The London conversation that didn't happen

If Buhari and Osinbajo hold a conversation in London, it may just sound like this.

President Buhari and his Vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo before the medical trip

Out steps who has been standing in for an ailing Nigerian leader back home.

Osinbajo casts furtive glances at the neighborhood sprawled before him and walks in nimble fashion into a column of state security personnel and intelligence officials.

The acting president is whisked into a dimly lit, if expansive room where is seen reclining on a couch.

The television is on and there are a stack of Nigerian newspapers on a side stool in the living room; one of which screams with the front page headline: ‘

The visitor takes a while to adjust his eyes to the dim lights and is motioned to a seat beside his guest who now looks even more like the shadow of the man who left Abuja on May 7.

It is a little past midnight, GMT.

In the distance, footsteps can be heard shuffling through the exit doors.

Indoors, it's eerily quiet, save for the clock chiming on the wall....

********

Buhari: (His voice barely above a whimper and shaky) How is Abuja? I hope work isn’t about to kill you.

(General laughter)

Osinbajo: Work is going on fine and of course, you know how much you’ve been missed back home.

Buhari: I know (coughs, clears throat). Honestly, Osinbade...sorry Osinbajo...when I left Nigeria 65 days ago, I didn’t think I’ll be here for this long. It’s been...it’s been…

Osinbajo: (Reaches for the wiry, clasped palms of the 74-year-old) It is well. You shall emerge from this a healthier, stronger man….Insha Allah.

(There’s two minutes of pin-drop silence before Osinbajo says)

We’ve successfully pacified the different ethnic groups who've been calling for war and secession, there’s some peace in the Niger Delta, Escravos and Forcados have resumed pumping of crude, security has been beefed round the country and in the northeast and I have been holding meetings with stakeholders of the Nigerian project in order to deepen peace and transparency across all government operations.

Buhari: I know there’ll be agitations for my homecoming, but…..my son….I cannot...I cannot….manage it until the doctors give me the all clear. Better to remain here and see the medical process through than rush home only to return here in a few days.

Osinbajo: We understand that. Everyone understands that.

Buhari: We have a four year mandate and it worries me that my illness has reduced me to a bystander when I should be out there fighting for this country on the field. But that’s why I chose you as my deputy. And I trust you’ll continue to do what’s best for our country.

Osinbajo: Yes, I will. As long as I live. We are looking at building a new tribe of Nigerians for whom it doesn’t matter which language the other speaks. The administration's social investment programs have also been going on well.

Buhari: Good. And the cabinet? I hear that Saraki has been displaying his ambitious tendencies as usual…Just tell him 2019 is just around the corner.

(General laughter)

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And Dolapo? Please tell her to keep cooking what she's been cooking that is making you look this fit and healthy.

(More laughter)

Osinbajo: How is London?

Buhari: You mean, how is Abuja House? I don’t know what it looks like out there, to be honest. The doctors and security personnel won’t let me venture to the garden. They don’t understand that an old man is due some sunshine sometimes.

(General laughter).

Yemi, we’ll turn Nigeria around in spite of whether I’m by your side physically or not. I’m committed to the Nigerian project and even if I leave this earth soon, remember we were given this job by Allah and we must complete it….

Osinbajo: Yes, Mr. President. We’ll get the job done.

Buhari: And we’ll continue to fight corruption as long I breathe.

Osinbajo: Yes, we will.

Buhari: I’m sure you’ve also heard that I survive at the mercy of a cabal. Yemi, the only cabal I know is my wife Aisha, who I have since kicked into the other room.

(More laughter).

After years of serving in the military, fighting wars and surviving coups, a cabal will now dictate what I do and how I make decisions? Shege banza!

Have you had anything to eat since you left Nigeria?

Osinbajo: I am fine, Mr. President.

Buhari: You’d better be. Because I don’t have the strength to get up and make you Tuwo Shinkafa or fura.

Osinbajo: Hahahahahahaha.

Buhari: And the Governors? I hope they haven’t finished squandering Paris club refund money as usual….

Osinbajo: There’s some fiscal prudence across the States, plugging of leakages, TSA implementation and most Governors are becoming more innovative. They’ve been putting together economic investment summits and all.

Buhari: Good. If there’s any problem, we’ll keep communicating over the phone like we've been doing. I am recuperating fast and will be back home very soon. The Doctors say I can resume work as early as next week or in another two.

Osinbajo: That’s good to hear. Cheery, fantastic news.

Buhari: But I’ll take it slow even when I return. Don’t think your workload is about to become lighter.

(General laughter)

Osinbajo: I’ll be on my way, Mr. President.

Buhari: Thank you for making the trip. I want you to know that this visit means so much to me.

Osinbajo: It’s been my pleasure, Mr. President.

(Curtains…..)

***********

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