants that are easily adaptable to colder climates. He would move with the times rather than rigidly take a form which his more patriotic opponents, some of them his former supporters and backers are not only clutching easily but, are now using against him and his lackluster regime. The following appropriate proverb is conceded to Ugandans: “The higher a baboon climbs a tree, the more undesirable are the parts exposed.” Curiously, Buhari insists on a united Nigeria yet refuses to work for that unity, meaningfully. He is in good company with the Florentine political philosopher, Niccolò Bernardo dei Machiavelli (1469-1527), a fervent supporter of a united Italy, who agreed that the choosing of ministers is very crucial and their worth depends on the President’s sagacity and his intelligence based on the quality of the men he has around him. Unfortunately, Machiavelli’s methods for achieving his goals placed political expediency over morality, just as GMB continues to place national security over the Rule of Law and one ethnic group over others. Machiavelli’s “The Prince,” advocates deception and hypocrisy on the grounds that the end justifies the means, just as Buhari is also holding out; unscrupulously, cunningly, and deceptively.

No! Only a smart president, which Buhari is definitely not (and with no mind to become one), will accept the fact that nothing (whether it is about federalizing Nigeria or restructuring the control of Nigeria, etc.) is absolutely sure, fixed, or settled. Nothing is non-negotiable, a non-issue, or a nosystem – because all laws are subject to change or fluctuation; more so that it appears most disillusioned Nigerians have long concluded that utopia or even a semblance of it has become increasingly unattainable under a clueless and vindictive “Next Level” driver who happens to be well-favored only five years ago. A similar thing occurred during the era of the Renaissance in England, when Sir Thomas More (1478-1535), one of the great humanists of the period who held serious government positions under Henry VIII (1491-1547), who was famous for his six marriages. One, of which, stood out most. Henry sought to annul his marriage to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon (1485-1536), a Spaniard, who was formerly Princess of Wales being the wife of Arthur Tudor (1486-1502), Henry’s elder brother, the Prince of Wales, Earl of Chester and Duke of Cornwall. But being a devout Roman Catholic, More refused to accept the Act of Supremacy (two acts passed by the Parliament of England in 1534 which made the king and his successors the Supreme Head of the English Church [similar to the consistent refusal of Nigerians to accept Buhari’s unconstitutional and dangerous pursuit of Islam/Fulani Supremacy in the country]. As a result, More was incarcerated in the Tower of London and finally guillotined for treason. But luckily for him, his popular work Utopia published sixteen years earlier (in 1516) and derived from the Greek for “not a place”, however, gained him immortality being an account of an ideal state founded entirely on reason and now transformed into a generic term meaning “any ideal place or state; a visionary system of social or political perfection” [which Nigeria is definitely not under General Buhari].

Guillotined? Well, that’s also another story: Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin (1738-1814), a French physician, politician and freemason, emerged a member of the National Assembly of France following the outbreak of the French Revolution. On Saturday, October 10, 1789, he pushed for the introduction of “a humane beheading machine,” which he had watched in operation in another country, for death penalties in France. The idea met with approval. In 1791, Antoine Louis (1723-1792), the king’s physician, designed the machine that was built by Tobias Schmidt, a German. He named it after Dr. Guillotin, who had then retired from public service. Although, a few then called the device “Louisette”, after its designer, many settled for “Guillotin,” after its first advocator, when it was first used to behead a thief in 1792. The Guillotin execution instantly proved popular among the ordinary people, who craved for more victims, more blood. This led to the guillotining of nearly 17,000 French men and women during the subsequent Reign of Terror. Maximilien Robespierre (1758-1794), a French lawyer, statesman and one of the most influential figures of the French Revolution, who was the brain of the Terror, also lost his head to the device.

