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By Osondu Ahirika

I want to tell you a very short story. Before then, let me ask us a weird question. Is President Muhammadu Buhari dead? It is apparent our President went to London, like most of our power elites do, for fear that, Nigerian hospitals, even that Aso Rock Clinic with billions voted to it annually, will not save his life. But Mr Death is everywhere and though I don’t wish anyman, not even our President dead, facts we can’t change remain sacrosanct. Death is everywhere. Ok! I will shortly tell the story, but first let me exhale.
Nobody wishes him dead. Indeed, even though I am not a fan of Mr President, I wouldn’t wish him dead. I feel so vindicated I didn’t vote for him and never believed for once, that, he is the messiah our beleaguered nation is earnestly yearning for.

More fittingly, I feel acquitted that I stand on the right side of history in always arguing, Gen. Buhari rtd will not make a good president. Of course, as the scriptures enjoin believers to do, I so often silently prayed he succeeds and put me to shame for the cynicism.
Moreso, I knew his success will be the success of Nigeria and a better future for my children. Alas! He was not a listening President. Our hues and cries were dismissed with the mocking appellation of ‘Wailing wailers’. Now, we will see who wails last.
So is he dead? Why all the hullabaloo, hide and seek, and jigsaw puzzle over the status of Mr President. Fact is, try as much as we did to almost deify President Buhari, it never erased the reality that, like everyone of us, he is a mere mortal. Subject to like passions and perils we all experience despite the cozy, marbled comfort and defenced apartments of Aso Rock Presidential villa.

President Buhari’s failure to return from the 10 days vacation, he earlier notified the National Assembly of, and the indefinite shift of that date has got tongues wagging. The intensity is more, given that, we all know, he went to London for what they said, was a routine medical check-up, with doctors who are familiar with his medical history.

With every detail guarded as a top secret, rumours of his death have escalated with all the shoddy exertions, by his close aides to manage the appalling confusion that has since engrossed the land. Again, we ask, has President Buhari embarked on a final transition to the great beyond? Why are we as a nation passing through this familiar, but treacherous terrain a second time? Why? Ok, here’s the tale.

W. Somerset Maughan is the author of a play by the title, ‘Sheppey.’ In this play, Maughan retold an ancient Persian legend. A certain merchant in Baghdad sent his servant to purchase some items in the market.

The servant, after a short while came home white as paper and struck with fear.
Asked what was amiss, the servant replied that, he met a woman in the crowd who rattled him, only to discover that, it was Mr Death himself. Mr Death, he said, made a threatening gesture and wanted to take him away.
He fled the market.

Osinbajo, Acting President of Nigeria

Osinbajo, Acting President of Nigeria

Alternatively, he pleaded with his master to avail him his horse, so he could ride away from the city and avoid Mr Death. ‘I will go to Samarra, and there, Death will not find me”, he said. The merchant quickly released the horse he requested and he galloped away to Samarra market.

There again, was Mr Death standing.
Delayed and after a long wait, the Merchant made a trip to Samarra.

There he saw Mr Death standing and asked, “Mr Death, Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?
“That was not a threatening
gesture,” Mr Death replied. “it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him(the servant) in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.” Folks, that’s how the servant galloped as fast as he could dig-in his spurs on the horse, into the waiting hands of Mr Death in Samarra, where he went to save his life. Reality check is, no mortal can flee or abrogate the reach of Mr Death, when the time is nigh.

Does this story relate to our leaders who keep traveling to London, Munich, Washington or Ontario for medical vacation, as though life eternal dwells in those cities?

Folks,’ something tells me we are heading for an anti-climax in this trip from Abuja to London. This tragicomedy is winding to a predictable end. I can clearly see a new era emerge from the ruins of the lonely Londoner, if you get my drift.

The irony is, when President Buhari stepped on that jet and waved us goodbye, he may well have given us a final wave offering, and stepped aside from the troubles of Nigeria.

As he wrote to transmit power, albeit in Acting capacity, to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, he may have inadvertently penned his signature to an inevitable or imminent resignation to fate and irreversible transfer of Presidential power to another.

No, I am not concluding the President is dead, but I am not so naïve as not to read the writing on the wall and rightly divide the signs of the times.

I wager that, henceforth, he will be spared the bedlam of Southern Kaduna killings, the horror of Boko Haram, the pestering of Bring back our girls group and the unfeeling slaughter of unarmed Biafran protesting activists. The domestic resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta will harass Buhari no further, the cows and the bloodthirsty Malian? Senegalese herdsmen will not smear his conscience anymore. The free fall of the dollar, massive loss of jobs and the capitulation of the nations economy can look up to another arbitrator, as Buhari gives way. Nigeria needs urgent rescue and desperately so.

God gives us leaders for specific reasons and purpose, I believe, Buhari has fulfilled his.
More curiously, when those former Presidents and erstwhile second in commands, banded together to sing and upload the video of the hymn, O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,” I knew we had reached a dead end and that something must give in.

Folks’, a new dawn is here. It may be delayed, it cannot be denied or prevented from unleashing its purgation on the fate of this tired and abused country called Nigeria.

I can only end this essay by saying a word of prayer for Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, as he steps out to be addressed as Mr President. May God Almighty tie the hands of the crafty, and frustrate them from performing their enterprise. When every movie runs its season, we draw the curtain. It is The end.

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