Now That The Madness Is Over…
ON March 19, 2015, Segun Adeniyi wrote in his verdict titled: ‘When this madness is over…’ He was concerned with the character and pattern of the campaigns dominated by gossips, character assassination and propagation of hatred and seeds of discord. The biggest party in Africa was busy circulating damaging home videos about its opponents while the change merchants were abusing the president and demonizing his government, at a time our economy was on life support due to the gyration in oil prices. That was more than two months ago. Today, one can heave a sigh of relief that the madness is over. It may not be totally over if one considers the exchanges in the social media. But, at least, the tension has subsided. The drums of war have stopped sounding and those who went on self exile overseas, to the east, or those driven to the lagoon, are now back to base, or are at least on their way back ‘home’.
But our people say that even after madness has been cured, certain traces (like occasionally talking to no one in particular or walking in a fast pace) will always remain. The electoral madness is over but some scars still remain and there is need to revisit some of these, so as to obtain a clear picture of things.
I am happy that I was proved right in at least one major issue concerning the election. I had categorically stated, and severally too, that ‘nothing would happen’ to Nigeria because of the elections. That was not because the election would be fair or the politicians had repented of their desperation and do-or-die tendencies. It was because Nigeria has an uncanny ability to survive cataclysmic events, be they economic, natural, war or war-like, and social.
Corollary to my above assertion was (and still is) that the kind of issue or event that would scatter Nigeria would be so seemingly insignificant that everybody would be taken unawares. And whether by design or default, President Jonathan has been lucky once more. Somebody who was defeated (or ‘defeated’) in an election has suddenly become a toast of the world, receiving commendations from likely and unlikely quarters and even his political enemies have either joined in the congratulatory train or kept the peace.
There were two major traces of madness that I thought would be there, even after the real madness has been cured. The first is tension in the land. But this has been mercifully deflated by the deft move of our immediate past president, who is now, patiently enjoying a deserved rest at Otuoke. The second was what my brother and friend, Abraham Ogbodo, referred to as cult journalism (see The Guardian, March 22, 2015, p10). Journalists and media houses sold their consciences and social mandate to individuals and causes they probably did not understand and spewed lies, naked propaganda, hypocrisy and make believe stories. Some sanity has returned to the media, but what still goes on in the www-media is unbelievable. Generally, members of the fourth estate owe Nigerians unreserved apology for the disservice they delivered during the elections. I must admit that some of them performed creditably well.
However, there are still certain hangovers from the electioneering that I am still eager to clarify, both out of curiosity and the need to be fully informed. You see, the crying goat would attract fodder for the rest of the herd! I am sure there are also those who would wish to obtain a better understanding of these remaining traces of madness that overflowed from the last elections.
Here we go and this will be in form of questions. This is because of the fact that the truth will set us free and especially now that the issues have no electoral and even political value. Why was Amaechi at war with Jonathan in the last two years? Were any Rivers oil wells ceded to Bayelsa and if so, when, how, why and by whom? What is the truth about Buhari’s certificate? Did he complete his secondary school education and where is that vexatious document? What was behind Obasanjo’s uncharitable antics, especially in the last six months? Now that Jonathan has left, what do we expect from the Oracle of Ota (since he has been at war with all governments apart from himself)? Did PDP actually purchase equipment and solutions to demobilize the card readers, as alleged?
What exactly happened in Chibok? What is the true story about the kidnap and non-rescue of the girls? What happened in the war against the Boko Haram insurgents? How come, suddenly, our soldiers, yes, the same soldiers, regained their swagger and turned the heat on the terrorists? Was there a relationship between increasing Boko Haram activities and political dynamics? Were there plans for an interim government at any time during the elections? What was the truth about the PVC distribution? How come the areas under Boko Haram umbrage, where people have fled in different directions, recorded 80-90 per cent distribution?
To what extent is it true that Tinubu is competing with Dangote as richest man in Africa? Were there threats to the lives of Tinubu, Buhari and Peterside almost on the same day (5/4/13)? What really happened at Chattam House? Did Buhari go for a lecture, a medical checkup, a brief break or all of the above? These may seem irrelevant, now that the madness is over, but it is proper to put the records straight and those who should do so should.
As for President Buhari, I congratulate him for being fourth time lucky. I don’t need to tell him what his priorities should be because he already has more than enough to grapple with, including the one from the know-it all Obasanjo. Furthermore, balancing his interests with those of Tinubu, APC, the North and the core North are already enough ‘wahala’. However, one thing he MUST do is make sure that there is an avalanche of change from June 1, 2015.
Meanwhile, as someone knowledgeable in change and change management, he and his people have already committed three errors. Firstly, he has created a crisis of expectation. Secondly, he did not tell the people how the change would be implemented. Thirdly, he did not tell them the sacrifices they have to make for the change to come through; after all, there is no free lunch, even in Freetown. These three errors will make the change more nightmarish for him and for the people. Of course, there is little difference between change and transformation; where the problem lies is with the transition.
Muo is of the Department of Business Administration, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State