Buharism, like the Zikism, Awoism, Sarakism, Tinubuism, Kwakwasiyasm, etc, is neither ideological nor developmental. They are mere individuals with their own interests, strengths, weaknesses and flaws. Great men can be loved or hated but their strengths and achievements must be appraised and commended; their weaknesses must not be glossed over either. However, they must not be turned to a goddess and be worshipped in a shrine. Should this happen, the implication is that when they start acting in contrast to the aspirations of the people who voted them into power, we would not see it and quickly tag anyone against their unpopular policies as enemies and the system we ought to strengthen degenerates.
Let me quickly add that virtually all of us who are followers of these political actors are enmeshed in this act with slight modifications or what Nigerians refer to as ‘packaging’. Do not get me wrong, there is nothing wrong in having a figure as a political role model, hero or leader; I equally do, but problem starts the moment you start worshiping them as goddesses and consider them infallible. They are human remember! For instance you may be a kin follower or lover of Obafemi Awolowo, but the moment you tag yourself an ‘Awoist’ you become a cult seeing Awolowo himself as an ideology. And if I may ask, how come we have not been hearing ‘Soyinkaist’, ‘Achebeist’, ‘Dangoteist’, etc ? Or must it be all about politicians?
And if to paraphrase Modiu Olaguro would not be an offence, let me say any Nigerian who dare deploy his thought processes to engage the government in civic undertones—either by outright dismissal of some of its actions or the provision of alternatives, is automatically brandished as a member of the “corruption fights back” brigade. This nauseating thought assumes that a nation populated by men and women of intelligence think and act in a pedestrian fashion, with very thoughtful citizens forced to accommodate the excesses and treacherous inclinations of this government all in the name of not wanting to be inducted into the evil assemblage of the men who have and continue to run the country aground.
The unrepentant and unapologetic ‘Buharists’ would not stop to amuse me, you tell them the man who we all supported and voted in 2015 has failed on his promises and they come out hard on you that you must be on the payroll of Bukola Saraki, whom they have tagged a sworn enemy of Baba Buhari. If they can’t link you to ‘Omo Agoro bogunbolu’, they conclude that you must have been a beneficiary of the corrupt activities of Jonathan administration. If they can’t link you to Jonathan, they believe you must have sought one contract or the other from Buhari and he denied you. If they find it difficult to link you to any of these, they conclude PMB must have blocked your channel of looting. Can’t we really face issues and certain aspects of governance in this administration without unnecessarily defaming characters?
When Sen. Shehu Sani, Dino Melaye, etc came out hard on ‘Sai Baba’, they were tagged Saraki’s boys. When that epistolarian, Olusegun Obasanjo released his epistolic letter-bomb in January this year, they claimed he was no longer getting favours from government and that explains why he wrote the letter. When IBB released his, they said he is a devil so we should not take him serious. When T.Y Danjuma charged his people to defend themselves against the killings of innocents by the Fulani herdsmen, they said he is inciting the general public and that Buhari no longer tolerates his corrupt acts and that is why he wrote the letter. Oby Ezekwezili continued her campaign “Bringbackourgirls” under Buhari just the way she did during Jonathan administration but the Buharists said she was only playing politics because she’s jobless. But surprisingly when Aisha Buhari came out hard on her husband, they simply kept quiet and let it go. Ironically, these were same people that supported ‘Baba’ in chasing away the shoeless boy from Otuoke.
Are we smiling while suffering or we’re just naïve of the hardship in the land? Tell them that the security situation in the country is porous and that we are not secured under Buhari. They tell you he met it like that. Inform them of the bad shape of the economy, they tell you no one has ever managed it so well like him. Remind them how much a bag of rice was under Jonathan, a not too distant history; they reply you that it is due to the ban on importation. Ask them why we had to ban importation when we’ve not produced enough for local consumption, they reply you with a cynical hiss and quickly add that after all, high rate of ‘forex’ is the cause. You try to educate them that ‘forex’ keeps increasing because we produce nothing locally, even under Buhari, they start rolling out fake figures of what Buhari is producing. You ask them if sudden increment in fuel pump price has no effects on the high rate of commodities in the market even though we prevented Jonathan jacking up the pump price and we now hypocritically say ‘Sai Baba’ for same act, they simply tell you Buhari is utilizing the money. Yet, we claim there is no money under Buhari even when his government has borrowed to the sum of N11.63tr! You ask them where all these monies are in the face of hardship and dwindling allocations to states government, they say they’re saved in our foreign reserve account.
