By BASHIR ADEFAKA
My fear about the current situation in our country today is that, some NIGERIANS still fall or may have fallen for the fool again where no leader is ever good and their yesterday is always better than their today. No society that has this nature of character has been able to do well, no matter how naturally endowed with resources such society can be. Where we are now is that, the yesterday bride of the nation, President Muhammadu Buhari, is being isolated for condemnation today and I will tell why I will not be part of it and why no one else should be. We cannot continue to live a life based on the superstitious political ideology that “if one’s life is not destroyed, another will not build or rise.” It is a no.
Nigerians that say good things about their leaders or any President, be it military or civilian, are not many, compared to those who say evil about their leaders. This is so because, it is self-designed way of life for most of the people. To the extent that when they even have a good leader, they do not see him until they have lost him. That is why the only leader Nigerians (pardon my generalisation) do not say evil about does not exist in the present but only existed in the past.
Imagine that somebody was telling me that Sir Tafawa Balewa, as Nigeria’s Prime Minister, died owing debt of N500 and owned only one house made of mud. They even now tell us that in an archive in UK, there is a place for Tafawa Balewa as a clearly fantastic and morally upright leader of Nigeria. Did Nigerians say this about him while he was alive? If they did, why did they kill him and in a most dehumanizing manner, which some still try hard to justify today as good?
Sadly, however, today we are inundated with information and agitations founded only on the need for restructuring. But the man that took Nigeria from the well structured Federal system – where each region developed at its own pace – to unitary system, and thereby took powers from the regions and concentrated same at the centre making the states, that is, federating units, now running to the nation’s capital for survival, Major General Aguiyi Ironsi, little is said about him. Is it because he came from the region or tribe of the agitators? If so, then, part of the problem bedeviling Nigeria is lack of self-discipline and sentimentalistic hypocrisy. The earlier the self is addressed against this nature of character the better.
Recently, we were told how just only one tribe is singularly the enemy of the rest of the nation’s tribes. Victim of that mischievous claim is the sitting President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari as well as anyone who is born or can be identified as a Northerner. His government is this sabotaged simply because, he is a Northerner. Even to an extent, due to the religious background of the President because, there are some members of the society who do not want to tolerate Muslim of any type in power and they are the ones the international community listens to. They are not far-fetched: no pretending.
Because, I have continued to question in order to find out where President Muhammadu Buhari began to deserve this ‘nonsense’ that the same people, who voted him yesterday as only alternative to the successive leaderships of Obasanjo through Jonathan, now use to tag him. I have seen none.
The decision to come with this write up has been prompted by a response I considered a mischief to what Malam Garba Shehu wrote about Takeaways from President Buhari’s trip to Turkey and one supposed Journalist (or is he not?), Dauda B Abubakar, wrote a comment to him:
“Leave Your takeaway to Yourself pls, have d takeaways from his previous foreign trips seen any light of d day? Let Buhari enjoy his gallivanting while u keep enjoying Your DTA from d unproductive foreign trips & waste of National Treasury.”
I do not share this thought of Dauda because, one, it is not true that takeaways from previous foreign trips have seen no light of the day. If it is true, how did we come about the huge supplies in military equipment that we now have and with which Nigerian Armed Forces prosecute the war against all categories of insecurity? We have more Alpha Jet Fighters. Don’t we? We now have Tucanos. Don’t we?
But some of these cynics carelessly say, “what military equipment that cannot end terrorism?”
And I replied them: “If these military equipment had not been there, the theatre of war would have not been only North East (Boko Haram/ISWAP), which is now fast diminishing and also, even the new face of insecurity that we now have in banditry would not have been a thing of North West alone. Lagos would have been unsafe. Abuja would have been unsafe. Port Harcourt would have been unsafe.”
I also said: “But that has not been the case. Even South West that we were made to believe had been taken over by Fulani herdsmen (legitimate business of herdsmanism being mischievously criminalised as evil trade) – although we cautioned that it was not true and that what Sunday Igboho was doing was wrong and could lead to an end, unpalatable – we have now seen by the several arrests and personal confessions of suspects that no one was killing and kidnapping Yoruba people other than sons and daughters of Yoruba Nation-in-Crime themselves doing those criminalities against their own land. Same thing in the South East. We now see that there were no killer-Fulani-herdsmen in the Igbo Land bushes except that they were Igbo sons and daughters in IPOB/ESN who were doing those things.
