President Muhammadu Buhari and the power of vulnerability, by Abraham Ilemona

One of the commonest ‘lies’ told frequently and unconsciously by many is contained in this simple expression, “I AM FINE”. The expression, ‘I am fine’ has caused a lot of harm to different persons in all walks of life. Take a mental tour in retrospection to the many times you have responded to the salutation ‘How are you’ and your response was ‘I am fine.’ You will discover that some of those moments, you were obviously not fine as expressed in your words. In the midst of this expression, ‘I am fine’, some are practically hurt, shattered and broken and on the brink of collapse.

Here are some underlining factors why ‘I am fine’ has become a cliché for many. First comes EGO of the individual. Ego in psychoanalysis is that part of the psychic apparatus that experiences and reacts to the outside world and thus mediates between the primitive drives of the individual and the demands of the social and physical environment. In a layman’s understanding, ego is all about self-image, self-esteem. So, we quickly feel apprehensive and jump on the wing of what I chose to call ego-protection. This happens in a millisecond in our subconscious as soon as we are asked ‘How are you?’ or ‘Can I help you to do this?’ we humans are always out to protect our ego even with the last drop of blood and breathe in us.

Another factor still closely related to ego is the socio-cultural demands on every individual. We, being products of our society and culture find ourselves in the web or an envelope of expectations and standards. This standards and expectations have broken many and brought about their death in the bid to keep up to it.

The society and culture sell into our subconscious ideas such as “A man does not cry; A man does not give up” and because of that, even when a man is broken, tearing apart and can no longer go on, that subconscious idea reminds him not to cry, give up or ask for help. Otherwise, he is seen less of a man. Same way the society and culture also endlessly ring into the ears of our women ideas such as; “A woman is not supposed to talk even in the face of oppression and brutality” “A woman is supposed to endure, make her marriage work by submitting her life and will into the hands of her husband.” It is needless to remind us how many women have lost their will and lives after placing them in the hands of some haughty men bearing the title-husband.

As it borders on Muhammadu Buhari, as a president of Nigeria, the aforementioned factors have flourished in his garden of life and power. I will surely not go into the fact that Muhammadu Buhari is a man whose desire for power and triumphalism is as naked as the jaybird and can be seen by the blind and heard by the deaf. After many trails and years of desperation for the Villa-Seat, Buhari practically pleaded to Nigerians to entrust the seat of power to him. Lo and behold, his intentions, agenda and will did not tally with his pretentious words.

I wish to remind President Muhammadu Buhari that he is an icon of colossal failure. This manifests itself in all facets of his person and administration. I term this a reminder because he must have heard from meaningful citizens, unfortunately, he is too deaf to hear and too blind to see.

President Muhammadu Buhari has failed and he knows from the dept of his heart that he has failed. But the aforementioned factors would not permit him to step aside. The first is that, he cannot imagine himself a former military General and Head of State accepting defeat by stepping aside on the ground of incompetence. Therefore, he is on a mission of ‘ego-protection’. Trying to gather spilt milk from the floor.

Secondly, Muhammadu Buhari is not ready and cannot imagine himself betraying the standard set by his immediate culture and society. The standard that he has consciously and unconsciously eaten and digested, but cannot stool it off into the septic tank. Therefore, it remains forever part of him. That is the standard and mentality that Hausa-Fulani fragment of the nation are born to rule. So, Muhammadu son of Buhari, a Fulani man from Daura, Kastina state cannot afford to betray this socio-cultural standard.

At this point, all odds are against President Muhammadu Buhari. He has fallen between two stools; one is of keeping to the woeful agenda of the minority that have shaped his socio-cultural being and another is meeting up at least with a minimal demand of twenty-first-century leadership style.

In all of this, President Muhammadu Buhari still feels he is doing fine-perhaps only in words. And this makes me to liken him to a woman who is broken and hurt, walking away from her matrimonial home to his parent in tears and asked by a wayfarer, “How are you?” and she soberly responded, “I am fine”. I put it to you Muhammadu, you are fine to the detriment of every other Nigerian except your few cronies. You are fine because Taxpayers’ monies have helped to rebrand and elongate your life with the opportunity of world-class and diplomatic medical care. You are fine because you are drawn away from the reality of every average Nigerian citizen. Fine because you are too sick and weak to know what is happening in Nigeria even those directly under your nose. Little wonder “I am not aware” is one of your frequent clichés in answer to crucial issues that bothers Nigeria.

You are also likened to the Biblical King Belshazzar who while holding a great banquet for his noblemen; winning, dinning and getting drunk, suddenly a finger of a human being appeared and wrote on the wall of the Hall. That brought about his fall, ruin and eventual death. The MENE, MENE, TEKEL and PERES written on the wall of your governance can not be interpreted by any member of your cabal, because your ignorance and failure wet their private pockets and bank accounts.

Should you be privileged to see this piece, let me school you on the power of vulnerability. First of all, to be vulnerable means to be capable and susceptible to be wounded or hurt. Being vulnerable makes you human. There is strength in weakness when discovered and accepted. Don’t bottle up in pride and ego. Be aware and accept the fact that you have failed, and too weak to continue. According to Rene Brown, Vulnerability is anything but weakness. In fact, it takes true strength and courage to allow oneself to be vulnerable.

Summon the courage to walk against your ego-protection and unbox yourself from the socio-cultural standard created for you. When you accept that you are vulnerable, you unlock yourself and be open to yourself, then you come directly in touch with yourself and the world around you. By doing so, you can spend the remaining part of your life fulfilled and happy. Muhammadu, dare to be yourself and accept vulnerability by stepping aside for a more qualified and competent hand and shoulder. Nigeria is sinking under your care but your lips keep saying “I am fine, We are fine”-perhaps, you are still not aware.

 

Ilemona ABRAHAM
felixmonan@gmail.com
07030531874

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