As a middle class Nigerian, I have as a matter of fact seen and experienced events that were and are still incomprehensible for a child of my age while I was growing, memories of events that will probably still hunt me in my next life even if I don’t come as a black man or Nigerian. I have been seriously beaten with my mum by soldiers when together with other women she campaigned against a military junta. I have been depressed, I have had to get in the truck on several occasions with my dad in desperate search for wood shavings just to power our ‘Abacha stove’. I have been frustrated; there have been times I didn’t get to see electricity for months and no fuel to power our generator because there was constant fuel scarcity. I have been aggravated by headlines that read that public funds are repeatedly embezzled by unscrupulous elements, many of which are politicians and elites. I have been disgruntled, I have suffered!
But above all, I have been refined; I have learned to learn, taught to teach, well tutored to tutor. I have also read to reason and question status quo, hence, my objectivity on several issues. As the 2015 election draws closer, the calibre of candidates that are joining the race for the post of the number one citizen of the country constantly bring some of my past bitter experiences to memory. One of such is General Muhammad Buhari, a former military dictator and a figure of integrity as his supporters love to paint him. His ferocious and ever energetic supporters have repeatedly argued that only GMB, a man of integrity can rescue Nigeria because corruption is the bane of our development. Many of them also feel GMB should be compensated for being ousted and unable to complete his revolutionary government that started in 1983 with the introduction of war against indiscipline (WAI) and the his fight against corruption which to me clearly targeted only southerners. The notorious WAI brigade harassed, intimidated and put fear in mainly Lagosians, same could not be said of its Kano branch where people urinated on the road and got away with a warning. Nigeria was indeed disciplined under GMB.
Let us get something clear here; Nigerians don’t owe GMB anything for his integrity. The cab man that received national honor for returning the dollars of his passenger also has integrity, why is nobody wooing him to vie for the office of the president?
In politics, nobody is clean, you cannot single handedly pick out Atiku or GEJ to scrutinize their past and persuade us to forget GMB’s. How will GMB exonerate himself from our history that portrays him as a tribalistic and unbending religious bigot?
Who said Northern Muslims should vote for a Muslim candidate only?
Who said by the grace of God, he will not relent until the whole country adopts sharia?
Who said Abacha, his kinsman did not embezzle any money from our treasury?
Lateef Jakande, Ajasin, Ambrose Ali and other southern politicians who by far contributed to the development of their regions than their clueless and wasteful northern counterparts were jailed for corruption while the likes of a then former Niger governor who was arrested with £14 million was placed under house arrest. How about Alex Ekwueme cooling off at Kiri-Kiri and Shagari, GMB’s kinsman placed under house arrest for similar allegation? This is a simple case of a pretentious anti-corruption crusade. It is therefore a simple logic, if Abacha were alive and GMB becomes president, he won’t probe him, IBB will still walk as a freeman.
His administration didn’t favour activists either, he is till date credited with the famous remark, “we have decided to deal with this Fela problem once and for all”, of course Fela was jailed. The sins of radical writers like Bisi Onabanjo who wrote about GMB’s hidden agenda to permanently terminate democratic rule were visited with harsh jail terms.
On a second thought, let’s assume Nigerian will overlook GMB’s history and consider his integrity, how will a ‘poor’ Buhari get APC ticket?
We must get this straight; you cannot separate sentiments from politics. I was in Ibadan when Lamidi Adedibu died; it was jubilation for some, sorrows and tears in other quarters because people especially beggars will miss his Friday stomach infrastructure program, some widows will no longer be able to send their wards to school amongst other reasons. So, when you want to question my view on this issue, remember my premise.
Our political parties still lack ideologies. We are still full of sentiments and bias characterized by conscience and opinions that has price and can be bought. The Katshina APC will contribute money to buy form for GMB in order to contest for his party’s presidential primaries, I hope they will also contribute money to water the pockets of delegates that will come from several parts of the country to vote because whether you like it or nay, you must cough out money to buy their votes, that is part of the sentiment I talked about, integrity won’t get you that, even the silver-tongued politicians pay this due. GMB will be up against few heavy weights like the wealthy Atiku who has been throwing money away since 2007, a current serving governor in Kwankwanso who controls the country’s second commercial capital and a pocket Hercules in Tambuwal, a serving speaker and Tinubu’s favourite. In comparison to these heavy weights and the structure of our politics, Buhari, who cannot even operate a computer, is the queer fish. The likes of Atiku will lobby and win considerable votes with money; Buhari has too much ‘integrity’ for that. There’s no way he will win the primaries, forget it.
Let me give this another thought. Okay, GMB gets APC ticket to run for presidency. How will he single-handedly win the corruption war?
I laugh when some social commentators and self-acclaimed political analysts come up with comments that proffer a single solution to our country multi-faceted problems. Most of the general conclusions, like a herd, collectively agree that it is only a president that can fight corruption that will end our problems. Sorry to burst your bubbles, No!
The problem between us and our promise land is our law and the custodians of that law (National Assembly). Our criminal laws are too weak. If a no nonsense-integrity-incorruptible President likes, let him arrest the whole country, the prosecution process will still be sluggish as ever. In fact, if the president decides to be at a loose end with the rule of law like Obasanjo, the judgement will still not match their crime: Tafa Balogun, bode George and co are already out of jail with plea bargain to enjoy their remaining loot.
After all said and done, GMB will become president to disappoint. He will be busy chasing shadows of corrupt Nigerians for 4 years, the southerners will complain he is harassing their leaders, the Northern governors will be allowed to loot and there will still be no meaningful development, Nigerians will complain as usual and demand for another Leader, by that time they will miss Jonathan’s government like they are missing Obasanjo’s now. The cycle goes on.
Article written by Olusola Babalola and culled from YNAIJA
It is the policy of NewsWireNGR not to endorse or oppose any opinion expressed by a User or Content provided by a User, Contributor, or other independent party.
Opinion pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of NewsWireNGR.