PERHAPS, ambled into wakefulness
from slumber, quite angry too, a
Nigerian, symbolizing the mindsets of
millions of other voiceless Nigerians
assert this rather affirmative melody
as reflected in the caption. “Yes,
President Buhari is Still the Change.”
It is the most auspicious time to call a
spade a spade.
As Christians, congregants are only
told about the second coming of
Jesus Christ; but the same scriptures
and pastors who sermonize it would
neither hint of the day of salvation nor
the hour. But after crucifixion, death
and resurrection, Jesus Christ appeared
to his disciples, as the messiah, but
some doubted him. Today, that misstep
is widely celebrated as a religious
mythology euphemistically encoded
in the parable of doubting Thomases.
It’s even an axiom used in sacred or
less sacred places.
This is the fate of President
Muhammadu Buhari. Nigerians
have taken themselves too much
for granted. They carelessly malign
all their leaders, yet fail to present a
better alternative. Baffling too, some
otherwise respected intellectuals
in the country have also contracted
their intellectualism to these past
vermins of power, still pained at
losing a stranglehold on the reins of
governance. To denigrate the present
government of President Buhari is a
favorite pastime.
The media space (No thanks to
social media) has been inundated with
acerbic criticisms of the less than one
and a half year, civilian leadership of
Nigeria by President Buhari. Reading
through the emotions and anger
antagonists express with such venom,
what instantly strikes a discerning
mind is the penchant of Nigerians not
to only forget history, but also, bury it
in the most isolated of graves.
These critics mask differently. But their
trademark remains unconcealed, exposing
an unjustified destructive mindset. It
runs unhindered, mostly in the shadowy
cloaks of yawning hate sentiments. They
are either political chieftains or party
financiers; community leaders; civil
society groups; decorated human rights
activists; untouchable godfathers of the
land, or some queer high chiefs, some
amazingly without even a kingdom to
preside, much more a voice to command
respect.
But to the estimation of these Buhari’s
critics, the regime has accomplished
nothing and the verdict has been
inexplicably mouthed loudly in places
that hold no significance. They forget that
power belongs to the Nigerian masses in
a democracy and not the flavor of their
veiled sponsors in whatever guise. They
vaguely goad Buhari that payback time is
2019, if he dares to seek another mandate.
It is this clan of a few elites, who have
been on the saddle of leadership since
Nigeria’s independence and unwilling to
quit or their latest intellectual collaborators
that configure the new clique of the anti-
Buhari campaigners. They have recently
morphed into critical columnists not of
any scientific breakthrough or quantum
of knowledge in any academic field, but
about Buhari.
They delight more in writing to
articulate his failures and wrong deeds,
than sighting any of his progressive feats.
Some even condescend to the incendiary,
by deriding Buhari’s voluntary confession
of the rot in Nigeria and the burden of
cleansing the mess bestowed on him now,
as in 1983 as military Head of State.
To this camp of Nigerians, it’s the
president’s self-admittance of leadership
incompetence. They claim the masses
are deprived meaningful leadership and
impoverished. They claim the economy
is bad and heap all sorts of blames on the
presidency.
Therefore, infinitesimal issues such as
allegations of Buhari’s failure to publicly
declare his assets in violation of his
campaign promise have become issues
of national homilies. These critics migrate
from the mundane to the auspicious, with
nothing cogent other than hurting the
draperies of the administration.
Their rhetorics question everything,
but provide little or no insight on the
way forward. They also forget easily, the
decay or degeneration of the system, they
blackmailed Buhari through the ballot
to inherit. They are the unseen hands in
Buhari’s frustration in efforts to reinvent
and redefine Nigeria. But in public, they
cry louder about the delay in settling
these national malaises.
An African proverb queried this
disposition, by scolding the wisdom of a
frog which spent days in the water- well,
without liberation, but cried of suffocation
on the fourth day of rescue.
This clan of Nigerians in secured places,
least expected to stop reaping from the
institutional rot, deeply entrenched in
the system. They are not happy that these
channels have been blocked by a regime
of change. They are sad that even stolen
cash stashed in vaults of private mansions
or graves, cannot be spent freely.
There is no more family holidaying
in Durbar, Europe or the Caribbean
Islands with Nigeria’s stolen wealth. Tax
collectors on behalf of the government are
scared to corner part of proceeds to grease
the palms of benefactors. Not many are
happy with Buhari’s implementation of
the Treasury Single Account (TSA) which
has netted over N3 trillion in the last one
year. Why would they be happy with
Buhari, when government officials no
longer fleece the state with meaningless
foreign travels, workshops and seminars?
If twice Buhari has remitted bailout
funds to states to clear outstanding
salaries and some governors embezzle it yet those affected keep quiet, should
the President double as governor of
those states where citizens are docile?
Their sponsorship of Boko Haram
insurgents is no longer yielding
fruits, as President Buhari through
an energized military has caged the
outlaws. Thus, avenues of bargaining
for negotiation with terrorists; initiated
and fruitlessly pursued by dubious
politicians, where millions of naira
were hitherto guzzled are closed, at
least within Buhari’s eternity in Aso
Rock.
Definitely those who sold public
assets to themselves, like PHCN or
NITEL, would certainly not embrace
the Buhari game. They know it might
be recovered someday. Contractors
awarded city rail contracts or those
engaged in roads construction, know
it’s dangerous to corner mobilization
fees as usual. Cleaning up the mess in
the NNPC, a cesspool of corruption by
Buhari is distasteful to many. So, why
must Buhari be a good President?
So, from sobriquets like “Baba go
slow,” to “ Change the Change,” and
multiple others, all invectives have
been dishonestly flung at Buhari by
adversaries of the administration. They
pirouette in same circles and even curse
their ancestors for this change. They
drum that Buhari is not the change
Nigerians anticipated.
But henceforth, it is going to be a
battle between the few rich Nigerians
who debase the nation and the majority
poor, who still adorn and cherish
President Buhari for exposing and
prosecuting perennial looters of the
nation’s economy. Despite instigation
in sacred shrines by the corrupt elites,
Buhari is still the change Nigerians
would never sacrifice.
Agbese writes from the United
Kingdom


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