Nigeria’s corridors of power are a sweetly otherworldly paradise. Unlike in the Western world where tough-as-they-come operators like the Donald Trumps get clobbered by some little quakes of these corridors, ours, in all their might and majesty, bend over backwards to sing sonorous alleluyahs to the men and women who hug, tweak and control them. And no one in contemporary times, at least since 1999, has so masterly held court, with so much mouth-watering, even immeasurable profit and sizzling aplomb, as the doyen of the pack, the one The Punch identifies bewitchingly as General-President Muhammadu Buhari. Yes, Buhari is it. The General-President bestrides our corridors of power with a virtuoso vice grip that leaves no room for the mildest opposition or condemnation. Usually a man of avowed, almost supreme taciturnity, he walks all over the place — when he chooses to walk or work — in charmed silence, with signs and wonders, exuding a body language suitable for all situations. This is unquestionably great! Thus, while many Western governments with little appreciation and knowledge of the dynamics of the corridors of power may have sleepless nights seeking to form government in 24 hours (ask America’s President Joe Biden and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, if in doubt), our President, with principled, well-practised austerity, wrote off the relevance and benefit of ministers in government, men and women who would go down his dustbins as “noise makers.” Thus, with something more than the wisdom of Solomon, his new government was set to freewheel all about, needing no ministers for the first six months. That was trust and faith in the system, in the imperial corridors that have been domesticated for self-automated government and exactitude of results. It is easy appreciating Buhari and his corridors of power, corridors that, at once, throw up a government of limits alongside egregious limits without governance. With a system like this, plans of government, usually glorified afterthoughts, are a little in a giddy spin and spring up over the land in mindful, well-nurtured confusion. We see this in military campaigns against Boko Haram, in fitful kick-and-start forays against ill-defined, perhaps self-created insurgents and bandits, in esoteric cogitations in the educational sphere, and in scores of other critical issues of national importance.
Thus, over the corridors of power, a thousand totems of maimed hopes stand to virile attention. Then, possibly, a thousand more new promises. And, perhaps, a thousand failures. Then a next level of new promises to the rescue. And, of course, a renewed surge in old blames and a muscular identification of old enemies, new saboteurs! Here and there, truth loses its babanriga of honour in the corridors of power and gets clothed in the rags of infamy and opprobrium. Thus, instead of budgets that should turn the naira into having a parity of one-to-one with the dollar as promised in Buhari’s 2015 presidential campaign, the power corridors rev in reverse and in empty sloganeering the glorification of the naira, stacking some 480 of its pieces to just one piece of the dollar. In all this, the government, with its corridors of power, may not be more deserving of commendation than in its consummate abolition of truth. Truth is abolished when this government, after six years in power, identifies the rot in the economy and the failure in the war against Boko Haram and nationwide insecurity as general derivatives of, and handovers from, the late government of President Goodluck Jonathan. Truth is abolished when policy initiatives are befittingly shredded and replaced with their reversals. For instance, some four years ago, the government came hard, through the Minister of Health of the time, on government officials going abroad for medical treatment. Such steps, in the eyes of government, were wasteful and disrespectful of the illustrious advances that our medical institutions were beginning to make and had, in deed, made!
There is nothing more summarily dismissive of the relevance of truth and the harm it does to our psyche as a nation than the illustrious steps, especially in the health sector, that have been taken by the President. After spending only 102 days in London for a single medical treatment, besides earlier ones, it was surprising that the government and its power corridors should want to make condemnatory, extra-plebiscitary pronouncements on medical treatment abroad by its officials. What does the Federal Ministry of Truth, run by the profoundly able Lai Mohammed, say to sustain Aso Rock’s incontrovertible corridors of power when a son of the President, on account of injuries sustained in an accident, had to be treated abroad, and not at an Aso Clinic with a multi-billion naira annual budget, or by the great hospitals in Nigeria run by government? Or what truth bulletins should government issue on the many medical trips of our goodly First Lady, Aisha Buhari, to Dubai from where she has just returned? Recently, Buhari was in London for a two-and-half week “routine medical checkup” which our vastly improved health institutions cannot handle. (Don’t let us feel wounded in our nationalism that foreign medics do know about the health of our own President what our local medical experts cannot and do not know.) It is of importance, though, that when the President makes his medical trips, we, at least, put on respectable parade, at a handsome cost (perhaps in billions of naira), the pomp and pageantry of the wondrous government run by our illustrious Prince of Daura. (Please check the cost of the formidable show of our presidential jet at Heathrow, of the illustrious military, governmental and family entourage, of emergency official visits, and of estacode allowances, presidential exigencies and the routine maintenance of our 21 karat corridors of power in foreign land). In a way, the Buharis and Buharites in power should excite the students of logic. These Nigerian princes of power whitewash logic of its sometimes arcane lugubriousness. Logic, in the hands of some of its venturesome, even contumacious, practitioners, sees narratives in politics and social engineering as fallacies, if not falsehood, sustained by appeals to authority or by threat (e.g. argumentum ad baculum). But the Buharites and their boss have perfected socio-political logic to “out-logic” logic. They invest issues in governance with a quaint reasoning, a suave, self-serving philosophy, one that may be better known as argumentum ad buharum, for lack of a better phrase. It comes with much appeal, one not dissimilar to that of Animal Farm, where they who control the corridors of power cannot be wrong or be subjected to the harmful limitations they faithfully impose on others. Thus far, it couldn’t be better for the President and the nation. Oh, what a happy day!