Sharing my thoughts and putting my message accross
The signs thus far, are looking pretty positive. Pronouncements and the quality of contacts, as well as the nature of interactions observed in the camp of the President-elect, have been leaving more hope than frustration under the microscopic view of a holistic appraisal. The rumored names of prospective stewards in the upcoming government and statements that are indicative of the policy direction that Muhammadu Buhari may toe, have given little or no reason whatsoever for any major discomfort. Alas, there are reasons for minor discomfort.
The reason that the discomfort may be minor is mirrored in the overall picture of the ascendance of Muhammadu Buhari to the elected throne. After all, the retired Major-General has long been an unelectable material for more than a decade until Mr. Goodluck Jonathan took over the piloting of the Nigerian plane heading straight for the World Trade Center in New York City. Whoever denies the fact that Goodluck Jonathan was poised to crash the Nigerian plane against the rock of disaster will surely have the potential to deny the parenthood of his/her own mother.
Today, the need for a strongman and a fearless leader to pick the pieces and rework Nigeria into shape again, left us with no choice but to virtually beg Muhammadu Buhari to help Nigeria out. The readiness that the President-elect has so far shown, to pull the bull by the horn is now making other unpalatable signals appear as simply too minor to be allowed to distract from the real and enormous task ahead.
Else, there are reasons to be seriously worried about the long-term impact of Bola Asiwaju Tinubu as a major player in this impending government that is built on the imaginary foundation of righteousness by popular demand. First, no one should be under any illusion that there are no sound reasons to believe in Asiwaju Tinubu as a trusted achiever. So crass is the dichotomy that makes up the character structure of the man that anyone will be best advised to have a second thought before underestimating him. One of such dichotomy is the active DNA of good governance that is associated with Lagos State Governors since Lateef Jakande. Bola Tinubu continued on this path and emulated Lateef Jakande much to the delight of Lagosians. Outside the office of Governor, he transformed into a valuable powerbroker to political associates who choose to ally with him. Today, he has succeeded in tactfully converting enemies of his active days as Governor such as former President Olusegun Obasanjo into latter-day friends. There is no doubt, that there are strong character traits in former Governor Tinubu that endear him to his admirers and adorers.
The flipside of this dichotomy in the Tinubu phenomenon however is again, a character and a moral issue at the same time. For several years now, undercurrent insinuations have been suggestive of Bola Tinubu’s antecedent as an actor in the underworld dealings of drug peddling and money-laundering. This old scoop was dug up again on April 27, 2015 – barely four weeks to the official inauguration of the President-elect – by a foreign writer named Michael Weiss, who describes Bola Tinubu as Muhammadu Buhari’s “Svengali” – a background manipulator and shrewd controller of the visible principal.
Writing in the “Daily Beast”, Michael Weiss says “General Buhari’s political partner is a former bagman for two heroin traffickers. But that’s just business as usual in Nigeria.” He proceeded to offer details of cases that have long been handled in and out of court in the United States that dealt chiefly, with issues of drug dealing and money laundering.
Even though there is no serious-minded political observer that will deny having heard this rumored information at one point or the other, it is yet a nerve-wracking ballast to have it hovering above the nascent hope for change at this crucial moment of basking in the joy of victory, founded on the principle of righteousness. Coupled with public worries that have so far, been abundantly expressed in relation to Tinubu’s insatiable hunger for political and commercial power since leaving the Governorship of Lagos State, the question simply begs to be asked how much of a political liability Mr. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu may turn out to be for the political fortunes of the President-elect. The retired Major-General will find it difficult to perpetually sustain persistent negative reports of this nature about none other than a very senior member of his ruling merger-party as the course of governance proceeds, more so when this senior member is a partial and crucial facilitator of election victory. There is no doubt that the day will be there sooner or later, in which this state of affairs will begin to take its toll on political composure no matter how much loyalty Buhari will naturally like to show.
Another contradiction of the Buhari project is also the role of the former Governor of Bayelsa State Mr. Timipre Sylva. The public outcry that has persistently trailed Buhari’s victory and was once notably re-echoed by none other than the former running mate of the ex-General, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has sounded the deafening call that General Buhari is surrounded by dubious characters that may undermine his fight against corruption by popular demand. Since it is no daring feat in the Nigerian political landscape to lay hands on politicians that are systemically corrupt – especially as past Governors – people are far less interested in the fact of Timipre Sylva having been unjustly victimized or not by outgoing President Jonathan. The fact alone that the former Governor has judicial cases of corruption to answer is enough to sway public opinion against Buhari’s project of rebirthing orderliness and sanity in the country’s political perception. This is an issue that will definitely demand wisdom and a cautious but seismic shift in the role that Buhari will assign to his trusted victory facilitators.
