Months before the 2015 Presidential election, Buhari was scorned as an ex-dictator and unapologetic Islamist. Many of us, pseudo-journalists, flooded the social media arguing against the presidency of a dangerous man. The revered Wole Shoyinka wrote a blistering piece cataloging the misdeeds of Buhari’s past administration and his subsequent involvement in the Nigerian space.
That was before Alamieyeseigha was rumored and announced to be a recipient of Nigeria’s highest award at the Centenary celebration of England annexing the Southern and Northern Nigeria. Before Patience Jonathan—yes, the wife of the President, hijacked our private and institutional spaces, and rather than empathy for the mothers of Chibok girls, she derided them; before before Michelle Obama was forced to lead the campaign to force our government out of silence when hundreds of our beautiful daughters were kidnapped. Before it became clear that the PhD Stella Oduah claimed was fake. Before Lamido Sanusi told us of possible financial impropriety involving the NNPC, Diezani Alison-Madueke, and others, and in spite, Jonathan administration attempted to silence the story to oblivion. The list of ‘befores’ that predated our collective desire to boot Jonathan out of the presidency is inexhaustible. It became clear that Nigerians needed a break from the past—that our Union was being threatened and in comatose.
How do we break from the past and where do we head were two rational questions, but each of the inquiries proved beyond the paygrades of even the more accomplished among us. The political climate was rife with a Northern presidency—but, who among the known possibilities could we rally behind. Atiku, a well-known thief and fugitive from US’ justice, clamored for our supports, as well as others less known. Tinubu, a Southerner, with a well-established ambition to hijack the national purse and empty the darn thing, rallied around his cabal of political charlatans to re-present Buhari to us. Ordinarily, Nigerians would have seen through the charade, but our urgent desire to do away with Jonathan proved too murky for us to see through.
And, that was how Buhari stole our future. He became our hopes in the absence of any evidence to lead us through the smog. All the liabilities that made Buhari toxic didn’t disappear—the retroactive application of capital punishment didn’t disappear; the 52 suitcases that cleared through our Customs without inspection were not returned; we didn’t request any additional information against Buhari’s political naivety that scuttled any economic recovery in 1983; so many questions that hanged over Mr. Buhari. Rather, in Buhari, we began to see a titan against corruption—which has rightly eaten us to comatose; we began to see a tenacious fighter—taught through experience and personal discipline. In short, we built ourselves into a cult of Buharist—perpetuating a messiah to lead us through the fight of Armageddon. Almost two years into his administration, we’re not only stuck in Armageddon, but Buhari also appears to have absconded and dashed our hopes.
How do you tell Nigerians to look inward during this period of economic and social upheavals when at the first opportunity to bail out, you bailed out! How do you reinforce that Nigerians are capable when you rather trust your life to a foreign doctor at a foreign clinic than Nigerian trained professionals? Yes, we may not be able to solve your particular kind of problems, but that is how millions of us live our lives. I couldn’t begrudge you for fighting for your life, I could only have hoped that you would have used your fight for a higher and greater goods.
In almost two years of your administration, Nigerians are reduced to peddle rumors of your administration’s fights against corruption; we hardly have any real and direct news from you. When billions of money are not discovered in a house, we hear the news that some other individuals have returned money back into government’s coffer. Again, it is good if some rogues return the money, but is it true? And even, if it is true, the larger questions of our courts’ systems and the efficiencies of our prosecutorial teams are yet to be addressed in any meaningful way. While fighting corruption was central to you allure, Nigerians have other problems, and your administration has failed.