There are crueler expressions than ‘secondhand’ to describe the situation the Buhari administration is faced with. Hand me down does not leave a good taste in the mouth but it is closer to reality. The modern day term that left me bemused when my daughter uttered it is far more businesslike – repurposed.

There were tears amid and hugs and commiseration when two mothers of the girls abducted from Chibok by Boko Haram met with the wives of the new president and vice president, Mrs. Aisha Buhari and Mrs. Oludolapo Osinbajo respectively.

Various newspapers reported this meeting, with Mrs. Osinbajo describing the scene. “Hajia, being a mother, met with them, held them and they cried, everybody cried. What only a mother will do is to say ‘wait, I want you to see your father and see what your father will do.’ The story ended with Mrs. Osinbajo stressing the paternal role the president and his wife have stepped into: “So, today (yesterday), we’ve had the opportunity for the president and Hajia to show that they’re our father and mother. For that, we’re glad.”

Strictly speaking this president is not a first timer, so ‘new’ has to be qualified.

That term we used to use in jest, ‘second new,’ as in recently acquired from suru kam suru, or okrika wake up, aka, bend down boutique, is more apt here. This is Mr. Buhari’s second turn in the leadership seat hanging on the hope that he is refurbished, if not born again. Hopefully Buhari will be the last former military dictator to be emboldened to step forward to “offer his services”. And though there is a marked difference in the nature of this regime, military as opposed to democratic, there are too many signs that change is still a prayer.

First off, this “paternalisation” of the president and his wife is out of place. (Why are we always being offered fathers, husbands and mothers? It is an infantilising of the Nigerian electorate. Just govern!) It slips seamlessly from the attempts to deify Goodluck Jonathan.

Shortly after the election there was a call for him to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize because he conceded defeat. Imagine what the citation would read: prize awarded for accepting the verdict! Granted Jonathan did what politicians before him never considered, but the fact that it has taken this long for Nigerian politics to learn how to behave is not something to be celebrated before the world. All this shameless bowing and scraping before people elected into power is in line with the queuing up to pay obeisance to the new fountainhead of largesse, which all too easily morphs into zigzagging along that well-worn carpet that separates the party in power from the party in opposition and ends up institutionalising corruption. The kafuffle about the leadership of the National Assembly is just that, given its reputation for enthroning licentiousness and greed. Right now making the National Assembly functional should be more important than who leads it, especially as it seems abundantly clear that the kind of change that will make Nigeria a well governed nation of laws is not going to come from within the National Assembly as presently constituted.

There are crueler expressions than ‘secondhand’ to describe the situation the Buhari administration is faced with. Hand me down does not leave a good taste in the mouth but it is closer to reality. The modern day term that left me bemused when my daughter uttered it is far more businesslike – repurposed.

It is a term for the generation who arrived on a planet facing an uncertain future because of the waste and profligacy of their parents. They cut their teeth on rhymes about recycling at Kindergarten and learnt about a new science predicated on protecting and conserving the environment. They were taught that to be proactive was the only way to ensure tomorrow as in, for example, recognising the need to diversify from oil, and acting on it.

The degree of repurposing to be done in Nigeria is major. That National Assembly needs to be repurposed; as to the management of the oil industry, that too is a giant task.

Just short of two weeks and the euphoria of March 29 is already a memory. It is a truism that when much is promised, preparation for the task ahead in delivering is key. Leading and campaigning are two different things. People expect to smell the difference immediately when you ride in on a promise of change. Leave too much time and the default mode sets in and what you get is tinkering and musical chairs, back to the same old same old: not change.

At least there have been signs about a repurposing of the battle against Boko Haram. President Buhari has conferred with the African allies joined in the fight and redirected the agenda. The US has committed funds to help in this. Buhari’s inauguration speech contained these statements; “we can not claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage by insurgents… For now the Armed Forces will be fully charged with prosecuting the fight against Boko Haram. We shall overhaul the rules of engagement to avoid human rights violations in operations. We shall improve operational and legal mechanisms so that disciplinary steps are taken against proven human right violations by the Armed Forces.”

It is a big task. Words like ‘overhaul’ and ‘improve’, like ‘repurpose’, mean working from the ground-up in order to achieve results and change a culture of disregard for human rights that set in a long, long, time ago. In fact they set in so long ago that they could be described as sui Buhari, if not pre Buhari.

Fourteen months and counting…