It is the eve of another general election year in Nigeria. The hawks and vermins of power are back in grand style preying on Nigeria with loads of ploys to cause disaffection among Nigerians and over-heat the polity.
As expected, multiple latter-day saints and saviours of Nigeria have appeared on stage, so restlessly, preaching presumed lofty pathways on development, laced in patriotism to redeem or reclaim the lost glory of Nigeria. The target is President Muhammadu Buhari. And all of them deploy the same style, fathom of anger and offer the same unsought advice.
All these adulterated voices are just dreading the possibility of President Buhari ruling Nigeria beyond 2019. They desperately want him to shelve the idea of running for re-election in 2019. They scheme to prematurely retire him into the league of former Presidents to play advisory roles in Nigeria.
So, they heartlessly and emptily berate the Buhari Presidency for failing to fulfil the leadership yearnings and aspirations of the Nigerian nation. And the gang of locusts and vultures who have eaten deep into a decayed Nigeria, replay today’s lamentations from Nigerians as greater than when they led the country.
Quite interestingly, two of the main protagonists of the anti-Buhari 2019 hoopla are former leaders of Nigeria. They have ruled Nigeria for several years than President Buhari. They had golden opportunities to redeem Nigeria but gambled it so disastrously and are still preying on Nigeria.
Now, years out of power, they have become restless with their souls and feigning better redemption credentials than Buhari. They want Buhari to relapse into advisory roles, which they have ignored playing in the same capacity with open letters and public statements. It is bitterly expressed in the public domain, instead of a genuine quiet interface with Mr President, if they are truly propelled by an unselfish, patriotic and nationalistic spirit.
In the last few weeks, such voices of dissension against the Buhari Presidency have been hatched from very unserious and unexpected quarters against Buhari. First, it was an open letter from former President Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ) which bandied very disgraceful and selfishly consuming sentiments against the present government. His proposed Coalition for Nigeria (CN) is peopled by the same debased characters like him, nullifying whatever grudges he has postulated against Buhari.
Shortly afterwards, a former military dictator, one whom history has recorded among the worse dictators to ever rule Nigeria, former Military President Ibrahim Babangida (IBB) released another round of tirades against the Buhari Presidency. IBB is unarguably one of the former leaders of Nigeria, who the verdict of history has been so harsh in judgment over his administration.
IBB’s somewhat fetish and satanic manipulations of Nigeria when he held sway, earned him the unenviable epaulette “Maradona” after the trickish dribbler and famed Argentine world class player, Diego Maradona. He destroyed democratic ethos with relish; wasted national resources in anchoring endless democratic transitions, instead of infrastructural development.
Millions of disenchanted Nigerians openly rebelled against his reign and the pressure compelled him to “step aside.” As leader of the military junta which held Nigeria captive from 1985 to1993, he placed Nigeria on the degenerative scale on a high frequency.
IBB and his clique never thought of railroading the country on the path of digital leadership or ceding power to the younger generation, a disposition he delights in canvassing very farcically now. Rather, he ensured the destruction of every cherished national treasure; allegedly murdered the best brains opposed to his administration both in the military and among civilians.
He plotted perpetuity and when forced to step aside, it was a septuagenarian, Chief Ernest Shonekan he endorsed for the illegal contraption nicked named “Interim National Government,” (ING). One would ask, whether there were no digital youth leaders at that time to pilot the affairs of the nation?
But today, he pontificates about leadership saintliness and brilliant ideas about the future of Nigeria, instead of intermittent apologies to the nation for laying the modern-day foundation for the ruination and destruction of his country. But rather than applauding Buhari who is trying his best to clear the mess entrenched in politics, stunted development, religio-ethnic polarisations of the nation, its malicious crucification.
Over two decades outside Aso Rock, IBB has been perceived to be preying on Nigeria by suddenly imbibing the sanity, to pick bones in the administration of Nigeria by a charismatic and incorruptible leader like President Buhari, whose shadows he cannot approximate, in spite of any perceived shortcomings. They are a clique of people who crippled Nigeria, by their unbridled appetite for feasting on the nation’s commonwealth.
