Why Buhari is ‘Man Of The Century’
This may not be a time of the year to choose ‘Persons of the Year,’ but there is a weightier matter of urgent national importance that should be deconstructed now that our resourceful leader and his team are rounding off political actions to (s) elect a successor and other leaders of our complex federation. I had in 2019 written a serial on ‘Why Buhari Is Man Of The Decade’ (1 and 2) (The Guardian, Sunday, September 15 and 22, 2019). Today, I have more reasons to raise the bar of my argument that our leader deserves to be enrolled in a Hall of Fame as ‘Man Of The Century,’ yeah, not a mere ‘Man of the Decade’ anymore.
As I would like to claim again, this is the credit I think most of us have denied President Muhammadu Buhari. I mean that the taciturn, lanky General and President of the most populous black nation on earth at this time deserves some respect even as some of us wailers keep saying he didn’t go to school. Buhari just like Winston Churchill, who was to be later recognised as an incomparable, world-class orator, didn’t go far in acquiring many higher certificates of knowledge. But I think our leader should be respected as an oracle at this juncture. Churchill was an orator while Buhari should be crowned as an oracle. As I was saying, orators speak the minds of the people while oracles speak the minds of the gods and when they (oracles) say to even the orators, ‘do this,’ it is done.
There have been different arguments on the nexus that doesn’t exist between knowledge and understanding. It has been written here that ‘knowledge’ is something that you accumulate through learning while ‘understanding’ is something that you know because you have lived through it. So, learning and gaining knowledge can be very useful, but the really important experiences are when you actually understand the experience for yourself by living through it.
So, it can be inferred that some knowledgeable and educated people may not have enough understanding of some subjects because they have not lived through them. In the same vein, if you ask clerics to speak to this context they will ask: what is the place of ‘Wisdom’ in the same context? This is also the way men of God have consistently explained it: Wisdom is the ability to discern and judge, which aspects of that knowledge are true, right and lasting, and applicable to your life…in a nutshell, if knowledge is information, wisdom is the understanding and application of that knowledge…
It seems to me here that most of all educated people, especially in the southern parts of the country assume they are very educated as professors and members of the power and business elite. We are orators. We are wealthy and loquacious professionals. We are senior advocates, veteran journalists, erudite analysts, world-class scholars and diplomats. But it now seems to me that we actually lack understanding of the times and seasons. It appears to me that despite our scholarship, we lack wisdom to frame winning strategy (I didn’t say development strategy). You have to win first to do that.
In our crass ignorance, we once went to town and court to proclaim everywhere that ‘Buhari is clueless. Buhari is uneducated. Buhari has fake school certificates. Buhari is brain-dead. Buhari can’t speak good English clearly…’ But when we began to talk about certificates and elections, did I not ask here if we had read our constitution? Did our law professors and constitutional lawyers tell us that the 1999 constitution does not specify that aspirants to the office of even the president should have been to school? Read my article titled, ‘Have you read our constitution?’ on this.
As I make progress in my pilgrimage (apology to John Bunyan) to meet with my creator someday, I have been making inquiries on how to finish well and strong. So, I am beginning to understand that the best (spiritual) gift a man can get from the God of all grace is discernment. And that is why it has been revealed to mankind that ‘where there is no vision, the people perish.’ And this background has shaped my conviction that most of us have perished in our expectations for lack of understanding of the man Buhari who can vaunt today that: ‘I came to Nigeria’s political beat, saw and conquered while most educated citizens dozed off.’ Are we awake yet?
But more important, as we glide towards #Project 2023, we need some introspection too on where the rains began to beat us in the country. First, where did we go when the ‘clueless Buhari’ began to prepare election strategy in 2015 and 2019? Where did we hibernate when the ‘uneducated Buhari’ surrounded himself with some of the brightest and the best in the North? Where did we go when the presidency began to deal ruthlessly with the leadership of the last eighth National Assembly? When the president appointed the security, intelligence chiefs, service chiefs, the IGP, the national security adviser (NSA), defence and interior ministers, three critical paramilitary chiefs (customs, immigration and prisons), etc from his zone where did we go to challenge the constitutional provisions on federal character? As I had asked here before, did we need to ask for the resurrection of Gani Fawehinmi before filing any cases against the president in court? Didn’t we think the man was clueless and uneducated when the first intelligence chief (DSS, DG then), went for the jugular of even some Supreme Court justices in a night raid? Was the raid that brought down some strong house doors of the affected justices not hailed as a well-coordinated strategy to fight corruption in the judiciary? Did we ask questions when suddenly Justice Walter Onnoghen was appointed Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria in 2017? Did even our senior lawyers know that Section 231: Subsection 5 of the 1999 Constitution was curiously inserted there by some ‘uneducated seers’ in 1999 for such a time like that? That section targets any Onnoghens that bold leaders would not want to be confirmed. After three months in an acting capacity, the name (of Acting CJN) can’t be submitted to the Senate. Anyway, where were the educated bureaucrats and law professors from the South when the constitution was being drafted and ‘Interpretation Sections’ (of the constitution) where ‘school leaving certificate’ interpretation the (Court of Appeal) Presidential Election Tribunal relied on, on Wednesday, 11 September judgment?
