Smarting from a long medical vacation in London, United Kingdom, President Muhammadu Buhari last Monday bared his fangs in a thinly veiled threat on those who may have crossed the “red lines” He was daring enough to explain to the masses that cows can be eaten and that perseverance is stubbornness with a purpose. Like him or hate him, in good health or out of it, Buhari will always let you know he is not everyone’s cup of tea.
By his declaration of intent he was merely saying that running away from any problem only increases the distance from the solution; that he uniquely knows of no higher fortitude than stubbornness in the face of overwhelming odds. Tough is his native tongue, but it is not spoken from his lips; it screams from within. In a floral way, the president showed off his sassy cactus, that there is a difference between being convinced and being stubborn.
He was merely sending a warning that a strong man can handle a strong woman where a weak man will say she has an attitude. And like the great Aquarius once said “The less you give a damn the happier you will be” It was to herald the raucous arrival of the “lion king”, the gong- snare of the uproarious “hyenas and jackals”.
Dare him, demean him, bluff him, he will let you know he can get you because he can and because you said he couldn’t. Certain darkness is needed to see the stars and the red lines he admonished. Men will be men, always. The comeback will always be stronger than the setback, he seemed to be saying.
If you see something say something. In a waspish tone he let off signs that you do not underrate a day where there is still an hour of daylight .But those who stoked the fire in the president, who dared his guts and crossed the red lines, however nondescript, redheaded, cowered and broken they are, seem to be burning it all clean, believing that their bones will not be broken. The president has seen red. But if red colour indicates anger and danger it can also indicate love. Love for what you like doing.
In a curious way, his speech resonates with the words of Ambrose Berce; “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret”. But the president’s men are won’t to argue and re-echo Mark Epstein’s exhortation that “Anger is a sign that something needs to change”. And the smitten red line crossers would counter that he may have the right to be angry but he doesn’t have the right to be cruel. And perhaps that he who angers you controls you especially the one that does it intentionally. Anger as they say is only one letter short of danger. It may beat like self- immolation. Strong people no matter the odds don’t make themselves look pitiful. They don’t vacillate or point fingers. They stand tall at all times and deal. Buhari may have encountered many defeats in his quest to be president; he may have walked through the labyrinthine path of despair and regrets, but he stands on a limb for not validating his prism in the shadows of his subjects. His story is that to be strong you have to accept to be hated, mocked and derided. Power flows not from capacity but from overcoming all odds and obstacles. The president is a breathtaking mosaic of the battles he has won.
He was born on December 17, 1942 in Daura, Katsina state. He was a military head of state of Nigeria between 1983 and 1985 before he was overthrown in a bloodless coup and was retired as a major general. He ran unsuccessfully for president in 2003, 2007, and 2011. He was married to Safinatu Yusuf between 1971 and 1988. The marriage collapsed in a divorce. He is currently married to Aisha, who he married in 1989. Altogether, he has 10 children.


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