My 2019 fears for President Buhari -By Michael Bush

President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari, sure as eggs is eggs, shall exercise his inalienable human and constitutional right of seeking a second electoral helping. His famed taciturnity already extensively dented by his loquacious body language, he gave himself away rather cheaply when he openly wooed the South East, a region for which the locals say he never hid, and still doesn’t hide, his disdain or 2015 “5% to 97%” vindictiveness. The spasmodic newfound love was so strong though, he accorded them (in Ebonyi and Enugu states) one of those rare presidential visits. That Igboamenability plus the equally latter-day tendency of addressing citizens’ concerns as they arise, instead of the deafening silence we used to endure, prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the President is pursuing something or something is pursuing him, or both!

Our dear President is gripped by the same thing he seeks to have a grip of. It is called re-election fever or, more nigerianly, 2019. Every political office holder seeking an encore the world over at some point starts to play ball in the interest of self and survival. So, our own President, suddenly sleeping with the enemy as it were, hounding perceived, prospective opponents or their business interests, or showing a certain goody-goody trait that’s not in sync with his character, is not doing the unthinkable.

Even non-politicians who want something in politics must play politics and that entails saying or doing things alien to their very nature. That’s the only sane way to contextualise the transmogrification of the hitherto no-nonsense Buhari. After arriving at Aso Rock to see that Politics Nigeriana is local, corrupt, clannish and cronyish, he adapts to the extent that you’d believe he was born so. And, with second term looming, he makes naked overtures to party bigwigs, the same people he had all along ignored so glaringly that even the blind noticed!

Without saying a single word, the President has communicated unmistakably that he wants to keep his job for another four years. The question then shifts from would he run to would he win, an interrogative narrative buoyed by the fact that an alarming majority of Nigerians think that, beyond agriculture, his first term achievement and leadership imputations have so far been lacklustre, insipid and frustrating. Gauging by all that the President and his team have offered in 31 of the stipulated 48 months, political astrologers insist Nigerians don’t need a clairvoyant to confirm that, in 2019, Candidate Buhari would require strategic hard sell to scrape through.

Sadistic and harsh as that may sound, diehard Buharists accept it for what it is, the truth. Presidential handlers latch on to the point that their man did not take over a healthy country: true, but what value has he added or, to put it more appropriately, how much change that he promised of his own volition has he delivered? Endemic corruption and wanton stealing, untold policy somersault, nepotism, ethnic bigotry and the generally uninspiring approach to governance remain the hallmarks of his charge. How on earth do you market such a candidate even for heaven?

As 2019 approaches, this is my number one fear for the All Progressives Congress standard-bearer. I also have an abridged roll call of other fears: do the President and company take too much for granted, oblivious of how wiser Nigerians have become since 2015? Are those being wooed only playing along waiting for the opportune time to strike for their pound of flesh? Learning from 2015, have more and more members of the governing party not become too disgruntled and, therefore, potential electoral traitors?

Has the APC nipped in the bud the defection of such stalwarts as governors and sundry chieftains to its main challenger, the People’s Democratic Party, wherefrom most of them migrated? Would the administration’s un-surefootedness (imagine the amateurish handling of ongoing fuel crisis and the insensitivity of planning a documentary on the human side of the President at this material time), lack of creativity, the unending blame game and double standard over corruption, criminality and injustice not haunt the President in the next election? Going forward, has this President achieved enough to mummify his name in case he finds himself holding the wrong end of the stick on February 16, 2019? Above all, are there honest people cross-checking the books, files and governmental nooks and crannies to ensure that, post-Buhari, the world won’t see unassailable proofs he presided over monumental kleptomania?

That indeed is my worst fear for the man whose enviable Spartan messianic unique selling point seems to have been irreparably damaged by the mostly non-picturesque sights and incoherent sounds of his reign. The foreboding is real: what remains of the Buhari mystique could be interred in the memory of infamy after he leaves office. Therefore, in place of this second term fixation, I suggest that the man and his minders should use the 2018 window to focus on ensuring this never happens. God bless Nigeria!

EFCC, GTB, Innoson Motors: Dry run of a revolution?

Nigerians play too much with fire. We laugh when we should cry. We stand when we should sit, and vice versa. Nothing is too important or sacrosanct for politics, religion or ethnicity?

Check out the Innoson saga said to involve the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Guaranty Trust Bank. The way his people of the SouthEast expertly coordinated the ad hoc social media campaign, you get a sense our citizens are learning quite fast to stand together. While one condemns the ethnic colouration of the campaign, one advocates positive deployment of the ingenuity embedded therein. Nigerians must rise against ethnicity and injustice, because they can terminally deform Nigeria!

Merry Christmas. A smashing 2018!


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