The “Human” Side of Buhari?, By Farooq Kperogi
By Farooq Kperogi
There is, perhaps, no clearer, more direct admission that Buhari is an inhuman and insensitive, not to mention thoroughly incompetent, president than the fact that his own media team has decided to show Nigerians a documentary about his “human” side—amid one of the most crippling petrol shortages in the history of the country. The fact that the presidency now wants to show us Buhari’s “human” side is prima facie evidence that even he himself— and the people around him— know only too well what we’ve been saying all along: that he is an inhuman, if inept, reverse Robin Hood who robs the poor to enrich the rich.
If he were not anywhere close to this description, the presidential media team wouldn’t have had the need to show us his “human” side, whatever the heck that “human” side is. This is where the late British journalist Claud Cockburn’s memorable quip about never believing anything “until it’s officially denied” is relevant. If Buhari were “human,” we wouldn’t need a hagiographic documentary to know that. We would feel it in his policies, in his eagerness to talk to us, in his efforts to soothe the hurt that his policies inflict on the poor and the vulnerable, and in the compunction he shows for all his broken promises.
You can’t have a president who precipitously jacked up petrol prices by a higher margin than any president has ever done, which triggered one of the worst recessions in the history of the country, and not conclude that he is inhuman. You can’t have a president who has denuded the poor of all subsidies while increasing same for himself and his elite friends and not conclude that he is inhuman. You can’t have a president who has made citizens of his oil-exporting country to pay more for petrol than Americans (and yet be unable to guarantee availability of the product), and not conclude that he is inhuman.
You can’t have a president who fraudulently doubles as the petroleum minister but who doesn’t even have the common decency to address the anguished citizens he supposedly governs on why the heck they can’t have access to petrol after paying an arm and a leg for it and not conclude that he is inhuman. That’s why they need to show us that, in spite of his manifest lack of “humanness,” he has a “human” side.