Smile General, smile’
EXCEPT his family members and ‘very close’ associates, perhaps, not many Nigerians have seen General Muhammadu Buhari smile, even wryly.
Although his face has been tempered by age, Nigerians, who were around in his heydays as Head of State, would attest to a man with steely gait and resolve to mould the citizens in his own image.
Forty years later, and having gone through the baptism of fire in three consecutive elections, “Buhari is still the same” even at campaign stomps where those seeking the mandate of the people loosen up, if only for the moment.Watch President Goodluck Jonathan of late and see what we mean!
A man of limited words, Buhari is almost mechanical, as he walks to the podium, delivers his speech and waves to the cheering crowds that besiege his campaign rallies. But that was before the coming of Prof. Femi Osinbajo, an eminent lawyer cum pastor, who has smiles playing on his face all the time, “even when he lectures recalcitrant students.”
The gist is that when Buhari named Osinbajo as his running mate, the latter’s immediate task was to “tone down” the General’s visage, especially in the public.
An insider put the scenario this way: “Prof. Osinbajo tried hard for days to work on the candidate’s mien without any success. “Then came the decision to have some photo shoots, to be used for posters, billboards, leaflets and media messages for the presidential campaigns.
“The General was prepared for a photogenic session, and the photographer started clicking away, but the result displayed by the digital camera was not good enough; that’s Buhari’s visage was almost or still the same: stern, taut, unsmiling.”
Then Osinbajo intervened, telling Buhari that none of the photographs would be good enough to advertise his candidacy, not the least the pick to go along with the ‘One Meal, One Child’ poster.
“Smile General, smile,” Osinbajo said. “The children will not eat the food o if they see your face like this. Please, smile General,” he added. And that did it: a broad smile, as never seen before, spread across Buhari’s face. That’s how we now have a toothy smile: a smile for the cameras, a smile for the record, and a smile for all ages.