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Buhari not wanted on this journey

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PHOTO: BAYO OMOBORIOWO

Until after the election of Saturday, we are denied the prescience to tabulate its winner and losers and thus the nation’s president in the next four years. Clearly, poll predictions, even when they seem to be highly informed, have oftentimes been trumped by reality. But one thing is certain: We should be preoccupied with a post-Buhari era if we are genuinely interested in the continued existence of the country . In other words, the citizens should muster sufficient patriotic fervour to consign the re-election ambition of President Muhammadu Buhari to the realm of unrestrained fantasy .

The country is on the cusp of a new era where Buhari does not fit in. For in less than four years, we have seen enough of the president to be secure in the conviction that he is a blight not only on the nation’s corporate existence but also on individual citizens’ lives. Or why has Buhari’s second coming brought so much hardship to the citizens? Why has he been a source of massive unemployment resulting in several suicides? Yes, we must discount the fact that one or two projects have been executed by him. How much we should credit him with huge accomplishments should be against the backdrop of the time and resources available to him. Thus, beyond the din of the frenetic campaigns for the presidential election is the imperative of voting right on Saturday to save the nation from catastrophic collapse. The political leaders are blinded by their ambition and thus cannot be agitated by the auguries. But it is here the voters should be sober enough to be aware of them.

The Saturday’s election is not about helping one presidential candidate to reailse his ambition. It is not about appeasing an individual or a regional bloc to have access to the levers of power. Rather, it is about the overarching need to keep Nigeria as one after the election. In essence, whether Nigeria remains one nation after the election would depend to a large extent on the citizens. Of course, we are not oblivious to the danger of the people’s will being perverted through electoral manipulation. Yet, it should be seen that the citizens exercise their voting rights. For there is a sense in which it could be argued that no electoral malfeasance that brazenly negates the prevailing mood of the nation can stand. Now, the nation is in a mood of entering a new phase of life without Buhari as president .

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There are over 70 political parties. Even after some of their candidates have voluntarily given up their presidential ambitions or submerged them in Buhari’s for pecuniary gain or be blackmailed to backtrack, there would still be tens of them on the ballot paper . But the choice is easy to make: Just choose between the stability of the nation and its disintegration. We may not be so sure of the person the voters would decide as the best person who can ensure stability. But we are sure that a vote for Buhari is a vote for the disintegration of the nation.

If the nation must begin a journey of rebirth in the coming years, the likes of Buhari as the president are not wanted. The tragedy is that Buhari was born too late. He should have been born in a medieval age when the word of potentates was law. In such an age, the members of his family could hold all the positions in his government. All the top security positions and lucrative ministries and agencies could be occupied by his Muslim Fulani brothers and cronies. Buhari readily acknowledges his unfitness for the age in which he was born by harking back to his military days of authoritarianism.

Nigerians need to enter an era devoid of corruption. This should be an era where the fight against corruption is institutionalised. In that case, the fight would not target perceived enemies. It would be different from the type we have now where the non-members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the perceived or real enemies of Buhari are the only corrupt persons in Nigeria. If other parts of the world have such institutions that effectively fight corruption, there is no reason Nigeria cannot replicate them here.

The institutionalisation of the fight against corruption can only be made a reality where there is rule of law. The law should be no respecter of anybody. In Buhari’s sullied republic, there are two sets of laws. Buhari chooses the laws to obey and the ones to disdain. This is why he chooses the court rulings he wants to obey. He is seeking re-election while he is keeping the Shiites’ leader Ibrahim El-zakzaky and former National Security Adviser(NSA) Sambo Dasuki in detention contrary to court rulings that they should be released while facing their prosecution . And having been surrounded by those on whom different corruption charges are hanging, Buhari is no longer convincing when he and his aides prattle about being engaged in an altruistic anti-corruption campaign.

In a country where there is rule of law that Nigerians want to live in, the government accepts the separation of powers as a norm of democracy. It would not declare war against other arms of government. Unlike a government presided over by Buhari, it would not declare war on the judiciary and the legislature. The president would not intimidate them with charges of corruption while he himself has not been able to purge himself of the charges of sleaze against him. Remember his certificate scandal? Remember the fuzziness over his asset declaration? Was it not Afenifere, outraged at the ordeal of Justice Walter Onnoghen, that recently challenged him to make public his asset declaration? Has he judiciously met this challenge?

Nigerians want to be in a country where there is security. Despite his boast, Buhari has not been able to provide security. Leah Sharibu is still in the captivity of Boko Haram. Nigerians are still being killed or kidnapped at an alarming rate. Since it is clear that Buhari does not know how to defeat Boko Haram and guarantee security, it is logical if somebody else is given that responsibility. We need fresh ideas and not the jaded ones of Buhari to tackle insecurity.

Nigerians need a healthy president who can urgently respond to the problems of the nation. There are the problems of Fulani herdsmen. Obviously, their grievances that propel them to rape, maim and kill have not been resolved. They are only waiting for the elections to be concluded before they decide to renew their agenda of inflicting pain and carnage.

Nigerians need a president who would be a unifying factor. Nigeria has been too divided. If Nigerians choose the wrong person, the divisiveness would be more tragic and unleash baleful consequences. Nigeria needs a president who would ensure justice and equity .We should jettison the illusion that those who are oppressed would remain silent and accept their subjugation. If Nigeria gets the next president right, the nation would survive. But if it gets the wrong person as the president, there would be renewed hostilities in the south-south, south-east and other parts of the country that feel marginalised. In that case, the predicted apocalypse of 2015 may not easily be staved off.

If the citizens collude with the depraved political class and impose on themselves the wrong president, they should not whine when their suffering worsens . It would then be clear that they have willingly chosen to be oppressed over again by a leader who is supposed to serve them. We should consider as ludicrous the excuse that politicians are the same and out of the candidates there is no better person. Let us vote for any person but Buhari. If that person replicates or exceeds Buhari’s tragic performance, we have to vote him out in the next four years. Just as we gave Buhari the opportunity to prove himself but failed, so we should give another person the opportunity to prove himself. It is through the opportunity we have given to Buhari to prove himself that he has demystified himself. Instead of perpetuating failures such as Buhari, we should keep on changing our leaders until we get the right person. Thankfully, periodic elections such as the one of Saturday provide us an opportunity to do this. And we must seize it.


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