You cannot take a job with a lifespan of 4 years and start behaving as if you are going to be there for life. Many more agree with my assessment than those who disagree. I draw that conclusion from the feedback I get every day from the fans of this column. The days of leaders like Mugabe is an abomination we can no longer tolerate.
A few think that I am jumping the gun too quickly and rushing to judge Buhari too soon. A few have said I am being too hard on the 72 year old man that Ayo Fayose has compared to his old mother who now wears diapers to get around. I’d hate to see the predictions of Fayose come to pass on Buhari.
I am not a fan of Fayose, but I have learnt to never dismiss anything he says with a wave of the hand because there is a method to his madness or as some would say, his political rascality. A broken clock is right twice a day; I constantly remember the “Osiun Ado” and “Osiun Oye” stories I told in my article on Ayo Fayose.
That Fayose ignored Buhari and sent the 19 Ekiti APC legislators to the turkey farm was an eye opener for me to believe that his “Okaraba Baba Edi” may have worked on the APC and General Buhari.
The few of you who have asked me to be patient with Buhari surely have a point, but those who agree with me are not necessarily the enemies of President Buhari. As a matter of fact, I call all of them and myself the best friends of Mr. President. You are my friend if you tell me what I am doing wrong. That awareness can only help me correct my mistakes and do a better job. If I am advising President Buhari, I am not going to tell him what I think he wants to hear. I am going to tell him what he needs to hear loud and clear: damn the consequence.
Many of you will be surprised if I tell you that I learnt that precept from the same Alhaji Ahmed Joda, the Chairman of the Transition Committee Buhari has appointed. I served under Ahmed Joda for 3 years while he was the permanent secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education in the 70s. I hated his guts at the time because the man acted like a Drill Sergeant who wanted everything done on time and with clock like precision. At the time, I did not realize that the man was teaching me to be the best I could ever be in my profession. I owe the man a debt of gratitude for what he did for me. Those who indulge and deceive Buhari are his worse enemies.
Like most Nigerians during the last election, I supported General Buhari with everything I had, but I also have the courage of my conviction to tell him I’ll be very hard on him if he does not live up to the expectation of Nigerians. I praised the APC for picking him as their nominee over rolling stones like Atiku Abubakar and other candidates like Governor Kwankwanso of Kano and Speaker Tambuwal of Sokoto.
I did so because I knew Buhari from the year 1968 and I knew he has been tested and proved as a disciplined leader and arguably the most credible of all the presidential hopefuls from the North. I did not particularly like what Tambuwal did to the PDP and I said so at the time because I knew he could do the same to the APC sooner or later. My premonition about him has come true.
My fears about him have been validated. Tambuwal and Atiku Abubakar are seriously implicated in the treachery and conspiracy of Bukola Saraki to collude with the 49 PDP Senators to put the APC in a quagmire despite their majority of 59 senators in the Senate Chamber. It was a coup against the APC and I hate the fact that the coup was allowed to occur under the watch of Buhari who behaved like an amateur by trying to play the Pope who is above partisan politics. It was a silly mistake on his part. He is first and foremost a politician. If the APC falls apart, he is toast.
As President, Buhari is the presumptive leader of his Party and he should have known that he bears vicarious responsibility for anything that goes wrong either in the Party Caucus or on the floor of both Houses of Parliament. Buhari was more focused on gallivanting around the world to build a consensus against Boko Haram. In doing so, he completely dropped the ball on the dangerous conspiracy masterminded by Bukola Saraki and sponsored by Atiku Abubakar, Tambuwal, David Mark, and Ekweremadu who were former PDP colleagues of Saraki. It was a horrendous gaffe on the part of Buhari and I put much of the blame on his being President and less on Osinbajo who I thought was going to be part of his brain box.
Good is never good enough when the best is required or needed. The best President is a multi-tasker who is able to do multiple things at the same time without losing focus. When Buhari is busy taking care of Boko Haram and he leaves the home front unprotected, he opens himself up to blame if anything goes wrong at the home front. Buhari ought to have known that the Senate and the House of Representatives are very critical of his change agenda.
Buhari has to know he cannot carry out any of his promises to the nation without the active cooperation and collaboration of the Legislative branch. If he hasn’t acknowledged that, Osinbajo as a constitutional lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria and the Vice President ought to have drawn his attention to that flaw in their Administration. I blame the two of them for their lack of judgment and awareness. I nearly had a heart attack when I realized the import and ramifications of what Saraki has done to APC. I don’t care about the assurances by Saraki in which he said would be loyal to the APC. He should go tell that to the mountains. In a country as diabolical and untrustworthy as Nigeria where money is everything, only a fool would buy that assurance. The American influences on me will not accept that.
Bukola Saraki is not even a lawyer but the man has beaten Buhari and Osinbajo to the punch by putting them in a box and throwing away the keys. The APC is in big trouble today; most of their members are either in denial or they are just doing damage control. If the APC does not quickly unravel or dissolve, I know other bread and butter politicians from the PDP and APGA will soon be falling over one another to cross over to the APC not because they have any abiding faith in APC or the country, but because they love themselves more their party and their country.
Saraki desperately wants to give himself and his cohorts like Atiku Abubakar immunity from public prosecution and from all the atrocities they may have committed against the State. They may not mind if Buhari gets under the skin of other Nigerians for being corrupt. The Constitution won’t let Buhari touch them with a 10 foot pole since Buhari is sworn to uphold the same Constitution.
