By Kingsley Ogbeide-Ihama
While the widely purported integrity of President Muhammadu Buhari was making way for his victory in the 2015 Presidential Election, the other selling point was his sternness, considered vital in forcing Nigerians to comply with the right attitude which would instill a national rebirth.
Honestly, the issue on board was not just about Buhari’s publicly averred stand on corruption, but his perceived ability to orchestrate the kind of leadership which would fight those not shunning or expressing disdain for corruption. In other words, it is not about one man’s sterling quality, but what the man can make others do with such a quality – as a core element for inspiring good governance, leadership and even followership.
Campaigning for former President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election, the former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan continuously exhibited missteps as she did in several other issues by accusing Buhari of lacking the temperament of mercy towards corrupt or would be corrupt Nigerians.
In toto, Mrs. Jonathan was unwittingly campaigning for Buhari by strumming the very cord that Nigerians wanted to hear of a merciless fighter against corruption.
Even as Patience Jonathan kept chanting Buhari’s greatest concern to be the construction of numerous dungeons to jail Nigerians over any perceived corruption, she was on one hand displaying a rancid testimonial of President Jonathan’s tacit acceptance of corruption or lack of will to make it authoritatively reprobative; and on the other, increasing the need for Nigerians to keep beckoning on the likes of Buhari for national restoration.
But understanding that the past poor human right records of Buhari as a military Head of State were still issues to worry about, it could have influenced Patience Jonathan to consider defaming him by piecing his presidential ambition with cautionary notes in order to whittle down on any restorative presumptions Nigerians might be hoping to benefit from him.
Also stemming from such apprehensive past, it is conceivable to further assume that even before Buhari emerged as the presidential flag bearer of his political party, the APC, the need for internal caution and mutual assurances within the party would have taken place earlier than Mrs. Jonathan started making the need for caution her fond campaign message.
However, eliciting safeguards which bother on perpetually guaranteed personal freedom or exemptions from prosecution would necessarily go beyond verbal commitments, religious averments, or mere dependency on the affinity created by being members of the same political party.
Reasonably, there ought to be some practical exercises which have to do with debriefing and mind-reprogramming. Such mind reprogramming can easily be advanced with the excuse of imbuing Buhari’s mindset with the tenets of democratic practices or severance from military autocracy.
The aforesaid could have also offered the leeway of ensuring that shared political voyage is set on a permanently safe-mode even when taking the risk of arriving at jointly targeted goals by ‘riding on the tiger’s back.
When recently I saw in the social media an attempt to inform the world that the President Muhammadu Buhari we now have is different from the one who went into the London Hospital for treatment, I conceded even as the source tried to make some physical differentiations with duality of pictures; that the attempted misinformation was nothing short of a blindfolded journey into the heart of the ludicrous.
However, such drolleries or mundane stories cannot be outrightly jettisoned as unimaginable when predicated on what President Buhari’s government has become.
And there is no better censoring voice that has alluded to Buhari’s recanting than Aisha Buhari’s, the very President’s wife, having observed the fastly receding trust open which the electoral victory was offered.
And what makes the situation more regrettable is that outside the seemingly betrayed people’s trust and lethargy in taking decisive actions about most of the campaign promises, even when the detractions to such realisations are identified, then it becomes evident that President Buhari is having challenges with taking repudiating but well-meaning actions. With the deflating outlook of the current situations which peg repulsiveness to the manner of handling the cases of Dr. Maikanti Baru, GMD, NNPC and Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of States, Petroleum Resources; Babachir Lawal former SGF; Ayodele Oke former DG, NIA; Senator Isah Misau and Police IG, Ibrahim Idris; coupled with a sundry others, it becomes conceivable to peruse again, the expressed strangeness of Buhari’s attitude by Aisha Buhari. It is this same strangeness that I think is the outcome of over-supplanting Buhari’s sternness during the process of broaching or ‘reprogramming’ him to adapt to the laxities which are inherent in the practices of democracy.
To even imagine that accusations of stinking corruption with glaring evidences can be perpetrated right under Buhari’s nose by his former SGF, Babachir Lawal and the deplorable state of the State House Clinic which is meant to serve the President and his immediate family – in spite of the devoted huge funds, say much about the impression that Buhari may have wrongly been ‘over-reprogrammed’ for Nigeria’s kind of democracy. And except something drastic happens, and his APC members are thinking seriously about making good the outcome of the 2019 Presidential Election, Nigerians may have to learn how to dance to the apparent broken record which Buhari has been ‘programmed’ to play.