His Unhappiness, Our Happiness: Praying For Buhari’s Unhappiness

By Ikenga Chronicles April 7, 2019

His Unhappiness, Our Happiness: Praying For Buhari’s Unhappiness

–Dr. Vitus Ozoke

“I’m one of the unhappiest leaders in the world” (President Buhari of Nigeria)

I know that others will read their own meanings into, and offer their own interpretation of, the above statement. For me three things emerge from it:

One, it is a good place for any leader to be. Notice that Buhari did not say he was one of the unhappiest people on earth. His unhappiness relates to him as a leader. Leaders, especially national political leaders, are not supposed to be the happiest people on earth. The day a national leader ceases to be unhappy is the day he should step aside. It is the day society has no more use for him.

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Every society should be a permanent work in progress. It is not the work, but the permanency of the work, that keeps every leader unhappy. Even as great as the American society is, and even though her forefathers acknowledged that America was a perfect society, it did not stop them, in the preamble to the American Constitution, from committing themselves to the task of building “a more perfect Union”. It is that permanent and unending task of, and commitment to, building a more perfect Union that should keep any and every American leader unhappy until the ambitious mirage of perfection is achieved. So, it’s a good thing that President Buhari is an unhappy leader. We should pray that he is even more unhappy as a leader.

Two, it’s Buhari’s acknowledgement that he is a leader. It’s too often the case that African rulers see themselves as presidents, instead of leaders. Presidency is politics, leadership is vocation. Presidency is driven principally by a quest for personal power. Leadership is driven by a passion to empower others. Presidency is transient, leadership is transformative.

So, now that Buhari has realized that he is a leader, the expectation is that he should start acting like one. The situation in Zamfara and elsewhere is a national disgrace. There is a vacuum of national leadership in Zamfara right now. Leader Buhari must step up and lead.

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Three, there is, and should be, a direct relationship between society’s unhappiness and the leader’s unhappiness. As Nigerians’ level of unhappiness rises, Buhari’s unhappiness rises, or should rise. And for a country recently rated as the sixth most miserable place on earth, it is logical to conclude that the people’s unhappiness is soaring through the roof. And it’s not just logic, it is also fact. Nigerians are indeed unhappy. There’s hunger; there’s misery; and there’s fear.

But there’s also danger. There’s the danger that Buhari’s unhappiness as a leader, if unchecked, might seep and bleed into his unhappiness as a person. That will be a major tragedy. That will have severe deleterious consequences for both Buhari’s personal health and for the nation he leads. To check that, Buhari’s unhappiness as a leader must be reduced and kept at a healthy level. To do that, Buhari must commit himself to reducing and even eradicating the unhappiness in the general Nigerian populace. Nigerians must be able to live in the peace, security, and safety of their homes, streets, neighborhoods, communities, future and finances. Until that is done, and since those are the panacea for Buhari’s happiness as a leader, let us, as Christians, on a Lenten Sunday, pray for Leader Buhari’s unhappiness.