by Yomi Kazeem
Popular American comedian, Chris Rock started a sitcom depicting his childhood in Brooklyn, New York which talks about racism, bullying and growing up as a young skinny kid in the 1980’s. I love the show, afterall it is a comedy and not least because it has an interesting title (Everybody Hates Chris) – a title that relates directly to the general emotion of the Nigerian citizenry towards our Commander-In-Chief.
Jonathan has a peculiar way of doing his things. Surrounded by a team of ever-ready hounds who are waiting to be given a signal to bark as they defend every mistake he makes, the President ends up doing very little explaining for his seemingly erratic actions.
Only a few weeks ago, the controversial pardons of certain persons sent social and mainstream media into a frenzy; explanations were demanded but none was given by the President himself. Instead, the attack dogs were dispatched to their various fields of specialty – print, television and social media. Talks of sophisticated ignorance and the Council of State held sway and predictably, in a matter of days, the initial cause for the uproar was forgotten.
In its place, the focus was on what Abati did or did not write a few years ago while he was a considerably poorer and consequently, more honest version of his now unrecognizable self. Some say that there is a careful deliberation on how to shift the focus of Nigerians from that which is important to that which is frivolous. Perhaps, there is a committee to that effect.
You see, the President is a smart man. The general consensus that alludes to his naivety or lack of wisdom is one that affords him the opportunity to be cunning without suspect. His actions in office – the removal of subsidy, the disrespect for the rule of law, the lack of abhorrence of corruption, the sheer disregard for fiscal prudence and of course the controversial pardons- all point to the fact the man without shoes is not necessarily a man without heart or a man who is afraid to make certain decisions. How he goes about showing his bravery is another matter entirely.
Despite all of his negative bravery, when it comes to actually being Presidential, he exhibits an embarrassing lack of depth. Unintelligent answers, poorly delivered speeches and over-used phrases are the order of the day. If a Boko Haram bomb goes off tomorrow – God forbid – expect him to ‘condemn the detractors’ and promise to bring ‘the perpetrators to justice’ – a rhetoric that has been played over and over again in Nigeria’s history.
At a time when the nation seems to be tethering on the brink of peace and war, of economic implosion or expansion, the President seems out of ideas. He offers nothing new, nothing fresh. He emboldens corruption and clearly allows personal aggrandizement to blossom while, all the time, vowing to fight corruption tooth and nail.
In simple terms, the Presdient SAYS all he should DO and DOES all that he should not. The sad part is that given the political climate that exists in these parts, barring a catalysmic shift of mindset and electoral practices, he is guaranteed a second term come 2015. The picture for Nigerians is grim: we may be seeing that fedora for a while yet. Prepare yourselves for more shocking actions and decisions because the one thing the president actually said and meant was: I don’t give a damn.