President Buhari and the Burden of Expectations By Dahiru Mohammed Lawal
“Master the Art of Timing: Never seem to be in a hurry – hurrying betrays a lack of control over yourself, and over time. Always seem patient, as if you know that everything will come to you eventually. Become a detective of the right moment; sniff out the spirit of the times, the trends that will carry you to power. Learn to stand back when the time is not yet ripe, and to strike fiercely when it has reached fruition.” The 48 Laws of Power, Law 35.
As far as the current Nigerian stay is concerned, President Muhammadu Buhari’s supporters and indeed his staunch opponents have an all time high expectations in this administration. While the former expects him to succeed in taking Nigerians out of the doldrums, the later expects him to fail woefully as they mark time, waiting to dance skelewu on a bottle of champagne over his failure. his ability to deliver dividends or otherwise is on the constant watch at every single tick of the clock.
Ironically, unlike former President Jonathan who was slaughtered by his opponents, it is already apparent that Buhari’s own supporters will be the ones to put him on a chopping board and chop him into devouring proportions should he succeed in living up to the opponents expectations. Armed with this fact, one cannot but ask, one week to a month into this administration, has Buhari begun work?
Seeing that the man is obviously hook line and sinker into first tackling security like he promised during the campaigns one might answer in the affirmative. However, the fact that there is not a single structure of government yet in place one is tempted to have a second think.
With Mr. Buhari’s promise to “hit the ground running” upon assumption of office, many Nigerians were looking to see Buhari tackle things east west north and south with a strong gravitational pull. In fact many thought Buhari will begin work right from eagle square. This expectations were spiced up by his order that the military relocates its command and control base to the epicenter of the Boko Haram scourge until the security situation is dealt with decisively. The cheers and applauds that followed to some extent wasn’t just about the pronouncement but about the fact that there is finally a commander in chief who would have a firm grip and control of burning national issues without shying away or wasting time over trivialities.
Three days into Buhari’s administration when passimists started bickering that he had twelve years to be able to know the people he wants to form the structures of his government, I thought what’s the hurry anyway, but three weeks into this administration, and no governing structure in place, no Secretary to the Government of the Federation yet, no Chief of Staff, no Advisers, no Ministers, I am beginning to partially align with the passimists apprehensions.
Even though I like to think the man is just applying the 35th of the 48 law of power, it is a reality that imposing structures are the ones that requires pillars the most to serve its usefulness. No matter how imposing Buhari’s ability to get things done well stands, he needs a pillar to keep it up. First things first, Buhari has had enough time to at least structure his government now. No time anymore. Unfortunately for Buhari, former President Jonathan did not only use up all of our treasury, he also used up all the spare time we have left. In fact I vividly recall a Nigerian saying that “We in fact voted Buhari because we no longer have time.”
Having come this far without governing structures yet in place, it is hard to tell if Buhari is just plainly confused or just mastering the art of timing.
Either way, it goes without a saying the President Buhari has left Nigerians second guessing his direction and pace. Tell you what, such is not good for democracy.
Somebody asked if President Buhari is rather waiting for a policy nod from rummaging first world countries? For what that question is worth, I must confess, it arose my curiosity. However, based on Buhari’s antecedents, one can easily dismiss that Buhari is a man that wouldn’t play ball, it is hard to dismiss Buhari’s open romance with these people before and after his inauguration as president as simply meetings without an underlying factor. Despite our appreciation of their offer for help, one can’t help but wonder what’s really in it for them, surely there’s no such thing as a free meal.
Permit me to buttress this point with a short story. Once there was a traveler who was hungry but had no money to eat, he came by a restaurant which indicates on it’s bill board, “free: come in and eat your grandfather has already paid for you.” He rushed in without a second think. After placing orders and eating to his satisfaction, he stood up to go but was approached by the waiter and asked to pay.”I thought meals were free and my grandfather has already paid for me.” The man argued and he was told, “yes meals are free and your grandfather has paid for you, but you in turn must pay for your grandchildren.”
Point is, I don’t know what Buhari’s is discussing with this “almighty” countries but there is most definitely a price.
Meanwhile Mr. President, I no you know we’ve got work to do so do well to stop bidding too much time, also do well to keep Nigerians up to speed every step of the way. While you have the goodwill of majority Nigerians, I will not expect this same Nigerians to underestimate the importance of firing up your butts, that will surely keep you on your toes.