Editor's note: Journalist and public affairs commentator, Abdullahi O. Haruna, writes on President Muhammadu Buhari's assets declaration to the Code of Conduct Bureau which preceded the president's oath-taking on Wednesday, May 29. Haruna bares his mind on the president's assets considered as meagre by some Nigerians, considering his status as the country's number one citizen.
My latest discovery is the realisation that some Nigerians are not happy with leaders who don't accumulate wealth, they see such leaders are crass failures. On the list of such leaders is Muhammadu Buhari, whom they scorn for having less than 50 million in his asset declarations. To them, is either the man is lying or probably a jew man who swims in water of money yet blinded by the soap of want!
But can one who presides over trillions of naira and be financially meagre especially in a land where being a leader places you in position of unfettered access to the vault of the land? Where with a snap of a finger you can order the central bank governor to bring a truckload of monies to your domain? Where even as a president you can convert state assets into personal use and build universities? Sincerely, it is difficult to be a Nigerian president and not be rich. A land where citizens stand in support of leaders who loot them dry, where accountability is a taboo, it is just unbelievable to have a president who is worth just 30 million naira worth in physical cash!
I am tempted to fall in the category of those who believe the president is worth more than he has declared but on a deeper thought, I hold myself in restraint, that in life, they are those who are naturally not cut out for the materialism of the world. What they eat, where they sleep and how they will please their maker defines their ultimate struggles in life.
Without the attempt of holding brief for President Buhari, I strongly see in him a man whose interest is to make heaven. He is the irony of a typical Nigerian man whose survival instinct is first to accumulate and accumulate. What would make a former military minister, governor, head of state, head of a juicy petroleum trust fund and now president only worth N30 million -if not spartan principles of life?
The riches of Buhari are the benefits he enjoys as president. A man who is guarded, cooked for, driven and flown around, adored, venerated, feared and respected and controls the affairs of over 200 million people cannot be said to be poor. He is in all senses rich, wealthy and powerful. Muhammadu Buhari is stupendously rich in character, in discipline and integrity.
Unfortunately, that is not what Nigerians want, they want to see their president 's asset declaration dripping in overflowing billions, mansions like the ones on the hilltop in Minna and Otta. Who integrity epp at the last run if instead of being appreciated that your commonwealth is safe and not depleted, you are lampooned by your citizens for not enriching yourself at the expense of the people!
The president draws monthly salaries, has cows that reproduce every year, how come there is no improvement in his assets? Have you taken out time to ask if the president shares his salaries with his children, siblings and friends? Have you given the thought if as a Muslim he pays zakat and sadaqa from the proceeds of his herds? At over 75, what would the president keep wealth for, the same wealth he refused to accumulate even as a young man when he had the begging opportunities to loot and accumulate? Some people are just mysterious and Muhammadu Buhari is one of them, no matter the tempting offers of life, they will never cave in to vanity of worldly fantasies.
Rather than being offended by the life of this man, take a solitary journey into self-introspection and begin to question the essence of life. Whether rich or poor, what is going to be my end when the lids of the eyes cannot blink again? What is wealth accumulated unjustly and primitive when one day, you shall return to your marker clad only in shroulds? It is convenient and luxuriating to stupendously wealthy in life, but at whose expense?
Isn't it ironic that we are talking about the worth of a president who can loot the state but chose to remain miserably poor with a net worth of 30 million? Indeed, some mothers do have them...
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