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So Who Do We Stone If Buhari Performs? By Peter Claver Oparah

Recently, Prince Tony Momoh cane out boldly to state that he has offered himself for stoning should President Muhammadu Buhari not perform at the end of his present four-years tenure. That may seem a dangerous gamble: staking with one's own life over an issue that presently draws contestation between the supporters of the President and those who are yet to live down the fact that President Buhari comprehensively defeated their political tendency last year. It may seem that Prince  Momoh threw an audacious challenge, wagering with his life on such issue as presidential performance in a country that is bristling to the seams with an array of former presidents and governments that disappointed and fluffed the people's expectations since independence.


But looked from another angle, Prince  Momoh is only demonstrating the factuality of the position of those that promoted the ascension of this president and had thus believed in his capacity to overwhelm where others have failed. Prince  Momoh was being candid. Tony Momoh is not one unknown, anonymous quantity or a moral cretin hiding behind very nebulous interests to pursue base political interests as most of the hideous fellows now wailing heedlessly over everything are. He is a former Minister, an erudite lawyer and veteran journalist. He showed he is a man with worth who believes in what he says. He is not a chance-taker like the hordes of inconsolable Wailers that had been naive to write the final report card of a candidate on a four year-course just at the beginning or at the middle of his first year.

One would have expected those that have been straining themselves and crying themselves hoarse since Buhari came to cleanse the sordid Augean stable last May, to take Prince Momoh's bet and wager with their own lives and offer themselves to be stoned should Buhari perform at the end of his four years mandate. That is an even way of walking their vow that the president will fail than  the silly prank of mounting a coarse and disoriented wailing business and ranting on just everything under planet earth since Buhari came to power. One would have expected them to be men enough to stake their lives on what they have been noisily heckling us to buy. I had expected the wailing Wailers and their hideous patrons to come out from their closets and take up Prince Momoh's bet and put their lives on the line if they really believe that Buhari has failed even before he started cleaning a sixteen years' gargantuan rot they deliberately did on this country.

If they so believe their cacophonic and often unreasonable clattering on just anything under the sun since Buhari came, let them stake with their lives on the issue of Buhari's performance and at the end of the four years, let Nigerians decide whom to stone based on their opinions of Buhari's performance. If they are so sure of their disjointed position that a man that met a treasury they raided to the bones, an economy that was in tatters, a state of rabid corruption, a chaotic governance that rather exacerbated the  crisis of statehood, an acute unemployment situation, a country almost divided into two by uncurbed sectarian siege, a horrible state of insecurity, an infrastructural base that was decrepit and who has started by plugging every rat hole and gathering what was left of their sordid feast, redirecting the moral tempo of governance and is about to unleash a maximum rehabilitation of the nation's run-down infrastructure despite the very harsh economic conditions he met, will fail after four years, they should not be afraid to offer themselves for stoning if their mischievous doomsday prophesies fail, as Prince Tony Momoh has done on the other side of the aisle.

So can the wailing Wailers still their chaotic and silly cry and be man enough to bet with their lives on what they believe and have trenchantly laboured to let other Nigerians buy; to wit, that President Buhari will not perform as Nigeria's president? Can those that have become permanently heart-broken that the regime of filth and pervasive stealing was ended with Buhari's present scorched-earth umbrage against roaches and plunderers, quit their unreasonable wailings and wager with their lives, as Tony Momoh has done and countless others who supported and still support the present Buhari regime are ready to do? Can those that are engaged in the naive pastime of twisting everything, fabricating silly lies, forging infantile propaganda, cooking and inventing innuendoes, misinformation and fables to promote their nauseous political interests quit such idioces and take up the bet from Prince Momoh if they are so sure of what they are venally trumping at every street corner today? Can the scare-mongers who are indulged in building a fearful scenario of mass extermination in the present effort to cage corruption, offer themselves for stoning if their dreadful apocalyptic fore-warnings fail to happen and Buhari succeeds in pulling a crestfallen nation up on its legs after his four years at the helms? What can prevent those who are today swearing and prattling that Buhari will fail from staking their lives for such 'accurate' reading of our president?

