At least 88 Nigerians were killed when terrorist group, Boko Haram,

Just a day later, then-president, Goodluck Jonathan, jetted off to Kano State for a political rally of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) where he beamed with joy and danced rather carelessly with party members.

It was a sad sight for many Nigerians in a sea of sad sights.

Even though he had cancelled a scheduled trip to Oyo State to visit the site of the carnage the same day it happened, Jonathan's Kano trip convinced Nigerians that they had a commander in chief with not enough emotional intelligence.

Months later in November, Jonathan declared his intention to run for a second term in the 2015 presidential election.

Again, many had a problem with his timing as the announcement came only a day after 49 students were killed in a suicide bomb attack at the Senior Science Secondary School in Potiskum, Yobe State.

At this point, Nigerians had had enough, and Jonathan's fate was sealed.

Change was inevitable.

Enter the dragon

It was not an easy task to wash off the stench of his doomed two-year stint as Nigeria's military ruler in the '80s, but General Muhammadu Buhari was successfully sold to the Nigerian public as the messiah the masses had been begging for.

Ever the self-proclaimed "reformed democrat", Buhari was supposed to be the opposite of what Jonathan was: defeat Boko Haram without breaking a sweat, give the nation an unprecedented economic nitro boost, drop manna from heaven and turn water into wine.

Pretty elementary stuff.

Nearly three years into President Buhari's administration, it's 2014 all over again.

Buhari "the human"

On December 24, 2017, while Nigerians laboured under the agonising crisis of fuel scarcity, the presidency aired a 55-minute documentary titled "The Human Side of President Buhari".

The documentary showed senior officials and political associates of the president speaking rather glowingly about his admirable qualities that they insisted the public was neglecting to see.

The final segment of the documentary showed a few officials speaking enthusiastically about the president's 'famed' sense of humour, backed with a few inane jokes he makes behind closed doors the public has no access to.

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One of the officials that contributed to this segment was the president's Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa who was a member of the Federal House of Representatives in 2014 and was highly critical of Jonathan's conduct in the wake of the Nyanya incident.

Back then, she noted that she was worried that there was no compassion in the country's governance anymore.

She was right then and, even though she won't admit to it, she is even more right now, four years later.

Prior to this shamelessly ill-timed documentary, the president, who had also appointed himself as the Minister of Petroleum, had failed to directly address the fuel scarcity crisis, happy to shed the responsibility to the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, and blame the crisis on the simple-minded greediness of marketers for an issue that was so much more complicated.

The president's passiveness to an issue of burning national importance was merely another in a long line of emotional disinterest in the governance of the country.

After tens of thousands of people were displaced by flood in Benue State in September 2017, many Nigerians looked to the president for unfamiliar affection.

It didn't come until four days after it was a full-blown crisis, and it came in the form of a press statement from his spokesperson, Garba Shehu.

Despite public outrage over the president's lukewarm reaction to the crisis and pressure to visit the victims of the flood, the president jumped on his plane and travelled to his native Daura for the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations instead.

It was on the same day he made his return to Abuja, after he overstayed the festive holiday, that he sent Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, to represent him.

The same Benue State has put the president's emotional intelligence to test again.

Same old Buhari

In attacks allegedly carried out by Fulani herdsmen in Guma Local Government Area and Logo LGA of Benue between Sunday, December 31, 2017, and Tuesday, January 2, 2018, 50 people were reportedly killed.

The pictures of brutally murdered and mutilated bodies of men, women and children have been hard to stomach as they have been a constant feature on social media this week.

It was the third high-profile violent killing in the country in just the first two days of 2018 after a gun attack in Rivers State that killed dozens and another in Kaduna that claimed two lives.

Despite the severity of all these attacks, the one in Benue carried extra significance because it was orchestrated by the president's kin who the public has always accused him of being soft on.

Rather than let these savage attacks, that have belittled the president's claim of a more secure nation, hamper his schedule, he has soldiered on like the General that he'll always be.

Reaction to Benue

After issuing another statement that commiserated with the families of the victims of the Benue attacks through Shehu, the president travelled to Kaduna State.

On Thursday, January 4, he was beaming with smiles for the cameras as he commissioned 10 new coaches and two additional locomotives at Rigasa train station.

While many expected and clamoured for the president to take a detour in Benue just to empathise with the bereaved and show that he cares even if just a little bit about their sorrows, he returned to Abuja after commissioning the country's first inland dry port, also in Kaduna.

Just a day earlier on Wednesday when the nerves in Benue were still pretty raw, after meeting with the president at the State House, the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, told journalists that the campaign for Buhari's re-election has officially taken off in the southwest region.

This came hours after media reports indicated that the president had reappointed Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, as his national campaign coordinator for his 2019 reelection bid.

The president out-Jonathaned Jonathan in one fell swoop. It was the sort of efficiency he promised Nigerians, only not quite.

Nigerians were sold a snake oil salesman

While Buhari's emotional demeanour to the crises that have ravaged Nigerians during his administration doesn't appear as a shock to so many people, it is still a disappointing feature of a government that's already being perceived as a failure.

For all of the presidential aides at his disposal, there appears to be such a shortage of competence at Aso Rock as there's been very little emotional involvement shown by the government to the plight of common Nigerians.

The president must realise that the greatest resource of a nation is the people that make it tick.

It's not the oil, or the flag, or the cows, or the additional locomotive carriage; it is the people.

When the nation's commander in chief, who was given that mandate by the people, fails to appeal to their inner desire to be pampered and taken care of in the most basic ways, he's the kind of leader that'll end up on the opposite end of the history that swept him to power.

The irony of the president's emotional aloofness is that, as detestable as it is to use a tragedy as a political gambit, there are some political points for him to win by just showing up in a crisis zone.

That is the most extreme application of his physical presence at such a time, but a simpler one that should come naturally to him would be to show up because he cares.

It's not just by sending condolences through mindless drones, but by the physical warmth that you should radiate as a leader.

It hurt personally to see the president beam with smiles in Kaduna yesterday while the mutilated bodies of innocent Nigerians floated around in the same space.

No amount of documentaries by the presidency is going to convince the average Nigerian of the president's human side if they cannot see it for themselves.

Show, Mr President, don't tell.