What is more saddening? When those Yoruba and Igbo leaders, who were playing front on the football pitch of this politicisation of national security, knew it was their own children doing the crimes, they betrayed the national trust as they took side with the criminal children. Yes, and doing that by pushing the blames to other tribe in the Fulani people of Nigeria (I am not saying there are no criminals from that Fulani tribe) and demanding the most difficult executive interference to release them from facing justice.
That was the attitude of South towards identification of criminal elements they believe should not be tried because “they are our own”, instead for them to choose to LOOK LIKE FAYOSE’S EKITI BAT and allow the law of the land to take its full course against those evil, killer-children.
They began to whip sentiments: “Sunday Igboho is fighting for the liberation of Yoruba Nation.” I say “How?” And the Igbo sentiment too: “Nnamdi Kanu has the right to defend the Igbo against slavery done to them by the Fulani North.” Not done with that, a section of them particularly went to meet the same President they hitherto wrongly accused of using the instrumentality of powers to back “his tribesmen to kill other Nigerians and take over their land” (?) and demanded that leader of the terrorist group destroying their own region, Nnamdi Kanu, be released from detention and cleared from all prosecutions as condition for peace in their own land! I say “How?”
Yet, I have seen no single individual or a group in the North, who has come out to publicly obstruct the process of justice against any erring Northerner. Why should we in the South paint the picture of ourselves as a region that harbours indecency, once it is about some persons of our own side but scream on top of our voices, if it is about persons of other side?
Those leaders then began to obstruct the process of justice. On the Yoruba side of the divide, they took Sunday Igboho as the paralleled President and Commander-in-Chief “of Yoruba Nation” and we had some supposed professors and other learned ones, who were no more than BIGOTs (my emphasis important). I remember a video in which Yinka Odumakin said and I can’t quote him precisely word-to-word here that: “When in Ilesha Fulani herdsmen kidnapped Yoruba and killed some Yoruba, people went to lodge complain at police station and they were told by the police people that they had no power to arrest any Fulani herdsman.” He and other so called Yoruba Nation activists including Papa Ayo Adebanjo were telling those, similarly, unverifiable stories simply because they wanted to justify their earlier claims, initiated by Christian Association of Nigeria and echoed by Lt. Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma that President Muhammadu Buhari, because he is a Fulani man, was using the military of Nigeria to support Fulani herdsmen to kill other Nigerians. Is that true? But it is no more or less than falsehood.
These misrepresentations were the major reasons the security situation in Nigeria escalated to what it is. Yes, because we have a population that is lazy at seeking for truth by asking questions and probing to determine the authenticity of what they read from the newspapers (print or online) or hear or watch on radio and television. That population believe in whatever they are told and, this has placed more jobs on the hands of anyone concerned, having to choose to debunk every report, whether by trusted media or untrusted ones, all the times. Avoidable distractions where the led do not stand on the opposing side to leadership.
And we warned of the consequences that we are now face-to-face with but, at that time, as professionals, many of our colleagues saw us rather as the wrong, while they considered themselves as the only side that were right. I am yet to be shown where journalism is to be in enmity or opposition to government. But I am aware it is saddled with duty to open the truths of concerns and what need to be done to both sides of leadership and followership, towards achieving the common goal of good governance. In the end, we found out that it was all for the reason of stomach so many failed to lift the struggle for better Nigeria, either as government or society people.
Waoh! Of all the things that the stomachs had got, how much is still left? Nothing but regrets. Because, that time, we also added prayers to our media effort that: “Whoever had hand in causing the insecurity, which is making North East and other parts thereby affecting the development pace in Nigeria so that the country will not be able to stand, will not be favoured when Nigeria be better.”
Today, they can throw tantrums of any kind to President Muhammadu Buhari but, what I do know is that, President Buhari would not be the first leader of Nigeria they would do it to. What is of major concern is how generations, in succession, pass this evil legacy of self-destroying own nation and leadership across and no one has been able to open his or her eyes, to see this transitory process and then make a decision to block it at some point.
All the plots got exposed by Coronavirus Lockdown, when the likes of Christian Association of Nigeria said the lockdown (that was a global measure against the dangerous disease) was done by the Buhari’s Administration to persecute the church and kill Christians of Nigeria. Unfortunately, those same cynics took that junk as sold to them and they began to see the hardship that resulted from the global sadness only from the angle that it was the Northern Muslim in government, President Muhammadu Buhari, “who lacks the competence and leadership quality to perform”. Is that true?
They do not even consider the food they fed with during the almost one-year period of no cross-border movement talk less to have imported food items, and the availability of the commodity was as a result of achievements of the Made-in-Nigeria programme of the Buhari government.