What they famously disparage in President Buhari is his anti-corruption war and demonstrated knowledge of security issues. They collectively hate to see any successor who can outshine their records of perdition against Nigeria.
May the likes of IBB be told that it is self-delusion to think every problem of Nigeria must be solved by President Buhari in less than three years. Much more, in policies and time-frames set by these conspicuously failed former leaders of Nigeria. But because IBB is engaging the public on self-centred reasons, this is the point on the strings he is pulling to extract sympathy from some impatient Nigerians to berth a revolt against Buhari in 2019.
Buhari himself has not laid claim to any fallacious theory of having the capacity of solving all of Nigeria’s problems in a flash. But Nigerians are living witnesses to the displayed determination and the much he has done, so far, which have shown a remarkable difference from his assailants on leadership.
IBB squandered over eight years as military President, but could not even get the compass of solving Nigeria’s myriad of problems. It is sensational and appalling for him to expect that President Buhari should have exited the problems in two and a half years. It questions the mindset of the deluge of letters or public outbursts by some of these former leaders.
IBB particularly represents the worse of the leadership dilemma of Nigeria. This is a man who dreads the truth and delights in revolving in circles like a snail. Till this moment, he dreads informing Nigerians why he annulled the June 12, 1993, Presidential elections adjudged as won by business mogul, late Chief MKO Abiola, believed to be the freest and fairest elections in the history of Nigeria. Accounts of the incidents and reasons that led to his truncation of this democracy have only been told by third parties, while IBB prefers silence.
In effect, he is perceived as a former leader of Nigeria who through military fiat, suspiciously usurped the power of the people in deciding their democratic choice of leadership. And also, feels the truth of this destructive history should never ever be unveiled for posterity.
Babangida cannot today, claim the garbs of a democrat and unconscionably exercising his brain on how best he feels Nigeria should be governed. If today is so bad, as he preaches, what has he done to let Nigerians know of yesterday to reshape today’s democracy? He still keeps the secret of the annulled June 12 presidential election close to his chest.
At his octogenarian age, IBB is still very dishonest with himself. There is no integrity or personal conviction on any issue. The controversy generated by his public statement and later rebuttal aptly captures the senility of IBB. His media spokesman for years, Prince Kassim Afegbua who signed the first statement on his behalf, which contained the baseless diatribes against President Buhari has insisted IBB vetted and approved it.
But the former military ruler’s rejoinder disowns it as the writer’s views on dissonance with his ideas on the Buhari Presidency. Even in-house, IBB cannot manage his personal staff but wants magic performed by whoever is leading Nigeria in one day. Thereafter, IBB disgracefully denounced virtually every submission he initially made in the public statement and attempted shameful embellishments. Anyone who takes such a leader serious is at the risk of being told, someday to doubt his origin.
But the outings of the likes of IBB preying on Nigeria should not be strange to Nigerians. It is commonplace each time Nigeria is facing general elections. The forces who don’t believe in democracy are quite angry that it has thrived. They engage in these subterranean antics to scuttle democracy under the facade of fake patriotism.
By IBB’s antecedents, he is the least qualified Nigerian to speak on leadership or profess a passion for democracy. They are nothing beyond tricks to poison the minds of Nigerians to work towards another round of scuttling democratic governance. It’s incredible for IBB to think of flaunting the belated posture of a repentant democrat at his age. He is an unfit, resentful and odious character to speak for Nigeria, from the prism of good intentions.
The next general elections in 2019 are just months away. It is not altogether strange to have these emergency leadership experts and conjurers of fantastic development ideas. No one is in doubt, that the wrong characters and former leaders who submerged Nigeria in the mess of problems that have tethered the nation to the stalk of bondage are unhappy at the efforts to free the nation from the pangs of their consciously instituted servitude.
By preying on Nigeria, masquerading as “honest” leaders and “patriots,” they believe Nigerians would be conned into endorsing their sensational and selfish campaigns. This is certainly, another era for wrong characters invading the political stage with demonic outbursts, incontestably conveying to Nigerians how inconsequential these leaders think of the people. These are preys on Nigeria’s resources and political leadership. They should invent other plots, as these ones are too familiar and have failed to fly.
Ainoko is a public affairs commentator based in Kaduna.