The Gandhi forbearance in Buhari
PRESIDENT-ELECT Muhammadu Buhari is in many conceptual configurations a nascent novel and creative innovation in Nigeria’s political clime. His personality and political history alone as adulterated by a prime television’s documentary about his military and service career are not enough to advertise his victory in the last presidential election and his coveted, but, classically re-inventing place in the nation’s political consciousness.
The meeting and melting point of Indira Gandhi, the founder of the spirit, body and the existential democratic politics of India and Buhari, winner of Nigeria’s presidential election of March 28, is a convergence of elements of fortitude, discipline, character and endogenous virtues in the latter and the primitive evolutionary political consciousness that played out of the contradictions of corruption, inequity, inequality, injustice, religious and ethnic extremism, impunity, graft, greed, inordinate ambition and disenchantment with leaders’ drudgery that overwhelms the sensibility of the popular masses.
The trajectory and platform of Buhari’s victory are simply an effervescence of the adage, ‘to whom much is given, much is expected’. And what is the reason for this boiling point in the nation’s democratic awareness, if we may say so, or rather for this revolutionary change from one political party to another? It is simply again, because change is inevitable, especially as the incumbent portfolio has reached its point of diminishing return and a comet or saviour must fly in – call him Gandhi or Mandela if you want – it will not be mistaken.
What makes Buhari the Gandhi of Nigeria is what makes him a gadfly choicest, most qualified politician and ex-military personnel to rescue the rocking boat of the Nigerian nation, reminiscent of the doomsday prophecy by the Americana-seer that Nigeria will break in 2015. Save for Gandhism and Buharism’s ontic revolutionary consciousness of Nigerians, ‘Nigeria will break in 2015’ would have been in process now, if not almost tragically accomplished.
Let us in a snapshot look at what endurance as a philosophical virtue can foreshadow in building a career – qua-political career in a man – even through this existential episode is equally sublimatory in Gandhi. Our Katsina-born President–elect- contested in 1999,2003,2007,2011 and apparently failed; almost ranking among those who can play Abraham Lincoln in victory after many failures. He was neither restrained by the opacity of the game nor perturbed by the ethnic or incumbency bulwarks at play in Nigeria’s politics, yet as though he saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
As it were, he was smeared and rubbished because of his military antecedents, the same reasons for which those of us in our ethnic vortex were castigated, isolated and suspected for following him and voting for him in all those past four presidential election tragedies which he apparently failed. Nonetheless, the Buhari then is the same Buhari now; for George Hegel, the German philosophy, it is a matter of evolution of absolute spirit manifest in a nation in want of change. For Immanuel Kant, another German philosopher in his cosmopolitan conception of history, Buhari has been biding his appointment with universal history and, critically speaking, however, for Karl Marx, it is not yet “uhuru” unless Buhari concedes to the stomach of the masses.
All the same, what have been engineered and injected into Nigeria’s politics this time around is largely because of the personality of Muhammadu Buhari which, however, is justified in his personality and identity as a veritable means of change and yet subject to the logical laws of identity.
Albert Einstein, the German Genius of Relativity theory aptly sensitized that great minds have always been pilloried by the mediocre. That is why when the universal history or the absolute spirit is about to manifest in a nation’s historical stress, distress and want for change, the body language of politics became suffused with not only religious and ethnic antagonism, but also with hate speeches of genocidal and terror dimension.
Isaiah Berlin says that no matter the extent the sword could marvel, at the end, it is always conquered by the mind. As if history’s monolithic reason was about to jam the irredentism, the rebellion and the cross-fire of Machiavellian opportunism with victor and vanquish, the latter succumbed to the threshold of history, not before the body language of hate speeches attempted to destroy the foetus of Buharism in Nigerianness as predicted some years ago (though giving a dog a bad name to hang her): Religious extremism, anti-Christian, northern monster, Islamic fanatic, murderer, sickler, anti-democrat, phobic, hater, forger of certificate, illiterate, dullard, impostor, tribalist, ethno-jingoist, aged , weak ,unlettered , inarticulate , conspirator and agent provocateur, all of which those of us keen students of Buhari political ambition and cosmology, know to constitute diachronic and synchronic opposite of a personality whose sagacity and discipline are a direct reminiscence of Gandhi’s.
Since 1999, Buhari saw it all, witnessed it all, and conquered it all, even as he stands in waiting as the President of Africa’s most populous nation to be sworn in on May 29, 2015 but most fundamentally and historically, as the phenomenology of existence permits as the Gandhi of Nigeria and the greatest democratic – within and outside the bounds of the bracket and extempore of his time that Nigeria will ever have now and in future – if his Gandhism remains uncorrupted.
General Buhari, in his visual, virtual subconscious and subliminal authenticity, in a quick trajectory of divine mandate, delivered his Easter goodwill message on April 3 in the nation’s television station at prime time to stupefy his political aggressors and provide them the social and sacred opportunity and responsibility to eat or cleanse their vomit. The other elements of hate body language invented because of mere bread and butter politics against an ordinarily decent man, would soon fizzle out based on extant and future evidence, and into oblivion as lies, fabrications, innuendos and evil machinations.
The South East dilemma, predicament in short or as a case study implicated in the election run and voting pattern, is, I confess, a mistaken geo-political representation of the generality of Igbo people, save for the cash and carry elite and selfish manipulation of polls. In the faithful evening of March 28, 2015 as the results of the polls the previous day were emerging, we were witness to tongues roaring high to the sky at the vendor’s joint at Aroma, Awka junction between the huge gathering of Buhari’s well-wishers and a few disgruntled Jonathan’s sympathizers who were wallowing in a collective unconscious of sinking boat.
This is just a minute dance portrayal of the PDP’s pyrrhic, apparent victory in Anambra State as an archetypical misrepresentation of a holistic opinion poll truncated by demagogic promises upon promises that never saw the light of day. This phenomenon properly called, among others, could aptly invent and create the urgent need for the Gandhi of Nigeria to add to his already noble agenda of job creation, security and rule of law, an itinerary of schedules that will take him first to the South East where many of his followers have been smarting under the bondage of ‘die-in-silence’ in the simultaneous orgy of hate politics and religious bigotry.
Buhari, as Gandhi of Nigeria, must live up to his calling when he looks around the circumstances of his tortuous road to power, the Abraham Lincoln replica of having fought several times and failing and his Gandhi’s forbearance and moral authenticity and look beyond Nigeria to follow Nkrumah, Nyerere, Mandela and Kenyatta and construct their values and achievements without the failures of Azikiwe, Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello and Abubakar in order to move Nigeria from the bedlam of corruption, ethnicity, religious bigotry, tribalism, graft , militancy to a nation, whose people have the moral and material strength to determine their destiny.
•Dukor is a professor of Philosophy at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka and Editor in Chief, Essence Library
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