I ordinarily do not take Third World, especially Nigerian, politicians seriously. Their analyses and predictions, I take with a pint of salt. They seem to have a genetic dysfunction which manifests in acute love of self and self alone. A Nigerian politician will kill his father and rope his mother for the murder so far it guarantees the next election and sustenance in office. The Nigerian political space is an uncharted path that is strewn with charlatans and never-do-wells who import all the vices of everyday life into the delicate art of politics. You would think illiteracy is the blight that whittles Nigerian politics. No. Education even worsens the take. Lured in by the refrain that nation-building shouldn’t be left to loafers, educated politicians soon begin to lend knowledge to rot, like one who takes daily baths in the sewers. And a metastasis begins.
Robed outwardly as ‘Excellencies,’ many are mere rogues with no purity of mind and indeed, possessing minds that reek like shaving powder. If you are unlucky to have acquainted with them as much as I did, you would gather tomes of atrocious tales, disdain for truth and utmost fascination for unrighteousness and impunity, enough to last a lifetime. There are however very negligible few among them who are policed by their conscience. But they are so far between that it is, for the sanity of statistics, better to use a collective broom to sweep them into a bunch. This was why it took weeks of dissection and pondering on the interview recently granted by former Senate President, Iyorchia Ayu, to a national newspaper before writing this. Searching for raw chaffs of self as motive for the interview and finding none, the coast was clear for me to beatify the words of the Benue politician as akin to one from the sacristy of a seer.
Ayu was Senate President during the short-lived Third Republic. In the interview under reference, he lamented the ineptitude of the system which has made Nigeria return to the Hobbesian state of nature with its uncertain relapse into a life that was nasty, brutish and short. Expectedly, he had harsh words for President Muhammadu Buhari over the Benue massacre and the apparent state connivance with the Miyetti Allah herders. The one that however fascinates this writer most is his strong words of admonition for Bola Ahmed Tinubu, All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader.
“I talked to my friend, Tinubu, we are very close. I told him that we need to develop the progressive party in Nigeria. He didn’t believe me, he preferred to go and link up with the most right wing group in the North. And that right wing group was headed by Buhari in the name of CPC… I have known Gen. Buhari when he was the military Head of State. I was a university lecturer then. I know the tyranny that was visited on this country. I warned Tinubu that he will regret bringing Buhari and imposing him on the party. I believe he is regretting silently without telling Nigerians. But more is to be expected. I am sorry to say that if Buhari is re-elected in 2019, it will not only consume Tinubu, it will consume so many other people. It may even lead to the disintegration of Nigeria,” Ayu had said.
Harsh, poignant and pretentious to being prophetic, these words are the kind you hear from seers who claim to share dinner space with the Creator. Or some fraudsters who, desirous of being seen as possessing uncommon eyes that see beyond the nose, project into the realm of the metaphysical. Was Ayu playing politics with that statement? Was he in the fit of clairvoyance? Is he gifted with the ability to see tomorrow? Or was this in the league of puffed up egos of superstardom that afflicts Nigerian politicians? Or the ‘spirit-ual’ clairvoyance you get over cognac, or at shebeens?
Since we do not possess the gift of seers or necromancers, we should subject the Ayu statement to critical thinking and analysis. Its first tissue may not be wrong after all in that, Tinubu, by his political pedigree, has always been a progressive. This writer was one of the reporters who covered his arrival in Nigeria from the anti-Abacha struggle abroad in Frank Kokori’s Lagos home, in company of Dan Suleiman, Tokunbo Afikuyomi etc in 1998. Being the governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007, Tinubu was the only surviving vestige of the Alliance for Democracy, (AD) the rump of which, in the 2003 elections, was decimated by General Olusegun Obasanjo’s deft military stratagem dressed in the cloak of politics. Lamidi Adesina of Oyo State, Olusegun Osoba of Ogun, Niyi Adebayo of Ekiti, Bisi Akande of Osun and Adebayo Adefarati of Ondo were swept off by the volcano of Obasanjo’s wiles.
Indeed, Buhari represented the ultra-right wing of Northern progressives Siamesed with the conservatives by an infernal lust for power and deadly political calculations. Going by his expression of frustrations each time he failed to cling the Nigerian presidency and his grovel before Tinubu in 2015 to clinch power, Buhari is a cold-calculating power-seeker who equally possesses the ruthlessness of Hannibal, the Carthaginian General. His rule as a military despot was tyrannical, a la Ayu. You only need to recall the cold retroactive state murder of Ojuolape and Bathlomew Owoh to behold a man in whose veins blood flows seldom. Sparsely laughing, Buhari combines a turgid personality with the superficial harmlessness in lankiness of a Fulani nomad. The nomad’s ruthlessness is on display when wild animals threaten to devour his cattle. From a biographical sketch of Buhari that this writer once saw, aside tendering his father’s cattle at youth and then working in the military, he had never been in any civil employ.
