This is not the best of time to be a (Nigerian) patriot. Frankly, events of the last few weeks could make anyone who genuinely loves Nigeria and desires a better future for the country weep, weep, weep and slip into depression. As the nation prepares for the presidential elections slated for February, there has been an avalanche of depressing developments rearing their ugly heads from left, right, back, front and centre.
First, there is the incumbent and his ominously hilarious theatrics across campaign podiums, from Warri to Lokoja. Stripped of all pretensions (and, frankly, based on no fault of his, at least on the surface), he is not fit for the 4-year rigour and troubles of the highest office in the land–––physically, psychologically, mentally and emotionally. In the last one week he has unraveled, shattering all choreographed, pretentious air of “seriousness” built around him by his paid vuvuzelas, largely through deliberately orchestrated inaccessibility.
Then there is the strongest opposition candidate, in whose hands Nigerians can’t be sure the entire nation would not be mortgaged at the popular UAE Mortgage Market or, even, her assets looted and listed on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), ostensibly by “friends” of the president. He’s finally been chauffeured into the United States, amidst pomp and pageantry, against all odds. And many otherwise discerning Nigerians, struck by the carefully Atikulated PR gymnastics, have screamed allelluyah! With his visible ethical “kraw-kraw” and moral “lapa-lapa”, it is a sign of how far we have sunk that his entry into DC would generate so much enthusiasm––as though by that entry, Nigeria’s many troubles would disappear pronto.
Then there are over a zillion other “alternatives”, mostly young energetic minds churning out beautiful ideas across the social media space––on politics, on culture, on social security, on the global economy. They, however, have inadvertently chosen to remain blind to the reality of electioneering and party politics in Nigeria, intoxicated somewhat by the perceived genius of their individual ideas, flying separately on parties whose structures are at best fit for local county elections.
While all of these are happening, many Nigerians have simply accepted fate. Given the strength of the two leading political parties, the politically pragmatic among voters have either chosen to move to a yet unknown #NextLevel or join others to #GetNigeriaWorkingAgain, even if they do not understand the ‘how’. The many discerning others, disillusioned as it were by the ‘alternative’ candidates’ failure to inspire followership and galvanize action, have simply activated the Siddon-look button––that being an unsuccessful euphemism for apathy.
Frankly, it is difficult to question the apathetic decision of these people, given the dynamics of electioneering and party politics in the country. It is why SATIRE SATURDAY opines that those who lampoon Nigerians for showing little interest in the emergence of the new candidates miss the point. The reality of electioneering in present day Nigeria favours strong party structure, which the newbies’ failure to form an alliance did not allow materialize. There are over 70 presidential candidates in the next elections, including those who may struggle and yet fail to get a ‘Supervisor’ position in their local government areas. The aim of many of them, it appears, is to have their named mentioned with the “one-time presidential aspirant” description.
Many who understand the pragmatic aspect of politicking have openly expressed frustration at the two options before Nigerians, with the hope that the serious-minded ones among the alternative options would form a solid movement that could convincingly inspire Nigerians to indeed throw away the two filthy options before them. Sadly, that has not been the case. It’s not dusk yet, anyway; and one day is a long period in politics as they say, how much more six weeks.
Away from ideals, to face reality, SATIRE SATURDAY is more concerned about the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari this week. As things stand today, however inconvenient this may sound to his traducers, Mr Buhari is the shoo-in in the presidential contest. So it is important that in the spirit of patriotism, we care about the president’s.
First, if you strip Mr Buhari of his scorecard, of his intellectual capacity, of his (non-)management of Nigeria’s affairs, of his handling of herdsmen crisis, of his lopsided appointments, of Air Nigeria, of his many gaffes, one thing is clear: he is a likeable human. There is this child-like innocence that he exhibits if you approach him with a plain mindset, devoid of the harsh reality of the last 3-and-half years or the nightmare of his first encounter with the press in 1983. It is in that context that SATIRE SATURDAY opines, warts and all, that such innocent man should not be punished the way his supporters are wont to with this desire to hand him a fresh 4-year mandate.
In the last few days, the president has shown even the most unthinking of his fawning fans that he would do well as presidential candidate of a rural old soldiers’ association in his native Daura, rather than be subjected to another torture of 4-year gymnastics in the name of managing Nigeria’s numerous headaches. The man has shown, in clear, unambiguous manners that he needs to take a long, long nap; that he needs to rest.
First, it began with his minor misstep at the campaign event in Lokoja, in which he almost fell. An almost inconsequential development that could happen to anyone. But for a man whose health has generated discussions more than the naira rate has in the last three years, that was quite worrisome. Then less than 24 hours later, the drama shifted to the #TheCandidates town hall event with Kadaria Ahmed, wherein the president’s demeanour, even under such a relaxed and less tense atmosphere, was at best bland and at worst, dry.
At a point during the discourse, he showed clearly that he knew almost nothing about some issues of governance. And because unlike most politicians, he naturally isn’t schooled in the art of deception, it was very clear to even the least discerning among Nigerians who watched the programme that the president is out of touch with basic realities. Of course it was clear he perhaps nurses a hearing problem, which isn’t anything unusual for a man of his age anyway.
In a country with a scandalously low life expectancy rate, God has been immensely good to Mr Buhari. It is in the light of this that SATIRE SATURDAY wonders why some opportunists, lurking somewhere off the radar, would want to severely punish the old man with another 4-year mandate. Clearly, in a rapidly changing world where the energetic Macrons and Kagames of this world are finding it increasingly difficult to address peoples’ desires, it is suicidal to force an ailing Buhari down the throat of any nation in 2019. And so, clearly, many of those pushing for another 4-year punishment for Mr Buhari do not love Nigeria.
But again, if anyone watched the president in the last seven days yet failed to pity the old man but still has the audacity to scream “Sai Baba!”, the person apparently does not like Buhari. And that’s where independent-minded Nigerians with no partisan minds must come in to rescue the old man from his fawning supporters, including those with sinister mindsets.
For the pedant, there would naturally be a quick question: where is Mr Buhari’s own famed integrity in all of this? Having realized his own weaknesses, why can’t he simply resist the “A o mu erin j’oba” beats and go home to rest? Well, SATIRE SATURDAY has a quick answer: it may not be the president’s own fault and here’s why.
In the belief system of some African communities, a man is said to transform into a toddler when he gets to a certain old age in life. At that point, he reasons, thinks, acts and moves around like a toddler, a minor. The Yoruba for instance pay special attention to these people based on that belief. It is unclear whether this is the case in Mr Buhari’s but for the safety of the president and our nation, let’s assume this is the case and protect the old man. He does not deserve the punishment of another four years.
Now, should Buhari choose to go take a long nap and, based on their party structure, the baton does not get to any of the other new alternatives, then it naturally flows toward the Dubai direction. And that’s quite scary, to be frank. Well, there is an alternative: Nigerians may have to form a civilian JTSF (Joint Treasury Security Force), draw up a roster and operate shift to monitor and secure the nation’s treasury––from Mr President and his friends, who are entitled to be rich!