Lest We Forget

a commentary on socio-political developments and institutional policies

I Feel Sorry For Buhari

One person whom I have known to have been cruelly mocked by fate is President Muhammadu Buhari. Here was a man who,  after taking a very long panoramic view of his society and dissatisfied with what he saw, volunteered to lead his country to a better life that he thought was possible for them. An ascetic figure who ought to have retired into religious circles (after his meritorious military service),  going by his rigorously modest, disciplined and austere life quite unbecoming of Nigerian military men and politicians; however, (he) chose to go into politics.

He has had the singular misfortune, not only of being elected to lead the country after a rapacious squandering of national riches twice but of offering to help a patently impatient and unappreciative populace. I feel sorry for him. I feel sorry for him because fate like she does in fabled Greek mythologies has twice  played a fast one on him by giving him on each occasion a barren scepter – the treasury is again empty. Unfortunately, love favours only a good man who can spend recklessly and  not a righteous man who spends sensibly.

I feel sorry for him because those who contributed in no small measures to the destruction of the economy, in the looting of the treasury are using our present mental attitude and social frustrations to launder their image and win our hearts. It is frustrating to lead a nation of literate but un-informed citizenry as much as illiterate populace. Whenever President Buhari tried to drum it into our ears how we got to this sorry juncture, the architects of our misfortunes wasted no time in telling him that Nigerians were not interested in how it happened but what he wanted to do. What shameless boldness! And we the traumatised victims of their unpatriotic and inhuman acts clap for our erstwhile oppressors as speaking our minds.True, we are interested in what the President wants to do but when we block history won’t we repeat it? It was Wiston Churchill, the great Prime Minister of United Kingdom (UK) who admonished the world that “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.

We need to tell Reno Omokris of this nation, all who contributed to this sorry pass that they are irritating us. We need to tell them to shut up, and allow the President to concentrate. We can do without their noisome distractions. In a sane clime these people will keep quiet, ashamed of their plunderage. Unfortunately, ours is a society that knows no shame or moral restrictions. All of a sudden those who should be declared political persona-non-grata have become the masses spokespersons. How time changes! This is the time for governance and not politiking. When it is time for re-election they can bash the President and barbecue APC. But for now, they should spare us their noisy gongs.

Now, all of a sudden Dr. Bukola Saraki has found his lost voice. Presiding over the Senate plenary session after a very long holiday (while Nigeria roasted), he was quoted to have said that Nigerians were no more interested in who brought the nation into this mess but how to get out (an indirect way of throwing jabs at the President). Yes, while we are eager, in fact, desperate to get out of this mess we must not tire to remember and mention how we got into this pathetic situation and those who are responsible. That is what is called the verdict of history. No attempt to erase it will succeed.

Well, it can be said that we are tired of hearing how we got here because we cannot make connections between the looting of the treasury and those who died in accidents due to bad roads. We are tired of hearing because we refuse to see the link between the looting and the patients that died because our hospitals are ill-equipped. We are tired of hearing because we do not know that since funds were looted the public universities could not expand and take more students compelling parents to send their children abroad thus draining the scarce foreign exchange in the process. We are tired of hearing because although we are literate majority of us are not well-informed.

I read Dele Sobowale’s angry riposte on President Buhari’s Edo State Gubernatorial campaign statement that he would make Nigeria great again. In the piece titled “Every recession creates jobs; not those governments want” published by Vanguard Newspapers, he screen-shot each Nigerian government from colonial era until 2015 and gave a verdict that no Nigerian government had ever taken the nation near greatness let alone achieve it. That is the judgement of prosterity.

When posterity judges, you just need to keep quiet. There is an African adage that the king whose tenure brought prosperity would not be forgotten, likewise the king whose reign brought misfortunes. Of course they would not be forgotten because the people keep talking about them. To say that Nigerians are not interested in who brought us here is to attempt to banish history,  to banish our memory, to banish our sense of judgement. We need to mention them loud and clear, those who stole our money, those who put us in this economic mess in memory of all the victims of their greed and wickedness – the soilders killed because of insufficient weaponry, the patients that died because there were no drugs and other medical facilities, the casualties on our roads, the victims of armed robbery because money meant for industrial growths were looted and our jobless youths took to armed-robbery as the last resort to eke a living.

We must mention their names and their heinous deed so that those who are there now, and those who will come later will learn to use their offices and the state funds judiciously. We need to mention them repeatedly so that all incumbents will know that the judgement of posterity is not fifty or hundred years away. It begins the day after they leave office.

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