The few amongst them, who admit Buhari’s failures, put all the blames on the National Assembly or simply tell you the 16 years of PDP in power has so damaged the system that it can’t be fixed again or that it may take another 16 years to get them fixed. Ask them like what and what will have to take that long, they result to names calling. Why then did we vote in Buhari? They praise PMB on the achievements of TSA but would not admit that it was initiated by the same clueless government of Jonathan. Yet, the successful TSA policy fails to capture the biggest money racket sector in Nigeria (NNPC), where corruption thrives and germinates like plants on a fertilized land. Are we not all aware of how money sneaks out of NNPC unaccounted? And yet such institution is not captured by the TSA policy. ‘Isiorite’. If you mistakenly ask them why corruption war is not capturing APC members who are within the caucus of Mr. President, they cunningly tell you to allow him start somewhere. More surprising, Babachir Lawal is still a regular visitor to Aso villa and yet to be tried in court. What a corruption war! As much as I would neither dismiss nor submit to your conclusion that the Atikus, the Sarakis, the Tinubus and the rest are corrupt politicians because no court of law has pronounced them guilty as charged, we are likely to be on same page if the Buharis will admit that no politician in Nigeria is free of one form of corruption or the other; and this includes Muhmmadu Buhari. Or how do we explain the unawareness of Mr. President of the looting spree under him—the Kantis, the Kiyyaris, the Kingibes, Babachirs, the Amaechis, the Shitus, to mention but few? What actually is Mr. President planning to do with the recently self-approved $1billion for the purchase of fire arms when Boko Haram has technically been defeated?
Should you let them realize that same PDP that failed for 16 years with no single achievement established the EFCC, ICPC, etc that prosecuted Governors, IGP, and even some friends of the then sitting president, Olusegun Obasanjo like Chief Afolabi and others, they say ‘Baba’ has done more than that. But if you probe them further to give example of those ‘Baba’ has prosecuted, they result to abuse or curse.
More interesting, the Buharists believe that Buhari’s aides or anyone working for him are clean while those of the Atiku’s, the Saraki’s, etc must be corrupt by working for them. Forgetting that some of Buhari’s aides were produced for him by their principal masters like Tinubu who produced Abike Dabiri, Atiku who produced Garuba Shehu, etc. With time, they will return to their original masters and eventually make nonsense of the purported anti-corruption war under PMB by publishing their different accounts in their books. We’ve experienced this in the past as demonstrated in El-Rufai’s ‘Accidental Public Servant; Segun Adeniyi’s ‘Power, Politics and Death’; Bolaji Abdullahi’s ‘On a Platter of Gold’; etc.
Recently on a social media platform, someone simply asked us to mention a project PMB started and completed in his 3 years in government and win a cash-gift; rather than simply name the project(s), the Buharists result to names calling, attacking the personality of the questioner and some even cursed him in the process. Some ended up citing examples of road projects started 3 years ago and still ongoing till today but yet reappearing on our annual budget. Some said he has completed many abandoned projects but failed to give one example. Hardly can we even make a separation between abandoned and uncompleted projects by the previous administration.
On a final note, I reiterate here by asking same provoking question; what has been Buhari’s achievement in 3 years in office; security, economy, education, health or agriculture? If you must answer this question, kindly give explicit examples as different from what we had in the past and the effects they have on the masses.
In the case of the Buharists in Kwara, many of them simply support PMB to show their vehement despise for ABS; should Buhari realign with him tomorrow, some of them will either reduce their extent of hatred for him or simply add Buhari to their list of hates. If you tell our brothers in Kwara that ABS is performing as Senate President has shown by the number of bills the Senate has passed, they simply bring another excuse that there is a particular bill he has not passed which is affecting Buhari’s performance. If you cite the example of the Peace Corps’ Bill he initiated and Buhari refused to sign just to play politics or show his spite for NASS, they cheaply conclude that the Senators have something to gain from it. Yet, they are progressive, we are retrogressive. They love Nigeria, we hate it.
It is likely to result to an exercise of futility, should you try to refer them to the number of completed projects or ongoing initiated, facilitated or influenced to Kwara by ABS, as they’re likely to respond by saying the money isn’t from his pocket after all. They yet emphasize Buhari’s achievements on road projects as if the money used comes from his own pocket too.
Dear brothers and sisters! Dear fellow Nigerians! Kindly forgive me if I’ve offended you one way or the other as a result of this piece. Rather than hate me, dialogue or lecture me instead. Who knows, with convincing arguments, I may subscribe to your point of view. After all, Omode lokuku n semi.
Abdullateef Ishowo is an author and a
Public Affairs analyst based in Ilorin.