The unfinished business of our debut will come up in a latter edition. Today falls to a matter of urgent national importance.
Yesterday in Abuja, one of those informal gatherings of men, who would rather they were recognised as Senior Boys saw a mild debate degenerate into a shouting match. There’s too much bad blood in this country. Well, there’s always been.
A battery of questions flew all over the place: Is it Buhari that led us here? The way he talks, does Buhari have what it takes to lead us out? Is he doing his job well? Is he an agent of unity or disunity? Seeing his penchant for personal interest, can Nigerians trust him? Why do we fall to hardship anytime he rules?
The questions went on and on. Each camp concocted answers, which were rudely punctuated by follow-up questions. But, from all that madness, I gleaned some sense: One, Nigerians have become monitoring spirits; closely watching President Muhammadu Buhari. Two, the untold hardship concomitant with recession has made citizens over-bitter. And, three: Even with 2019 ‘light years’ away, posterity has begun in earnest to calculate Buhari’s post-Aso Rock ratings. It’s the price of Change the chief beneficiary must pay!
Furthermore, those Senior Boys called me out vis-a-vis the Buhari Presidency. They stoked my personal fire. To be sure, I love Buhari. But, as he ticks off each day of the remaining two of his four years, my nostalgia craves the former Buhari. Sulking over a preferred past cannot be a present positive; yet I cannot stop wondering how a man, who held so much promise as tokenified in him being preferred to an incumbent, could so soon get to this point where even his supporters curse under their breath. This joke isn’t funny. Our president leaves me stranded in scores of areas. My half-a-dozen tip of the iceberg should suffice:
One, where on earth is this country headed? It is true that Buhari wasn’t in charge the last sixteen years; truer that our horrible economic mess predated the epochal election; but, it is truest that when Dr. Goodluck Jonathan wasn’t that surefooted, Nigerians gave the job to PMB, who showed too much hunger. Again, I understand, anyone who inherits ‘an empty carcass’ could be flabberwhelmed; what with the ‘double wahala’ of slipping into a recession. However, empathy cannot assuage this administration’s non-existent roadmap, policy somersaults here, and puerile mistakes there. I try uploading these situation reports into Buhari performance folder, and all that pops up on the national screen is gloomy doom. To unbetray, Buhari should generate confidence, and stimulate national renaissance!
Two, Donald Trump Siamese twins? Never. I mean, why must l cringe every time my president talks? Aren’t his Freudian slips too many? Yes, he is a funny man but at whose cost? Imagine:
‘Why is it that … When they have spent all the money, when they made the country insecure that I returned? Why didn’t I come when the treasury was full? Oil price was over $140 per barrel and when I came, it slipped down to $30. Why me?’ (05/02/16 interview on Al Jazeera). ‘Constituencies that gave me 97% cannot be treated (equally) with those that gave me 5%’. (At United States Institute of Peace). ‘My wife belongs in my living room, kitchen and the other room’.
The lamentations of this president depress me. Plus, anytime he has a global opportunity to go high, he almost-always goes low. Take his wife’s BBC outing for instance. Buhari squandered a lifetime chance to make peace with an aggrieved female population as well as his fifteen million voters. Rather than shred that interview, he should have reassured the so-called ‘wailing wailers’, and rejigged the waning pull of the Buhari allegory. Aisha spoke the minds of an alarming majority of Nigerians, baying for his political blood (2019, if). Alas, not only did her own husband standing side by side with the wife of a man like him rubbish her bold, altruistic intervention, he did it – as is his wont – abroad!
Which brings me to the third way Buhari rankles me: Must he always globe-wash our dirty linen? In a century and counting, Buhari has no good second the way his words, actions and inactions hurt international Nigeria. And, he looks to me like a stubborn man. With his no-nonsense mien, coupled with a seventyish age and status, as a retired army general, war veteran and former Head of State, his aides – most of whom are far younger – must be swearing silently; this being a continent where age and position command maximum awe. PMB should accentuate his capacity and readiness to listen. Only this way can these handlers tuck him in!
Four, has he squandered the goodwill that saw to a Nigeria presidential record of defeating incumbent GEJ, who, reading national mood, quietly and quickly conceded defeat? GEJ’s phone call was a Nigerian first. PMB himself did not make the call in 2003, 2007 or 20011. He should be grateful to us for blessing him with harvest he did sow. Continuously taking citizens for granted is tantamount to going the way of the shoeless one. More interface, please!
Five, the president over-protects those he loves and over-exposes those he hates. This unbuharic mannerism stings me. Buhari fights financial corruption mercilessly but condones nepotistic corruption. No, my grouse is not about appointing only people he knows or likes. Was he supposed to appoint his enemies? I only worry about how he reminds me so strikingly of my state former chief executive, who could give you even to half of his kingdom, if he loved you; but if he didn’t, you were finished, completely finished. Buhari should not shield his aides. Otherwise, public cynicism on Dasuki, FFK, Metuh, judges et al will follow him like an invisible entourage. Ticking some as untouchable and asterisking others for the tongue or cane instigates those powerful enough to fight back. I suspect that the systemic dislocation this administration suffers is the brainchild of these ones!
Six, that castration of APC. The President is the father of APC, is he? Does he love, guide and provide for the party? I look at APC and I miss PDP. How can any governing party be so beggarly: No mother, no father, no money, no voice? What’s going on? Isn’t it political corruption to use people for election, and dump them afterwards? What happened to Tinubu & co.?
Finally, God brought Buhari for serious business. Let him keep his eyes on the ball rather than footle about who’s naming what what; or seeking to become a national scarecrow; or dwelling on bygones. His team must do the needful before Buharism becomes a dented, demystified butt for politicians. That indeed is my worst fear for the man from Daura. God bless Nigeria!