Opinion

Mr. President should listen, not bully

That Nigeria is divided now more than it had ever been is real. It is a fact. The dark forces pulling and tearing down the country is not a fiction. In recent times, I have met people who once had abiding faith in Nigeria, but now doubtful of their conviction. They now openly admit their lack of faith in the future.

 

 

They feel Nigeria’s case is irredeemable. These are patriots now justifiably exhausted and exasperated by the turn of events which if not properly addressed may be the beginning of the end of Nigeria as we know it. Nigerians who elected Buhari as president in 2015 didn’t elect him because he is a superman or a magician that will wish away all our problems by the wave of a magic wand.

 

They elected him because they believed that he was a man of vision, a man with a good head and shoulder, good heart and right moral balance with capacity to inspire hope, confidence and faith in the country.

 

They desired change and thought he could break the dam, unite the country and bring change. Hopes were high, but today they are disappointed and more fearful of the future than before. If I were the president, rather than bully the people to silence, I will pay close attention to the cries of the millions that elected me their president and also of those voices that have not voted for me.

 

I will listen not just to the ‘Yes Men’ who surround me and want me ‘to hear no evil and see no evil’. I will also listen to the naysayers whose words could irritate and cause discomfort for they could harbour some truths that will define my place in history.

 

If I were President Buhari, I will be kind to history so that history will in turn be kind to me. I will do the right things. I will show I can handle truth no matter how bitter it might be. The truth also being that all is not well with Nigeria. The country is manifestly sick.

 

Granted, President Buhari may not be the cause of all the challenges we currently face. He may have inherited a divided country and its broken politics.

 

He may not be cause of the insecurity and tensions all over the country; he may not have caused our economic woes and stagnant development; he may not be the cause of corruption and our rising debt profile; he may not be the cause of our rising inflation and stagflation; he may not be the reason why the refineries are moribund or why electricity supply remains epileptic; he may not be the cause of all the incessant killings by armed militias in Benue, Plateau, Kaduna, Taraba and other parts of Nigeria.

 

Indeed, these problems may have predated his presidency. Do I expect him to resolve all the problems in four or eight years of his constitutionally allowed two terms of office? The answer is no.

 

When he was elected president, I for one never expected that all our problems could be resolved within the life of his presidency. I nevertheless expected him to bite as much as he can chew knowing he cannot be there forever.

 

 

 

President Buhari inherited myriads of problems just like every government under the sun inherit some problems and solves some problems while also creating several other problems. This is the basic nature of government hence government is a continuum.

 

So, complaining about the problems left by PDP are mere craps and political exercise. There is no question Nigeria missed opportunity to get ahead on so many issues because of certain policies initiated by President Buhari.

 

He set his administration up for failure with his hostile takeover and near dismantling of every policy of his predecessors.

 

In so doing, he unsettled too many things, lost time and goodwill thereby setting the country back. The tragedy with his leadership is not just that he is unable to successfully resolve any of the problems he met, but the fact that he made things  worse. Nigerians are going through the worse of excruciating suffering ever experienced in her history.

 

Nearly all the fault lines that had hitherto disappeared or were disappearing, have now resurfaced and ferociously threatening the corporate survival and unity of the country while the president fiddles. Former, President Obasanjo recently spoke out on our fragile unity. He pointedly accused President Buhari of implementing divisive policies which is endangering Nigeria. President Buhari had made no pretense of his disdain and bias against certain sections of the country and preference for his own people.

 

Even as the nation projects towards 2023, his foot soldiers still hold grudges against the Igbo for not voting massively for him in 2015. Since Obasanjo’s statement which drew the ire of the presidency, other prominent Nigerians including Prof. Wole Soyinka had spoken, warning about disunity in the country.

 

Significantly, there is nothing different from what these prominent citizens had said that is different from what I had often repeated on this page since the second coming of President Buhari, nor were they different from what late Maitama Sule-led Northern elders said when they paid him a courtesy visit in the early days of this administration.

 

Maitama Sule and the Northern leaders harped on reconciliation and unity of the country. They rightly understood that Nigeria was polarised following the series of events that led to the victory of President Buhari. They urged him to pay close attention to forging a united country because it is only a united people that can win the campaign against Boko Haram, unemployment, herdsmen, economic recession and insecurity etc.

 

But the president didn’t listen and never reckoned that the worst thing that can happen to any country or leader is to be cursed with disgruntled citizens with divided loyalty. It is worthy to note that everyone that has called out the president on his divisive leadership style were in majority of those that made a show of supporting and propelling him to power.

 

Former President Obasanjo, for instance, made a public show of tearing his PDP membership card just to prove his new-found love for Buhari. Soyinka minted words against the then first lady whom she called ‘Shipopotamus’ in a bid to garner support for President Buhari. We can abuse OBJ and Soyinka as much as we want for their roles in foisting Buhari on Nigeria in 2015. We can characterize as victims of buyer’s remorse after all they led the local and international initiatives that made Buhari seem like a rock star on his way to Aso Rock.

 

 

They were not alone as the youth, the police, military, INEC and underage voters colluded in the revolution that swept President Buhari into office. I thank God that He made it possible for Buhari to be President. If he didn’t become president he would have been canonized as the best president Nigeria never had.

 

The North would have been lamenting to no end that he would have ended the reign of terror in the region. Now imagine that in the president’s home state it pays more to be a bandit than to be a law-abiding citizen.

 

Imagine the governor of Katsina, Aminu Masari, paying the murderous gangs, wooing them with houses, shops, land and a life of luxury while law-abiding citizens languish in poverty. Need I remind the governor that he cannot make peace with terrorists out of weakness, out of apology and out of pity on us, that doesn’t work and had never worked. The choice we and our leaders make now will have enormous impact on how we can pull back the nation from the brink.

 

If our leaders do the right thing, if the president will listen, if he will change his policies, we can still build a nation out of this contraption. All hopes are not lost. I know Nigerians to be highly determined people when inspired and positively challenged

 

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