Saturday, June 18, 2016

Buhari And The Challenges of Sainthood – A Rejoinder

By Remi Oyeyemi

I have just finished reading the powerful article by Sonala Olumhense with the heading “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Sainthood.”  Being one of those that I read their articles almost religiously (and I have been following him since his days in The Guardian), I am not unaware that he is a very fervent supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari. He really believes in him. The only thing is that he is not fundamentalist in his belief in the President.
*Buhari 
That he is not fundamentalist does not surprise me. This is because he embodies a mind that is thoroughly developed. A mind translucent in its broadness that it can conveniently encapsulate fervent belief about an idea or a person while simultaneously endowed with the clarity to be critical in a subtle manner; driving home his point forcefully with unequalled succulence.  He has a mind cocoon in intellect. With that kind of mind, dogmatism has nowhere to dodge.

Mr. Olumhense probably drank some Champagne when President Buhari won the last elections to celebrate. If he did, it was not undeserved. President Goodluck Jonathan drove Nigerians nuts for the better part of his tenure. So, to Mr. Olumhense, like millions of other Nigerians, the new President Buhari represents the beacon of new hope and advent of a new era. He was, it seems, a new opportunity to save Nigeria from herself and her peoples. 
Mr. Olumhense’s article in question put on the table series of unfulfilled promises on the part of President Buhari regarding certain actions he was going to take relating to the war on corruption.  He believes it was a “serious embarrassment” that President Buhari failed to release to the public the list of those who have looted our commonwealth, especially, the one given to him by the US government. The list was said to have included information about “names of many corrupt Nigerians, and the location of their stolen funds.” Mr. Olumhense had believed President Buhari’s “punchline” announcing “his deadline for the publication of that list of infamy: May 29.”
 Mr. Olumhense’s frustration flipped open as follows:
“The only problem is that the day arrived, and he made the anniversary speech without including that much-anticipated report.
 
“But such was the tension and the anticipation surrounding the expected announcement that everything in his speech had actually become secondary to it. The ensuing national outrage compelled the government to declare that the Ministry of Information would make the announcement four days later.
 
“Again, however, that date yielded no such report. As the world now knows, the ‘announcement’ finally arrived at the end of that week through the office of the Minister of Information. But while it was informative as to what has been recovered, the report identified none of the corrupt former officials involved.”
 
Evidently, Mr. Olumhense was in despair about the inability of President Buhari to keep his promises made on the war against corruption in several fora.  Assessing the aftermath of that debacle, Mr. Olumhense ruefully commented as follows:
 
“In effect, it means the corrupt elements have won another round, leaving corruption in control, while the government lost a wonderful opportunity it may never regain.”

 
Then he opined correctly as follows:
 
“Perhaps most of all, the events of that week left President Buhari‘s credibility in a fog, and his road to political  sainthood  as broken as a federal Nigerian highway.”
The reason for this level of disappointment on the part of Mr. Olumhense is that he had put more stock in the hyping of Mohammadu Buhari in the days leading to the last presidential elections. His omission in properly interrogating the know-how and qualifications of Buhari in those heady electioneering days made him unwittingly gullible to the propaganda of a possible “Saint Buhari.”
 
Without any doubt, Mr. Olumhense is still holding on to some straws of hope that somehow, someday, someway, President Buhari would change from who he really is and fight this corruption war the way he (Olumhense) has been made to buy hook, line and sinker – without favour or fear. This is an impossibility because President Buhari is innately nepotic. He flits, fibs and feints. He cannot change. Even, if he tries, he won’t be able to change. He is like a leopard that nature has rendered congenitally unable to change his spots.

*Remi Oyeyemi 
In an article published a little over ten months ago, precisely on August 1, 2015 titled: “Why President Buhari Is The Obstacle To War On Corruption,” the case has been made that expecting President Buhari to make a meaning of this war on corruption is a function of undue expectations from an inept and corrupt leader like him. In that article, it was contended inter alia:
“It is becoming increasingly clear that President Mohammadu Buhari really has no interest in fighting corruption. It is embarrassing and disappointing that President Buhari conveys confusion and contused confidence about the war on corruption. The defeat of corruption is the greatest desire of Nigerians. It is why Nigerians felt that he should be given a chance after rejecting him at the polls three previous times…”
This position was further elucidated as follows:
“In fact, evidentially, the most challenging obstacle to fighting corruption in this present dispensation is President Buhari himself. President Buhari has raised obstacles to the war on corruption so that it would be impossible to prosecute. This would help him, and his friends keep their loots. Any hope that corruption would be decimated if not brought to its knees by President Buhari is not just dissipating; it is fast disappearing. One more time, Nigerians have been taken for a ride.”
 
It is still amazing how gifted minds like Mr. Olumhense could have been railroaded into believing in Mohammadu Buhari. It is really difficult to sympathise with his ilk as Buhari continues to unravel. It is not a rocket science to figure out that a student in elementary class two would not be able to handle the final examinations of a medical student. Where do you expect such a child to start? 
 
