buhari

I’ve never been so happy to be blocked. One less personality cultist I have to contend with in the Nigerian public sphere. If you cannot open someone’s mind beyond personality cultism, you are better off not having to even deal with him at all.


That is how they will not let you enjoy TGIF even when you have decided to stay on your own lane jejely. He comes to the inbox to disagree with my take in “The Tyranny of Consensus”.

“Awon alajekun iya omo Buhari tun de o”, I say to myself. Anyway, let’s engage the citizen in a back and forth chat and see how it goes.

He starts. Then he goes on and on and on.

“Allah be praised,” I retort.

“Prof, what for”

“You started your disagreement with me by at least minimally acknowledging my right to ask questions about President Buhari. You have not raised the empathy and sympathy thing in order to blackmail me into silence and shut down the discussion. You are yet to question my humanity. You are just saying you don’t agree with me, which is fine. That is a rarity among your ilk these days. That is why I am saying Allah be praised.”

He continues. On and on and on and on. The same arguments. I ask him to substitute names. “Take out President Buhari’s name and insert Danbaba Suntai or Umar Yar’Adua into your submissions.”

“Why?”

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“Well, for starters, it will show you that you are not saying anything original. That you are not even varying the syntax of those who argued in support of the continuation of Danbaba Suntai and Yar’Adua. So, in the minimum, you must understand that there is nothing you are saying here that is new.”

I sense he is getting frustrated, maybe angry.

“Secondly, remove the absolute fixation on Danbaba Suntai’s personality by his supporters, remove the unyielding fixation on Yar’Adua’s personality by his supporters, remove the deific fixation on President Buhari’s personality by his supporters, and tell me what is left of the submissions you are making. You will see that your argument collapses completely. Your submissions cannot stand on the integrity of issues, institutions, polity, and the praxis of statehood. It is underwritten only and exclusively by your unquestioning submission to the personality of your hero. Here is your logic: Buhari must continue because he is Buhari. Buhari owes us no explanations on his condition and how much his treatment is costing us because he is Buhari. Nothing sustains your logic beyond what you consider to be the sui generis nature of his person.

You can make this case for your Daddy GO. You can make this case for your Chief Imam. Unfortunately, Mr. Buhari is neither the Daddy GO nor the Chief Imam of Nigeria. He is the President of Nigeria. The presidency cannot be pegged on the sui generis nature of the person of the occupant of the office. If a man is unable to discharge his duties for six months in the life of a national state, you cannot go to town, screaming and intimidating citizens who have legitimate questions, asking them to be content with the sui generis personality of your hero.”

I notice his frustration mounting. He returns to points he had already made. I am not going to subject myself to a rehash of the same points all over again. I say:

“Ok, my brother, there is a simple way to resolve our disagreement. I have a prayer for you and I hope you will be able to say amen to it. May whoever or whatever is supposed to be present in your life and bring positive change to your life be absent from your life for six uninterrupted months for whatever reason.”

“Prof, it hasn’t gotten to this level. Why are you cursing me?”

“My brother, I am not cursing you. I am praying for you or are you wishing for Nigeria what you don’t wish for yourself? Besides, I am sure you are familiar with the prayer: May God run your life the way Jonathan is running Nigeria. That is a prayer that you and your ilk threw liberally at Jonathanians in the last administration. So you can dish it out but you cannot take it?”

He blocks me.

I’ve never been so happy to be blocked. One less personality cultist I have to contend with in the Nigerian public sphere. If you cannot open someone’s mind beyond personality cultism, you are better off not having to even deal with him at all.

Pius Adesanmi, a professor of English, is Director of the Institute of African Studies, Carleton University, Canada.