By Salisu Suleiman
I do not like the allure of power. I am not carried away by the limitless reach of the presidency. My head does not swell when traditional rulers whose palaces I dared not enter without removing my shoes now stumble over themselves to pledge allegiance.
So what, if former presidents scramble to their feet when I enter a room? It does not touch me in the least. And there is nothing special about presiding over federal executive council meetings where we enrich new sets of friends weekly. It is our turn.
It is not my fault that governors tremble when I glare at them and are fighting in their own forum. That they all have to wait for me to arrive for meetings and stand up to greet me as soon as I enter does not make me haughty. The long list of diplomats, special envoys and CEOs of multinationals waiting to see me every day to curry favours in one form or another has not gone into my head, nor the fact that every news begins with me and ends with madam. It is our turn.
That every mouth rings out with raucous laughter when I tell dry jokes is only to be expected. I never had much sense of humour anyway. That some of the most powerful politicians in the land line up to croon my praises to high heavens is nothing exceptional. I know that what they really want is that juicy ministerial appointment; that powerful commission; that coveted ambassadorial posting or that much sought-after oil block.
That I can wake up one day and direct that a multi-billion naira airport be constructed in my state does not bother me in the least. It does not matter if I am the only passenger that will use the airport, nor does it trouble me that without even asking for it, a federal university is being built in my tiny hometown. How many villages have produced presidents before mine? It is our turn.
Oh yes, that by simply nodding, I can send the attack dogs called EFCC, ICPC and CCB after practically anyone I chose does not make me smile secretly with pervert pleasure. That I know the secret bank accounts and supposedly hidden properties and estates of many of all governors, ministers, law makers and judges does not give me any sadistic satisfaction, nor the fact that I can use the information when I need to – election time or not.
It is not my fault that entire neighbourhoods are cordoned off whenever I visit. That my presidential fleet of aircraft is among the largest in the world is only befitting. That madam has a jet or two at her disposal is her right. That I have no knowledge of the intricacies of economics and the fundamentals of management is not an issue. It is our turn.
Good thing I managed to kill off that fuel subsidy palaver quietly. Incidentally, who told them that the entire ?2.6 trillion simply vanished into thin air? How did they suppose we oiled the campaign machinery that ensured such resounding success at the polls?
Now those noise-makers are making trouble about oil theft. They do not understand that making our turn worthwhile requires a less complicated route to the treasury without those meddlesome lawmakers. By that way, who told them it is theft? Can you steal what is essentially yours?
Meanwhile, Nigerians completely misunderstand my wife. The truth is, just like me, she has absolutely no interest in power. Did she not train to be a teacher? Was she a politician before the call to duty came? Come to think about it, what is it that she has done wrong? That she disliked the disrespectful governor of my state and recommended a more pliable candidate who promptly rewarded her with the position of permanent secretary? It is our turn.
And just when I thought the dust was settling, those busybody journalists are beginning to focus on her again, some even calling her Madam President. What effrontery! Is she not supposed to enjoy the fruits of our labour? Was she supposed to fold her arms while that pretender to the throne in the Garden City pours sand-sand in our garri? My wife loves serving the country so much that she will use anything and everything in her considerable armoury to ensure that Nigerians have the pleasure of our service until 2019, perhaps longer.
Can you imagine? They are saying I have no clues about solving insecurity, unemployment, decaying infrastructure, falling education and growing poverty and are asking what I have achieved since becoming president? What has that go to do with why I want to remain in office? Did I create unemployment? I am the inventor of corruption? What is my concern with poverty – was I not born poor? How can I solve Boko Haram when I didn’t create it?
They are all missing the point. I want to remain president for one reason: It is our turn.
This article was first published on the author's blog.