Buhari and Barber’s Chair conundrum By Bunmi Olaniyan

by on March 28, 2016
Barbing saloons have always held a special fascination for me,none more so than the Nigerian barbing saloon,the gossips and verbal joustings between customers and the barbers the Politics which transpire between customers and the struggle to get on their favorite barber’s seat.

Amidst the languid atmosphere of social interaction, however, my favorite experience in a barbing saloon is sitting on the swivel chair as the foot pedal hydraulics is pumped and the chair is elevated, then seat slightly inclined backwards eyes closed as i lose all sense of inhibitions to the very skilful barber patiently crafting my hair.
Apart from its practical uses, the barber’s swivel chair has always held a more compelling niche in native social convention for as long as I can remember especially amongst Yoruba parents who are quite adept at using mundane and inanimate objects to perfectly explicate the most arduous situations.

Amongst the many indigenous expositions which we can meta-phrase in the native colloquial parlance as “apejuwe”which Yorubas use the barber’s chair for is as a pejorative slur to depict a gesture of bewildering perplexity,note that this is not just a random byword as it appears, but a self-replicating notion, an ideal.
To be sure, it does not just depict a random,isolated incident but a metaphoric absolution of consistent and ephemeral action or inaction,of incompetence.

Indulge me as i extrapolate further,one could also outline this term as a palpable state of oblivious cluelessness to put this more succinctly the Yorubas will say an individual with these attributes “On-pooyi bi chair barber” a loose translation literally meaning “Spinning like a barber’s chair” to reaffirm further, this is depiction of an individual caught in a constant state/haze of confusion,floundering all over the place without any sense of order or certainty.

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President Buhari abseiled to victory on a heady and intoxicating elixir of change,he was the independent morally upright outsider who has never been bogged down by a network of patronage hence not obligated to the corrupt and amoral Political class.

He was depicted as lacking the moral duplicity readily found amongst our leaders which anyone could seek to utilize or take advantage of to continue the business as usual,however without going into a long drawn out rehash of the state of the country it is safe for all Nigerians presently to assume the state of the economy ,policy flip-flops have disabused the mind of many regarding these laudable moral almost infallible citation they had erstwhile accorded the President until recently.
In the midst of all these,for me, the catalogue of errors and missteps he has Presided over bothering mainly on his intransigence isn’t the main issue for me but the constant aura of confusing helplessness the President not only portray but exude.

Nothing highlights this more patently than series of glaring inconsistencies in recent times,let us look at a few.
He sent a budget to the senate,a document which affirms social contract he signed with Nigerians and also light the way and sound the tenor of what the next 3 years would be like,what Nigerians got instead was a budget which is now being utilized as a byword to depict the very soul of corruption, a cautionary tale for Governments on what not to do.The budget underlines a moral contradiction one would say to the President’s vaunted moral uprightness.He was forced to withdraw the budget amidst obscure and tenuous excuses.

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Another embarrassing gaffe was the NNPC unbundling,either in a haste to circumvent legal process or a genuine ignorance of constitutional requirements his Minister of Petroleum announced this without consulting relevant stakeholders, again after a public outcry resulting in a strike from oil workers,the Government was forced to do an embarrassing volte face.

The latest which patently highlights this is is the President’s admission and subsequent apology over the dissolution of the National Open University OF Nigeria (NOUN) boards in clear defiance of extant laws.
To many of his avowed supporters, these are isolated policy lapses and a simple display of his frustration at the bureaucratic red tape preventing him from cleaning the Augean stable of corruption,but to a more discerning and enlightened demographic these worryingly consistent contradictions speaks to a President suffering a fallacy engagement.

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A mental state Yorubas will ascribe to that same notion of “On- Pooyi bi chair barber” if you cast your mind back to the cursory dissection of this translation at the beginning of our commentary ie an individual going round in circles like a barber’s chair,apart from the sense of inhibition, another trait i failed to mention which by the way is quite worrying in a President one tends to notice while on the barber’s chair is the abject lack of control.
The barber is in total control of the chair as he swivels it this way and that, while one is completely helpless seated on the chair.This predicament seems the most vivid and precise one can deploy in illustrating the pool of turmoil the President is floundering in at the moment,the question which even I can’t frame an answer for is who is the barber in control as our president flounders on the barber’s chair?




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