To best protect himself and his stubborn, unreasonable, and directionless regime and pull it back from the precipice where it presently hangs precariously before it is too late; the intransigent Buhari must necessarily depart from his Northernization/Islamization Policy and become capable of flowing freely like water with the rest of the country. He must come to be seen as someone who can truly change – he should necessarily become fluid, not uncompromising or inflexible. As found when Amadeo I of Spain (1845-1890), the second son of Vittorio Emanuele II of Italy, was compelled by force to abdicate the throne of Spain in 1873. Those supporting a republic tried to set up a political party. For the reason that the group failed to agree with the other political parties, they were labeled in Spanish as “los intransigentes” (from “in”, not and “transigente,” compromising). The term then passed into English as “intransigent,” and today retains the same meaning: uncompromising or inflexible [just like Nigeria’s Buhari].

The Deltans have a saying, “The fall of a dead leaf is a warning to the green ones.” GMB must become a good student of history by remembering what became of earlier regional advocators of this unpatriotic policy of Islamization/Northernization. The Igbo also have a similar saying, “A cooking pot for the chameleon is a cooking pot for the lizard.” Buhari must reject any arousing interest or pleasure in an order that is not easily changed or likely to change. The once upon a time ”change” crusader must now come clean, change himself, and accept the truth that everything changes after all, even his so-called dubious “Next Level” agenda must change. Perhaps no less than a renaissance or rebirth can help save his tyrannical and clannish regime that must now begin to urgently unlock its doors, its borders. The Renaissance, which happened between 1300 and 1600, saw the feudal society of the Middle Ages undergo change as a more and more city-state, mass-market, corporate economy with a political institution at the center, superseding all other parts. In the mid-19th century, Jules Michelet (1798-1874), a French nationalist historian, best remembered for his magnum opus, “The Story of France” (Histoire de France), was the first to use the term “Renaissance” that was soon after described as no less the birth of a modern world and observance or consciousness. It dates back to Latin “renasci,” to be reborn, from “re-,” again + “nasci,” to be born [just the way GMB needs to]. For if truly he is the President of Nigeria (and not ‘King of the North’), who must yet work to fulfill his lofty campaign promises, he must try to change now. The Tanzanians put it like this: “By trying often, the monkey learns to jump from the tree.” GMB should begin to learn how to open his doors to all smart Nigerians wherever found irrespective of party, tribe, religion, or zone, perhaps, in the way suggested by Steve Wozniak, an American electronics engineer, programmer, philanthropist, and technology entrepreneur, who wrote: “Wherever smart people work, doors are unlocked.” But then, according to the Igbo, “One does not learn how to use the left hand in old age.” Going forward, the suitable question would then be, “Can GMB still change?” Negative! Verdict: To expect General Muhammadu Buhari to change now is as unlikely as the Boko Haram terrorist, Abubakar Shekau, visiting Abba Kyari’s grave and surrendering.

Finally, the Greek used to accept an afterlife as true, genuine, or real. It’s found in their mythology that once a person was dead, he went through River Lethe, which poured through Hades, the secretive area. Those who drank its water immediately forgot the past. Thus, the Greek word, “lethargia” derives from “lethe,” meaning forgetfulness, leading consequently to the English word “lethargy” meaning drowsiness or sluggishness. Perhaps, Buhari’s late CoS “dey kampe” [apology to OBJ] wherever he is presently, fearing no one; after all the Ethiopians say, “A dead donkey does not fear the hyena.” But left to the Kenyans, Abba Kyari died like a “cow… with grass in its mouth”. No pun intended here, but he should not have been the one to go Germany, where he acquired what later killed him. Also on Monday, November 4, 2020, the same Kyari had snubbed the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, and taken to the President, then in London on a two-week private visit, a bill to amend the Deep Offshore (and Inland Basin Production BJ Sharing Contract) Act: Buhari had failed to transfer power to his Vice at the time as he had done in the past. If in an afterlife today (having crossed River Lethe, drunk its water and turned forgetful assumedly), who will then snap him out of his lethargy? Truly, the death that kills a man often begins as an appetite.

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