Musings on Buhari’s eldorado
By not preceding his quest for re-election with an apology for his current poor performance, President Muhammadu Buhari has taken the citizens he is seeking their votes for granted. His is a campaign driven by the notion of the citizens as not being discerning enough to know what is right for them. Buhari and his party are propelled by the illusion that the political enlightenment of the majority of the voters is still at an inchoate stage. Buhari would only realise the falsity of this notion when he has been sent back to Daura. In Daura, he would rue his not taking cognisance of the fact that it was the same voters whom former President Goodluck Jonathan and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) disdained by not living up to their expectations who sent them out of Aso Rock.
What the citizens are clearly not oblivious of is the looming danger that if Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) do not realise that they have failed, they would not still appreciate that sense of urgency that is required to respond to the nation’s crises. In that case, Buhari would not be assailed by pangs of conscience when he declares triumphantly that he does not mind being denigrated as Baba Go Slow as long as in his estimation, he is getting results.
It is because Buhari and his political party do not appreciate the need for that sense of urgency and that they have failed that they strive to etch on the public imagination their phantom transformation of the country into an eldorado. In the euphoria of this supposed transformation, they take umbrage at the citizens not accepting they have to re-elect Buhari as an ineluctable appreciation of his good service to the country.
Buhari’s notion of unrivalled performance in the last three years and half is buoyed by the illusion of acceptability that the alleged huge crowd that receives him at campaigns indicates. When Buhari harangues the citizens about his great achievements during campaigns, he thinks that the alleged high number of those who come to listen to him is an indication of his sterling approval rating. In this regard, what is clearly lost on the president and his party is that the crowd may not be there to cheer him on. They are probably there to see the person and other members of his party who have subjected them to so much suffering. Or when the president was in Akwa Ibom to campaign did he think that the people of the south-south whom Fulani herdsmen have raped, killed and pillaged their farms were really excited at seeing him and envisioning his return to Aso Rock? Not even in the president’s home state would the crowd that would come out to listen to him indicate his acceptability. Are Buhari’s people proud of his performance ? Have their lives improved because their son is in Aso Rock?
Perhaps, because Buhari’s worldview is limited to the State House, he wonders why most of the citizens are unable to appreciate his transforming the country into an eldorado. After all, there can be recession in the rest of the country but Aso Rock, through the design of our leaders, would remain immune to this economic affliction. The catalogue of the buffers against any hardship in Aso Rock is inexhaustible. We may not have the hard evidence of kickbacks that transform the aides of the president and his wife (Remember Aisha Buhari’s aide?) into billionaires in less than four years. But in the official allocations to the State House every year, we can glimpse why the occupants of Aso Rock do not accept that there is a word called “hunger” in the English lexicon. This year’s budget has made provision for Buhari’s travelling expenses of N1billion and N98 million for food. The buying of furniture, kitchen utensils and vehicles is provided for every year. Even the budget for the welfare of the State House animals is guaranteed. This is why while the Buhari government is yet to positively respond to the demand of workers for a meagre N30,000 as the minimum wage, State House animals have already got a budget of N65.4 million.
No, Buhari has not turned Nigeria into an eldorado. No, Buhari cannot tell residents who are fleeing from communities in Borno State such as Baga which are under bombardment by Boko Haram that their country has been turned into an eldorado. Nor would the widows of soldiers who have lost their husbands to the Boko Haram insurgents consider Buhari’s Nigeria as an eldorado. Or would Buhari tell the inconsolably grieving parents of Leah Sharibu that he has turned their country into an eldorado?
It is only Buhari who can regard his Manichean bifurcation of the country into an eldorado. The majority of Nigerians who are outraged at Buhari’s assault on the judiciary cannot regard his country as an eldorado. On Buhari’s watch, there are now two different sets of law violators. If those in Buhari’s camp violate the nation’s laws, they can go unpunished. But if those outside his camp are accused of breaking these laws, they are quickly thrown into custody even if the courts are opposed to their incarceration without conviction. This is why Sambo Dasuki is still being held in the custody of security agents. And this is also why Ibrahim El-Zazaky is also being detained. But the Babachir Lawals who are found guilty of corruption are free to be part of the Buhari government.
In Buhari’s eldorado, he does not brook suggestions on how to improve the polity. As far as he is concerned, the country has put in place the best systems that make it run on autopilot and engender good governance. Why must some disgruntled citizens still talk about restructuring when everybody is happy with the existing polity? Why are these elements so desirous of distorting the constitution and the structures that have sustained the Buhari’s eldorado?
Nigeria has been declared the poverty capital of the world. Under Buhari, this categorisation is by no means exaggerated. In less than four years, millions of jobs have been lost. Those who have lost jobs cannot send their children and wards to school. Yet, Buhari wants these citizens to praise him for accomplishing all the electoral promises he made to them.
Clearly aligned with Buhari’s laudation of turning the country into an eldorado is the lurking catastrophe of stasis. On account of Buhari’s claim of eldorado, there is nothing else he would add if re-elected. He has given us his best performance. Thus we need a new leader who would interrogate the existing national systems that have negated equity for the citizens.
Of course, Buhari’s belated apology would not automatically translate into an electoral victory for him. But the point must be noted that like the PDP, Buhari and his party would have signalled their intention to seek re-election if they began with an apology for their egregious misdeeds that have inflicted pain and death on the citizens. The citizens are not scared by Buhari and his co-travellers’ jaded warning that if they do not return to Aso Rock, life would be miserable for them. They are already afflicted with a tragic existence and not luxuriating in Buhari’s eldorado. And now, they are ready to try a new option that could end their misery.
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