Sharing my thoughts and putting my message accross
By Frisky Larr
Who doesn’t remember the dirty tricks in the presidential elections of 2015? A medical report was released, ostensibly engineered by the incumbent President of the time, from the Teaching Hospital of a reputable Nigerian university. The content was explosive and a potential game-changer. It purportedly revealed the negative medical record of the then opposition candidate, Muhammadu Buhari. A long-standing impact of advancing prostate cancer was poised to take a toll on his fitness for the office he aspired to hold, so the report claimed. Remember the misstep at a rally stage and the hyped reports of a slump on the campaign trail?
The medical report was subsequently retracted, and no one claimed responsibility for authoring it at the Teaching Hospital of the reputable Nigerian university. Today, memories are revisited for highly informed reasons. The opposition candidate, who went on to become the President of today’s Nigeria is indeed, now known to be truly suffering from an undisclosed illness. Backdoor rumors point to prostate cancer.
In spite of all that though, and not the least, based on what we know today, every citizen, who wishes his country well, will still rejoice that the truth was suppressed, and the ill-health info did not mar the chances of ousting the corrupt and disastrous regime of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. In the same vein, however, it offers reasons for regrets and lamentations, basically, because it uncovers a deeply rooted culture of political manipulations to entrench the will of the political establishment. What you see is not what you get. The decision to remove Goodluck Ebele Jonathan from the driver’s seat was paramount to everything else. Thank goodness for it though!
The manipulated electorate, however, nurtured high expectations and saw a small-ax messiah that was configured to take a no-nonsense stance and cut down the mighty tree of corruption. The corrupt ones feared for their lives too. The scramble for cover-ups and obliteration of traces and desperate moves to intercept the President-elect on planes to strike a deal for mercy, were the least that the evil caucus could allow itself. Many took ill overnight, and overseas medical check became a pastime exercise. In panic and desperation, journalistic white-wash propaganda was employed as well as the sudden exposure of cardinals and pontifices to rationalize the negative impact of fighting corruption.
The scammed electorates trusted in the man and the man struck the right nerve to usher in the birth of a new era. For starting the fight from the top and docking the powerful and the mighty, the President was forgiven for his unpreparedness for the routine demand of the office he fought repeatedly, to occupy. After months of preparation as a President-elect, the President had no clue, how to constitute his cabinet for good three months. He was forgiven. For observers of the scene, it was re-assuring, however, to understand that the President was prepared to shake the establishment from top to bottom and “give corruption a bloody nose”.
Unfortunately, however, the President derailed and allowed the powerful to fight back while he, obviously, in consideration of the transience of life, saw no need to make too many enemies. He saw no need to overheat the polity. President Buhari betrayed the trust of the excited and frenzied masses and sold away the soul of hope in the birth of a silent revolution. He spat on the euphoria of a people that were prepared to run down the powerful in the fight for the heart of a sane Nigeria.
Today, we know that the President is sick. On a medical vacation and represented by a buoyant Vice President, Nigerians were served a little taste of the dish that everyone expected of a radical and revolutionary President Muhammadu Buhari. In the aftermath of an unannounced visit to Murtala Muhammed Airport, the Acting President made heads roll, when he discovered the depth of management filth that kept the system from functioning. That is precisely the type of action that brought fame and regards for Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia of the defunct Bendel State. It is the kind of actions that Nigerians expected of Muhammadu Buhari.
Today, a lunatic Governor Ayodele Fayose makes a mess of a once-dreaded General Muhammadu Buhari. A red-eye Wike runs a state like an uncontrolled drug addict while the President watches helplessly dumb. The President is surrounded by interest groups, who have now Jonathanized the system that he sought to sanitize. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is now reported to be operating in the opaquest of systems imaginable. EFCC operatives are reported to be running around town in opulent wealth and corrupt enrichment, from incompletely submitted wealth recovery. All under the watch of the once-dreaded General Muhammadu Buhari.
A welcome clampdown on the judiciary rekindled hope in a thorough cleansing of the system only for the President to stop it half-way and “Sarakize” the process once again.
