Femi Adesina And The Parable of The Tolerant Father
By Achike Chude
Re: Femi Adesina’s ‘We Have Not Many Fathers’
And so, Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman says that we were lucky that the other side of the president that is frightening, fearful, and vicious was not manifested, otherwise ears would have tingled and tongues wagged about the calamities that would have befallen us lesser mortals following the #endsars episode. In his words, “If President Buhari hadn’t exercised the restraint and tolerance of a father;’ “…we would have been talking of something else in the country.” In our local environment, ‘talking of something else’ is akin or similar to the English expression of ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet,’ meaning that the worst or the best is yet to come depending on circumstance. If the context under which the statement is made is negative, then you ain’t seen nothing yet’ or ‘we would have been talking about something else’ means a serious magnification of the evil or bad thing that happened. In other words The presidential spokesman is saying that the president was, and is far capable of greater capacity for evil and malice only if we designate the Lekki issue as a great evil. But if the massacre that took place at the toll gate was a positive act, then the president, Muhammadu Buhari has shown that he has greater capacity for good by mowing down peaceful protesters for the good of all.
But we are not through with the dire and dark evaluation of the President’s probable cause of action by his spokesman and his prognosis going forward. He reminds us of the president’s many abilities by arguing that good and bad reside within the domain of the president and warns us of the possibility of the bad side of the president dominating the good. His insinuation is obviously that if we allow that to happen then the president would have no choice than to teach us a lesson we can never forget. In his words;
“The President is by no means a soft man. We remember the man of iron and steel that ruled with iron fist between January 1984 and August 1985…..”
Hear Femi Adesina again;
“Is President Buhari as hard as he was in 1984? Yes and no. In personal traits and attributes; he remains the unbending iron.”
And now the mother of all warnings from Adesina about what might have been during the #endsars protest and what might still be under the president who remains an ‘unbending iron’ if we don’t behave ourselves;
“The rivers of Nigeria could have turned crimson; and mourning and lamentations would have suffused the land. But we are thankful for the father in President Buhari; patient and enduring, almost to a fault,” Adesina concluded”
This scenario and imagery of the blood of Nigerians being spilled by a less accommodating president who is not a father as painted by the spokesman of Aso Rock is one of the most frightening threats against the people by a government official. To start with, the rivers of Nigeria are many and long, sometimes extending for hundreds of kilometres. To fulfill the imagery of turning these rivers crimson (bloody) as stated by Adesina, it would take the massacre of tens of thousands of Nigerians by their own government to achieve this purpose. This would be blatant, purposeless, mindless evil of the worst kind ever. Any government that ever nurtures this kind of rabid thinking for whatever reason is a danger to humanity. Such a government would have earned the right to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Stalins and Hitlers of this world and their likes. I want to believe that this is not what Adesina meant. But he of all people should understand the evocative powers of words.
After the infamous ‘Your land or your life’ statement of a few years ago where he warned those who owned and were clinging on to their ancestral lands to give them up or die at the hands of the herdsmen, one thought that Femi Adesina would reverse his manner of engagements with Nigerians following the attendant criticisms. Alas! he has since doubled down in his cussing, and smirking, and diatribes.
You really have to feel sorry for him, the man who has to increasingly defend his boss from an increasingly hostile, skeptical, unbelieving and frustrated Nigerian citizenry. The sad reality is that we have not seen the end of Adesina’s tirades and threats against some defined segment of Nigerians simply because we are nowhere near the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s many failures in governance.
But perhaps Adeshina genuinely does not feel what we feel. Ensonced by the trappings of power, pomp and pageantry, perhaps he has been overly seduced by the surrounding splendour of power, which in a third world country like Nigeria can sometimes have the capacity to ‘corrupt and corrupt completely’ according to Baron John Dalberg-Acton
There are many people, especially those from the so called ‘noble profession who would willingly swear that Adesina, prior to his appointment as presidential spokesman was the quintessential gentleman, soft spoken, urbane, tolerant and moderate in his views and expressions of same.
How come, people may ask, could such a person of great character and humility change in such a radical manner? Perhaps the answer lies in the changing dynamics of time and chance. It is possible that Femi Adesina has always been like this and needed the processes of time and opportunity to reveal the real Adesina that nobody saw. Or perhaps we have to rely on Reuben Abati’s thesis of the strange spiritual happenings at the ‘Rock’ as a reason for why good men get in there and come out changed. Perhaps we may never know.
But what we do know is that power does not reside with anybody or group of people forever. It is transient and will pass, leaving the previous wielders with a touch of reality that could be dangerously damning depending on how they exercised it.
When the presidential spoken talks about the president being as unbending as iron, he forgets a fundamental truth: That president Muhammadu Buhari has no power of his own to give. The power he exercises was given to him by 180 million Nigerians to exercise on their behalf in the protection of their interests. That interest is not to use it in turning the rivers of Nigeria crimson with their blood. It is for dastardly and perfidious acts such as this that the International Criminal Court was set up as well as the court of public opinion which resides with the Nigerian people.
The presidential spokesman, being a pastor is well aware of the intense conversation between Pilate and Jesus Christ;
Pilate: “Do you not know that I have the power to set you free?”
Jesus: “You would have no power over me if it was not given to you from above by my Father”
Yes! The president would have no power over us if it was not given to him by Nigerians.