Those who worked to install Buhari were not his friends. It is unfair to put him in this kind of situation. It is an act of cruelty and wickedness to ask Buhari to come and manage Nigeria at this point in time. Even when things were not this bad, and he was young, able and energetic, he was a certified failure. So far, since 1914 when Nigeria was created against the will of its citizens, it was only under Muhammadu Buhari that Nigerians have ever queued for rice, milk, sugar, Ororo and other so-called “essential commodities.” Nigerians are presently experiencing something of this sort once again. Giving him the steering of the Nigerian vehicle this second time around is like asking a blind man to drive a car.
 
It is for this reason that one disagrees with the position of Mr. Olumhense when he stated that President Buhari's “credibility is in a fog.” Buhari’s credibility is not in any fog.
It never was and it never will for those who are willing to open their eyes and allow history, practicality, reason and true patriotism to guide them. President Buhari’s credibility is clearly non-existent for the following reasons:
1.      President Buhari is yet to tell Nigerians whether he has paid the 25 million naira loan he took to buy the party nomination paper or not. If he has paid it when did he do it and how? If he has not paid it, when is he going to do so?
2.      President Buhari has not declared his assets publicly as he promised Nigerians in his covenant.
3.      President Buhari has not made anyone in his cabinet to declare his or her assets publicly as he promised.
4.      President Buhari reneged on the 5,000.00 naira promise to unemployed graduates.
5.      President Buhari promised not to take off the petroleum subsidy. He has done it.
6.      President Buhari promised 86 naira at the pump; it is now 145 naira
7.       President Buhari made Nigerians believe that he is ascetic and that he did not have any house in Abuja. Nigerians have since found out this to be a deodorized lie.
8.      President Buhari in his inaugural speech told Nigerians “I BELONG TO EVERYBODY, AND I BELONG TO NOBODY.” Nigerians have since found out that he belongs to a Northern oligarchy, not to Nigeria.
9.      President Buhari promised to make Naira equivalent to the Dollar. Naira was about 200 to a Dollar when he took the reins of power. As I write this, Naira is over 350 to a Dollar
10. President Buhari promised that he would not tolerate corruption in any form. After finding out those who padded the initial 2016 budget, rather than use them as examples by sacking them, he merely redeployed them.
11. President Buhari promised Nigeria that he would follow the Constitution of Nigeria and enforce its laws. He has been flouting several court orders and setting a bad example as the leader of the country.
12. President Buhari twice has changed his deadline to defeat Boko Haram. Boko Haram was able to murder 1,000 Nigerians within his first 100 days in office.
13. The Fulani herdsmen have been raping, maiming and murdering innocent Nigerians with AK-47 rifles. President Buhari has never addressed Nigerians specifically on this serious security issue. His goons in the DSS have been able to arrest petty criminals but unable to arrest murderers because they obviously belong to the President’s ethnic group.
14. President Buhari has condoned extra – judicial killings of Nigerians and reduce the premium of the value of life as evident in following cases:
 a.      Over 500 Shiites were murdered in Kaduna with impunity without any form of consequence to the perpetrators;
b.      0ver 200 Nigerians of Agatu origin were murdered and no one has been brought to justice;
c.      The Nimbo killings in Uzo Uwani Local government of Enugu State
d.      Mindless killings of defenceless IPOB members in Onitsha on 2 occasions
e.      Among several others.
 
It is not accidental that “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Sainthood” for President Buhari. He has never qualified to be a sage of low level not to speak of a saint. It is really a stretch by Mr. Olumhense to ascribe by assumption, sainthood to someone like President Buhari. It smacks of undue insensitivity to the usage of diction unbecoming of an intellectual giant like him. The mere assumption of sainthood for President Buhari came across as an unwitting assault on the sensitivities of suffering Nigerians.
 
President Buhari is now perceived as not having the courage to really go to the bottom of the issue that is of utmost concern to Nigerians which is corruption. It is not just because he does not want to step on toes of some powerful enemies of Nigeria, but the fact is that he did not want anything that would expose his own acts of corruption. President Buhari, who enjoys his own deification as an incorruptible man, does not want the deceived Nigerians to find out the truth about his own lack of integrity.
 
President Buhari is living in constant fear that if he pursues corruption too much the way it is supposed to be pursued, and the way he has lied to Nigerians that he would, he would end up being demystified because his claim to integrity and incorruptibility could come under the klieg light and would definitely not stand the test of rigorous scrutiny. But unfortunately for him, he would still end up being demystified because he would not be able to deliver on his promise.
 
President Buhari is a compromised man. He is compromised by his own past. He is a peonage to his corrupt friends. He is held captive to his tunnel vision. He is in a bondage of his provincial mentality. He is in an inextricable serfage to his lack of know-how. He no longer has credibility among objective observers except his fundamentalist supporters who are evidently allergic to reasoning and have no value for facts.
 
Buhari may have all the good intentions in the world. But such are not good enough. Nations are not ruled with just good intentions. Nations are ruled with plans infused by clear and definitive vision. Buhari has no vision. And he has no plan. He only wanted power. As the saying goes, those who fail to plan have plans to fail. President Buhari has been, is still is, and will remain the major obstacle to the war on corruption. Buhari would not be able to deliver equity for Nigerians on the matters of corruption. This is because his hands reek of dirt. His hands are not clean. And he, who must come to equity, must do so with clean hands. This is not the case with President Buhari.
 
The fact is Nigerians, once again have been hoodwinked.
 
“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.”
- John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address January 20, 1961

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