The greatest disservice any man can do to himself is to deliberately deceive himself; thinking he is fooling others. Many years ago, the then chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the late Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, woke up one morning, perhaps filled with an overdose of self-worth and having overrated his party, concluded that the PDP would rule for the next 60 years.
Nothing else could have prompted this outburst, other than the fact that he would probably have been too convinced that his behemoth party, the self-styled biggest party on the continent, was doing very well, so much so that it would remain in office for as long as it wished. Well, he and his party members were well alive to realize the tomfoolery in trying to play god or not taking appropriate assessment of the party’s significance, relevance and true worth.
Because our politicians do not learn from the mistakes of those before them, they are often condemned to repeating such mistakes. Or how best can one explain the tactless comments last week by Senator Abdullahi Adamu, Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) when he said, his party’s candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, should get ready to be sworn in as the next president?
I do not have any issue with whoever is sworn in as the next president of the country, so long as that person represents the choice of the people; as long as that person is seen to have won a free and fair contest. This is important because only when the people are convinced that the outcome represents their choice, only then can we really deepen the tenets of democracy and our institutions to such a level that we no longer boast of strongmen but strong institutions.
However, my grouse with Adamu who has never pretended about his adulation of President Muhammadu Buhari was where he retorted that, “Except God, President Buhari is the highest authority in Nigeria today. Buhari has said it and it shall come to pass.”
Adamu said President Buhari, as the highest authority in the country, has made the declaration, nothing will hinder it from coming to pass next year. Undiluted sycophancy.
He was alluding to the statement the previous day (Wednesday) by President Buhari in an interview in the United Kingdom after meeting with His Royal Majesty, King Charles III, in Buckingham Palace that Tinubu would win the 2023 presidential election.
When asked the chances of the APC in the 2023 elections, Buhari said, “What are the chances of my party not winning the election? We are going to win the election.
“Tinubu, the presidential candidate, a very well-known politician in the country, he was a two-term governor in Lagos State, the most resourceful state and the most visited state. So, I think the party was lucky to get him to be the candidate.”
Buhari, as party leader is perfectly in order to show so much support for his party’s standard bearer. Buhari is free to campaign for his party’s candidate and should the party win the election, he should be happy to see that his party remains in power.
Given that most Nigerian politicians are hypocrites of the worst hue, it would be advisable for Tinubu to take whatever Adamu says with a pinch of salt. First, Nigerians have not forgotten so easily the ignoble role played by Adamu when he tried to foist the choice of Senator Ahmad Lawan, the Senate President, as candidate of the party and the choice of President Buhari. It did not matter then to Adamu that the choice of Lawan is not only unjust and inequitable, given that Buhari, the incumbent president is also from the north; it also did not matter to him that it would also be unfair in the eyes of God.
Apart from Adamu just trying to massage the ego of the president, on what basis is he thinking that the party under Buhari has done so well that a comment from him would help the cause of Tinubu? In fact, the greatest problem that the Tinubu candidature would face, would be how to tell the world that a party like APC, that has performed so abysmally can be trusted again with the leadership of the country, irrespective of Tinubu’s personal merit.
Buhari’s blatant and impervious sectional and tribalistic leadership has consistently left Nigeria on the edge of a precipice for as long as his presidency has lasted. We have been divided because the president has been selective, prejudicial and detrimental to the egalitarian and united Nigeria we desire.
And where has that left us, perpetually in a state of mutual suspicion, distrust and conflicts. Nigerians have never been as divided as we are now along ethnic, religious and tribal lines. If you doubt this, perhaps you need to explain why is it that the Muslim-Muslim ticket of Chief M. K. O. Abiola and Babagana Kingibe in 1993 was not an issue but now a big issue with Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima, about 30 years after?
Buhari’s biased appointments, reward system and fight against corruption and insecurity is the reason his foray into political office has left a deep division of opinion as to what is best for the nation and a high-pitched dichotomy in the nation’s political firmament.
Today, our farmers cannot access their farms in the north-east, north-west, north-central, south-east, some parts of the south west and south-south, no thanks to the activities of brutal killer herders who have not only chased them out of their farmlands but have also displaced them from their ancestral abode and yet not even a finger is lifted against these marauders. The effect, being that there is an unprecedented level of poverty, hunger, deprivation, hopelessness and depression across the country. The evidence of this is the daily recourse of Nigerians to taking to the lagoons and sniper to end it all.
Easily the most appalling of the president’s performance is in the area of security where he has simply displayed undisguised bias in his fight against insecurity. By the time Buhari will be leaving office on May 29, 2023, not a single killer herder would be taken to court let alone jailed. By the time APC would have completed its mandatory two terms, not a single bandit, terrorist or call them whatever you wish, will be brought to justice.
Same last week, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, in trying to rationalise why security agencies tackling insecurity negotiate with bandits or kidnappers in order to free hostages unhurt, said it would be an exercise in futility if terrorists who are armed abduct persons and the police go in search of them under captivity using extreme force.
Logical, isn’t it? But can he also explain why the same approach is not used when it comes to the South, especially the south east? Can the federal government he represents explain why extreme force is often used when it comes to the south and why the government has ruled out any form of negotiation with Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo (Igboho)? Or are they the worst vandals? Are those souls killed during the raids on the homes of these men also guilty?
That is the government whose performance Adamu is so convinced would lend its credence to the aspirations of an unfortunate Asiwaju Tinubu. How that will come about, in the fullness of time shall be revealed.
For Tinubu to achieve his aspiration, he would do well to fashion out a means of reaching the people telling them how he would do things differently and sell his candidature to convince the people why he should be voted for and not rely on the badly diminished and squandered goodwill which President Buhari once enjoyed.