“It’s the power drive, sucker”! - Wole Soyinka.
Four years ago, in an article titled “International Relationship and the Buhari Albatross published in www.nigeriavillagesquare.com,” I argued that if change means Buhari and the past military rulers, Jonathan should run and run again. It does not mean that the retired generals will gun him down. Rather, as one who trekked long distances without shoes, he has the nerves to preserver till the generals succumb to the dictates of the cracking bones; that of reason being farfetched. However, it appears that Buhari’s will to power was forged in a furnace. He and his handlers have been heard claiming that the 73year old man is as fit as fiddle. Well, my take is “we have fiddled before.” Yaradua challenged many to a game of squash and perhaps Buhari is ready to play the game of soccer with Davor Šuker.
On a more serious note, Buhari among eleven or so contestants to the presidency is touted as the agent of change; the candidate who will end corruption and transport us to the Eldorado we have been waiting for. It is here that we have to question the real meaning of corruption and change. A military man who overthrew a democratically elected government when I was a kid, is here being presented as the only formidable alternative to the incumbent President and one who ought to be elected to effect change and we are being urged to buy into the story. Shame on us! I seriously think that we are a mad nation.
In the Social Contract, Jean Jacques Rousseau relates the story of the Ephors and the Spartan society. “A man of bad morals having made a good proposal in the Spartan council, the Ephors neglected it, and caused the same proposal to be made by a virtuous citizen. What an honour for one and what a disgrace for the other, without praise or blame of either!” In other words, without shouting “BOO LEAVE HERE!” The Ephors took heed of his proposal and allowed it to emerge from the gutturals of a better person. The simple lesson from the action of the Ephors is that you do not arm a wrecker even if it is in Africa! When it comes to democracy in Nigeria, without any equivocation Buhari is a man of bad morals and if he ever wins any election by mistake, the military should intervene and butt him out. Democracy we must be reminded is first and foremost a matter of morality.
Rousseau on the same page continues his story thus, “certain drunkards from Samos polluted the tribunal of the Ephors: the next day, a public edict gave Samians permission to be filthy.” An actual punishment he says “would not have been so severe as such an impunity.” And as it has often been said, when Sparta pronounced on what is or is not right, Greece makes no appeal from her judgement. However, when the APC throws up their sparteine emblem, we ought to thunder back: grizzly, poison!
We have to be very careful about what we do and the precedence we set for the younger generation. I am not arguing that we ought not to show mercy, but mercy ought to be preceded by repentance. Must Buhari’s repentance and conversion to democracy and leadership as service start and end with the presidency? In my opinion, he could have started with his State’s House of Assembly, Senate or even gubernatorial, at least he will have a reference of his democratic conversion and service for the presidency post—the highest in the land. No , it is the power drive, he cannot go on reverse.
The issue of Buhari’s WASSC is heating up and when I hear the prevarication of his loyalists, I tend to conclude that as a nation, we have lost it. When a legal mind like Sagay and his colleagues rationalize the absence of Buhari’s certificate, I quibble in my Igbo Language “ Aka gbajie igwe, ujo atu osisi” literarily meaning “ when a hand breaks a piece of iron, the work of wood becomes jittery.” I am talking of wood work!
The arguments for Buhari’s WASSC vis-à-vis his qualification or disqualification has been canvassed by many. However, it strikes me as odd that an ex military Head of State and one who proposes to lead us in the 21st century lacks a sense of documentation and preservation. I know of older people than Buhari who have their documents, which of course dates back than 1960, intact and are ready to present and tell you stories on them. Buhari on the other hand is telling stories without his credentials. Azikiwe’s Pilot papers can still be found. What does that tell us about this APC’s candidate attitude towards education? He does not care about education and has no policy towards its advancement. It is just about the power drive. I bet any sane person that the APC who parades people like Fashola ,as things stand now, wish that this certificate saga did not come up. Alas, this is their man for the presidential post in a computer age.
Finally, I wish to conclude these two fundamental arguments coupled with what I said four years ago with the words of Rousseau “it is useless to distinguish the morality of a nation from the objects of its esteem; both depend on the same principle and are necessarily indistinguishable.” We as Nigerians and as voters must choose from the 11 or so candidates our own object of esteem.