I have no doubt that the President-elect has good reasons to show loyalty, hang on to and even remain thankful to some people that many outsiders will readily characterize as “dubious”. Yet, democracy being at the mercy of public opinion and perception, will sooner or later, unveil such characters as a ticking time-bomb for the General’s political fortunes.
Precisely this is the outcome that the pitiable losers of the Jonathan camp seem to be fervently praying and hoping for. The reality that the teeming majority of Nigerians have had to find hope in a 72-year old former General that they had hitherto rejected on three different occasions, to reclaim Nigeria from the grip of potential separatists and outright thieves, does not seem to resonate strongly enough with the bunch of shameless advocates, who still consider themselves as passionate supporters of the disgraceful Jonathan project.
The mere proclamation of intention to revisit the claim of the failure of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to remit funds to the state treasury as required by law and as reported by the whistle-blower Sanusi Lamido Sanusi worked immediate magic. The incumbent President simply released the result of a forensic audit that has for long been kept under seal for no discernible reason. It is proof for the first time that the fear of Buhari is slowly becoming the beginning of wisdom.
Most notable is the fact that the auditing company PriceWaterhouseCooper that was paid with hard-earned tax-payer’s money to carry out forensic and microscopic examination of NNPC’s books now claim to have done a mere inquiry and haphazard investigation and nothing microscopic. It claims to have been denied crucial information and data while important actors simply shunned requests for meeting and questioning. Funnily, supporters of the outgoing President do not seem to feel the need to begin to ask questions in the interest of the nation latest at this crucial point in time.
As has always been the case, they have simply switched their gear of hate to their customary barefaced logical somersault and desperate efforts to stand logic on its head. The conclusions provided by the auditors of PriceWaterhouseCooper have however rendered imperative, the need to revisit the entire investigation once again, with all documents laid bare. Faced with the prospect of being bogged down by the investigation of massive corruption perpetrated under the watch of President Jonathan and being hardly able to make any headway in the business of governance, the incoming government mulls the option of selective investigations aimed at focusing only on significant cases. Yet, the need to revamp revenue in days of dwindling oil prices will exacerbate the hunger for probes and refund of funds that were stolen from our commonwealth. The only preoccupation that Jonathan’s apologists seem to have today is to catch any single sign of pains that Buhari may inflict upon the masses – both imaginary and real – and simply wish him failure. This is a disgraceful show of frustration and sheer intellectual inferiority.
Appeal to logic is obviously not their stock in trade and they never seek to toe a straight line of mental comprehension. The sudden jump aboard the bandwagon of barring the African Independent Television (AIT) from covering the President-elect’s private functions now seems to be paving the way for a ride on the open-ended wagon of the negative impact of the impending removal of the fraudulent subsidy of petroleum products. Yet Buhari is the first leader that convincingly and credibly explained to Nigerians, why and how the subsidy payment has been a fraud all along. He is the first Nigerian leader that has clearly spelt out credible alternatives to the regime of exploitative and fraudulent importation of refined fuel that the diabolical forces of former military leader Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida shortchanged and was continued ever since by successive governments. Fingers are now crossed in the confident belief that Buhari knows his onions and will ultimately clean the mess. For this, Nigerians may be prepared to accept subsidy removal along with the abolition of the regime of profiteering importation.
While every operative of the mass media including myself, will logically condemn and discourage Buhari for and from pouncing on AIT for its sins of unprofessionalism in the spirit of press freedom, hardly anyone will deny the nuisance and disgrace that AIT constituted to the noble profession of journalism as the trailblazer of illogical Jonathanism.
It is precisely for this reason that I honestly appeal to the millions of Buhari supporters and admirers to endeavor to show more maturity in the months and years ahead as many of us will come out attacking Buhari as well, whenever the train threatens to derail. The level that no sane and intelligent mind will seek to descend to is the level of illogical propaganda embraced by Jonathanians for the sake of marketing a product that is visibly falling short of the natural standard of good practice.
Yet, there will be no denying the fact that a bumpy ride awaits critics like us in the period of Buhari’s presidency in the face of the passion that drives a section of the supporters of Major-General Muhammadu Buhari who seem enthused and obsessed by the figments of their own admiration.