Buhari as the new bait

By Nwohonja on

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Buhari - the new bait

“Any country that reaches back in years to pick its leaders is either dead or dying.”

The above words came as response to the way a Nigerian political party recently set the country on the path of choosing a leader. Eventually, the candidate they chose appears to be a bait to perpetuate the corruption structure of the country.

To be sure, if the Nigerian people happen to swallow that bait, then it would be the second time in the country’s history that such a thing had happened.

The political party in question is All Progressives Congress (APC), which reached back in time to pick up a man that has governed the country some 30 years ago to make him its Presidential candidate. The man chosen is Muhammadu Buhari, a former military head of state from 1983 to 1985. APC picked him as its standard bearer in the coming Presidential election in February, and since then he has commenced campaigns.

At this early juncture, it is instructive to note that what APC is trying to do is to bring Nigerians to a collective folly similar to that of 1999.  That was when General Olusegun Obasanjo was pulled out of prison and set up to become Nigerian president. The sing-song then was that he was the only one that could keep Nigeria together, as if keeping Nigeria together would keep food on the table of Nigerians; and as if keeping Nigeria together is sin qua non for progress and development.

Meanwhile, keeping Nigeria together only meant (to the promoters of Obasanjo then) the preservation of a legacy that did nothing to elevate the people. That legacy was the killing of more than five million people in an evilly contrived war By General Yakubu Gowon under the same guise of keeping Nigeria one. Another was the corruption of the negotiated structure of the country, which was basically a federation. And yet another legacy was the hijacking of the peoples’ resources, which they (the promoters) have been squandering since then.

In the final analyses, keeping Nigeria together never had anything good for the ordinary Nigerians. Incidentally, Nigerians swallowed the bait, and the result was the wasted eight years of Obasanjo. Added to that, from the time of the military and up to the time the Obasanjo-bait was swallowed, Nigerian Railway had died; electric power generation died; hospitals became consulting clinics; and Nigerian Airways collapsed. Nigerian Shipping Line went under; Nigeria could no longer refine petroleum products; educational system collapsed; the people were being terrorised left, right and centre, even by the same government that was supposed to protect them; they were killed and dispossessed under the guise of national security; and the country became a laughing stock worldwide.

The list can go on and on because all institutions of government collapsed. To the chagrin of many Nigerians, when Obasanjo eventually berthed, all funds said to have been expended in providing social amenities could not be accounted for, and the jobs were not done.

It is to this extent that critics have disagreed with argument that the coming of Buhari would make any difference (change) in the country. Also, the mantra of Buhari being the only man that can combat corruption in Nigeria has been rejected, in it’s entirely for this simple reason. This also explains why this writer considers Buhari to be the new bait to hoodwink Nigerians into, once again, accepting an old wine in a new bottle as being packaged by Nigeria’s traditional manipulators.

Bringing Buhari into governance will mean further extension of that wicked legacy started by Gowon in the mid-1960s. Apart from being a former military head of state, Buhari was also a former Petroleum minister in 1976 (designated as federal commissioner then). At a time, he was also a former governor of Northeastern State (which then consisted of two states). He has also held many military positions since the military incursion into governance in the country in 1966.

All the above therefore make him part and parcel of the wasteful military ruling class – the military gang that governed the country from 1967 till 2007, and completely did the country in. Yes, he was among the band that, through the years of military rule, distorted the structure of the country and turned into to the mockery it is today – both as a democracy and a federal state. They changed boundaries here, and manipulated rules there, that by the time they beat their ignoble retreat in 1999, they had bequeathed to the people a monstrosity. It is a monstrosity that was, in all ramifications, a unitary state but still deceitfully retaining the name “Federal Republic of Nigeria”.

Yes, Nigeria is no longer a federation; it is now only that by name. Consider the fact that there were three regions and three constitutions at Independence – including the central Constitution as the fourth – they have ended up creating 36 slavish appendages that exist as states today.

With these facts, and more, even his supporters in his previous attempts at getting to the Presidency (this writer inclusive), have turned full circle to become his critics.

One of my reasons is that promoters of Buhari knew of the new attempts to correct the manipulation and corruption of Nigeria’s original structure through a National Conference, but was scuttled. This therefore proves a lie, the claim by Buhari and his handlers that he is coming to fight corruption. If they could not work to purge Nigeria of its corrupt nature, how then can they fight the corruption that is the product of that nature?

My other criticism of him is predicated on my belief that a man who played leadership roles in a country for upwards of 45 years should have been able to mentor young men that at 72, he should relax to watch his mentees do what he taught them. My belief is that Buhari running for office now is clear indication that he would not be able to deliver.

To make matter worse, he now does not appear different from other politicians who usually do anything and say anything just to grab power. He is now like a man who has tried every trick in the book, associated with all manners of individuals and compromised many things in his obsessive quest to become president. Everything about him today shows that he can no longer deliver.

Reality check shows that Buhari is so clueless that when he got wind that some of his subordinates were planning to overthrow him; he did not know what to do to thwart it. Another is that despite the fact that they considered him as being high-handed while in government, he was clueless not to understand the future importance of some social and economic ventures such as the Lagos Metro-line project that was started by Lateef Jakande during the second republic.

He stopped it at a very huge cost to the state and country as result of the large contract payout, leading to the monumental traffic jams in the state today that even their so-called performing governor, Babatunde Fashola could not find solution to in a whole of eight years.

We have got an opportunity to compare notes between the past and present and decide if we should move forward or swing backwards. A very instructive mantra teaches that always, going backwards is death and going forward is life. Buhari is one other bait in the history of Nigeria that must not swallowed by Nigerians.

 

Posted on January, 13 2015

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