My Memory on Facebook: Conversation About “Buhari”

Facebook is like a diary. It chronicles our thoughts and reminds us about them as frequently as time dictates. Just yesterday, I got notified by Facebook that Patrick Akwaji, my friend on that medium, shared what I posted there on Sunday, February 18, 2017. In other words, that post has clocked one year and Facebook found it worthwhile to draw our attention to this fact. The post was on a conversation I had with some friends about President Muhammadu Buhari when he was on medical vacation abroad.
I imagine that Patrick Akwaji shared it yesterday because he still sees the freshness in it, despite the passage of time. I have noticed that the post is still being liked. Therefore, I deem it necessary to publish it verbatim below, in the interest of a wider audience.
Sometimes, arguments lead to anger. Unnecessary anger. I experienced it yesterday.
That was when I joined some of my friends somewhere, to watch English FA cup matches on television. As we sipped our glasses of liquid and focused on those matches, we also discussed current national and international affairs.
Predictably, President Buhari and his government didn’t escape our attention. One of my bosom friends kicked off the topic by recalling that the President’s wife marked her birthday last Friday. He added that he is older than the President’s wife as she was born in 1971 while he (my friend) was born in 1970.
I jokingly mentioned that his “seniority” had no relevance to her birthday, since she wasn’t competing with him for anything.
Just then, another friend announced that President Buhari’s long vacation is due to the “fact” that he is undergoing a “penis enlargement surgery”. I quickly retorted that this sounded untrue. But he sounded cocksure. When I sought to know his source of that information, he referred to my bosom friend who earlier boasted that he is one year older than the President’s wife.
This bosom friend is my friend indeed. But sometimes we argue over unnecessary things. We even yell at each other at such times. But we are inseparable.

Although I wasn’t prepared for any argument yesterday, I told him that his information on President Buhari’s genitals isn’t true. As expected, he kept yelling on top of his voice that the story has been reported online. Therefore, it must be authentic, according to him. I insisted that this can’t be true, because I am an avid reader of newspapers and keen follower of broadcast news. Yet I hadn’t come across such a story.
Moreover, I felt that although our President is human, I do not believe that genital enlargement would preoccupy his attention at his age. But my bosom friend kept drowning my voice with his loud arguments. As far as he was concerned, I had no right to determine what could be true or untrue about news stories.
I agreed with him but added that this particular story can’t be true. My friend got excited when someone in our midst browsed Vanguard online and announced that indeed, “Buhari undergoes penis surgery” is a headline story on that medium’s February 17, 2017 publication. My bosom friend felt vindicated by that. Thereafter, he tried to ridicule me in front of everyone at that gathering. Nevertheless, I kept insisting that I didn’t believe that President Buhari’s prolonged vacation has anything to do with his sexual organs.

Thankfully, another friend read the lead paragraph of that Vanguard story and announced that it had nothing to do with President Buhari. Rather, it concerned “nine month old Buhari Muhammed, whose genital was cut off by his step mother.” The boy’s penis was reportedly cut off, due to his step mother’s jealousy of his biological mother.
Despite this disclosure, my bosom friend wasn’t silenced. He insisted that “Buhari is Buhari”. According to him, “even if a dog is named Buhari, it is still Buhari “.
This sounded amusing. But I saw another angle to this incident.
I thought of journalism and newsworthiness. I got further convinced that all human beings are newsworthy. But some human beings are more newsworthy than others. In this case, it would be newsworthy if any nine month old boy’s genitals are cut off. But such a story would be bigger news in Nigeria, if such a boy’s name is Buhari. It would even be better news if such a boy’s surgery coincides with this season of wild rumours over President Buhari’s health. I don’t blame journalists for taking advantage of this scenario. Neither did I need to get angry with my friend. I only needed to bear with him.
In any case, what would I gain, even if President Buhari’s long vacation had anything to do with his genitals? Would genital enlargement enlarge Nigeria’s recessed economy? Also, am I Buhari’s wife? Make I rest jare! Today na Sunday.
Cornelius Ellah
Twitter: @lin_cornellah
Facebook: lincornellah

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