When President Muhammadu Buhari early in the week in far away United States of America, USA said that the continued pressure on the immediate past administration by the United States and some European countries made the last general elections in Nigeria to be free and fair, I was not moved. After all, as an adult mature enough to know the goings-on around, I recalled that the President did not make any such call in 2011 when he lost the presidential poll to his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan.
Short of pointedly accusing the US and every other person around, the Buhari of 2011, did not see anything right in the entire process that culminated in the 2011 poll and the aftermath. Indeed, between then and May 29, this year, he really did not believe that the process was fair to him and his ambition.
But that was not to say that the retired military General was not calculating. His seeming quenched ambition at during the intervening period between 2011 and 2015 allowed him ample time to return to the drawing board, reassess the probabilities and possibilities on ground, consider alignments that would see his bid through and then, take the plunge.
That the South-west and its All Progressives Congress, APC commanded by former Lagos state governor, Jagaban Bola Ahmed Tinubu presented the platform that would accord Buhari the window of opportunity he so much desired then is immaterial here. But his deft moves amplified his desperation to the point that it really did not matter the bent he would cleave to in his bid to get a go at Aso Rock.
Buhari and the APC watched Jonathan’s romance with the East grow at the expense of a disgruntled West that expected a business-as-usual relationship with the administration of 2011 through 2015. Not even the grueling insurgency war that the Jonathan administration battled could soften the west’s stand against that administration. Calls by the administration for reasonable assistance to prosecute the Boko Haram war that has largely assumed a global dimension (with its many varieties,) and even affecting western interests on the world stage were unheeded by the West for reasons, Aso Rock watchers saw as anti-Jonathan reasons.
Suleja-based businessman, Malam Abdullahi Goron-Dutse could not help weekend to buttress this position. He said inter alia, “the West saw Jonathan’s rigid position on the same-sex matter and refused to have any further dealings with him. Chapter closed. Jonathan turned to the Chinese and the East. He got what he wanted; but the West wanted him out for a more amenable president. Buhari is here; and Nigeria is once again looking West. I hope it is for the good nationalistic reason.”
He may not be 100 per cent right though; but Goron-Dutse’ analysis underlines the thinking in many circles around the country on why the West suddenly embraced Buhari, but the fact remains that Nigeria has is going back West, courtesy Buhari.
Against the foregoing background, I am tempted to wonder if this odyssey would result in profitable dividends to Nigeria and Nigerians within a very short while. Nigerians no doubt, a full of expectations and can manifest the love-at-first-sight phenomenon. But like the stock keeping methodology teaches us, the same Nigerians can be the first to back out from any venture they sooner perceive as against their aggregate interest. And when they do, they will vehemently write, talk and rage against it.
Already, many doubt the West’s sincerity in her romance with the Buhari administration. Apart from the same-sex law reversal fear, there is the perception that even in the counter-insurgency war that the US for instance , has offered to assist, the conditions attached must be made public by both parties just to be sure that our aggregate national interests including economic ones are not mortgaged.
And may I add that since the disclosure by Buhari right in the US that he would not constitute his cabinet till September, clear four months after mounting the saddle, many have been taken aback; and are using their tongues to count their teeth.
To me, I really do not know what the president means by his disclosure at Washington. If he means that it would take that long to find capable hands out of over 140 million Nigerians, whether he calls them technocrats or not, then he may have to wait for Armageddon for the way it seems, only few men can key into the president’s definition of incorruptibility, the fulcrum around which according to his singsongs, he his administration’s policy thought revolve.
He may well have to turn West to nominate indigenes of that clime for ministerial appointments if such would meet with his expectations. He should discountenance any allusion to any criticism that would follow such a move. Rather, he must see it as a unique blessing from his presidency on fellow Nigerians. But if nobody from the West is qualified to serve him as a minister, Buhari may well seek for angels from above to help out. The reason is simple, from the president’s body language so far, no Nigerian is yet qualified to be a minister in his would-be cabinet.
But then, the president has to know that in the international arena, all is not fair; it is a dog-eat-dog craze. Defined as diplomacy, the fact is that it remains a game for the powerful, influential and focused nations. Nigeria is not just there yet. For now, we must drop every pretension to the allusion that by giving it all to the West the way Buhari is going we will get all we want on a platter of gold. Big lie!
This reminds me of Going back West by Jamaican reggae superstar, Jimmy Cliff. Born James Chambers April 1, 1948, he wrote, sang, produced and directed the song whose lyrics underpin his exploits by first looking East for musical success. When failure stared him in the face, Cliff turned and looked West. Turned success came, he sang. But it was not without the sacrifices that he made. The song…
I was born and raised in the ghetto
Talk with me and you’ll know
I wasn’t satisfied, with living on the side
I started looking around, for a possibility
Listen to my story, of what became of me
I met a businessman
Who said he had some friends back east
So why don’t you come along
Well we can help you at least
We’ll make you into a big star
By playing your guitar
But the joke was on me
They left me flat to see ….
‘bout a year has come and gone
And left me standing here
Thinking how it could have been
For still I ain’t nowhere
They surely took me for a ride
Trampled on my pride
But I hold my head up high
Got no more tears to cry
Going back west
Yes I know I’ll make out alright
Going back west
Where my music’s playing all night
Going back west (going back west)
I think I’ll do alright
Can Buhari and fellow Nigerians make the needed sacrifice that going back to the West will of certainty entail before like Cliff, we make it?