The ceremony was brief at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International  Airport, Abuja. The jet was humming, waiting for the President. He shook hands with a line of aides who had lined up for the brief farewell. All smiles, they wished him a safe flight.

But, President Muhammadu Buhari’s handshake with his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, was some minutes longer. He held Kyari’s hand firmly, pointing his left forefinger. Kyari, his head bent, was all ears. He refrained from looking at his boss eyeball to eyeball. The discussion  – instruction seems to be more appropriate – must have been important. It was a privileged as usual, aptly concealed from the prime eyes of other officials and, of course, the media.

But, what was the Commander-In-Chief telling the Chief of Staff? What to do at the next Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting? Or was he reminding him about a certain file? How to respond to certain critical issues? What should wait till he returns? An urgent errand? A correspondence to attend to? Or something he forgot to do that should be done urgently?

In Africa, heads of government can only sleep with one eye open— no thanks  to the sheer weight of the highest office or the suspicion that characterises the polity. The President may have travelled abroad on a 10-day vacation during which he will seek a solution to a nagging ear infection, his mind will surely be at work, resisting the strong pull of home front.

President Buhari will still be consulted by his aides on emergency matters for which he is expected to issue directives, despite being on vacation. The problems are formidable, no doubt. Avengers on the prowl in the troubled Niger Delta, the herdsmen onslaught, the troubled economy, the rising cost of living, the workers’ strike in many states, Boko Haram and the “rebellion” by an insider on the borrowed platform of restructuring.

But, there is no cause for alarm – or so it seems. The Chief of Staff, in the second picture taken during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, appears to be the janitor and monitor. What was he telling Vice President – no, an error there – Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, who presided? This is the way to go? This is what the President said we should do?

Instructively, Kyari is pointing his right forefinger, apparently for emphasis. The Vice President is listening, his neck bent to soak it in fully.

Raising the forefinger can be a warning, especially when it is wagged up and down at somebody, who may not necessarily be the subject of the admonition. It can also be an action to merely emphasise a point during a discussion. Besides, it can be deployed in pointing at an object of interest or to indicate an item.

What is President Buhari saying here? Over to all those who claim to have an understanding of His Excellency’s body language.

Source at thenation


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