Sunny side of Mr. President in Yusuf’s My Hero…..
WHEN Nigerians including those who shared negative perception about President Mohammadu Buhari were about to watch a documentary titled Buhari My Hero…, the power of art to sway the mind was under estimated.
However, If there was anything the 40-minute documentary as a work of art has done, is reveals, in a subtle manner, the sunny side of Buhari and endears him to many.
The film, which was premiered during the week as part of activities heralding the dawn of Buhari’s administration, has eminent Nigerians in attendance among them General Paul Tafa, Mallam Isyaku Ibrahim, Alhaji M.M. Abdul, former Minister of Information, Mr. Tony Momoh, as well as former Head of Civil Service, Mr. Steve Oronsaye. Also present was the Director General, National Gallery of Art, Abduallahi Muku.
In her opening remarks, Executive Producer of the documentary, Ireti Bakare Yusuf, said she got into the film through a voluntary work, and she that was not certain Buhari would win the election. Yet many people supported her ambition and that was what led to the actualization of the work.
On the choice of title, she said the dots after the word ‘Hero’ was included after the election was won to capture the inputs that were gathered after the election. According to Yusuf, after four years of Buhari’s administration, those who do not believe in him now might come to agree with the title.
Chairman of the day, General Tafa, an age-long ally of Buhari, commended the executive producer. According to him, the fact that the documentary was single handedly financed by her was most commendable. Tafa said, “She traversed Nigeria with her team and at her expense to interview people, friends and relations of Buhari because of her belief in Buhari as somebody who will bring change to Nigeria.
The documentary says it all but even before that, I want to say that Buhari is the man Nigeria needs now and my prayer is that all that he stood for and had said would be fulfilled in the next four years”.
For about 40 minutes, audience were taken through interviews with prominent Nigerians on one hand and the general public who had not had any close relationship with him on the other hand; each giving his perception about the new President. Max Siollun, a historian, for instance, described Buhari as a very consistent person while others see him from the perception of honesty, consistent and integrity.
In fact, every aspect of Buhari’s life was captured in interviews with 29 Nigerians that comprised close associates, childhood friends, relations, family members, employees as well as the general public.
Among those interviewed are Musa Bello, Kunle Idiagbon, Captain Paul Tafa, Dr. Abiola Gyado, General Mohammed Magoro, Tunji Lardner and Chief Bisi Akande.
Ironically, even though they were interviewed at different times and in different places, every contributor had an impressive and positive description of the man.
The highlight of the interview was where Buhari’s wife revealed how humorous he is. According to her, Mr. President also loves animal channels and local movies and could watch films for over 10 hours without getting bored.
Speaking at the end of the film, Yusuf stated that although the task was very challenging, she got a little support from friends and that made her work more of a memorable experience than a challenge, adding, “It was challenging but also, I had support and that made things a lot easier. However, that was not the most challenging task I have ever carried out. We live in Nigeria; we all have challenges but we always overcome those challenges. So, I like to see it as a journey and experience rather than a challenge
“But it was good going to see all those friends of President Buhari. Some of the things I learnt from them behind the camera were greater than those in the film and as for whether it changed my perception about Buhari, I will say it did. Who would have thought that Buhari is into comic books? His wife said he sits down and watches animal channels for over 10 hours and he loves it to a point where he begins to cry. Who would have thought of that?
“The Buhari we all know is a man that is austere and straight looking. Nobody knew he also has a sense of humour. It was one of the things I learnt. So, a lot of my perception about him changed and I think a lot of people’s perception about him also changed through the documentary. It was very rewarding for me in many ways but definitely not financially.
“As a Nigerian, as a person and in my own development, it has enabled me to learn so much about the goodness of this country. One of the things that became apparent to me is that there are honest, humble, God-fearing and law abiding men and women in this country who served the nation wholeheartedly without stealing a penny.
“These people are of a different generation from ours and I hope that our generation would learn from them. A lot of Buhari’s friends I met have humble homes. It is a case of show me your friend and I will tell you who you are”.
Also the Director-General, National Gallery of Art, Abdullahi Muku, said he was taking away a lot of things from the documentary, adding, “I learnt that we have a leader that is disciplined. With a disciplined leader, the followers will have no option than to be disciplined. But the most important thing I have learnt from the documentary is that we as a people appear to be having our last chance to get things right. Hence, we must give our maximum cooperation to ensure he succeeds and when he success, we succeed. In one word, I will say that he is a disciplined man with a tremendous belief in the country and committed to see that everything works well for Nigeria”.
For former Minister of Information, Chief Tony Momoh, the documentary brings out the humane side of Buhari as told by friends. He adds, “It also brought out how humorous he is.
How strict people thought he was but how very humorous he has always been. There were lots of things people did not know about Buhari, which came out in the film today – closeness to those who worked with him and those he worked with.
As a person, I have known Buhari since 2003 when I was with him and I know he is the simplest man you can meet. He talks about the rules and expects everybody to obey the rules.
He is very predictable you will know what he will do; if you compromise any of the issues, you are on your own… Buhari said things have become so bad that it will take a lot of time to stabilize and he will pursue security, develop infrastructure and all of us will look forward to prosperity”.