FOR those who care to know, I am a passionate supporter of the Muhammadu Buhari cause and that position is not about to change! As a matter of fact, my preference in the March 28, 2015 Presidential Election through which Buhari eventually became Nigeria’s first opposition candidate ever to defeat an incumbent president, was a product of my convictions and until I have sufficient reasons to change course, my preference remains on course. Be that as it may, surprise will be the appropriate word should I fail to make the list of the ‘Cult of Wailing Wailers’ as a result of this piece which I believe is in the overall interest of my country.
Whichever way the pendulum swings, the good news is that, within a very short time in office, Buhari has, to a great extent, succeeded in rescuing Nigeria from the jaws of a predatory elite and a band of merit-devalued interlopers who have for close to two decades deprived Nigeria of her gold and silver. However, this is not to say that I envy the president, not even with the scourge of impunity that has turned Nigeria into a morass of incensed screeches where priorities are misplaced with unimaginable perfidy and, responsibilities, shifted with unrivaled pomposity.
Like the Biblical ten plagues, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, passed through our land and all we could feel were pinches of hypocrisy and pains of stagnation. Its bunch of yo-yos insulted our collective intelligence with unimaginable artificiality and its crop of educated-but-politically-incompetent hands, “celestially” endowed to take care of the downtrodden, only used their “celestial weapons” to mortgage our commonwealth. And, as if the gods were angry, meanness replaced magnificence; and, in place conviction, we had deception.
Buhari’s victory at the poll is no doubt a great opportunity to reposition the ruling All Progressives Party, APC, as a party of principle. It is also an opportunity for the progressive class to truly rediscover itself before the next General Elections, especially, if the ruling party must retain its relevance in the consciousness of Nigerians. As things stand, there are folks out there in whose eyes the only difference between the badly-degraded PDP and the victorious APC is Buhari. Well, maybe one or two other genuine hearts here and there. But they are as scarce as hen’s teeth! Added to this is the opposition’s reported huge investment in a mass of experts in the spread of hate messages against the president but, from the look of things, it is as if the president’s strategists and publicists have forgotten that lies, when told too often, have the capacity to carouse the exigencies of truth. In my candid opinion, this is unhealthy for the party that wants to move beyond where it currently holds sway to the upper realm!
Needless to repeat that the president’s efforts at recovering part of Nigeria’s stolen loots is already yielding fruits. Nonetheless, concerted efforts should be made towards preventing the anti-corruption war from being a temporary reprieve. This is why, apart from building it around structures, not men, Buhari must also endeavour to reform a zigging-zagging judiciary that is at the moment misconstruing the people’s tall level of tolerance for short memory. He must strive to put in place workable structures that will prevent our monies from being indescribably stolen and indiscriminately stashed abroad. At least for once in the affairs of this great country, our destiny as a people created by God should stop being in the hands of Pharisees who value passion of power above logic of reason and Princes of Sodom who cry even when they don’t have tears.
Some governors’ sojourn in denial with threatening jaunts of antiquated illogicality notwithstanding, except Nigeria’s socio-economic landscape which is currently playing host to the fury of a global meltdown receives anointing for improvement, it stands to be seen how most of the states can survive, post-Buhari’s First Term in office. For instance, no fewer than four out of the six states in the Southwest are as we speak in arrears of several months of workers’ salaries and allowances. Other zones, including the Federation, are not faring any better. No thanks to an economic malaise that has taken hold over the national economy.
Without mincing words, it is my hope that Buhari would do well for progressive politics by departing from the old, cruel culture of taking the needs and expectations of its followers as a four yearly-ritual in which, immediately their votes are captured, counted and credited, they become aberrant artefacts whose ‘phones will no longer ring’ until it is another election year. Yes! In their attitude of pettiness and little traditions, some among them may wish to gloriously access the Promised Land without painstakingly encountering the Red Sea while, like the children of Israel, others may prefer serving the Egyptians to dying in the wilderness! But, like it or not, since politics is a numbers game, the president will be in a better stead with the wisdom of Solomon, not the tact of Jeroboam!
Again, that Buhari has done well for himself and for the country is no longer news! If he maximizes the momentum, the president may become to Nigeria what Abraham Lincoln is to the United States of America. Like Buhari, Lincoln had governed America at her most difficult time. Apart from leading his country through its bloodiest civil war, Abe Lincoln also saw it through its greatest moral, constitutional and political crisis. Not only did he abolish slavery, he also strengthened the government and completely rescued the economy from the bottomless mess into which it had previously been plunged.
Like the Lincoln-era America, Nigeria’s current challenges are not only monstrous, they’re also hydra-headed. The country is currently contending with its bloodiest non-conventional war ever even as Barrabas and disaster capitalists who masquerade as leaders have reduced dear fatherland to a rustic cave of impiety, stymied development and inverted values. Coincidentally, the ‘bureaucracy’ which quickened former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration journey to the golgotha is still in Buhari’s government, almost a year after, doing new things the old way and it’s as if the president is comfortable with their services. On the other hand, those ‘Change Agents’ who committed so much in terms of human and material resources into making the Buhari dream a reality have for close to a year been waiting in the wings to contribute their quota to the development of the polity or, as the case may be, replenish their barns. Indeed, this is where the president has to proactively rise to the occasion in order to avoid any possible backlash which may be unpleasant to the ruling party and counterproductive to the country.
Ernest Benn describes politics as “the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.” But what is so special in progressive politics that politicians always find a place of refuge in it? Even in its “comfortable and ill-defined” state, how does a progressive party manage its successes as well as prevent abuse of power in politics and government? And, with our kind of politics and the attitude of politicians in this clime, is any politician worth dying for? As a matter of fact, is politics worth dying for, let alone politicians?
Like Teddy Roosevelt, Buhari will be writing his name in gold if he is able to champion noble aims that are in agreement with Nigeria’s socio-economic and geo-political realities. And who knows? With zealous vigilance, our president may end up as another “ultimate pragmatist” and an “epitome of a president who endured personal loss, political attacks, and the prospect of presiding over the dissolution of the country, yet persevered and triumphed.”
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!
*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria (firstname.lastname@example.org)