“Every day the bucket a go a well, one day the bottom a go drop out” – Bob Marley!
In today’s Nigeria, the ruling class and the ordinary citizens have one conspicuous character in common. They have their slogans that stand out in their perception of actions taken and actions absorbed. The ruling class while acting, often motivates itself with the words, “Go ahead and act. Heavens will not fall”. The ordinary foot-soldier while absorbing actions of public perception, has cultivated a stale, old and delusionary subterfuge for characterizing any prominent person, who dares to criticize President Buhari, as “a looter, whose source of looting has run dry”. The facts are, all too often, highly irrelevant to both sides considering the odds they seek to surmount.
Yet, the grimness of the glaring facts begins with such foot-soldiers themselves, whose recruitment for the Buhari cause, grossly contradicts, in the very first place, everything that Buhari fought against to displace President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015. The Jonathan Presidency had paid trolls everywhere on the social media to defend and advance the propaganda trail of the government. Today, shockingly, some of those hungry political jobbers, who abused and desecrated Buhari in the altar of nothingness to elevate Goodluck Jonathan in 2015, are precisely the same people eulogizing and sanctifying Muhammadu Buhari on social media, most likely, for some pots of porridge and a slice of toxic paltry. No one, who wanted Goodluck Jonathan ousted as President in the year 2015, would have imagined in his dream that Adams Oshiomole – the veteran and one-time doyen of labor union activism and erroneously-perceived redeemer of Edo State’s lost glory, would today, end up standing accused of being Buhari’s diabolic handyman of “Mr. Fix-It” acclaim to oversee election-rigging and the corrupt, self-enriching nomination of party candidates. Accusations have been flying wild and making the rounds. As in very many other issues under President Muhammadu Buhari, however, the only missing link is a credible public investigation to establish the truth or otherwise.
No one needs to be reminded that the highly expected fight against corruption under President Muhammadu Buhari ended up being a farce and a badly restrained operation. Not the least, his readiness to sacrifice Abdulmumin Jibrin at the altar of corruption in the wake of budget-padding at the House of Representatives, signaled the representative dawn of Buhari’s treacherous trip down the path of deception. It will be recalled that the lawmaker cried his voice coarse begging to offer our anti-corruption Crusader-in-Chief, potent and credible evidence of a gang-up by the Principal Officers of the House of Representatives to pad the budget of the time for personal enrichment. The President declined to even dignify him with an audience – not even a demonstrative one to send a strong symbolic signal to errant actors. On the contrary, the President hosted the main accused person, Speaker of the House of Representative, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, to repeated audiences as if to help strategize on the best way to get him out of the murky waters.
As if that was not enough, graphic details of fraudulent misdeeds and abuse of office were presented in public domain, against President Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, in a well-publicized talk show. A man claimed to have been defrauded directly by Abba Kyari. Another, a ranking police officer, claimed to have been incarcerated, abused and humiliated at the behest of Abba Kyari. This was not only aired on a popular YouTube channel – “Berekete Family”, it was given wide publicity. No single sign of President Buhari’s “Integrity” was brought to bear on the case, at least, not to public knowledge. It’s no use citing the foot-dragging episode of the grass-cutting scandal that was strategically rolled out again on election period for maximum deceptive exploits.
Indeed, President Buhari’s best and most potent fight against corruption so far, happened in his pre-inauguration period in 2015, when expectations were high. At least people trembled then. Some chased him in flights and sought to strike a deal with him for a soft landing. Today, it has all become a matter of vindictiveness and the generation of smokescreens.
Now, the country stands so high on the polarization scale than it has ever been before – higher even than the fear-ridden days of the 2007 transition to Yar’Adua. The fear of disintegration now looms far larger than ever before, amid a barrage of unmitigated violence. The East makes no secret anymore of an erstwhile post-civil war taboo issue of breaking away. The West now openly strategizes on autonomy and independence murmuring Oduduwa Republic. The Southern campaign of sabotaging the mainstay of the country’s economy with a helpless interregnum that was bought most expensively with cash disbursement is an old story.
