One never stops wondering about the unending volt face of President Muhammad Buhari and his APC henchmen. They came seeking political Power wearing redemptive masks as they danced with saintly gaits and sang freedom songs on podia across different States of the Federation. They vilified the PDP, saying the party was responsible for everything that was evil in Nigeria at the time. For a reminder, President Buhari and his party promised to root out corruption, fix the economy and stem insecurity in no time. They also promised to fix the warped electoral system that thus far fostered charlatans, criminals and conmen on Nigeria’s political landscape in a manner as would return power to the electorate. Good promises no doubt.
Fast forward to current time of over 6 years of President Buhari and APC being in power and tick your performance boxes against any of the promises and see whether you will nod your head in satisfaction? Yet, both the President and the APC will not admit to their dismal failure at keeping promises. Their respective and loquacious spokesmen whose well oiled mouths spew lies and inaccuracies at the slightest move wait at every turn to seize available opportunity to praise their Principals to high heavens. Today and under President Muhammad Buhari led’s APC government, corruption walks nakedly in Nigerian streets and corridors of power. The economy is comatose as people are currently experiencing the measure of hardship they only experienced under the military dictatorship of General Buhari. So to many Nigerians that were old enough to experience General Buhari as a dictator and President Buhari as a repentant democrat, hardship and fear are the hallmarks of his administrations. One needs not elucidate further on worsening security situation in the country as that would be akin to lamenting to a deaf and dumb man. However, two recent events make me wonder if our statesmen so-called, are not mere tricksters in ceremonial togas. Let me begin by first addressing the issue of electoral bill that was painstakingly passed recently by the Nigerian parliament. Many Nigerians that know President Buhari doubted his political courage to sign the bill into law. A few naysayers however insisted he will sign it given his avowed stance to return power to the Nigerian electorate and thwart the manipulative influences with stranglehold of money bags on party machinery in Nigeria. The electoral bill is still on Mr President’s table still awaiting his signature as I write this piece. Meanwhile, if feelers that we are getting is anything to go by, the President seems to have been hoodwinked by Nigeria’s power mongering State Governors into withholding his assent to the electoral bill. It was said that Mr President had cited the colossal amount of N500b required by INEC to conduct direct primaries for political parties as the reason for his refusal to assent to the electoral bill. But INEC had categorically denied quoting any amount anywhere for conduct of party primaries through direct system. Similarly, the Chairman of House Committee on Appropriation, himself part of APC’s rapacious caucus alluded to his Committee asking INEC to bring forth its requirement for conducting direct primaries for political parties. If you are a fan of tricksters, you will easily discern the connection in all these. The Appropriation Committee Chairman was simply giving his party leader and President of Federal Republic of Nigeria a rope to climb down on withholding assent to the electoral bill while forcing a reason down the throat of INEC. In any case, is it the business of INEC to conduct primaries for political parties in Nigeria? Is INEC not only obliged to set the timeline for party primaries and attend them to ensure compliance with prescribed processes and procedures? Through this political circus of Mr President and his party’s henchmen, Nigerians at least have yet another proof of the many lies of APC regarding electoral reforms. All the APC henchmen are simply afraid that Mr President’s assent will drive the final nail into the coffin of their party in Nigeria. However, refusal to assent to the electoral bill by President Buhari amounts to postponing the evil day for the APC and its overly ambitious henchmen. The Nigerian President, as it were, no longer posses substantial stake in Nigerian politics for obvious reasons. But the electoral bill offers him a last opportunity to carve a tiny niche in the hearts of few Nigerians. The choice is his to either take the opportunity or run with the putrid ambitions of Nigerian State Governors and his party henchmen to perpetrate the stranglehold on the country’s electoral system. Posterity shall judge somehow and somedays.
The second issue that revealed how blind and selfish ambition can render one insensitive to peace and harmony of the peoples of Nigeria is the statement that was credited to APC’ national leader, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu recently. He was alleged to have said that South West Nigeria would not mind a Muslim-Muslim Presidential ticket. Ideally, this should not have mattered if the current APC Government of President Muhammad Buhari had not pursued a narrow ethno- religious agenda that got the nation into the current security quagmire that we find ourselves. According to a popular Nigerian adage, ‘when crocodiles eat their own eggs, what can’t they do to the flesh of a toad?’ With President Buhari having a Christian Vice and yet sidelining him while pursuing a narrow ethno-religious agenda for his core North, one can only imagine what a South Western Muslim-Muslim ticket portends for our fragile polity. But that is not really my worry. What rankles me the most is how a man that portrays himself as the leader of a governing political party, that calls himself a statesman can contemplate such a thought let alone voice it out? If it is true that the APC leader made the statement, it is not only unfortunate, but very nauseating and insults the sensibilities of adherents of other faiths in Nigeria. It also goes to show the character of the man credited with orchestrating the lies and unholy alliance that imposed President Muhammad Buhari on our country. Nigerians should therefore fear such a man that would stop at nothing to realize his selfish ambition of succeeding President Buhari. According to James .F. Byrnes, ‘when a man is intoxicated by alcohol, he can recover. But when intoxicated by power, he seldom recovers.’ APC leader and the party’s henchmen are currently intoxicated with power and are acting like wrecking balls out to destroy anything on the way of their individual and collective ambitions; including thwarting genuine electoral reforms in Nigeria. But Nigerians and indeed the world are watching with keen interest. Let President Muhammad Buhari and his APC know that the collective interest and desire of overwhelming majority of Nigerians to elect their leaders under a fair, peaceful and credible electoral system overrides any individual or narrow considerations. And the world is watching us as we proceed gradually and cautiously to 2023.