In just two days, we should be saying bye-bye to the retired army general who has ruled our country since 2015. Except there is another twist to this tale, the Nigerian movie will soon have a new lead actor. This should have been a time for major celebrations across our country. It really does not matter what happens at Eagles Square on Monday, heavy rain clouds hover over us all and nobody is quite sure whether it will rain or not.
No one in Nigeria has so repeatedly sought to be President than Mohammed Buhari. At the end of the day, millions of Nigerians, in trust, gave him what he had continually wanted.
I know many of my friends who would have taken a bullet for Buhari because they had absolute confidence in him. For instance, my good friend, the great Nigerian journalist, Azuka Jebose Molokwu who now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, was a 100% Buharist. Azuka, who takes no prisoners, was on every platform campaigning for Buhari. My friend, Patrick Harry Doyle, the well know broadcaster and actor, was a Buhari man, through and through. I know that neither Jebose nor Peedee has ever been an APC man or a politician for that matter. None of them ever got “shishi” to throw everything in for Buhari. None of them got a tiny contract or an appointment after. They believed in the man.
At some point, a creative Nigerian divided the populace into two. There were “Hailers” and “Wailers”. The “Hailers” were the Buhari enthusiasts and those opposed to him were called “Wailers”. Gradually, the tribe of the Hailers began to shrink. A great percentage of the Hailers, in their millions, like my two friends, Azuka and Patrick, became Wailers? Why? It appears that Buhari spent much of his energy campaigning to be President. By the time he got the Presidency, the energy was gone!
I believe Nigerians voted for Buhari because they wanted someone whose words and deeds would unite our country and who would deploy our combined energy for huge national development. I believe Nigerians voted for someone they believed does not take nonsense. Our countrymen voted for the former army general reputed to have zero tolerance for corruption. Nigerians installed a President they believed would take on Boko Haram and deal insurgency, kidnapping and banditry a deadly blow.
There was a feeling then that the constantly smiling incumbent President, Goodluck Jonathan, was too soft to confront Nigeria’s problems. Sadly, Buhari’s reputation has unraveled before our eyes. The result has in no way matched the hype. No amount of packaging or public relations can cover up what is obvious.
I watched the last APC convention on TV with dismay. Our anti-corruption President, the leader of the APC, was there with his wife, sometimes smiling, as the orgy of corruption played out on national television. Each of the “aspirants”, many of them government officials, had bought a party form for the obscene amount of one hundred million naira! Nobody asked where the money came from. Even our Central Bank Governor, a man who should be rarely seen, was said to have bought the form and lined up a large number of vehicles for his presidential campaign! At Eagles Square, delegates were being corrupted with huge amounts of dollars to the knowledge of practically every Nigerian. And the speakers were praising the President in a terrible case of public masturbation.
The chickens have come home to roost. Nigeria is more divided than ever. The cancer of corruption and dirty money is turning a robust nation into a skeleton of itself. A day that should be one of immense national celebration is turning out to be one for holding our breath. Garbage in, garbage out! Yes, the security agencies are warning everybody to be of good behaviour or there would be consequences…
Let’s be honest. In May 2015 and 2019 when Buhari was inaugurated, it was both rainy season but there were not these kinds of clouds. The security agencies did not have to threaten anybody. I still do not understand how Nigerians continue to believe that you can do everything wrong, and the result would be right.
Nobody is quite sure what is going to happen going forward. Not our army generals, not our politicians, not our prayer warriors, not our senior advocates, not even the Supreme Court. It will take close to a miracle to mend the deep cracks that now divide our nation and who is that miracle man?
A lot will be written about the Nigerian experience with Mohammed Buhari and maybe someone will do a critical study on the difference between being a president and being a leader. Until then, bye-bye Buhari!