I have quoted John F. Kennedy one too many times because of the rarity of quotable quotes from our political leaders in Nigeria. I recall a few from the leaders Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, and Ahmadu Bello, but none from the current generation. It seems they are individuals solely involved in politics so they can make money and plenty of it. All of them are mentally lazy. Many of our legislators have never actually sponsored any legislation, they just rushed to pass 72 legislations in one day in the 7th Congress. Can you believe that? Like Patrick Obahiagbon from Edo, they go to Parliament to share their loot and speak bombastic grammar.
Below, I’ve produced a few of his Parliament statements in “prestissimo,” that is, as quickly as possible.
“The ship of the Nigerian State is hovering on the Bermuda triangle.” ““The political krikum krakum has all the trappings of an odoriferous saga.” “The Biblical Teke teke mene yo fa sin.”
When I was a student in London, I was a regular visitor to the gallery of the House of Commons to hear and learn English in legislative debate. It is a different story in the Nigerian Parliament. I am quoting J.F.K because some Nigerians have criticized Mohammadu Buhari for quoting Shakespeare in his inaugural address. Can you really blame the man for quoting Shakespeare if he cannot readily find a quote from some of our leading politicians? If he quotes from Ahmadu Bello they would accuse him of advancing the Hausa/Fulani agenda. If he quotes Azikiwe, he would be accused of being an Igbo irredentist, and if he quotes Awolowo, the critics would say he has been hoodwinked by the Yorubas!
It is hard to find any leader who can totally please all of Nigeria. Some people said Buhari was a stark illiterate and when he tried to prove them wrong by quoting Shakespeare, they said he should have found or manufactured some quotations from learned Nigerians like Chinua Achebe or Wole Soyinka. Wherever 5 Nigerians are gathered, you may have as many as 10 or 20 opinions. That is just our nature. I see nothing wrong with that in a country close to 200 million people. The observation surely says something about us and our politics.
Handsome, charismatic, and Camelot like JFK said that “Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable.” Who can ever disagree with that? If you drive a goat to the wall he may turn back at you and bite you. When a dog bites a man nobody raises an alarm, but if a man bites a dog in retaliation, it is an abomination.
Nigerians voted massively for change on March 28 and April 11 because they did not want to pursue a violent change. Attahiru Jega, God bless him, was one of the people that God has used to give Nigeria the freest and the fairest elections up-to-date because he decided to be truly neutral and fair as much as humanly possible. Jega scored a home run in that election by insisting - despite the PDP protestations and crying wolf where there is none - that a digital voter’s card, which is alternative to ballot paper that can be forged or duplicated, be used for the polls.
That singular move, and individuals like Baba Iyabo Obasanjo, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, Rotimi Amaechi, Tambuwal, Dr. Kayode Fayemi , Pastor Tunde Bakare, Pastor Ejike Mbaka of the Catholic Diocese of Enugu, Femi Falana, Keyamo, Itse Sagay, Omoyele Sowore of Sahara Reporters and his team of social media reporters like Rudolf Okonkwo, Omidan Adeola Fayheun and Lakisha Landrum to mention a few, were some of the individuals that God had used to assure the Buhari victory despite all the obstacles placed on his way by the PDP.
For obvious reasons, God did not use Oyedepo, Oritsejafor, Kumuyi, T.B Joshua, Ashimolowo, Chris Okotie, Abiara, Sheik Gummi, or whatever else to perform the miracle. The prayers for a peaceful election were nevertheless granted. God did not use those clerics to get rid of Goodluck Jonathan because of the more than 800 million Naira bribes or kickbacks Jonathan had paid to them. With the possible exception of Enoch Adeboye and Daniel Olukoya who reportedly refused to share out of the “manna from Heaven” offered them by Jonathan.
By the same token, God did not use all of the so-called help from traditional rulers who received their own bribes from Jonathan in Dollars and “Ghana must go” bags full of 1000 Naira denomination. I saw some of those traditional rulers gathered at the Enuwa Palace of Kabiyesi Ooni Risa Sijuade Olubushe the Second to openly pray for Goodluck Jonathan. In the end Jonathan lost the election with ignominy. Jonathan was going to change his mind and declare the election inconclusive using Orubebe as his “agent provocateur” before God put it in the minds of President Obama, Kofi Annan and Ban Ki Moon to stop Jonathan wasting time. That was why Jonathan quickly called to concede victory to Mohammadu Buhari.
