Incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari is one of the most maligned leaders Nigeria has ever had. This is not an exaggeration. Neither is it an attempt to wax lyrical about Nigeria’s current head of government. It is rather meant to rebut the unfair censorships Mr. President is being subjected to by every Tom, Dick and Harry, especially the narcissistic power mongers in our midst, who find it fanciful carpeting all the deeds and intentions – good or bad – of Mr. President.
I am not holding brief for PMB here – far from it. Yes, he has not lived completely up to the lofty promises he made to Nigerians, prior to, and sequel to his crushing electoral victory in 2015, despite some of the quite impressive gains so far recorded by his administration in the wars on corruption and insurgency! Yes, he has not succeeded in wielding Nigeria together into a united, peaceful nation, as evidenced by the growing animosities amongst the country’s indigent ethnic, religious and tribal groups! Yes he has not effectively stemmed the burgeoning tide of insecurity across the country, as depicted by the increasing wave of violent attacks on hapless citizens by rampaging herdsmen and other criminal elements! Yes, the economy is not yet completely out of the doldrums, despite the gains in agriculture, increased fiscal discipline in the public sector etc! Yes, PMB is not a saint! He never was and never will be! But I think that is where all the recriminations should stop, after all, the President is a fallible mortal being, like we all are.
That Nigerians want change is a fact that cannot be over emphasized. Considering their sordid experiences under the disparate forms of – civilian and military – leaderships they have experienced in the course of their country’s checkered history, Nigerians are in desperate need of a new deal. They want to live better lives by having access to the basic necessities of life such as food, clothing, shelter and security. They are tired of subsisting under the hellish conditions they currently wallow in, consequent to the avoidable leadership deficits of the past. And they believe that this utopia can only be made possible by an altruistic, humane and utilitarian leadership that seeks to provide the greatest happiness for the greatest number, on the widest possible scale. This explains their angry reactions whenever their leaders seem not to be living up to their expectations.
However, while Nigerians cannot be faulted for rightly expressing their misgivings at some of the perceived shortcomings of PMB’s administration, they must beware of the mischievous agendas of some snoopy members of the political establishment, the incarnates of corruption in the mold of the roguish elements currently perfecting plans to vie for, or sponsoring their henpecks to vie for, the Presidential tiara in 2019, who have joined the bandwagon of the pathetic characters castigating PMB for supposedly failing in his sworn duties to Nigerians. The likes of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former military Head of State (1976-1979) and civilian President (1999-2007), and Alhaji Atiku Abubakir, his deputy, and retired General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, former military “President” – an aberration in every sense of the word – and dictator (1985-83) and others of similar mien, fall within this distinct category.
But if one may ask, who among these shady characters championing PMB’s ouster from office, has better intentions for Nigerians considering their blurred antecedents? Is it the same old brigade whose past misdemeanours contributed to transforming Nigeria into the rank shithole – respect to Donald Trump – it has become today? These living fossils, these supposed angels, brought nothing to the table when they had opportunities to serve this country. Where were these Neanderthals when the phantom of corruption metamorphosed into state policy in Nigeria? Where were these clanging cymbals when the economy developed the visceral deformities that have virtually crippled it? Where were these empty shells when the gorgon of violence took root? It was during the stints of these hollow skunks in office that most of the ugly challenges the country currently grapples with reared their monstrous heads. Our history books are replete with accounts of the damning crimes against humanity serially perpetrated against Nigerians by these animals in human skin; the hideous medusas, who are scheming to take us back to barbarous times – back to the dark ages of modern times.
It was under OBJ’s stewardship as Commander-in-Chief, with Atiku serving as his deputy, that the use of terror tactics by state forces against voices of dissent became standard practice, culminating in the rise of militancy in the Niger Delta, the birth of the Medusa we know today as of Boko Haram, and other irredentist groups. The Crucifixion of Odi, Zaki Biam and extra judicial murder of Muhammed Yusuf, founder of Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, which in Arabic means “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”, by State security forces, are classic cases of the several sacrileges of the Obasanjo-Atiku years. For IBB, his sins are legion. Under his jackboot rule corruption became state policy in Nigeria, the freest and fairest Presidential election in Nigeria’s political history, the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election, was annulled, assassination of dissenting voices – for instance Dele Giwa’s murder by letter bomb et al – escalated to frightening proportions, and the civil liberties of the citizenry were brazenly abused at will. IBB was simply a class act in the art of misdirection. No wonder he was nicknamed Maradonna by the ever witty Nigerian press.
Blaming PMB for the all the country’s contemporary woes are simply pathetic attempts by a crop of demented demagogues desperate to wrest power from the incumbent at all costs and continue their reign of uncensored wastage and sleaze. It is a blunt, farcical and desperate attempt at damage control by a band of yapping yahoos who are being hunted by the ghosts of their past failures. That is the simple truth of the matter! If PMB is guilty of misruling this country for the three and half years he has spent in office as a civilian President, the depraved yokels lampooning him are even guiltier of setting the precedent for his failures having planted the poisonous seeds that have germinated into the mammoth problems stagnating and stunting the growth of the country.
If Nigerians want change, they should go for a true third force – not the one being mischievously floated by Baba Ijebu and his band of sniveling courtiers. A couple of thoroughbred champions with altruistic intentions have indicated their interests to contest the Presidential, Governorship and Parliamentary seats that would be on offer in 2019. Nigerians should carefully sift through the resumes of these individuals and make informed choices. They must not make the mistake of selling their collective conscience to the same set of treacherous bushwhackers who are responsible for the piteously squalid state they currently wallow in: those who usually speak from both sides of their malodorous mouths during elections, promising them heaven on earth, only to deliver caches of cyanide once they gain entrance into the mansions of power. Rather than vote along party, ethnic, religious and other primordial lines, the quality of the candidates on offer should inform the choices of the electorate on D-Day.
We should learn from our past sordid experiences and strive to do the right things this time around. It should not be business as usual for the dark lords in our midst. As Charles (a.k.a Charly Boy) Oputa would say, our mumu don do!