It is a very precarious situation for Buhari. That’s why I call him an amateur or a paper tiger right now. Saraki and the PDP can laugh their way to the bank because they have tied the hands of Buhari. A Dingle Foot, Rotimi Williams, or Gani Fawehinmi, if they were still alive, cannot bail him out. If you don’t believe me, ask Femi Falana, or Afe Babalola, or Olanipekun, or Professor Itse Sagay, or Professor Yadudu, or lawyer Ife Adedipe, a very prominent Akure lawyer resident in Port Harcourt.
Bukhara’s hands have been tied behind his back by Saracen if you know the Law. Unless the immunity provision is removed from the Constitution, Bukhara cannot touch Saracen who has, more or less, set up an alternate Government in the Senate right now to all intent and purposes.
Regardless of Party labels, most Nigerian politicians are not of the same mindset as JFK when he issued his one liner statement, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Former Governor Marwa of Lagos, and former EFCC Chairman Nuhu Ribadu are very good examples of such politicians. There is one political movement which is yet to be formally registered in Nigeria. Its name is Credible Alternative Alliance (CAA) and it does not trust the A.P.C, or the P.D.P, or the A.P.G.A.
The leaders of the Alliance include Balarabe Musa, Chief Oluyemi Falae, and a few prominent Igbo politicians. I am not putting any emphasis on the new Alliance because it could die a natural death or some of its members may end up joining the APC or the PDP. They are making noise today just to get noticed by those Parties.
The old Afenifere led by Chief Fashoranti of Ondo State and OPC led by Gani Adams agreed to team up with the Mimiko faction of the Labor Party to endorse Goodluck Jonathan for 4 more years because Jonathan had the keys to the Nigerian Treasury and he offered them as much money as they demanded. Once they got paid, they started telling some cock and bull story to deceive the Yorubas and to justify their support of Jonathan. However, like me, the Yorubas were not fooled.
Nigerian politics is all about making money. Jonathan literally emptied the Nigerian Treasury in the last two months before the elections by giving millions of Naira and Dollars to the Christian Association of Nigeria and pastors of the Evangelical Churches like Oritsejafor, Oyedepo, Kumuyi, Adeboye, and T.B Joshua who claimed to have a direct hotline to God.
General Overseer Oyedepo was the most vocal of all of them. He brought Jonathan to his Church in Ota and half way thru the service Oyedepo started speaking in tongues “Ari ba ba, ba Chindereke, Slobo Ye.” He wanted to impress Jonathan and he did, with those abracadabra images.
Jonathan was impressed. He actually flew to the sanctuary in a helicopter at taxpayers’ expense. Oyedepo got the whole Church to pray for the President and he had the President address the congregation. Jonathan thanked them for their prayers and was assured that God had answered his prayers to be President for 4 more years. I watched the whole drama on Television from the comfort on my living room in New York. All I could do was just shake my head because Nigerians are so gullible.
Evidently the God that answered Jonathan’s prayers that day was not the God of Abraham and Jacob or the God of David and Solomon because if it was, there was no way Jonathan would have lost that election. The same Jonathan flew around the whole country doling out several millions in Dollars to Nigerian traditional rulers who also endorsed him and called on Amadioha, Obatala, Osun, and Olokun. Moreover, regardless of what the Nigerian voters might do or want, what have you to give Jonathan 4 more years?
Of course Jonathan lost with ignominy because he was a bad President. I don’t care how quickly he called Buhari to concede victory, that gesture was too little too late for me and I knew he was forced to do it by powerful individuals like Obama, Kofi Annan, and Ban Ki Moon. So, those suggesting that Jonathan should be nominated for the Nobel Peace prize for that reason are either insane or plainly ignorant or naïve.
Nigerians were shocked when President “Go Slow” finally released the findings of the Ahmed Joda Committee report. More than 18 states have not been able to pay their civil servants for 9 months or less. The Pensions funds in Abuja have been looted and nothing is being done to bring the culprits to justice.
My grouse with Buhari does not just come from the above narrative. I resent the fact that Buhari has failed to do some of the things he has the power to do alone as stipulated in the 1999 Constitution. This is one of the major problems of Nigeria.
I know there is little Buhari could do about the Constitution unless he has the cooperation of the Senate and the House of Representatives. You can be sure that Bukola Saraki, Ekweremadu, David Mark, and Dogara the new Speaker are going to gang up to frustrate the Buhari agenda.
That is why I predicted, weeks ago, that Buhari is going to have the shortest honeymoon with Nigerians. I guess my question to Buhari is what has he been doing in the 12 years he has running for President of Nigeria? Those of you who think I am too impatient are doing so because you don’t live in America, the bastion of Democracy where a President is subjected to such public scrutiny from day one. The Public does not wait till things to get out of control before they challenge the President or any of his Cabinet members who may have been sloppy or sluggish or corrupt by breaking the Law.
I live in New York and I am not passive enough to just keep quiet. I moonlight with Sahara Reporters of New York as a retiree because I believe in their mission statement to make Nigeria and Africa the cornerstone of their policy.
I am going to continue to put the feet of Buhari on fire because I want him to succeed and that is why I am suggesting now that any future “decamper” to the APC from any Party must, from now on, be made to sign a legally-binding undertaking that if for any reason they fail to carry out the directive of the Party, they must either resign or be fired with immediate effect.
That should prevent a future Saraki from putting the Party in chains like he has just done in the Senate. I would even advocate that all existing members of the APC do the same as a matter of urgency. That is the only solution to the quagmire the APC has found itself.
When William Shakespeare said that, “Sweet are the uses of adversity” all the man was saying is that adversity is not such a bad thing provided you learn the right lessons from it. If Buhari wants a Nigeria in which there will be freedom for all and life more abundant, he must move at a quicker pace, and give meaning to the cry of “Never again” will Corruption and Impunity be allowed to thrive in Nigeria. If you ask me, Party supremacy is one of the answers.
I rest my case.