By Olusola Ajiboye
President Muhammed Buhari in a recent News Interview disclosed that he works 7hours in day! It means the president spends the remaining 17hours in leisure, attends to family issues or engage on other things outside issues of State.
In the United States which runs a super-stable economy and an advanced political system built on time-tested Institutions, the American president is most of the time, at his desk, reading through hordes of files, devouring memos, pondering over terrorists threats on American Interests and citizens within and outside the country, engaging in intellectual disputes on strategies to put America on top of world powers and initiating several high risk measures to stamp American imprints everywhere.
Founders of America built their Nation on lofty dreams and compelled their citizens and leaders to nurture it to fruition.
American presidents from George Washington, keep open-eyelids, in efforts to fly the American flag above others, to the extent that the United States romanticize the possibility of building cities in space to proof the greatness of God’s Own Country. This is a dream only a workaholic round of the time President can turn into reality.
It is never reported that presidential activities in the White House were put on hold because the American president work schedule is ever running. It means the American president is not expected to leave his desk. He gets his hands full on state duties all the time and his country’s existence depends so much on how prompt he attends to multiple requests, his response to raging questions, his seamless transmusion of powers and co-ordination of directives.
For every major purpose, the American president is a vigil master keeper who places the security of American citizens on code-red wherever they live. One is thus inclined to believe that the White House was not built for its major occupant to sleep in, but a residence where the occupant is programmed for a twenty-four hour vigil even when he is human and not a Robot.
I wouldn’t know how Nigerians felt when their president loudly and proudly told Channels TV Interviewers that he attends to State duties for Just Seven Hours in a day inspite of myriads of challenges waiting for him to confront. In the last seven years, multi-sectoral problems have risen to high-pitch levels leaving Nigerians bruised, battered and consigned to untimely graves. The problems went unabated while government grovels in failures at solutions. I am propelled, perhaps by emotions for my dear country to join the babel of voices who feel indignified by Mr. President’s public declaration of the limited hours he spends at his desk when he ought to be on his feet confronting multiple problems assailing the Nation.
A simple interpretation of president Buhari’s 7 hours a day on duty can be found in the Shakespeare narrative of the 5th Roman Emperor, Cladius Nero who fiddled when Rome was in conflagration. African Rulers are obsessed with the allures of power and often evade its enormous responsibilities.
Many of these Rulers are so guilty of dereliction of duty with negative impacts on their citizens who become victims of poverty, hunger, corruption and misdirection. The Nations such Rulers preside over thus recede in development notwithstanding the abundant human and natural resources tucked within their borders.
Actions, inactions, pronouncements and poor responses of president Muhammadu Buhari to vital state issues since his inauguration in 2015 did show his profound love for the peans rather than the pains of office.
As I ponder if president Buhari can mitigate the obvious lapses in his attitudes to State duties, I suddenly remember a season movie; 24HRS and feel the eagerness to recommend its entire episode to Mr. President to watch.
The season Film, wrapped around terrorism, focused on how Extremists from Middle Eastern Nations keep American presidents off the comfort of the bed. 24HRS is however a narrative of the best in the American presidency as such relates to the competence of its leader and the effectiveness of its governance system. Having watched the season film several times, I often come to a conclusion that the American president is a Robot in human flesh who does not suffer sleep.
But I also understand that 24HRS was specifically produced to show the world that governing the United States of America demands a president whose work schedule runs against the tide of time. The pertinent question on my lips is, if the occupant of the White House neither sleeps nor slumber despite the preponderance of strong institutions to support his office, why should the occupant of Aso Rock feel comfortable when such governance institutions are barely available?
President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure will expire on May 29, 2023 by which time he would have worked for Five Thousand and Ninety-Six (5,096) hours of the Seventeen Thousand Four Hundred and Seventy-Two (17,472) hours, he would have expected to put in were he to work like an American president whose duty schedules run against natural limitations.
It is difficult to tell if president Buhari can add to his current working hours in the remaining years of his presidency. For those who may have given up on his capacity to take hard decisions on National Issues, expecting an upward review of the president’s 7hrs a day on duty is wishful thinking.
Do I hear you chuckle, can Bubu stress himself any further than he currently does? I am like millions of Nigerians bemused by how affairs of the Nation have suffered complacency in the last seven years under a president who works Seven, out of 24hrs created by providence. However, the chapter will not close without calling on president Buhari’s image handlers to fish out 24HRS from the Archives and ensure that he views every episode of the Black-buster Season Film.
Olusola Ajiboye, a veteran Journalist and Media Consultant writes from Osogbo, Osun State.
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