If you thought that was the end of the problem, then you do not know Nigerians. In collaboration with some of their aggrieved members like Bukola Saraki who decamped to the APC at the ninth hour, the PDP quickly got together to neutralize the mandate freely given to Buhari and the APC by the Nigerians. The conspirators included Atiku Abubakar who is not happy that he lost the APC nomination to Buhari to begin with. The second conspirator is David Mark and Ekweremadu who did not want to relinquish the powerful positions they held in the Nigerian Senate. Within a few weeks of the past presidential inauguration, they were very happy to use Bukola Saraki to destabilize the APC and render Buhari a toothless bulldog. The third conspirator was Mallam Dogara from Bauchi who joined forces with all of those conspirators to defeat and frustrate Femi Gbajabiamila and Lasun from Osun State in order to emerge as the Speaker of the House.
Whether the APC and Buhari like it or not, a majority of their political life now rests in the hands of Bukola Saraki and his co-conspirators. Saraki can use his powers under the rules of the Senate to stop the Chamber from discussing any legislation he and his gang do not like or appreciate. Buhari cannot pass a single Bill without the cooperation of Saraki as Senate President and Dogara as the Speaker of the House.
What Saraki has done to the APC is far worse than a coup. It can be compared to the perfidy of Are Onakankanfo Afonja and what he did to the Alaafin of Oyo in the history of the Yorubas… The invisible backers of the conspiracy were powerful men like Ibrahim Babangida who has every reason to resent the second coming of the man he drove away from office in 1985. The victory of Buhari on March 28th was a total repudiation of the policies of Ibrahim Babangida and some of his cohorts in the military like David Mark who is now the Majority leader in the Senate Chamber where his Party is clearly in the minority. David who is fixated on becoming another President from the Middle Belt someday has become everything he became in Nigeria because of his total loyalty to Ibrahim Babangida who has a lot of tentacles in the Military and every sector of the Nigerian public and private sector. He is a “live and let live” man with great appeal in Nigeria. If he decides not to give total support to Buhari, only Allah can save Buhari.
That is the truth that Buhari is probably too senile or too naive to fully comprehend at this point in his life. He needs to deviate from his policy of silence as an instrument of Government policy. He needs to very quickly learn how to take his case to the people like all Presidents do in America. If the PDP-controlled Senate or House of Representatives shoot down any of his popular change agendas, he must learn how to educate and incite the people to fully understand his own side and get them ready to fight Buhari’s political enemies. He is a goner if he does not have or develop a formula to do that.
I can tell you that Nigeria right now is sitting on a Pandora’s Box which could explode at any time. It is true that some of us are expecting too much from Buhari. We are expecting him to become a magician overnight but the man is now telling us he was not exactly the man we thought he was. Now the truth is apparent. Buhari is indeed an old man who may have started wearing diapers like Fayose’s mother. I am now beginning to think and believe that Buhari may have started showing some early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease like Ronald Reagan before the end of his second term.
Buhari has made few statements that made me think Ayo Fayose was probably right about his initial impressions of Buhari. Buhari was once asked the name of his Vice President, but he just went blank like Governor Rick Perry of Texas and like Reagan did at one point in his presidency when he welcomed Prince Charles into a White House Dinner by addressing him as “Prince David.” The man had been diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer’s but the presidency and the Republican Party were too embarrassed to admit it.
The same thing may be happening to Sai Buhari but the APC is probably too embarrassed to admit it. I recall Buhari broke into tears in 2011 following his loss to Goodluck Jonathan. I thought he was weeping for Nigeria because he was not given a chance to execute his great plans. To tell you the truth, based on his performance, lethargy, and sloppiness thus far, I am inclined to think his tears were more of crocodile tears.
Buhari told the nation he is not fazed by his delay to name his Cabinet because, in his convoluted mind, he believes he can continue to govern Nigeria with only a Director of Publicity and Media and a Special Assistant on Media. Up until now, he is yet to name the Secretary to his Government. He recently told Nigerians in South Africa he does not understand why Nigerians are complaining about his delay to appointing his ministers. He added the coup de grace when he told Nigerians he is ready to work with any leader that emerges in the Senate and the House of Representatives regardless of Party labels and loyalty. He was not ready to interfere in occurrences at the Legislative branch and by extension in the Judiciary because he rigidly wants to follow the observation of power enshrined in the obnoxious Nigerian Constitution. He was ready and willing to work with Bukola Saraki, Ekweremadu and David Mark in the Senate and Dogara in the House even when he knew that those individuals have torpedoed Alhaji Lawan as Senate President and Femi Gbajabiamila as Speaker. If he were to be an American President he would have been asked to resign immediately or go see a psychiatrist.
