Nigeria, a nation at war with itself
For the past couple of weeks, I have had the weirdest misfortune of listening to friends and former colleagues, people that I hold in high respect espousing ideas that I did not imagine any rational Nigerian would consider at this time. I have heard the incessant clamouring for PVCs – and for a while I thought they were referring to some plumbing device. On further inquiry, I came to understand that it has to do with the upcoming elections. I wonder how PVCs translates to electoral power when your votes are limited by the choices available to you. APC, PDP, are they not the same characters we ought to kick out of government? I am aligned with the position to suspend any absurd elections and call for a national referendum. The other insipid and malignant vituperation is the suggestion that President Muhammadu Buhari is fighting corruption and moving the country forward.
Therefore, he should stand to be re-elected for a second term in office. Bollocks!!! I will base my position on facts, which may be controvertible and debatable, but it will be logical and objective. One, I have never met the man Buhari in person and can claim no knowledge about his character or person. I am also not sold by the public attestations that brought him into power as a strong man who is able to change the years of rot in government. All of that adulation belongs to a citizenry forced to make a choice between two bad choices. Buhari in Khakis apparently was younger and more agile man than Buhari, septuagenarian in Babanriga. Whoever he is as a person is beyond my purview, therefore in justice and fairness, I can only address the man based on the facts, non-circumstantial available to me.
Fact number one against the presidency of Buhari is his alliance with the godfathers of corruption under the APC alliance and banner he contested. Lucky for him at the time, clueless Goodluck Jonathan had dropped the baton because he could not match the political sagacity of his opponents, the king makers orchestrating and maneuvering behind the scenes. In any decent country, you cannot mouth the rhetoric of change and promise to fight corruption when you are in cahoots with the architects of corruption. However, Nigeria is not a decent country by a long short, so no one looked at that or cared. Even if Buhari were to try to fight corruption, how easy will it be for him to fight the carefully constructed pyramidical and entrenched system of corruption put in place for years.
Fact number two, Buhari’s nepotism cannot be denied even with the best intentioned Buhari apologists. This favoritism of a particular ethnic group over others is corruption in and of itself. When you have a president who seems to be quiet at the mass murdering of his own nation’s citizens by acknowledged AK 47 wielding foreigners from Libya, and then negotiates with millions of dollars from the country’s coffers with insurgents, terrorists and blood thirsty genocidal maniacs; then his personal corruption is beyond that of those he is witch hunting with his pet bulldog, the EFCC. The inability of the Buhari led administration to show clearly that it is not complicit in the Boko Haram insurgency and the Fulani herdsmen attacks on innocent citizens makes it clear to any reasonable person that Buhari and his team are dangerous and have no love for Nigeria at heart. Fact number three, in the case of cattle colonies/ranching, the pure mindless and unintelligent insistence in building colonies is an effrontery on common sense and anyone with any modicum of decency. Furthermore, the muted idea that the Federal Government will use public funds to build colonies for private enterprise is lunacy at its best.
To ignore expert advice and global practices in modern day cattle rearing and insist on a ludicrous insistence on land grabbing can only be born out of lack of proper advise by the presidential handlers or the man is just plain arrogant. Fact number four, for any president to appear to be insensitive to the plight of the citizenry, not to react in an immediate and appropriate manner to events affecting his own people, even if the president work 24/7 for the same people is lack of empathy and statesmanship. Our retired General, often times seem to be aloof and disconnected from the realities of daily life and the struggles of the hoi polloi. Attempts to strengthen any economy must necessarily at the very beginning make life difficult for the people. It is a necessary pain to bear before things get better. However, if Mr. President is on medical voyeurisms for months outside the country, and a mere fall of his son on his power bike elicits a necessity for a medical visit abroad, then the pain of the citizens does not apply to the ‘royal family’ of the ruling class. Such a man can not under any imaginable situation claim that he is serving his people.
Fact number five and lastly, for our president not to react to the various instances of gross misconduct by public officers often times in his own party does not show a man who is determined to expunge corruption. Two incidents come to mind; that our senate president and his stooge, the Kwara sate governor were publicly implicated in a daring day light robbery that took 33 innocent lives.
As usual, they pushed the story up and down, and life continues as usual. It is only in a country like Nigeria that these two characters will still be in public service. The second event is the immediate past gubernatorial election in Ekiti State. No attempt was made to hide the fact that both parties openly distributed money to voters. One can only imagine where all these monies come from. Under a government sworn to eradicate corruption, it is befuddling to note that no one was reprimanded, or called to order not to even imagine prosecution. Again, I have never met Buhari in person so I cannot speak about his character.
But I do have common sense and can dispassionately read facts and draw conclusions. Base on the past three years of less than stellar leadership and the events we have all experienced, PVCs and elections are not the way forward for Nigeria. A referendum is the way forward, with the hope that a third party coalition of younger technocrats will emerge. As for Buhari and his ilk, thank you Sir, I honestly think it is time to retire to Daura.
Rev. Fr. Odeyemi, a Catholic priest, wrote from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
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