Bayo Omoboriowo, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
By Shamusudeen Kareem
The Yorubas have a saying that if a child would cater for his parents at their old age, such child would have shown symptoms of doing so at a young age. Applying this proverb to Nigeria’s precarious situation then, if any leader fervidly believes he or she can bring a turn-around in the country, such a leader would have shown signs of doing so right from his emergence.
In 2011, Mohammed Buhari wept. He had lost the general elections three consecutive times—1999, 2007, and 2011. He was pained because he said he had the vision to drive Nigeria to progress, but was not given the chance. He wept bitterly like a child whose candy was forcefully collected from him and promised not to contest for the elections again. He would later challenge the elections results in the court but wouldn’t come out victorious. His singular act of crying evoked emotions from the citizens because it’s rare for any politician to weep on the basis of wanting to restructure Nigeria.
So, when the then Congress for Progressive Change, Action Congress of Nigeria, and other parties merged to form the grand All Progressives Congress in 2015—obviously masterminded by the Lion of Bourdillion, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Buhari was elected as the party’s Presidential aspirant. There were high hopes of winning, and, Buhari won. Buhari’s emergence was quite easy because the then Jonathan-led administration had lost popular support, and the change mantra that Buhari hammered on was received as genuine to majority of Nigerians. Well, we know the reality now.
Buhari was touted as the long-awaited messiah—and was loved for his anti-corruption crusade and integrity. There were high hopes that Nigeria, the sleeping giant, would finally rise. Buhari started well, implementing one or two favourable policies before he was caught with Aso Rock’s virus. This virus is so deadly that its carrier assumes the role of a “super citizen,” and sees the masses that elected them in power as a despicable, no-say persons. It didn’t take long before the sad reality dawned on the citizens that Buhari is like the other leaders we’ve had, who had we cajoled us with sweet words, only to disappoint us. It’s even more saddening that Buhari who was a known anti-corruption crusader, became caught in the corruption web, and rather to accept the blame, he vehemently denied it.
Buhari also immediately showed that he was more of an ethnic champion than a Nigerian. This is in contrast with his “I belong to everybody. I belong to nobody” maxim. In fact it was later we got to know that while as a Military Head of State (between 1983 and 1985), he voted for a Fulani man from Niger over his countryman. Even while this generated reactions and counteractions, Buhari did not budge. He carried on like a soldier who has received the only order of “Go!”
Buhari won the election for a second term in office in 2019. An election that was characterised by massive killings, fraud, etc. When Buhari was asked then if he would leave power if he loses the elections, the power-drunk Buhari failed to admit that there was a possibility of him losing the elections, even when his administration has lost majority support. He was adamant he would win, like someone who would never relinquish power. It was a strange sight to behold, because Buhari had always clamoured for free and fair elections. But his ruthless, uncouth statements showed that he is the exact opposite of what he preaches.
Buhari would later go on to run the affairs of the country as if he was the pioneer of the nation’s independence. Buhari makes policies without considering the citizens' interest, and when anyone finds faults in his draconian policies, such persons are usually unlawfully locked up—in a brazen violation of the fundamental human rights. Now, the Buhari-led administration is trying to curtail the freedom of expression of the citizens by formulating laws that see anyone who criticises Buhari as treasonable. How more do we have to prove that Buhari is no-saviour?
In the area of security where Buhari is expected to shine, as we say here, he has lost woefully. The citizens are killed almost daily and human lives seem cheap in the part of the world. And rather than address these nation-tearing issues, Buhari only expresses shock, and shock. And, as you know, the dangerous cycle continues! Buhari, who promised security for all, is now the one who couldn’t guarantee security in his own backyard. A few weeks ago, Peoples Gazette reported how armed robbers burgled the residence of the Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and went away scot-free! If this also is not a pointer that Buhari is a no-saviour, then what is?
Shall we talk about the poverty alleviation Buhari promised? How many citizens are no longer poor in the country? Or rather, how many more poor people do we have in Nigeria? Buhari has also forgotten his promise of monthly allocation to extremely poor citizens. Yet, reports say that there’s massive looting of the nation’s treasury under Buhari’s watch. Buhari’s actions and inactions have continuously left the citizens puzzled at best, and at worst, sad. It is now glaring that all politicians are the same. And whether or not any one of them shows affection to the citizens when they are not in power, it's just a truce.
Nigeria now is more challenged than ever, with experts warning that if this trend continues Nigeria may fail to exist. But like the proverbial dog who failed to the listen to the hunter’s whistle, Buhari has ignored these warnings. When we reflect upon the Buhari-led administration, we will see that the nation is in the dark, and this leadership does not want to illuminate it. But why Buhari? Why Buhari that had once been on the lips of Nigerians to change the country and take it to the next level? The answer is not hard to find: there are no saint politicians. Sadly, those to correct these political errors—the sinators and the legislooters—are in cahoots. Thankfully, our eyes have seen the truth, but the pains are still there with us.