I thought the man had to be suffering from a malady we are yet to be told about or that the man may have been hypnotized or placed under some voodoo or “Okaraba Baba Edi.” If you don’t believe me, I use to this opportunity toI remind you of Kabiyesi the deposed Deji of Akure who left his Palace and went to the Marketplace to beat up a wife. He could easily have asked his Palace servants to go bring her into the Palace with “Iru Okun,” the traditional instrument of arrest that the wife could never have disobeyed without paying a steep price.
Armed with a bottle of acid, Kabiyesi Afesekubiojo went in a convoy of cars with his newly acquired wife the widow of M.K.O Abiola to go beat up his estranged “Olori” outside his Palace. The man ran out of luck when he was physically assaulted and pushed to the gutter only to be rescued by the timely intervention of the Police.
For Kabiyesi, that was the straw that broke the Camel's back. He was dethroned and sent into exile. “Okaraba Baba Edi” was the only explanation any rational person could have given for his actions in a society like Nigeria. If that could happen to a whole Kabiyesi, the same scenario cannot be ruled out in Sai Buhari’s case. It was “Okaraba” or “Tabatiada” at work.
I am predicting that a people's’ revolution is conceivable in Nigeria. If the P.D.P. Is going to continue to double-cross or sabotage President Buhari and the APC from carrying out their promises of change in Nigeria, civilians will rise up.
“Honorable” Lasun of Osun State, an APC member in the House, is leading the effort to sabotage the downward review of salaries and allowances for Nigerian legislators who are the highest paid in the whole world right now. This is happening at a time that minimum wage has not been paid to workers by a majority of states in Nigeria for close to 9 months. Now that Goodluck is no longer President of Nigeria who is now going to carry all of the blame?
If you don’t call that a panacea for a Nigerian Revolution I don’t know what else to call it. The only recourse is for Nigerians to take up arms, march to the Nigerian Parliament to flush out the legislators from Abuja before the soldiers do it for us. If we do not act soon, somebody is going to get Buhari like they got M.K.O Abiola and Sani Abacha. That is my worst nightmare.
The solution is not to leave President Buhari and the APC to their own devices. They need all the help they can get from all of us. First of all, we must tell the President and the APC the truth if they are not performing to our expectations. Second, we must all serve notice to all our legislators that they are not going to escape the wrath of the people if they sabotage the President. We must do so in a way that gets their attention.
Let me end this piece by reacting to those who accuse me of ridiculing the President by calling him “Dogo Yaro” and President “Go Slow.” I do not mean to disrespect the President and I would never do that as an elderly man in his age group. I am only expressing my frustration with the man I joined millions of Nigerians to elect. “Dogo Yaro” does not carry the offensive connotation some of you have ascribed to the word. It simply means in Hausa language “a tall young man.” Can anybody deny that Buhari is a very tall man by Nigerian standards? I spoke the truth, but somebody thought I was “giving the President hell.”
I repeat that Buhari is too damn sloppy and slow for me because the man ought to be a multi-tasker who should be able to do many things at a time like leaders in more developed countries. I am not asking him to become a dictator again. I have serious problems with his order of priorities and some of the statements credited to him as articulated in this article.
I am in love with an Hausa proverb which says “Gajere Ba Yaro Ba” meaning that the mere fact that a man is short or tall does not determine his maturity or wisdom. I once used the proverb to describe President Buhari and rightly so. By the same token, I love the Igbo proverb which says, “Nne mulu soja gba kan wan” because it made me remember why my late mother would not allow me to join the Military in 1966 or joing the Biafran War from 1968-1970 even though I was the first recipient of the British/Canadian Scholarship for children of Ex-servicemen in Nigeria.
The Igbo proverb simply means “a mother that has a soldier for an only child can be presumed to be barren or a childless because the child could be killed in the war or face the firing squad.” My mother told me she would kill herself if I joined the Military in 1966 because she did not want to lose me. Can you really blame her? I am her only child. Need I say more?
I rest my case.