I can not figure out how President Mohammadu Buhari feels on his 78th birthday celebrations. I don't even know if he is a birthday person. I am not but I'm not a president; I'm just an ordinary Nigerian. I'm not because I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, if I could eat my three square meals everyday that was enough and birthday celebration will be a luxury. I don't think President Buhari had a different background than I had. I don't think he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth either.

But he has been around the corridor of power for a long time and things could have changed. This is his second shot at the headship of Nigeria and the military he served could have given him a taste of the luxury/ luxurious life. Olusegun Obasanjo, first president of the restored Nigeria's third republic was also not born with a silver spoon in his mouth but his friends and hangers on always had great birthdays with pages of newspaper taken to greet him on his birthday as "father of modern Nigeria". Perhaps Olusegun Obasanjo, also a retired General of the Nigeria Army just like President Mohammed Buhari learnt the luxury of birthday in the Military.

Buhari has a different personality from Obasanjo. Buhari is not showy and does not hug the klieg light; at least we have that impression of him. Are we right? The first lady glitters and is so outspoken that one will think only a flashy and ceremonies man will win the heart of such a beauty. Whether Buhari loves birthdays or not, it is certain his 78th birthday on 17 December 2000 was a mixed blessings. Before the birthday the President took a leave and planned to chill out in the quiet of Daura his home town but three hours drive from Daura the boko haram or bandits or both rolled together in one gave him an ugly birthday present in Kankara when they raided a science secondary school and left with 600 students. Up till the time of writing more that 300 student are still missing.

Few weeks before Kakanra, boko haram had similarly chosen a rice farm where they slit open the throats of 43 hapless farmers. By doing that, they threw spanner in the works of Buhari's plan to make the nation self sufficient in rice production. If there is anything the North needs, it is science education. In one state in the North there are twenty three hospitals and twenty two medical doctors. So to have raided a science secondary in the North and make away with over 600 students is to have worsen the situation of medical service there. There were much hues and cries that followed the cruel killing of the 43 rice farmers and the languages of condemnations that came from both local and international sources were so unsettling, so the choice of Daura by Buhari to chill down may have been informed by the need to get away from the ascerbic criticism.

A barrage of criticism again trailed the President. There are obvious enemies who desire no rest for the President. One, a former acolyte and from North openly told readers his grouse with the President . He had medical doctors and lawyers among his children and the Federal Government will not recruit them into the Federal Civil Service. You wonder why the Civil Service and not set up private practice to provide employment but in the quest you see another problem that plagues the north, the desire only for government job where little is required to be done and where the opportunity exists to steal as much as possible. The father had done nothing since independence in 1960 than stay in corridors of power and having tasted how easy to make wealth without lifting a finger, why should he encourage his children to toil for every kobo they will earn as private persons.

And if the children must be civil servants why not in the state of the father? Here again you see why some people are angry with the now strident calls for restructuring. Restructuring means whoever will rule over any portion of Nigeria will to engage in hard thinking to raise needed revenues to run that portion of the country. If you don't work you don't eat and many in Nigeria prefer not to work but eat. It's so easy to go to Abuja and collect oil money and go back home to share it. Unfortunately, it does not seem that the President is prepared to confront such laziness in Nigeria because his body language does not indicate he wants anything to do with restructuring. Anyhow, oil is no longer in demand the world over become substitutes have been found for it and so earnings from it is fast drying up. If the harsh criticism of the President by some northerners is to take his attention away from needed restructuring, they may have been successful. But if it is to get them favour, so far it has not been successful because the President has stuck to his 2015 word to be for all and to be for nobody.

Another birthday gift to the President concerns his health. Seems each time there is crisis in the country many of the enemies of the President want to talk about the fact that he survived the initial challenges he had with his health. Some went as far as to say the person Nigerians have in Aso Rock is a clone of the man we voted for in 2015. Despite the scientific denial of such possibility by former head of our space research, Dr. Borofice, now a senator, the suspicion is not dead. The latest of such suspicion is that the President forgets so easily. It becomes disturbing when these suspicion is coming from persons from his immediate constituency in the North. On the President birthday a prominent second republic politician and a medical doctor, also a radical, Junaid Mohammed alleged that the President suffers from dementia. He told Tribune online emphatically that the President has been diagnosed with demential and thus unfit to continue to run the country. Coming from a medical doctor, this allegation can not be treated with levity.

Do these suscipicions stick? Are they true? Are they just bile? Are they attempts to cower the President to do their bidding? What is their bidding? The situation is not helped much by the traditional Nigeria mentality to treat health as a secret. Fortunately some governors are breaking out of this cocoon. When Governor Jide Sanwoolu of Lagos went down on Covid-19, the public was promptly told with the press aides using the opportunity to tell the public that the virus is spiking again and to remind them of the Covid protocol. Similarly, Governors Makinde of Oyo State, Akeredolu of Ondo State, and El Rufai of Kaduna State have toed the same line. If our democracy is going to be stable, the health of the President and that of other public servants must not be a secret. Hiding the health status of leaders lead credence to many lies. It will amazing what huge number of Nigeria subscribe to what these critics are saying.

It is not all gloom for Mr. President on his birthday. His party men have risen to celebrate him on his birthday. The Progressive Governors Forum has sent to greet the President in a very generous tone. What makes these forum progressive? What makes others unprogressive? May be their party affiliation. If you belong to PDP, you are probably not seen as progressive even if you have the best achievement in your state. But if you cross over to APC you may wear the bag of the progressive which means progressive in Nigeria's political fermament has nothing to do with ideology but with mere label. Well it seems good for progressive governors to identify with and celebrate the progressive President. They are progressive and the President is also, even if pensioners in their states are protesting none payment of their pensions. They are progressive and the President is especially on the occasion of his birthday even if Nigeria is in recession and has no hope of quiting it.

They must be progressive and so is the President even if over 100 million Nigerians would have their sims blocked if they could not meet the two weeks deadline slammed on Nigeria by Nigeria Identity Management Commission, NIMC, an exercise that moves at the speed of snail. I hope this will be pulled through;  at least we will finally have a country that can track bandits, kidnappers and boko haram. That will happen if those who are to employ the data are not themselves the sponsors of these criminals.

Mr. President, this is wishing you a happy birthday.

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