We are not deceived. We elected President Buhari to end the venal reign of vampires that ensured that a rich country like ours was hobbled in 16 better-forgotten years of unbridled freeloading where nothing but raw stealing and outright prebendalism reigned. He is doing that and issuing forth very high hopes for the rebirth of a country where corruption has so mutilated the ways of lives of overwhelmed citizens. He is plugging all the ancient fonts of looting, securing the yam barns and calling the rodents, the shameless yam eaters and lascivious devourers that ate away our yesterday and today to account. Because corruption has so perverted the psyche of the people and its sordid value chain grown so deeply engraved in the people's lives and their twisted ways of doing things,  those that deliberately cultivated this negative value chain are now mounting a  high-octane scare-mongering that the anti corruption antidotes are killing the people and that Buhari will fail in the task of rescuing an abused nation from their atrocious acts. Those that ran the country down and who, by the way, swore that Buhari will never be president, are now changing tactics, sponsoring all manners of desperate lies and propaganda to distract and stop Buhari's efforts to secure the country and her treasuries for all Nigerians. They are the same characters now staging a naked dance on how Buhari will fail, or has already failed, in their queer yardstick of governance which is all about plundering and purloining for their ilk while Nigerians die from preventable want. That is exactly what is going on today and the idea is to at worst, detract and distract the present government from tackling the single most important affliction that has hobbled Nigeria and has grown their filthy ilk. That silly wailing clap trap was what Prince Momoh was responding to when he wagered with his life. It is naturally expected that the Wailers would have walked their own talk by equally wagering with their own lives but so far, they have not done so.

Among the vendors of this filthy scare-mongering are dubious fugitives running, with their loots, from the reach of the present anti-corruption klieglight. Those that have rushed to hide their stolen loot in septic tanks, pit latrines and manholes have relocated to the market square,  recruiting the impressionable poor victims of their maniacal corrupt acts to stage a mock show of being killed by hunger because they fear being called to return what they stole.  They are mounting a high-pitched battle on the props of bread and butter. They just initiate the battle cry and their beneficiaries and enablers who constitute the full pro-corruption choir takes over and today, we are having a deliberate and nebulous cacophony of voices trained against the present effort of the Buhari regime against the vermin of corruption. Yea, having failed to sway the regime with their jaded efforts to blackmail the fight against corruption, they have resorted, like satan, to a bread and butter war in their desperate battle to recruit the victims of their carnivorous acts as misguided fronts men in their war to stop the anti-corruption inquest. These are the stomach infrastructure politicians who believe that the commonwealth is there for stealing and having stolen enough, they merely waylay hapless citizens on their way to voting centers with cups of rice, pieces of cheap Ankara and few Naira notes and have their ways to more looting through added tenures. What they are yet to fathom is how they still failed woefully during the last election when they upped the price for their victims to raw dollars and yet failed the way they did in the 2015 general election. This topic is for another day.

They say we are all dying of hunger because Buhari felt we must stop corruption. They say that because they are called to return what they stole, Nigerians are about to be wiped out by hunger and want. Because the anti-corruption beams are fast closing in on them, they paint a picture of Armageddon that befalls all Nigerians should Buhari insist on bringing roaches like them to account. They failed to tell their victims that they wrote our death sentence when they emptied the country's treasury and ensured that our coffers were left bare when we were having an oil boom just the other day. They failed to tell Nigerians that they deliberately scripted all the tales of woes they are trading with today when they wickedly stole the food for the common man at a time they were supposed to save for the rainy day. They failed to tell those they are enticing today through a senseless bread and butter campaign that they callously wasted their future when they were robbing the Nigerian nation silly as their years of debauchery  lasted.

Yes, to get the soul of their famished victims, and those of their beneficiaries who have resorted to relentless wailing since the present regime happened, and those whose minds have been deliberately defaced by the type of corruption that reigned here before Buhari cane, it must be turned to a bread war; after all a hungry man only hears the language of bread. That was why the devil employed bread to tempt Jesus Christ after fasting for forty days.  Like the devil, they are tempting Nigerians with bread. Like the rebellious Israelites did to Moses, they are trying to turn Nigerians to rebel against Buhari for fighting corruption by asking him to rain manna from heaven. They believe Nigerians are the rabble, the Israeli rabble on its way out of Egypt who can easily be swayed back to dehumanizing slavery in Egypt with the politics of bread. They feel Nigerians are the soulless  Roman mob who don't ask questions but who can easily be swayed by the dubious antics of their persecutors at the mention and whiff of bread!

