It is common aphorism that the morning shows the day. Some of us are not surprised as to why things are getting out of joint in President Muhammadu Buhari’s “War On Corruption.” When the foundation of a house is wobbly, the house would not stand for long, if it would stand at all. When you deal with society with reeking hands of inequity and injustice, progress would be pruned, anxiety will grow, tension will ting, and restiveness will reign supreme. Division will manifest among the citizenry. Distrust and suspicion will neutralize cooperation and concerted efforts.
Nothing destroys a society more than inequity and injustice. Concomitants of equal category are deceit, duplicity, and disdain for the generality of the people. The belief that the people could always be taken for a ride and be bullied is ingrained in the character, mentality and practice of dealers in politics. They see politics as a game that ought to be played with all cunningness and obnoxious principles that are antithetical to the espoused morality of the society. Immorality is glorified and justified to excuse irresponsibility on the part of politicians and shield them from backlash and accountability.
The trajectory of President Buhari from his campaign days to his presidency has clearly been disturbing. His approach to issues has been troubling. His steadiness has been a serious cause for anxiety. There is no doubt that he had good ideas about which directions he wants Nigeria to head. No doubt at all. Nigerians, at least the majority for now, agree with him. But so far, he has been manifesting incompetence and insincerity. He is exuding puzzlement and perplexity. He appears confused and confounded. He seems befogged and bewildered.
On the insincerity part, President Buhari reneged on the promise to publicly declare his assets. This is proof that he is hiding something. He is not poor as he has made Nigerians to believe. Not only that he is not poor, he is getting ready to get richer on Nigerians. If his assets as of today are a matter of secret to Nigerians, how do we know how much he would be worth at the end of his tenure? We may be able to determine how much he has made legitimately, but not how much he would be worth in all. President Buhari and his political party, All Progressive Congress (APC) are “gaming” Nigerians. President Buhari is deceiving Nigerians. If he does not know, we will always remind him of the judicial mantra, “He who comes to equity, must do so with clean hands.” His hands are already reeking of dirt and dishonesty.
Still on insincerity, President Buhari now disowns all or some of the campaign promises of his party. He is trying to convince Nigerian that he had nothing to do with such promises regarding his targets for his first 100 Days! He is trying to create a gulf between himself and his political party that brought him to power. How in the world does he think this would sell? Does he really think of Nigerians as nincompoops? Does he really think that Nigerians are brainless to make this kind of pitch? Or is this evidence that his campaign was incompetently managed? That his campaign was poorly coordinated?
Even if we accept his excuse that he did not have any target or promise for his first 100 Days in office, is that not a sign of a man without plan? Is that not indicative that he is not prepared for the governance of Nigeria to meet the expectation of Nigerians? And if one may add, is President Buhari new to governance in Nigeria or the world over? Is he claiming that every new government that takes office does not look forward to their first 100 Days? Why is the idea of first 100 Days so scary and strange to President Buhari and his team? Is this an attempt to escape being held accountable? What is all this about: incompetence, insincerity and or avoidance of accountability?
Having betrayed Nigerians on his promise to publicly declare his assets, he has become very inconsistent in his war on corruption. He has refused to stand up and be counted where and when it matters. Two examples would suffice here: His refusal to make a public stand on the Senate Presidency which is occupied by an alleged certified bank robber and his inability to publicly encourage the prosecution of those involved in the forgery of the Senate rules. President Buhari is the leader of the country. He represents the moral force of the people. It is his primary responsibility to project purity, probity, evenhandedness and above board image to set the tone and the pace for the moral consciousness of the people, the government and those on his team. He is failing miserably on this front.
President Buhari is also poisoning the country through his war on corruption. He is dividing the country. He is setting us against each other. He is reeking not just with inequity and injustice, but with obnoxious genre of it. He is telling Nigerians, that some Nigerians are above the law and could not be touched. He is insisting that Nigerians are not equal before the law. He is positing that some corrupt acts are acceptable and some are not, depending on who you are and where you are from as a Nigerian.
The current events are emblematic of the occurrences during his first coming in 1984/85 when corrupt Northerners were treated with hand gloves and innocent Southerners were cramped in jail. It was because of Buhari injustice that Pa Adekunle Ajasin remained in jail after three trials that found him clean while the likes of Awwal Ibrahim of Niger State who was caught with 14 million pounds in Heathrow Airport in London remained in a Guest House. It was because of Buhari’s injustice that Professor Ambrosse Ali became blind in prison. It was because of Buhari’s injustice that Chief Ayo Ojewumi became blind in prison and died exactly 28 days after he was released from prison.
It was Buhari’s injustice that shortened the lives of Chief Bisi Onabanjo, Chief Busari Adelakun, Chief Sam Mbakwe and several others. It was Buhari’s injustice that condemned Chief Jim Nwobodo, Chief Bola Ige, Chief Lateef Jakande and others to over 200 years prison term. It is Buhari’s injustice that placed Chief Alex Ekwueme in Kirikiri prisons while President Shehu Shagari was placed in a Guest House. Yet, Chief Ekwueme was just Shagari’s Vice President! The only Northerner that got roughened up was Umaru Dikko whom he tried to kidnap to bring to Nigeria. And this had to do with personal enmity between the two of them. It had nothing to do with his war against corruption or the interest of Nigeria.
Now we are on that trajectory of injustice and inequity again. President Buhari is showing his inability to be a statesman and a father of a new Nigeria. He is exuding chronic form of destructive tribalism and nepotism. Already, just like his first time around, under the guise of “war against corruption” he is engaged in vendetta against Southerners and his enemies. Colonel Sambo Dasuki is now facing trial, not because he is the only one that is corrupt, but because he was the one who arrested Buhari during the 1985 coup d’état that removed him from power and brought in the self proclaimed “Evil genius” Ibrahim Babangida.
President Buhari is acting as if corruption just started 6 years ago under President Goodluck Jonathan. He is simulating that there was no scandal under President Musa Yar’Adua. He is deceiving us that there was no scandal under President Olusegun Obasanjo-Onyejekwe. He is hoodwinking us that General Ibrahim Babangida did not sit on the over $12 billion excess crude oil revenue among several others. He is turning a blind eye to the bilking and milking of Nigeria by Vice President Abubakar Atiku under Obasanjo’s presidency and he even made Atiku’s right hand man in Garba Shehu the spokesperson for his administration!
Facts are different from faction and fiction. Facts are stubborn, incorrigible and non-malleable. Facts do not respond to likes or dislikes. Facts do not react to sentiments or emotions. Facts are just facts. No amount of Buhari soldiers on social media could change the facts. No amount of media propaganda would change the facts. No amount of spinning would change the facts. President Buhari and the APC could succeed in deceiving some of the people some of the time, but they would not be able to deceive all of the people all of the time.
President Buhari’s disclaimer on the 100 Days promise; his refusal to publicly declare his assets and his limiting the corruption probe to GEJ administrations are just facades to cocoon chronic incompetence, shelter his insincerity, incubate a new generation of corruption perpetrators, protect his old friends who are corrupt and sell dummy to Nigerians. All these signal not just the beginning of the end, but also the coming failure of the “war on corruption.”
“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.”
- John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address January 20, 1961
Please follow me on Twitter: @OyeyemiRemi