OUAGADOUGOU: The Buhari Albatross Came Calling/

                “Beyond containment lies democracy”

                            Former Secretary of State James Baker

In matters of democracy and foreign policy, we must accept the very fact that the ex-general and coup-plotter who has decided to be addressed as President Muhammadu Buhari is a perpetual liability. In 2011 I argued that Buhari will have no moral justification to condemn any country whose military decided for a coup. His argument I projected will be “it was the 1980’s and we did what we are supposed to do” and the counter line will be, “this is 2000’s and we are doing what we are supposed to do.” Days following the 2015 elections, the ex-general did not disappoint and in far way united Kingdom in his Chatham House address he argued that military coup was a fad at the time he and his colleague struck.

In one quick conversion and outburst of intellection—though his time-warped mind will still have an opening for Western Germany—Buhari became a student of Francis Fukuyama. Fukuyama has argued that “we may be witnessing… the end of history as such: that is, the end point of man kind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.” However, the military boys in Ouagadougou are reminding Buhari that he does not own time nor dictate the fashion of the times. Therefore, in reply to our intellectual of the ‘Fukuyamic’ turn they will say that though there may be men without chest, such men can decide to stage a “chest out.” In all one thing remains clear; whether with chest or chest out, sane minds know when an individual is dancing nude in the market place.

The coup-plotters in Ouagadougou are now reminding Nigerians and their ex-compatriot Buhari the words of Baker “beyond containment lies democracy.” And here containment must be read and understood as self-containment. This means that Buhari and his foreign policy advisers will have to keep mum on the happenings in Burkinafaso. Failure to do that , they will be lying on the real meaning of politics and history and thereby making fools of themselves.

In one sudden movement, the present is yelling to the past, keep your address. And the present as it stands now is  Ouagadougou and the present-past is Nigeria. The question remains, can the past address this present; can the rascal of 1983 condemn the rascality of 2015? How will the present dictator reply the coup-plotters? In essence there is a need for a “continuous tense.” Ouagadougou remains the acid test and perhaps others are in the offing. If such reply really amount to “boots on ground” where will the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian armed forces find the moral justification for intervention.

The undeniable truth is that with Buhari, Nigeria has lost all moral credibility in international politics especially as a leader in Africa. Leadership is not just about the economic strength of a country or her military prowess but primarily about the moral strength and values of a country. Moral strength and values being the product of choices people make and kind of country the citizens want to be and not the product of a fiat akin to Buhari’s statement of making the Naira equal to the Dollar. This is what has kept the United States and her machinery of intervention going when they choose to intervene in dictatorial states.

In Buhari, Nigeria chose retrogression in international relations and image making and in so far as the coupist turned democrat remains in power nobody will consider her as a force to be reckoned with in international relations without falling into absurdity.