“I warned Tinubu that he will regret bringing Buhari and imposing him on the party. I believe he is regretting silently without telling Nigerians,” Ayu had said. This writer had written about this a couple of months ago. Entitled Tinubu, why you must discuss Buhari, 2019 I said that immediately after Buhari won the 2015 election, a very frenetic battle began to decimate Tinubu. I had written inter alia:
“The battle was primed to destroy (Tinubu). A seemingly innocuous piece had appeared in the Nigerian Sun newspaper’s back page about two years ago, detailing how Vladimir Putin rode on the head of those who sponsored him into office to sanitize Russia. In the piece, Putin was said to have been financed by drug czars and allied malefactors but they became the first casualties of his government. The piece also detailed all alleged Tinubu’s foibles, including his alleged ownership of estates and more than half of Lagos State. It was evident that the sponsors of that piece were burrowing a path for Buhari to tread in decimating Tinubu.”
Some nay-sayers disagreed with this writer. However, a few weeks ago, Tinubu’s wife, Remi, confirmed that there was indeed a battle to keep her husband under and that Buhari treated the Jagaban Borgu as “thrash” immediately he helped him to be president.
Now, in spite of all these, Tinubu has begun a relentless shuttle to visit his nemesis – Buhari – at the Villa and helping him to stave off arrows aimed at his jugular. To the shock of those who were privy to the script for his rout with Buhari as the Script Director, Buhari, a few weeks ago, released a terse statement asking Tinubu to head a reconciliation team of aggrieved members of the APC, a task that Tinubu has begun with embarrassing zeal. This has provoked some questions in the polity: what exactly is going on in Tinubu’s mind? Is he playing true to type as a deft politician aiming to deal Buhari a mortal political blow? Or is he a political merchant who is sustained by promises of merchandize from the presidency?
“I am sorry to say that if Buhari is re-elected in 2019, it will not only consume Tinubu, it will consume so many other people,” Ayu had said. This is indeed very scary and grisly. Let us however subject it to logical grilling. How could Buhari’s election in 2019 consume so many people and even, Tinubu? Or disintegrate Nigeria? It sounds so off-keyed. As per Tinubu, precedent will avail the Ayu submission. Having sought to immolate him immediately after the 2015 elections, who says Buhari cannot do so again, especially since Buhari wouldn’t need Tinubu any longer? Aware of the potential political danger he may constitute, it makes war sense for a General of the Hannibal hue to finally castrate a Tinubu via either jailing him or hitting him a mortal blow.
“It may even lead to the disintegration of Nigeria…” How can Ayu defend this? The only one readily available is Buhari’s unbridled and apparent nepotist support for his murderous Fulani herdsmen kin. In far away Parkland, California, the United States of America, a deranged 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz had shot and killed 17 students. America is literally shut down. President Donald Trump, in spite of his unstable character, has visited and is part of America’s search for solution to the gun menace. A couple of months ago in Nigeria, 73 people were killed in Benue State, scores have also been macheted by these bloodthirsty Fulani herdsmen; 40 were killed in Zamfara and not only has Buhari not deemed it fit to visit or personally condemn these killings, last week, he held a saturnalia with governors in Daura, amid pumping of hands and confetti. Driving Ayu’s logic home, in a post-2019 Nigeria with Buhari in the saddle, these mindless killings, egged on by Buhari’s vicarious support, will continue and frustrated, there would be reprisals. Buhari will send troops. Resistance of the local populace will erupt. And pronto, we are back to Aburi and the ricochets of armaments of war. But, is Iyorchia Ayu also among the prophets?
Transparency International and Dapchi girls
Regrettably, the last frontiers of President Muhammadu Buhari’s governmental forte seem to be crumbling fast. The first was his government’s purity of intent which collapsed with his governmental appointments. The second was his abetment and embrace of characters in his government who odorize selves with filth. The list is endless: Usman Yusuff, the reinstated NHIS Executive Secretary, Abdulrasheed Maina, Babachir Lawal, the grand till pillaging at the NNPC and sundry more. But with the announcement by the Transparency International (TI) that corruption under Buhari is getting worse, we may have got to the denouement of the tragic opera that is this government. It has been said over and over again that the government is merely fighting corrupt men and not corruption and even the corrupt men are those who bear any semblance to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Till date, stories of heists among governors, ministers, local government chairmen have been on the upswing and no single attempt is made to make a public example of them. It is a common joke that no matter your level of stain, the moment you decamp to Buhari’s APC, your sins are forgiven you. Indeed, there was public apprehension immediately Buhari came in; that he would fight corruption the same way he did in 1984. And so, corrupt people took a sabbatical. Discovering that they had overrated the President, corruption regained its cancerous cells, multiplying alarmingly. If you add this to the recent Chibok-like abduction of school girls in Dapchi, Yobe State, under a government which claimed it had totally routed Boko Haram, you are allowed to come to your own conclusions about this government.