If this makes me deserve a tag of ‘government’s spokesman’, is it a bad thing to be ‘government’s spokesman?” If some people are not ashamed to be identified with corrupt people and terrorists, why should I be ashamed of being identified with government of the only country that I have, which is patriotism?
Or is mine because I am a Journalist? Those who have stopped Nigeria’s biggest and Africa’s richest killer-kidnapper, Evans, from being brought to justice since 2017, what are they if not professionals? So, if we now have some professionals, who stand with their nation system so Nigeria can be better and great again, why should they be ashamed?
Now, they keep complaining that President Buhari is a ‘traveller by hobby’, but they fail to accept the fact that this same President Buhari is the only President of Nigeria since the beginning of the Fourth Republic of over 20 years, who has been able to restore the glory and respect of Nigeria internationally and now no nation of the world can just harass the country and go free. Examples abound all over including the recent ones when America and UK would blacklist Nigeria and the country would threaten a throwback and those world powers would retrace their steps. Same with United Arab Emirates on the aviation and the rest.
But these elements in Nigeria, who are supposed to appreciate their own country and its government leaders, would want the President Buhari’s Administration to dent its own good image by going to Saudi Arabia and ask Riyadh to compromise its own national Sharia law by not only setting free drugs traffickers and even criminals of Nigeria’s nationality but also compensating them for coming to destroy their moral values and system of the Kingdom. They are the same that went to blast open ATM machines in Dubai and still expected to be helped by government of their home country to be set free. These are some of the things that so called human rights groups taking dollars of other nations are criticising President Buhari for not doing well for its citizens abroad. There are, however, great doing well other Nigerians. I celebrate them the Nigerians in the Diaspora, everywhere.
They also complain about the loans. They are led in propaganda by America and they don’t care whether it was based on fact or not. The likes of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome led the propaganda of 5G technology as China’s way to kill all living beings on earth. That Christ Embassy pastor did it well by going everywhere saying it to the extent that a section of the Nigerian population nearly went up in uprising against the authorities because of the lies. Now they have come with “why you should rise up against your leaders from taking loans from China” – the new propaganda by America. It sells more in Nigeria not anywhere else. And they use the China’s takeover of Uganda’s biggest investment, airport, as vehicle to drive the false propaganda. Such video can only thrive in Nigeria but to some of us, it is a no.
The question is, if you say taking loan from China is evil and will make China takeover the world, not only Nigeria, what has been the reason behind IMF loans if not America’s way of taking over the world and all of that? Also, whereas in Nigeria, we have nothing that we can seriously point to as achieved by the loans our past leaders took from America-controlled IMF other than corruption helped to thrive by the same west. The same west benefit because, those monies stolen, they also helped the thieves keep in their own country’s banks to develop their own economy, while they continue to scream ‘debtor-nation’ against Nigeria. Whereas that has been our situation before now, we have more than enough developmental projects now that we can point to in Nigeria as achieved from the Chinese loans that are not even in physical cash. So, if this is what they mean by “evil China’s loans”, I think we should do more of the evil China loans, so long it is the only way we can have progress.
They only tell their listeners how loans are taken from China but deliberately omit the other side of the story that as Nigeria takes the “loans” by Buhari government, it has been servicing them also by the same government of Buhari. Example is that loan taken to build the railways and restart the train system in the country. We had report recently that in three months, Nigeria made N30 billion from the train system operating from Lagos-Ibadan, Abuja-Kaduna and Warri-Itakpe. Three months only and now it is over one year they, put together, have started operations. As they make the money, the loans are serviced. Why are these story tellers not telling their listeners this?
On insecurity, I call for all Nigerians to come together to the fact that there will always be consequences for every role played by every individual in the debacle that Nigeria has been afflicted and those that stand with the country and its government come rain and sunshine to overcome these challenges will also not go without rewards. President Muhammadu Buhari is not contesting for President after 2023 and so, there is no point destroying his government to prove that you can do better. Hausa-Fulani race has no reason to destroy Yoruba Land or Igbo Land to live well. If that is the case, how do they sell their cows and other cattle? How do they sell their rice, beans, Irish potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, onions, etc, which they produce in commercial quantity that other parts of Nigeria may live, if they choose to kill the same fellow country people they produce for?
I insist that our diversity is not the problem but some mischievous elements among us, who still live in the past to think that politics by blood is the way to political success. Allah is not unaware of every action that we make and he will reward each and every one of us according to his or her action towards this our collectively owned country. The earlier we wake up to this reality the better.
God bless Nigeria!
*Bashir Adefaka is a Lagos-based Journalist and media and publicity consultant. Reach him via his email: firstname.lastname@example.org