The continuing mystery of President Buhari’s illness and the handling of the saga by his aides is more evidence that Nigeria’s political system works almost independently of the individual nominally in charge. If we had a responsive and functional political system in Nigeria, the independence of the system from political actors would be a good thing. Unfortunately, our system is dysfunctional and thus its ramifications are always disadvantageous.
The incapacity of President Buhari’s body language in preventing this administrative relapse to the Yar’ Adua hide-and-seek legacy shows the nonsensical value of arguments that the system can be changed “from inside.” It also shows that the idea that we only need to elect “good” persons to make progress is only half correct. To paraphrase Chinua Achebe, electing a no-nonsense leader who lacks a “well-conceived and consistent agenda of reform” for our dysfunctional political system is a waste of everybody’s time.