THE front page of Vanguard of Thursday, the 22nd October 2015, carried a picture of the members who attended the maiden Council of State meeting held in Abuja, five months after President Muhammadu Buhari, PMB, was sworn in as our President. PMB, thus, became the first Nigerian democratically elected President to rule the country for almost six months as a Sole Administrator, to have successfully laid the precedence for another to rule Nigeria for as long as they may desire in the future, without Ministers. A president who met “an empty treasury” would have been expected to do things differently to begin the work of rebuilding the economy.
If someone said, that PMB was able to do this, because he is of the north, and a Fulani man, people would call him a short sighted, ethnic gingoist. But in actual fact, it is only the Fulani Herds Men, that have continued to kill, displace people from their farmlands, rape women, and commit various atrocities on Nigerians, without any issues made out of it, except to heap the burden on our Police Force, even when the South West threatened to secede as a result of the impunity of the herdsmen and insensitivity of government.
If another person reasoned that PMB, was able to rule over 170 million people solely, for over five months and running, because he is “Baba Go Slow”, some would demand respect for an elder, and not to speak like that about someone who led us as Military Head of State, some 30 years ago. But a look at his ministerial list, will show that he has quite a number of old persons coming around to help fix what they either destroyed, and forgot to fix, or could not fix in the past, which the younger generations could not sort out. The youth will therefore have to wait for a little longer, to begin to learn to govern.
If yet, someone reasoned that PMB, was able to pull this un-constitutional stunt without our blinking eyes, because he is a good man who wants to change our nation by fighting corruption, many would wonder how the fight against corruption can be well founded, with some members of PMB’s team being fingered as corrupt, to the extent that their confirmation as ministers is causing serious divisions in the Senate. It became right perhaps to conclude that since we are not in a perfect world, the members of our Council of State are not perfect including PMB. We must therefore move on, allowing for human imperfections, while dealing with human frivolities, and weaknesses.
I noticed from that picture, that two former Presidents namely Obasanjo and Jonathan were conspicuously absent, perhaps on some global assignments overseas. Being statesmen, they both may have chosen to keep away, from meeting each other at such a forum at a time like this, to “keep Nigeria One” and I see reason in that. After the deepest cut from Obasanjo, against Jonathan, during the heat-up to 2015 elections, time was necessary to heal such wounds.
PMB should however, and anyhow, ensure that Jonathan attends his next Council of States meeting, for one fact; he is President today because Jonathan is a man of pure heart and good conscience to have allowed him. God used Jonathan to give us this peace we seem to be taking for granted today. Himself and his good helms men should therefore be treated well by this administration because we are all imperfect people in an imperfect nation. Leave them alone!
Looking at the picture again, I wondered what could be running in the minds of our former Presidents; For example, what would IBB and PMB, be thinking of each other at that very highest level? Could they trust each other in the interest of “One Nigeria”? I just could not say, my mind kept wondering about what they had said against each other in the past before and after coups, or change in government. Words are very powerful, and can hurt very deeply, and will our presidents stop speaking evil of each other, whether serving or not? I wondered from my little experience in following the actions of retired Generals in Nigeria, whether forgiveness is in their culture? Do Generals forgive I wondered. Then two former heads of states stood out immediately from that picture; Generals Gowon, and Adulsalam, both were deeply involved in the pursuit of peace for Nigeria during the acrimonious 2015 elections, and have remained so till now. Gowon, a genuine born again Christian leader, continues to pray for the unity of this country, while Abdulsalam seems to prefer to work behind the scenes truly for the good of Nigeria.
What could be running in the mind of Chief Sonekan of our Interim National Government, who was shoved aside by Late Gen. Abacha. He must be constantly grateful to God for his life. I then shifted my gaze to our beloved Retired Chief Justice, who laboured to produce the National Confab Report, which the north told us that they would kill, and PMB strangely seem to have accepted that. I could not help a deep sigh of pain for these times, the uncertainty of the implications of dumping that Report, the insensitivity of governments to the real aspirations of Nigerians for the unity and peace, the ability of politics to pollute any good thing in Nigeria, and the pride of the domination of one tribe over others.
These men of honour, did their best for Nigeria, but their differences are so much, and the Nigeria they see today, must be a cause for concern to them. Under their watch, Nigeria has changed to bombing each other under terrorism, killing and raping violently by Fulani Herds men, who have become kidnappers, violence in the creeks of Niger Delta still waiting to be aggravated sufficiently enough to spark, and now, MASSOB and IPOB, have become issues that they cannot ignore. I wondered what would be their response if someone asked them what Nigeria would look like by 2025, at this rate and pace?
Udegbe, a legal practitioner, writes from Lagos