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BACKLASH: Buhari, The Magician

By Abraham Ogbodo
03 May 2015   |   5:35 am
THE APC must stay with the narrative. It does not have any right whatsoever; under the 1999 Constitution or any under constitution for that matter, including even its own constitution, to unilaterally alter what has been adopted.


THE APC must stay with the narrative. It does not have any right whatsoever; under the 1999 Constitution or any under constitution for that matter, including even its own constitution, to unilaterally alter what has been adopted.

We know the party represents change but that is not a reason to put everything in Nigeria in a perpetual state of flux. It was canvassed, debated and settled that General Muhammadu Buhari is a magician, on the basis of which he was rehired as head of state on March 28.

For good measure, that agreement has not been revisited and it will not be revisited till, at least, 2019. This is saying that General Buhari shall remain a magician and shall perform good magical stunts for the pleasure of the Nigerian audience for the next four years.

The scenario is not too different from a well promoted show by Professor Pella. The tickets have sold out and the capacity audience is in feverish anticipation of the big stunts ahead.

But instead of the magician Prof raising the curtain to begin performance, a lousy announcer suddenly comes on air to say ‘Prof Pella is not a magician’ and therefore the audience ‘should not expect any magic’ in the course of the show. This is breach of contract in everyday business language.

But it is much more than that regarding the Buhari show. The sheer size of the audience gives the whole thing a different interpretation. It is national betrayal.

We are talking of 170 million people waiting to witness a show, and a performer, no matter how celebrated, cannot just wake up midstream after he had been advertised all over town as a super performer to tell the mammoth audience that he can no longer perform up to his own billing.

There is absolutely no reason for this self-inflicted anti-climax even before the start of the Buhari Magic Show on May 29. This kind of approach is too defeatist.

No matter their constraints, good artistes, including con artistes do not advertise their weaknesses to spectators ahead of the show. They just mount the stage and perform anyhow and then leave the audience to do the final assessment.

And whether in magical or conventional shows, true assessment lies with the audience, not the performer. Buhari should not act differently. He should go ahead and perform to his billing and leave Nigerians to do the postmortem.

Maybe part of the problem has to do with the rebranding of the show as a magical performance. Ironically, it is Buhari and the APC who have introduced magic into the whole thing. At no time or place was the word ‘magic’ mentioned in the build-up.

Other things were however mentioned. One was corruption, and on that, Buhari only said corruption, which constitutes close to 80 per cent the body parts of Nigeria would be cut off in a matter of weeks and Nigeria would not bleed to death. Does that sound like magic? If anything, the declaration defines the retired general more as a surgeon than as a magician.

Perhaps, given the magnitude of the task, people just felt it is only a magician that can do it. If that was the genuine feeling across board, why then did we invest so much time and resources creating the Buhari brand? We could have easily gone to some Hindu community in India to recruit a world class magician to take the job.

Let’s go to something else. I do not also think it will require magic to perform the simple task of providing a meal daily to about 20 million school children across the country.

It will only take a little more than what Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, the honourable minister of agriculture is currently doing, to boost food production so that there will be enough to go around the rest of the population after the school children must have been roundly fed.

The flip side of this task is the payment of monthly upkeep to the aged, which also does not require magical capabilities to achieve. By the way, I am very interested in the guidelines that will be used to decide the beneficiaries of the old people’s scheme and even the food scheme.

I suggest we take time out to establish a proper demography for reasons of equity and fair play. On the food scheme for instance, we will be talking about school enrolment and not overall population figures.

And so, I do not expect a Governor Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso to threaten fire and brimstone if someone along the line says there are more school children in Lagos than the entire Northwest, including Kano State, put together.

I also have a good number of old people in my village. In fact, my parents at above 90 and 75 years of age are very qualified. Let me warn that I will drag Buhari and the APC to the International Criminal Court (ICC) if my people are left out of the scheme.

The man and his party also mentioned free basic education, that is the first nine years of schooling, but some people have interpreted it to mean free education at all levels.

Whichever, these APC people should not make it sound as if free education is a new and impossible phenomenon in Nigeria, which requires magic to achieve.

Pa Obafemi Awolowo, who started this scheme in Nigeria and perhaps the whole of Africa, if not the world, was not a magician. For the records, the man was a failed produce dealer, who later became a very successful lawyer, the greatest political philosopher and leader of our time and hailed from Ikenne in Ogun State.

Nothing in his bio-data stated that the Great Awo had practised magic or some other delusional art to become a great leader. Even electricity, which may seem as magic to my aged parents in the village can be fluently explained. It is charged electrons in motion and anywhere there is magnet, electricity is available in equal measure.

A man and woman too, can simply spin a magnetic disc at constant speed and revolution to produce this so-much-talked-about electricity that a large collection of the so-called DISCOs and GENCOs are not able to offer Nigerians.

As you can see, electricity is not even rocket-science, talk less of being magic. Why President Goodluck Jonathan failed to do well in this task is very difficult to understand.

Perhaps, with his PhD in zoology (or animal studies) he could not relate this simple principle of electricity production to humanconditions. But General Buhari, who had commanded battalions of men and women in military operations home and abroad is much more at home with human beings and would definitely do better.

He does not need to become a magician to deliver on that count. The other hard nut called insecurity, which has been abbreviated to ‘Bring Back our (Chibok) Girls’ is being cracked somehow because President Jonathan has suddenly woken up from a deep sleep.

This kind of ‘busy body’ by the incumbent is most unfair. He had all of six years to deliver his own magic and it is not sportsmanship to go on a reckless overdrive these last days, just to deny the President-elect, who had canvassed the dismantling of the Boko Haram terror machine and liberating the Chibok girls as a cardinal achievement, the attendant glory of the decimation of the terror group.

It is well all the same. The beautiful end of recovering the Chibok girls and degrading Boko Haram should justify whatever means. This leaves Buhari with only one task which may actually require magic to achieve.

This is the task of making the Naira equal the Dollar in the foreign exchange market in four or at most eight years. Even so, it is not an impossible task if you ask me.

Buhari only needs to slip back temporarily into his essence and promulgate Decree One of 2015 to bring the Naira at par with the Dollar. Later, he can invite Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo to explain that the Naira has only been redenominated to trade one-to-one with the Dollar. Case closed!