The Fall of Tinubu as a Metaphor–Abdulkadir Salaudeen

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The Fall of Tinubu as a Metaphor
Nigerians got some comic relief on “Democracy Day” from the overwhelming hardship which has now deteriorated to soul snatching hunger. It was the misstep of our President Tinubu that landed him—yakata—on the ground. Though our President is an old man, his misstep is just a common mishap that can occur to anyone—irrespective of age.However, Nigerians have turned it into a meme on social media. Nigerians, I hail thee!

One should not wonder why the President’s slip of the foot attracts so much attention. That is what democracy does to the entire life of leaders who pledge—honestly or dishonestly—to uphold its tenets. In most cases, leaders in democratic system of government do not have private existence. Everything about them is subject to the critical scrutiny of public prying eyes and people’s nosy noses.

This is exactly what happened to President Tinubu; and I think he understands that his life is a public life. I like the way the President took a jab at his mockers when he quipped: “I am a traditional Yoruba boy, I did my ‘dobale.’” Dobale is a Yoruba traditional way of prostrating to greet elders. This could also be Tinubu’s way of saying “Nigeria, I hail thee.” Whether President Tinubu fell or did dobale, he should be reminded that nothing in Nigeria stands erect under him as president. Everything has either fallen or doing dobale.

The President’s fall could be seen as a symbolism for everything falling apart in Nigeria. It could be a metaphor for everything that is wrong with Nigeria. The worth of Nigerian citizens has fallen beyond imagination. While no one has denied Nigerians their citizenship, there is an ongoing debate on who is more deserving of citizenship between Nigerians and the cattle they own. I am not interested in the debate, but it shows the denigrating worth of Nigerians within the territory called Nigeria.

While cattle can graze freely (my focus is still not about whether that should be or not), many Nigerians cannot farm freely. Because many cannot farm freely, food has become gold which can only be mined by those who have licence to mine. In other words, difficult access to food by Nigerian masses is now the nastiest experience of their lives.

Beans which is one of the cheapest sources of protein to the masses has wrestled and defeated rice in monetary value. First time in the lifetime of many Nigerians, beans is costlier than rice which is also very costly. Bread should not even be mentioned. The historical gari which the poor fondly and joyfully called garium—being the only lifeline in times of acute hunger—has become a plague which must be avoided due to its prohibitive price.

While I still find it difficult to believe Tinubu is the cause of all this, it is apt to say that the thoughtless three worded “subsidy is gone”—which does not actually go to anywhere—is. It gives traders, hoarders, marketers, and monopolists the justification to arbitrarily and notoriously hike prices of commodities and then blame it on the removal of oil subsidy and cost of transportation.

What has not fallen in Nigeria is in the process of falling or about to fall. Security has fallen. Farmers have to do dobale to bandits. National grid has fallen (collapsed) several times this year (2024). The transport system too fell. People are scared to travel. The government had to subsidize transport fare during Christmas last December to facilitate traveling for Christian faithfuls. It is time for Muslims’ turn. Our festival is few days away, I have not heard any thing like transport subsidy for Muslims ahead of our festival. Well, maybe because the rich Muslims had been given N90 billion as Hajj subsidy. The poor Muslims should fend for themselves.

Naira, our currency, also fell. Once you take it to market, it disappears. Many of us often think we lose our money to pickpockets each time we go for shopping. You go to market with considerable huge amount of money only to return home with very few items. Naira, as it is presently, could be apparently huge in quantity but is absolutely lacking in quality. Naira obviously fell before Tinubu’s. But it fell heavily—flatly on its stomach—than Tinubu. To understand the extent to which naira has fallen, the proposed minimum wage of N62, 000 which some governors said they cannot pay (and the labour union has roundly rejected) could not even buy a full basket of tomato. Not to talk of food.

What again has not fallen? Our National Anthem which invites us to serve our Fatherland—with love and strength and faith—also fell last month. That was before the falling of Tinubu. In lieu of the fallen anthem, the old one which hails our Motherland as native land and describes us as primitive was resurrected. The old anthem that was thought to be the solutions to all our national problems—like the Genie Bottle—has only compounded things. After its resurrection, prices of commodities have gone haywire more than ever. Though I cannot establish any connection between the resurrected anthem and the recent spike in prices of staple, I also don’t understand how its resurrection is expected to magically put an end to our national woes.

Anyway, we thank God that our president could still address Nigerians that he only did dobale. We did not hear any announcement—after his sudden fall—of his departure to France. I pray such announcement will not be made soon. That means our President is fit. It is only that his fitness has not done Nigerians any good.

Dear President Tinubu, please do the dobale once again to beg those behind the hike in the prices of gari and beans etc. to have mercy on us. If it is the consequences of some of your policies, please reverse them. May God help you in righting the wrongs and help Nigeria.

Abdulkadir Salaudeen
salahuddeenabdulkadir@gmail.com

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