In the news…
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, Friday, arrived in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, from the city of Madinah, where he began the initial leg of his Umrah engagements in the Kingdom.
Mr Buhari left Nigeria for Saudi Arabia on Thursday to perform the Umrah (lesser Hajj), on the invitation of King Salman of Saudi Arabia.
After arriving Madinah Thursday, Mr Buhari performed the evening prayer at the Holy Prophet’s Mosque.
According to his spokesperson, Garba Shehu, in an email to PREMIUM TIMES Saturday, the president was ushered to the grave of Prophet Mohammed where he said prayers for “the nation, his family and himself.”
Mr Shehu said Mr Buhari was seen off at the Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz Madina International Airport by the Governor of the Madinah Province, Faisal Al-Saud.
Source: Premium Times.
Behind the scenes…
Somewhere in the Arabian desert, two frames dressed in white ihram, one bald-headed and much taller than the second, are seen discussing in hushed tones and with a seriousness characteristic of Nigeria, one of the world’s very advanced nations. The Sun provides a natural filter for the faces of His Excellency, the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and his most senior media adviser… but Bayo Omoboriowo, the president’s photographer, is not close-by to capture the unique scene.
Shehu: Mr President, Nigerians are waiting to hear what you have achieved from the umrah. I can sense the impatience, sir. You know the opposition is already asking why the president has chosen to go on an optional pilgrimage only weeks after a ten-day private visit to the UK.
Bubu: Don’t you worry, mallam. Don’t worry. We won’t leave here empty-handed, I can assure you. We’ll find some documents to sign with the Saudi King. Please remind me to tell Ambassador Dodo to draft a loan agreement before nightfall.
Shehu: That’s good, Mr President. What will the loan be used for?
Bubu: I’m still thinking… but the idea of having our first government-owned pencil factories, and exporting to countries like Japan or Canada where there are almost no out-of-school children has been on my mind for sometime.
Shehu: Maa shaa Allah! That is brilliant, Mr President. We will have the factories in all six geopolitical zones, and mandate all MDAs and public schools to use only homegrown writing materials. Our revenue will triple at least.
Bubu: (grins) Yoowa!
Shehu: Ahem. But in the mean time, Mr President, we need to send something to the press before they start asking questions or insinuate you’ve been admitted at some hospital.
Bubu: Hmmm… that is true. Okay, tell them I went to the prophet’s grave to supplicate to the almighty.
Shehu: (begins to scribble on a small journal) Oh great. What did you pray for, Mr President?
Bubu: Many things. Can’t remember it all. But most importantly I prayed to win the presidential election in 2023…
Shehu: (cuts in) 2023 sir?
Bubu: Of course. Don’t you know that to clean up the mess of the PDP, we need at least 16 years in power with the same amount of resources? …and I have not seen anyone, with enough integrity, who can take over from me yet. Or mallam, do you have someone in mind?
Shehu: Ah, not at all, Mr President.
Bubu: Yes, yes. But really, I also want to see the look on OBJ’s face when I become the first Nigerian president to serve three terms in office.
Shehu: (smirks and giggles lightly).
Bubu: I also prayed for good health and long life, so I can retire to my farm in Daura after several years of serving the country. I prayed to Allah to make our youth hard-working. He should give them jobs so they won’t have time for yahoo yahoo and to be complaining about everything… I also asked for more oil. Wallahi, we need more oil in the country, especially in the North. If we are making the states more independent, we need to discover crude oil reserves fast the other regions. And, na’am, I prayed for Aisha. Ah! That woman does not listen. She does not know her place. It is not everything you talk about in public. I just hope Allah answers my prayer and make her pay more attention to the family than the media.
Shehu: Hmm… Noted, Mr President.
Bubu: The security problem in Nigeria… ah, I must not forget that one. For at least twenty minutes, I prayed fervently about all these herdsmen, Boko Haram crises disturbing my government in some of these states. Now, kidnappers have joined them. Only God can restore peace to the country now, wallahi. I’ve done my best. I’m sure with our fasting and prayer in this holy month, we’ll start noticing some changes. Make sure you tell Nigerians their president is praying for peace, mallam.
… Two hours later, one hears the clicking sounds of keys as someone writes an email on a very expensive laptop—adjusted for (contract) inflation.
“Dear Premium Times,
… We are pleased to have you know that the president has just returned from the holy grounds where lies the grave of the prophet of Islam; and there he said prayers for the nation, his family, and himself.”
Senior Adviser on Media to the President.
Shehu: (coughs) That should do.