The most potent and palpable insurrection in the East was decisively quelled by violence on the spur of the moment. No gainsaying that the misguided young man, who led the insurrection with the mixed motive of self-enrichment and idealism hardly gave a thought to the idea of inclusion for a unity of purpose. Instead, maps were drawn arbitrarily to include folks, who had no clue, what game was on course. Consultation and collaboration in the fight for a cause that should, ordinarily, be recognized as common to all Nigerians, were substituted by confrontation.
After quelling IPOB though, President Buhari has failed to take measures to foster unity among the regions in the spirit of one nationhood. On the contrary, he has continued, unperturbed and sometimes, almost in mocking defiance, on the divisive course of installing people of his own geographical extraction in all vital and crucial positions of power to relive the stale, obsolete doctrine of our colonial legacy. Today, we have the three arms of government headed by one tribal region alone.
Even though the menace of herdsmen in search of grazing land spans several successive governments in this dispensation, it has peaked with unspeakable intensity under the present government. The IPOB menace was contained overnight with some Python or Cobra dance in spite of the military being over-stretched in its fight against Boko Haram. Funnily, murderous herdsmen are hardly ever arrested. The arm of the law is never displayed in restless areas. Nigeria is drifting aimlessly like a country without a legal system to say the least of a law-enforcement apparatus while a parallel open-door policy is deliberately nurtured to promote the free inflow of sister natives from neighboring countries to boost tribal electoral gains for vested interests. The resultant spike in the cattle-rearers population and ever-widening geographical spread of savagery, robbery and kidnappings seems to be of no interest to anyone in particular. Then, there was a call for compensation to appease the criminals like a state without a structure of any sort.
It cannot be lost on President Buhari that his tribal Fulani origin has largely been suspected as a reason that many people murmur behind closed doors, that he confronts the issue with some degree of heightened understanding for his Fulani kinsmen. Be that as it may, however, his inaction and silence on the issue is louder than the cries of the bereaved families and victims. He alone controls the security apparatus.
During his futile attempt to clinch the Presidency on three previous occasions, President Buhari like Adamu Ciroma and other invisible members of the Northern “Deep State” never made a secret of his disdain of and anger towards former President Olusegun Obasanjo for resetting the geographical equilibrium in the distribution of political power. Proven or not, dangerous statements (like Boko Haram fighting for justice or “a military offensive against Boko Haram being anti-North”) have been attributed to leading Northern politicians at one point or the other. The loss of the northern domination of political power in Nigeria to a more balanced spread has always angered them all. With the actions of President Buhari today, however, one cannot help but suspect that the Presidency has given him the power to “correct” and actualize this dream with safeguards for perpetuation beyond his tenure.
Little wonder then that the sudden shift of headlines to a newfound Democracy Day on June 12 and the renaming of a dilapidated stadium in Abuja served as a welcome break from a pestering trail of negative tidings. Now, I hear that some power brokers of the western region pride themselves with influencing the decisions that culminated in the elevation of June 12 for their own political gains. Yet, some may have to be doubly cautious of dreaming to mount a presidency that will ever elude them when they dine with the devil in the shadows of the fate suffered by Abiola.
If anything, Nigeria was thrilled to some awful revelations during the last presidential campaign that President Buhari set out to clinch by all possible means. Ahmed Kadaria conducted an eye-opening interview with the President and his Deputy and was wrongly accused of giving a whitewash. Ever since though, those, who have ears have had a lot to hear and those, who have eyes have had a lot to see. The lingering question they all have in their “eyes” and “ears” though, is simply “How much does President Buhari know or cares to know about the running of his Presidency?” Who sets the agenda? Who defines the pace?
Someone somewhere keeps pushing the cart of political activities harder and harder, yelling “go ahead and act. Heavens will not fall. Arrest this. Arrest that. Install a Northern President again come what may in 2023. Heavens will not fall.”
But they fail to realize, “Every day the bucket a go a well, one day, the bottom a go drop out”! – Bob Marley
Frisky Larr is a political analyst and author of several books on political affairs