Decent sources confirmed to me long ago that while the Justice Niki Tobi’s review committee was working on the draft constitution then, political leaders and ‘monitoring spirits’ we call ‘clueless and uneducated’ today were vigilant then with the drafters of the constitution. They had looked into the seeds of time then and inserted some not-so-visible but significant wordings in the drafts before General Abdusalami Abubakar transition regime promulgated the draft into the 1999 Constitution. Some of the redrafted sections have today become weapons in the hands of people we say are uneducated but have enough understanding of the power of vigilance during ‘constitution drafting.’ This sensitive job (drafting) was going on when a president-elect (from a very educated region), Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was flying around the world then to inform world leaders he would be returning to power and office on May 29, 1999. Had the letter-writer-general of the federation had some power of discernment, he would have commissioned some experts to scan the draft constitution we now claim is the trouble with us.
Let’s also examine this less travelled road by the widely educated. When the president bluntly refused to sign the 2010 Electoral Act Amendment Bill before the 2019 election, and we in the civil society including the media shrugged our shoulders in complacency, should that masterstroke on the part of president and his men be classified as cluelessness?
Lest we forget, the Buhari’s ‘clueless presidency’ met the Chairman of Code of Conduct Tribunal as Alhaji Danladi Umar, from Bauchi State, in office; they got in Professor Isa Mohammed from Jigawa State as Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau. They were aware the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami hails from Kebbi State. They were aware that the Head of the Executive Arm of Government, the President hails from Katsina State (North West). They were aware that the Head of the Legislature then, Senator Bukola Saraki hails from Kwara State (North Central) and the Head of the Judiciary then hails from Cross River State (South South). The powers in Abuja could have thought that removing the only southerner and Christian heading an arm of government, Justice Onnoghen could trigger trouble for the federation. But they were ‘courageously clueless’ enough to go for him (Onnoghen) on the eve of presidential election, to teach us some lessons on the difference between knowledge of power and resource sharing and understanding of how to remain in power to control resource and their landlords.
Today, the same unhealthy, clueless leader as we claim didn’t have time to read and acquire many certificates of education has taken control of the three arms of government with his men from his region and religion. He has surrounded himself in the presidential bureaucracy with some of the brightest men he can trust from his region. Yet we say he is clueless because he doesn’t have certificates. Where is the testimony of the knowledgeable ones? The one we the very educated ones tag as ‘clueless’ has captured the ruling party and he has been artfully running it as a leader, we feel doesn’t know what he is doing. One day at a party meeting, he announced the sack of an elected chairman, dissolution of all organs of the body and appointed a caretaker committee headed by a governor from his mother’s zone and the chairman was there at his pleasure for more than a year. The same clueless leader just installed a Chairman of the governing party – after his own heart. All the braggadocio of the 22 governors meant nothing to the uneducated ‘weak leader’ whose cluelessness has also infected even the opposition party now mesmerising members to field a presidential candidate from the North. The same ignorant leader, an artful dodger who has managed his party secretariat into jettisoning zonal nonsense that brought him to power by encouraging all his loved ones including a restless Central Bank Governor to obtain expression-of-interest forms of meretricious 100 million naira. That same ‘lame duck’ just displayed another cluelessness indeed when he asked the same loved ones to resign to pursue their interest from home, sorry without their office perquisites.
In the next few days, the original meaning of cluelessness will be clear to the very educated ones from the South when the candidates of the two major political parties will emerge from the same North that has produced my ‘Man of The Century.’ Let’s debate the difference between knowledge and understanding. Let’s debate why I think Buhari has been grossly underrated and should be ‘Man of the Century,’ notably as never in the history of mankind has a leader, sorry a king been so successful in sending a whole kingdom into a deep slumber while affliction is rising up against it even a third time.