Unfortunately, however, Nigerians do not help matters. In spite of boasting of a huge number of university graduates in a comparative continent-wide statistical distribution, Nigeria suffers a huge shortage of intellectuals with the capability of reasoning scientifically – a virtue that is taken for granted in saner climes. Engaging purportedly educated Nigerians in armchair beer-parlor debates sometimes, you’d be forgiven if you thought you were debating with pre-colonial village elders, who believed they too could have made good intellectuals if they were educated. The glaring shortage of sophistry, empiricism and rationality that is often reduced to popularly applaudable traditional intelligence, notwithstanding, many such pseudo-intellectuals believe so passionately and strongly in the superiority of their reasoning and calling that you’d simply end up pitying the country and the wasted generation that drives its destiny.
Believe it or not, there are educated individuals in today’s Nigeria, for whom Ayodele Fayose serves as a formidable role model. There are educated Nigerians in today’s world, who do not see any wisdom in fighting corruption since no Nigerian alive is qualified to lead the fight. There are Nigerians, who for one selfish and emotional reason or the other, will not see anything wrong in a legislative chamber populated by gangsters and run in the spirit of Gangsterism. And they are all educated.
Prosecution for the forgery of standing orders by a self-imposed gang of principal officers in the legislature will be rationalized by educated Nigerians as victimization.
This glaring intellectual deficit with which no nation can ever witness meaningful advancement, was first laid bare in all facets during the regime of Olusegun Obasanjo, who did his best to re-arrange the Nigerian political space for the equitable accommodation of all the regional entities in the nation away from Northern domination. But guess what! His strongest adversaries were the Southerners, who benefitted most from his mission of political inclusiveness. Purportedly educated minds did not only take to the vicious condemnation of those things that he got wrong, everything he did right was subjected to the relativism of malicious condemnation. A few years after, having had a savory taste of the late Yar’Adua and the “Ph.D Jonathan”, many of these voices sing a different tune today. They were all educated.
In the same spirit of talking before thinking, many unleash venom on Muhammadu Buhari for picking lieutenants that he can best work with, claiming the progression of a clandestine Northern agenda and ignoring all other facts of the inherited federal spread that are constitutionally unavoidable. Yet Obasanjo’s blindness to ethnic coloration was ignored at the time and glaringly portrayed as the devil’s deal by precisely those same minds that choose to characterize Muhammadu Buhari today, as the brainless cattle-rearer.
Impunity in anticipatory and manipulatory asset declaration, forgery of senate rules, forgery of import documents and many more vices and acts of banditry are willfully ignored by Nigerian pseudo-intellectuals to elevate destructive role models to survive peak positions in notable political spaces. Today, the Dino Melayes, the Ayodele Fayoses and the red-eyed Wikes excel in thuggery and the desecration of institutions that are ordinarily meant to be noble and charitable. They are cheered on by educated persons.
While legislatures in exemplary democracies represent nobility and display exceptional political intellectualism in committees and plenary sessions, the Nigerian upper house is bent on ignoring all important matters of state to force someone to appear before it in uniform. Trivialities and perfidy now stand out as virtues for representatives that are regularly engaged in emptiness and low academic tagging. Yet, educated friends mistake ours for a grown democracy and worry more about the impact of disobeying the legislature by not wearing uniforms and comfortably ignoring the need to grow a tradition by drawing the limits for all parties in the game including legislators. The overblown sense of self-exaltation ignoring the chance factor in being in one position at a given time seems lost on many of our schooled but non-educated legislators in their perception of self. If a democratic tradition is to be grown, no doubt, they will need to learn the limits no matter how many pseudo-intellectuals cheer them on.
A combination of these qualities of Nigerians and the apparently health-impeded agility of the President of a nation that has betrayed hope and enormous expectations, has presently seen Nigeria treading a hopeless path of no redemption. It is yet not too late for President Muhammadu Buhari to damn the impact of his own health and fix the health of Nigeria for a lasting legacy. It does not matter when he goes to his grave as we will all do, enemies and friends will be there for eternity. Cozying up to the wrong friends in Dogara and Saraki and allowing the wrong establishment characters like Ibrahim Babangida or the power-hungry Atiku Abubakar preach the toxic message of not overheating the polity, will only betray the deal of moving Nigeria forward.
Follow me on Twitter @friskyLarrimore, Frisky Larr is author of the book “Nigeria’s Journalistic Militantism”, “Africa’s Diabolical Entrapment” and “Lost in Democracy”.