SOME Nigerians think that the perceived needed change that was being yearned for in order to move Nigeria forward has come. One, because President Goodluck Jonathan conceded to the supposed victory of Muhammadu Buhari in the March 28 presidential election and two, because he was an egocentric gentleman, who earnestly wanted to institute a profound democratic norms and ties in the country, without giving a hoot to the thinking of his political party.
While the president’s perceptions may be good for democracy, the question is could Buhari have done what many are praising Jonathan for if Jonathan had won. The simple answer is archetypically no. Hence, Buhari may not be the change that Nigeria and her citizens have been yearning for. The highlight of this is that the north has always believed that nothing will stop them from attaining the presidency this year, and here we are.
The north is into this rather “do-or-die” politics just as Buhari had been expressing, because the northerners feel that all that they have got is ‘political power’. And that they do not have the intellectual and economic power. They have always believed that this ‘political power’ was bequeathed to them by the rapacious colonial masters, who roped the Northern and Southern protectorates in 1914, to form what is called and known as Nigeria today. But the agitations in some quarters is that, that gluttonous romance of the two divides that formed Nigeria, has expired in 2014; the year that marked the one hundred years of the country’s existence.
Anyway, in the elections preceding the 2015, it could be noted that Buhari had shown optimum desperation. And like it would be said, his political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), rode on the bird-eye’s success today, due to the known weak-nature of Jonathan. It is imperative to say that should there be a forensic examination of the election results, Nigerians might be surprised to note the numerous flaws that paved way for Buhari, here and there. Before our very eyes, we saw pictures of under aged children on queue in the Northern part of the country, to vote.
In some of the pictures, the ‘under aged children’ blatantly expressed their intension to vote for Buhari. And this is the change many people are deafening the ears with? When the victory that Buhari is today celebrating can be said, has some ignominious features as Nigerians could note? The pictures of the under aged children-electorates in the north flooded the country, especially the social media.
That being said, in many quarters it is not news that it was Buhari’s utterances that fuelled the post-presidential election violence in 2011 in most parts of the
to the soil by chauvinistic irate Northern youths. Ten members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, and hundreds of others were killed after that year (April’s) presidential polls. Those that were killed were majority, people from the Southern part of the country.
When the country was in that turmoil, it was expected of the ex-Army general to apologise. But he did not, showcasing his once Army traits of not being a coward. He did not even show any remorse, not even did he visit any families of the victims of the violence. Unlike President Jonathan, Buhari was again heard in this year’s electioneering campaigns, saying, “Baboon and the dog would be soaked in blood if what happened in 2011 repeats itself in 2015.” We had also noted that the campaign buses of President Jonathan was burnt in Jos. Not even Buhari nor the international community spoke strongly against that incident, even though that the APC distanced itself from the mayhem, claiming that it arose as a result of the PDP primaries in the city that was alleged to have been rigged.
The preacher of “baboon and dog would soak in blood…” was however credited to had said on his Twitter handle in the event of that chaos that, “I have been informed of the burning of PDP campaign buses in Jos today. This is unacceptable! There
is no excuse for this violence…. I am hoping that the police will immediately investigate, arrest and prosecute the culprits. Our democracy cannot tolerate violence in any form. PDP should leave us out of their Wahala.” Notwithstanding, in sane environment, Buhari could not have escaped being brought to book, following his utterances before and after the 2011 presidential election.
Conversely, we had noted that Buhari who was then presidential candidate of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), used the Hausa Language to instigate hordes at his campaign conventions in different parts of the North, which included Minna, Kaduna and Maiduguri, to defend their votes ‘at all cost including killing and elimination of others’. However, when the report of the Presidential Committee on Post-Election Violence in parts of the country, was released, the government was lame-duck in carrying out the content of the report, the way it was lackadaisical in implementing other commission’s and panel’s reports that preceded, on ethno-religious and political crises in the northern part of the country.
We could remember Buhari saying then that the PDP was playing its pre-determined agenda to rubbish him, whereas the 22-man Panel insisted that Buhari’s pre-election utterances “might have been misconstrued by his supporters to engage in the condemnable mayhem that greeted the aftermath of the presidential elections.” Whichever, Nigeria may have a long way to go, only if the ‘Born to rule’ mentality is eschewed by the proponents of that matrix in whose hand the presidency is now resting. There should be truly, equity in the national distribution. At least, the recently CONFAB reports should be looked into and implemented.
Buhari should remove the garb of Islam and Fulani/Hausa/Kanuri hegemony and make sure that the minority north such as given as the Berom, the Tiv, the Kataf, the Jaba, the Zuru, the Sayyawa, the Bachama, the Jukun, the Idoma, the Burra, the Kilba, the Mbula are protected from the Fulani herdsmen invasion. The same is applicable to the the Kanuri, the Nupe, the Igbira, the Babur, the Shuwa Arabs, the Marghur, the Bade, the Bura, the Igalla, the Zerma, the Bariba, the Gbari, the South-South and South east….
President Jonathan might have done the needful, but it is expected of the Fulani/ Hausa/ Kanuri political elites to reciprocate in the next four years and should not plunge the country back to the era that Jonathan has said that he has fought to abolish for the sake of one Nigeria. Buhari and his fellow northerners should not make the rest Nigerians to complain and whimper under their presidency. They should not give Nigeria governance as their Sheik Uthman Dan Fodio did, by telling their victims to either choose the sword or Koran, and many people choose the later, for the sake of their lives.
Odimegwu Onwumere, a poet and public affairs commentator, writes from Rivers State