The Buhari presidency has been suffusing the place with photo-ops every other week. No one needs those any longer.
This time, it’s General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor EA Adeboye who has been photographed with ailing or ‘recuperating’ President Muhammadu Buhari.
Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara had just been ushered out of Buhari’s Abuja House apartment when Adeboye made his way in.
The other day it was the president’s communication team who flew all the way to London with a giant get-well card.
And then we had the Governors who flew to London in July.
Olusegun Obasanjo and Sports Minister Solomon Dalung have also been to London to see Buhari.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo was the first to make his way to the UK when Buhari began opening his London gates for photographs on July 11.
And then there was the Archbishop of Canterbury who only needed to walk across the street enroute Abuja House.
Four days ago, it was the turn of OPEC Chairman Mohammad Barkindo.
Most, if not all of the visitors have returned to tell the nation how Buhari’s sense of humour hasn’t waned in over 100 days. A feat, in the reckoning of the tale-bearers.
The visits and pictures have been carefully crafted and unleashed for maximum impact.
In the coming days, you should brace up for more pictures or videos of a ‘recuperating Buhari who hasn’t lost his sense of humour’.
The pictures were important after the first few visits, if only to reassure Nigerians that their president is still alive, contrary to the pernicious tales spun by rumour mongers in the early days.
For now, there’s a country to run and the pictures have become a huge distraction. No one needs them any longer.
This week, Reuters ran a story that was made possible by a few snitches within the presidency.
According to one anonymous presidency source quoted in the report, Acting President Osinbajo isn’t allowed to run the country the way he would have loved. He’s got to always await instructions from London.
“Even from far-away London, Buhari and his aides have restrained Osinbajo,” the report read.
“Osinbajo and his aides often hold meetings which have enlivened a presidential villa criticized for inertia — but he still seeks approval from Buhari or his Chief of Staff.”
Osinbajo, the report read, is always scared of implementing policies or taking action without Buhari’s consent from London.
“He (Osinbajo) is so scared to offend President Buhari to the extent that he takes no major action without consent from him through the phone,” the unnamed official squealed.
“He flew to London for a few hours last month to get Buhari’s approval to appoint two ministers who had been already cleared by parliament.
“During the meeting, Buhari even asked Osinbajo to give the ministers no portfolio as he wanted to assign them himself after his return.”
The story says Osinbajo is “walking a tightrope” just so he doesn’t offend Buhari and his inner circle (read cabal).
“The Chief Of Staff and his team are working alongside Osinbajo on the understanding that (he) will not run in 2019,” one government adviser was quoted as saying.
“Osinbajo has never said he wants to run… as we enter the election, the issue of mutual trust becomes crucial because nobody wants to be ambushed,” the adviser added.
If the Reuters story is to be believed—and no one from the presidency has refuted it, 48hrs after—Osinbajo is just going through the motions back home while Buhari continues to run the country from London, one photograph at a time.
It’s time to end the photography circus. Buhari is convalescing nicely and we wish him a speedy recovery and a return whenever his Doctors okay one.
However, Osinbajo was constitutionally handed the reins as Acting President. He should be allowed to run the place the way he deems fit.
Posting a picture a day just to remind Nigerians that Buhari is still breathing down the necks of the presidency and everyone in Abuja, isn’t going to help anyone.