Now, they feel they have done enough to turn the Nigerian masses who freely and without let, asked for the change we have today to rebel against Buhari and his government, just for doing what the people wanted and setting the tone for the recovery of a country long devoured by termites. But then, one imagines, having done so well to turn the people against Buhari and the change he is effecting on Nigeria's serially abused space, as they feel they have done, why won't these Wailers and their patrons come out of their thick closets and offer themselves to be stoned should Buhari perform at the end of his tenure? If they believe, deep in their hearts, that Buhari will fail (or has already failed) as they clatter about, let them offer themselves to be stoned as Prince Momoh did on the other side of the argument. If they truly believe that what Buhari is doing today is not going to pull the country out of the woods where they crashed it into, let them boldly come out and wager with their lives. If they believe that the country will do better with encouraging the kind of plundering they wrought here for 16 years, let them bet with their lives as Prince Momoh has done. Are they holding back just because they know they are dubious and are merely trading on a political quicksand when they shout in mindless cacophony that Buhari will fail? Are they not betting with their lives because they know they are merely distraught losers who are not so sure of the cheeky gamble they are doing at present? Are they not betting with their lives because they have not mobilized enough faith even in themselves to take their position notches further? For a group that betrays no shame judging nine months of Buhari against their own 16 years of unrestrained waste laying, is there some home truth they are desperately shielding themselves from when they refuse to bet with their lives on a contention they noisily bandy about?

But I know that the wailing Wailers now frantically recruiting Nigerians to get to their sides are operating on a deliberate fault line. They know quite well that theirs is a dubious effort to preserve a lost paradise even for a moment of Pyrrhic victory. They know very well that they are cheeky, that they are mischievous and that they are dubious. They fear Nigerians know the reasons behind their present aberrant behavior and are therefore cognizant that wagering with their lives on Buhari's performance is a highly risky venture. They know theirs don't go deeper than the dubious hysteria they are raising at present and that it is so powerless to deter Buhari and his government from their set goals of ending the era of unbridled corruption and employing whatever Nigeria has towards betterring the lives of famished Nigerians. They know theirs don't run deep and that Buhari will succeed in taking Nigeria out of the woods the Wailers ran it into so they won't risk betting with their lives. They know deep within them, even as they will admit it only as a last act, that Buhari has set up a very redoubtable foundation for success in his first ten months and will certainly succeed in his very arduous task. They know that the combination of prudence, aversion to corruption, careful planning, discipline, passion and commitment which Buhari has shown in his first ten months in power are sure roads to resounding success. They know that having not succeeded thus far in distracting his commitment, they are in for a bloody nose in the months ahead as President Buhari's government gears to start the implementation of its first budget, with salutary provisions dedicated, for the first time in our nation's history, to the neglected interests of the common man.

So let the Wailers come forward to bet with their lives if they believe President Buhari will not perform. Prince Tony Momoh has betted to be stoned should President Buhari not perform. I am joining him to also offer myself to be stoned should our President not perform in line with the demands of the millions that voted for him to replace a regime that reaped bounteously from a providential oil boom but which presided over the bankrupting of the country through uncensored looting and shameless stealing. If the Wailers are as serious as their wailing portray them, let them offer themselves to be stoned if President Buhari performs. Let them not fear to put their lives where their selfish interests direct their mouths. Let them come boldly and offer to be stoned if their nemesis performs. As for how performance would be judged by 2019, we shall leave that to Nigerians to decide in the 2019 elections.  I am throwing a further bet that by March 2019 when another presidential election will hold, Nigerians, including some of those mischievously wailing over their overturned soup pot of corruption and stealing at present will persuade President Buhari to continue for another term. This will not be because he has attended to their notorious instincts of purloining but because Nigerians will know the huge advantages of taming corruption and using whatever resources we have to attend to the good of the general populace and not the selfish thieving interests of just a few selfish free loaders.

Peter Claver Oparah

Ikeja, Lagos

Email: [email protected]