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The Lion King, Jackals, Hyenas, and a jungle called Nigeria- Olufemi Oluwaseye

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Earlier this week, Nigeria’s First Lady (she, in her bid to tow her husband's line of famed frugality, has opted rather to be called the less fanciful title of “Wife of the president”), put her fingers on her keypad to type these words: “God has answered the prayers of the weaker animals. The hyenas and the jackals would soon be sent out of the kingdom.

We strongly believe in the prayers and support of the weaker animals”. She was responding to a Facebook post published by Senator Shehu Sani, who painted a Satire out of the current predicament of Nigeria and President Buhari’s prolonged, illness-induced absence. Said the Kaduna senator: “Prayer for the absent Lion King has waned, until he’s back, then they’ll fall over each other to be on the front row of the palace template.”

He went further: “Now the hyenas and the jackals are scheming and talking to themselves in whispers…..it is the wish of the jackals that the Lion King never comes back so they can be king”.

Senator Sani concluded by saying: “It is the prayer of the weaker animals that the Lion King comes back to save them from the hyenas….and other predators”. It was that post Mrs Buhari responded to, claiming the prayers of the weaker animals, obviously yearning for the safe return of the Lion King, has been answered.

There’s no need wasting precious time interpreting the proverb. We all know who the almighty lion king is. We know the jackals and the hyenas. We know the weaker animals too. We may not be sure however, if the thoughts of the Senator and Mrs Buhari perfectly align with those of Nigerians. Actually, there are many irresponsible conclusions, both in Sani’s post, and the sweeping reply by Aisha.

Firstly, we can immediately see that we are still a long way off being healed of our inordinate lust for nonexistent “Messiahs”.

When Buhari was repackaged as the one and only solution to all the problems of Nigeria, past present and future, and was offered to the electorates as the glorious Lion King of the jungle (yes, Jungle!), we all fell in love with him. It just had to be him. We loathed all others. We fell in love with him. When we were warned that his antecedents contradicts our collective expectations, we shrugged.

We all know how that has turned out so far. In fact, so overwhelmed by expectations was the lion king, that he had to quickly admit that he’d be limited by his age in meeting our needs. He was 72 years young when he blurted that out.

It is therefore ridiculous that after that failing experiment, we are still stuck with the mindset that all the weaker animals’ survival depends on the arrival of the lion king, without whom, they’ll be all dead! How medieval. How sickening. Heck! The lion king is the one praying to survive here! And as circumstances have shown, the so called weaker animals, from all indications, actually seem better off without him.

President Buhari, aka the Lion King, has, this year, spent a cumulative 115 days out of Nigeria, and counting, seeking medical care. He has virtually spent the whole of 2017 in the hospital. The time he made a brief return, more like a stop over, he stayed indoors, abandoning council meetings and important engagements.

Mr Lai Mohammed once entertained us with a jab when he claimed he was “working from home”! It is instructive to note that the late Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua spent only 78 days away after which even the governors and the national assembly felt enough was enough. That no one is actually talking seriously about Buhari’s absence is a shocking testament to how much some actually want him away. Since his departure, nothing has honestly gone worse.

They have actually been better. The one time he interjected into our lives by wishing us happy Sallah, he only made things worse. What sort of lion king records a goodwill message to all the animals in the jungle, but speaks in the local language of only one clan. How should the million of other animals feel? So, they’d be going to animals from the lion clan to ask for interpretation! Like someone said, “Lion king that can’t speak a language that all animals can understand, is that one lion king?”

To Shehu Sani and Aisha Buhari, let no one deceive you into thinking the weaker animals are desperate the lion king returns. He’s not a lion, let alone a king, to begin with! Praying for his safe return? Yes. Praying he comes to rescue us? Hell no! Rescue from what, to begin with? From double digit inflation he himself caused? From recession he plunged us into? From divisive statements and nepotistic tendencies?

If these are all he offered when he presided, how should you think we are desperate for his return? Actually, we need him to be fine. And its our honest opinion that he’ll be fine without us. For his health’s sake, he can let us be. I know doctors must have muted the idea of resignation, but I doubt he’ll want to heed to it. But Nigeria is praying Muhammadu Buhari gets better, and go home! For his own sake, he needs to hand over. Its as simple as that. Acting President Osinbajo, isn’t doing anything fantastic at the moment actually, but we can’t deny we all breathe slightly better now.

The morale of my argument is that the lion king is better away. Its a win-win situation. He can take care of himself, and we can have a breath of fresh ideas, which he is certainly devoid of.

Meanwhile, it is imperative to state that Nigeria is not a land of lions and jackals. Nigeria is not an animal farm, nor a zoo. Nigeria is a land of equal opportunities, or at least, is supposed to be. In every jungle, the lion is the king, not because it protects other animals, but because it actually eats them! Nigeria doesn’t need anymore leaders who eat the people rather than serve them. We are tired of politicians who only devour resources on themselves than develop infrastructure.

Power supply is taken for granted even in many African countries, ours has been fed to successive lion kings. No good roads, no hospitals that work (our present lion king is even being treated in another more civilized jungle), no jobs provided; all because lion kings were interested only in feeding fat. We say no to lion kings. We say no to lions and to kings. We need servants.

Nigeria is supposed to be a land of equal rights. There shouldn’t be stronger and weaker animals. But Shehu Sani believes there are. In his estimation, those hoping to take over from Buhari are the jackals and hyenas; while the groaning citizens are the weaker animals. Yes, weaker animals are groaning.

Groaning from pervasive corruption and maladministration, groaning from insecurity and crime, groaning from collapsed infrastructure and skyrocketing inflation. Don’t assume we are groaning that Buhari returns. As long as he is healthy to see his grandchildren and great grandchildren, we actually don’t care.

All we want is a nation that works for the people, where leaders don’t ride roughshod over their people, and where they are actually accountable to the people. Our desire is not Buhari or Osinbajo; a lion, lioness, jackal, hyena or any other nameless mammal for all we care. Our desire is for a country that works for all, and gives fair and equal opportunities for success and happiness to all.

Until that is clearly done, groups like IPOB shall continue to take advantage of our inequalities, to further polarize the already fragile unity. We don’t need a country that is an animal farm, where some animals are more equal than others. (Remind me when Zahra Buhari completes her NYSC)

Let me conclude with the parable of a certain lion king who got too old to hunt. He didn’t want to die of hunger. So he devised a means of getting regular meals. He pretended he was ill. So an announcement was made for all animals to pay a get-well visit. They did. And as they entered the lion’s cave, they were promptly swallowed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner as occasion permitted. The tortoise was however more circumspect. As he carefully made his way to the lion King’s palace, he shook his head. At the gate, he made a brisk u-turn. Asked why he wouldn’t want to proceed any further, he remarked :” all I see are footsteps walking in, I can’t see any footsteps walking out”

I know our Lion kings have eaten most of us for lunch. This time we choose to say no. So, if Shehu Sani, and Aisha Buhari assume we would fall once more for their palace tale, they better think again!

olufemisp @gmail.comTwitter: @olufemisp

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