There is a trend in Nigeria politics; or may be I should say there is an emerging pattern. This pattern is one constructed on the worst style of political blackmail. For those familiar with McCarthyism in American politics, it is one build on the tripods of intimidation, innuendoes and subversion. This tactic is a dark art. Rumors first start from the internal recesses of gossip parlors utilized by political gangsters; then it is sponsored into guest articles of national newspapers where it gains steam. Ultimately, innuendoes take a life of their own, and they gain traction in the mind of ordinary people- even the educated! Lies become truths, and otherwise good men are destroyed - for the benefit of the enemies of Nigeria.
There is a science to this dark art. It has been used severally in other climes, but in Nigeria its use is approaching a level of national danger never seen in other climes. For example, the dark art works well, because it also achieves the collateral effect of scaring any good person with the tiniest mustard seed of ambition to join politics in the future. By denying the nation her best leaders today and tomorrow, the dark art of blackmail becomes a powerful agent of underdevelopment!
This blackmail, or rather political character assassination, always has a victim. It is not the target that is the ultimate loser of such acts- it is usually the people. Nigeria is denied the best leaders, by the black art of political character assassination. For decades, it was used to thwart the ambition of a man once called, “the best President Nigeria never had”. Well, who is for the worse for it? Your guess is as good as mine.
They called him ethnic bigot; they said he was Rosicrucian and therefore a cultist; they even ensured that was written in the constitution as grounds for disqualification just to be sure! Others even said he sold dead children and starved millions more to die. All were based on unfounded stories, and innuendoes: in the end, these stories forever stood between him and an office that would have changed the trajectory of our nation. Nigeria lost in Chief Awolowo a leader that was destroyed by the black arts- albeit less sophisticated than what we see today!
Well, that was then and this is now. Just about six years ago, there stood on the stage of our national politics – two clear choices: one was compromised the other was not. Indeed, if you have ruled the country for eight years and have no tangible results for it; if murders, kidnappings and terrorism have been the hallmark of your administration; if ethnic strife, under development and retardation has been the product of your leadership; if government by money bags, godfathers and gangsters is your way; well you still can win elections in Nigeria. And even though the choice was clear, the election results were clearer. The people voted for the status quo!
Now you can analyze the results of the 2007 elections between General Buhari and President Yar’Adua and go to the extent of establishing clear cases of rigging – even the winner admitted he was rigged into office- to no end. But irregularities alone cannot install a President; even a Supreme Court sanctioned one. President Yar’Adua for all ends and purposes had a popular mandate; he had a mandate from the gullible. The gullible that somehow believed that General Buhari was too dangerous to be handed the Presidency!
Here was a man that served our nation in the very highest capacity accused of being a religious bigot, such that he cannot be trusted with high office. If you ask many educated Nigerians today, many of them still believe this lie from the pits of hell. Well, before Buhari could even mount a campaign they had made it up already. All we heard in 2003, 2007 and 2011 was that “Sai Buhari” was the candidate of Jihadism. That if this man had the support of the suffering Alamajiri youth of the North, and not the turban wearing, “goro” chewing and contract sniffing elite- then he must be dangerous! This in their opinion was a General that cannot be trusted!
Certainly the gullible believed this crap in 2007 and 2011 more so, but never asked themselves two important questions. First, if this man could not Islamize Nigeria when he was an absolute ruler for almost three years, how will he fundamentally change the religious equation of Nigeria as a democratically elected President? Two, what religious or quasi-religion function does the Presidency of Nigeria discharge? We were apparently worried about the wrong thing. Six years later, we have absolutely nothing but horror to show for their mistake!
However, what the elite and the whoremongers of this dark art of innuendo did not tell ordinary Nigerians is that they’re scared of General Buhari. For they know that all things being equal, if the “People’s General” had merged in Aso Rock, many of them will be driven under the rock by the force of his probity!
Indeed, there will be no fuel subsidy scam; under Buhari I can guarantee that no ex-convict will be granted a pardon (or turned to the Special Guest of the Head of State), and no shares from a government-sponsored entity will be awarded to the President as consolation prize upon retirement. Under Buhari, the first lady will not be running overseas with stolen millions and heck, she will speak better grammar!
It is only because of this dark art we have empty brains presiding at every level of Nigeria’s governance today. For how can a country that produced the golden voice of Africa as its First Prime Minister- a man whose oratory skills put his enemies in bind, and made his foes turn real gallantry well-wishers now produce a President that can hardly keep a room full of kindergarten awake for a five minutes speech?
How can the successor to the heritage of another gallant orator called Zik of Africa whose powerful rhetoric struck fear in the mind of the simple, be a man that has become the object of international mockery? I suspect because we have for too long become victims of these marauders and purveyors of the dark art of innuendoes; who disqualify the very best among us for their own selfish ends and leave the weakest standing!
Now, as we prepare for 2015 the dark art machinery is already at it again. They’ve selected some candidates for destruction and blackmail. See, they don’t deal in the art of campaigning; they specialize in the art of disqualifying. They will destroy any potential crusader turn politician to ensure only their compromised candidate are left standing.
Their tactics are simple; watch out, lest you fall victim. First, they identify the target. He will be an outstanding public servant or private sector participant; someone that has shown a past penchant for independent thinking is big enough threat for this group. They then float couple of occasions of indiscretions of thoughts, actions or musings out there, and combine it with their own dressings of impropriety. Upon which they get some hungry journalists on their pay roll, and direct these writings to simple-minded online platforms where jobless youths and angry simpletons are not lacking.
The final stage of course for them will be to prepare and serve the combustible mix of ethnicity and religion for the public stage; whereupon the target is immobilized, whether he or she admits it or not. Well, let us just say that when they’re finished, only by the grace of the Almighty can their target survive. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. The question on inquiring minds that understand this black art of blackmail well practiced by the powers that be (“the owners of Nigeria”) is that, will Nigerians fall for it again?
For those that still do not get it- here is a list of target that they may have drawn up for 2015- heads up. On that list are names like Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. They have Raji Fashola there too; so is Pastor Tunde Bakare. Ogbeni Aregbesola and Adams Oshiomole are also high up on there. The chatter of innuendoes has started if you go online; I can hear it even if you can’t. While none of these men are saints, I will put them up against the Lilliputians we call rulers today in Abuja any time of the day for intellectual heft and ability to govern.
Because these men are one of the few good men that Nigeria has in places of authority it will be a shame, if we let them be swiped by the over-generalized brush of ethnic or religious bigotry! We cannot disqualify the few good men in Nigeria because what will be left are charlatans!
Let those who have ears, let them hear!
Michael Oluwagbemi writes from Houston, connect with him @busanga on twitter