About two hours ago, I arrived at an ATM in Ikorodu in Lagos to withdraw some cash. There was a long queue there and there was an ongoing conversation about President Buhari and how he is running the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The conversation was conducted in Yoruba, but I shall attempt to translate as accurately as possible.
Man in orange buba: “Everybody wants Buhari to go. We can’t wait for him to go.”
Smirks, grunts and groans circulated through the small crowd. A few heads nodded. Some others stood aloof and detached.
Man in blue and white buba: “It is too much. The government is too strict and tight-fisted.”
Man in orange buba interjects: “Nothing is trickling down at all.”
Man in blue and white buba: “That is the one that is not good at all. Buhari is not allowing anybody to eat. It is not good that nothing is trickling down. People can’t eat. At least, if something is trickling down, there is food to go round.”
A woman at one of the three available ATMs finished transacting her business and left. A young man in t-shirt and jeans replaced her there and the queue moved once more. Another person at another ATM left and feet shuffled once more as the queue moved. The conversation died off.
I stood there thinking about what I had just heard. There are actually people who are angry that President Buhari is running a tight ship and plugging holes that allow people to steal. There are people who really do believe that it is very okay for people to dip their hands into the cookie jar. To these set of people, taking out of government funds for personal use isn’t stealing or corruption or whatever you want to call it.
And they were so sure of this conviction that they voiced it freely in public. Unbelievable. I am still in shock. We have a lot of work to do.