Nigerias conundrum and the travails of PMB – The Streetjournal

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Even President Buharis most inveterate supporter knows that he has no magic wand to wave off the accumulated problems that have besieged the country, but no one expected that under his over-subscribed leadership, things could remain the same or even worse. His long drawn campaign for the presidency and what appeared as the desperate conspiracy of the established political elites to make him perpetually unelectable- apologies to Governor Nasir el-Rufai, turned him into a mythical, messianic figure, seemingly destined to liberate the long oppressed and over-duped masses from the reckless brigandage of the elites.

Peasants, artisans, workers, professionals and even left wing intellectual, especially those untainted by ethnic and religious bigotry saw in the clean resume of President Buharis service in the various branches of the public life as a launch pad to re-take the country from the cesspool of debilitating corruption, to which the shameless elites have plunged it. With no title, except the one genuinely earned, as either traditional or honorary titles that are easily bought and sold across the country, Buhari came across as a harbinger of something genuinely new. With a fairly long political odyssey dotted with recriminating electoral losses, he evoked the images of such figures as Americas Abraham Lincoln and even the Chinese reform patriarch, Deny Xiaoping who fell from power several times and was once banished to remote village to pick fruits in order to be re-educated by peasants but eventually returned to power in 1978 to orchestrate the trajectories of Chinas economic modernization that has culminated in the countrys awe inspiring development.

Despite, the elites perennial bluff of Buharis un-electability, the swath of Nigerian working people and radical intelligentsia kept faith in his electoral prospects. At the time the traditional political elite and their surrogates were completely discredited, and their political cup totally full and running over, they made a quick dash to Buhari who had enormous popular goodwill and was about the only bridge between the rotten discredited elites and the angry Nigerians. The hybrid political formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was actually a mutual trade-off in which Buhari brought his street credibility and acceptance, while the drowning political class invested their money to finance the expensive logistics of a presidential campaign.

However, most observers and optimists in the Buharis traditional camp saw Buhari compromise with the discredited political class as tactical move only, to achieve the strategic goal of attaining power, after which he will compel the political elite to commit suicide as a class and be reborn again as genuinely patriotic Nigerians, totally weaned off, from primitive accumulation and wholly dedicated to building an inclusive healthy and wealthy nation in which no one is left behind. President Buharis strong forte of securing the country and making corruption unattractive were the central pillars of his candidacy and on which a new Nigeria was to spring forth. Even his strong national patriotic credential was considered an effective antidote to the resurgence of ethnic and religious bigotry.

But, five years into the saddle, the Buharis over-subscribed brand is on a free fall and while, his personal integrity, honesty and clean hands is not dented, his previous political outlook as the harbinger of a new Nigeria is in tatters. The same elite that hounded him and not only caused him to shed tears but insidiously mocked him as cry, cry General are his inner circle confidants. Workers, peasants, radical intelligentsia are the primary casualties of Buharis rule. Contractors rent collectors, speculators, and front and middle men and women decked in suits, ties and Agbada circle all over the place, pocketing humongous unearned profit.

The ordinary Nigerians who have known the empty and deceitful demagoguery of democracy as only an alibi by which the elite perpetrate their white crimes, did not stick their heads to elect President Buhari for the ritual of democracy demagoguery and chicanery.

But, today and unfortunately too, President Buhari offers in the double doses, the empty slogans of democracy. Around him and with him, in his presidency are his long term traducers, a banal clique of self-serving political syndicates and profiteers dashing popular hopes and causing the Nigerian people to lose faith in their country.

The security challenges have multiplied while corruption has bounced back as the enabler and sole criteria for public office. The disgraced faction of the political elite domiciled in the so-called opposition party have found their voice and as if yesterday never existed, are desperately marketing themselves as messiahs in the waiting.

The questions that critically beg for answers is why President Buharis seemingly personal integrity and honesty failed to translate to radical programme of political change. President Buharis fatal flaw was in obviously believing that perceived personal honesty and loyalty of friends, associates and even relatives, unrelated to political affiliations, orientations, worldview or political convictions or ideologies are of nominal or no consequence at all, to regime character and performance. That fatal flaw of President Buhari has made his administration, despite his personal discipline, an incoherent and acrimonious bunch always and desperately fighting turf wars

Because President Buharis personal integrity did not translate into a political programme, with organizational framework, it simply dissolved into rudiments of personal attributes, and easily brushed aside by the assorted political journeymen and women, who tapped from its previous popular appeal. Had President Buhari made serious effort to translate his personal fine attributes of integrity, honesty and discipline into a key and major political programme, he would have found from across the breath and length of this country, men and women in various branches of life, who would deliver adequately on the transformational agenda of such programme. He would not need a clique of tribal loyalists, friends and relatives, who are generally disposed to feathering their own political nest than bothering with the abstraction of executing Buharis nebulous and amorphous agenda.

The lessons of Buharis tenure will not be lost to discerning Nigerians that personal integrity, honesty, even character and discipline will not be the only criteria to judge a candidate for high office. Such critical political indices as political orientation and conviction, sagacity, broad mindedness, rigour and depth will be top notch in consideration.

Had Buharis integrity and discipline combined with Chief Awolowos political conviction, intellectual rigour and depth; and Dr. Nnamdi Azikwes cosmopolitan vibrancy, and even Mallam Aminu Kanos profound and thorough agrarian reformist zeal, Nigeria would have been now on the sweet blues of transformational march to greatness.

In addition to these considerations, the countrymust earnestly search for transformative combinations from 2023 and beyond.

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Nigerias conundrum and the travails of PMB - The Streetjournal

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