[The Presidential Blog] One photo from Osinbajo’s consultations says (almost) everything about Nigeria right now

It is so interesting, all these unexpected extras we are learning about Nigeria from the recent ethnic agitations and the consequent consultations.

Who’d have thought that a situation as ugly as the issuance of “quit notices” from one part of the nation to another and the fear that the hate birthed would lead us to real truths about our dear country. Truths like those contained in the speech delivered by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo at the graduation ceremony of Senior Course 39 at the Armed Forces Command & Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna.

Truths like those we just decoded in this photo from the June 21st consultation with that Professor Osinbajo held with all State Governors:

Just look at that!

First, and probably the most obvious is the fact of the existence of ethnic tensions in Nigeria. That’s why the photo exists after all. Because if the IPOB hadn’t continued to threaten the sovereign expression of Nigeria and the Northern Youth group had not written the most ill-conceived and hateful letter of our times, the Acting President would not have had to call this meeting with the State governors.

We’ll skip some of the more obvious revelations like how Nigeria is shockingly only ever green in photos. So much green everywhere; if only some of that green could actually grow out of our soils to feed us. We’ll skip that though.

We’ll also skip the fact that those men who look like they are protecting the Acting President (those three in the dark suits) remind us of the lack of confidence we have in our security forces at this point in history – with Boko Haram, militants and herdsmen and their impostors, bad policemen, Badoo boys and co and people like Evans threatening our safety and security every minute of everyday. But let’s not talk about how these men remind us of all the security personnel dressed up only to leave us constantly open to attacks.

Let’s instead talk about that hanging photo of the President, the single one in view in the photograph. It’s lack of focus, it’s shrunken size as a result of focal distance and almost forgettable existence is a rude reminder of the status of the framed subject in Nigeria.

President Buhari has spent no less than 100 days out of the 175 days we’ve had in 2017 outside the country and too ill to perform the duties of his office. While we are desperately concerned about his welfare and whereabouts, there is no doubt that like the distant and blurry nature of that frame in the photograph above, Nigerians have moved on from President Buhari’s role as Commander-in Chief. It’s like yes, we know he’s there but there’s just almost no proof of it.

Finally, you see how only the women in the photo are the constant gender that is out of focus? Like we don’t know what exactly they are doing there; none of them are governors after all. We aren’t saying anything extraordinary and it’s understandable that there’s possibly a version of this photo that put the women in focus and this one was chosen as the best one to depict what was happening in the moment. Still, this photo is a clear representation of the gender imbalance that exists in Nigeria’s leadership. It’s just the reality.

What do you think? Do you see what we see? Do you see more? Or is it just a photograph?

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