During a discussion, last week, on social media, a friend of mine wrote the following amongst others about me: “… all these new-found niggling details of ‘Niran and his co-Wailing Wailers are nothing but nit-picking… You guys should just flip off your electoral defeat and face reality. In fact, Jonathan, your principal, has accepted his fate and has decided to lie low. You his subjects should honorably toe same line for decency sake”
I found that nonsensical. I also think we should educate those who assume that they have a divine obligation to support the President and disparage those who have legitimate reasons to criticize him no matter what he does or does not to. And these guys should perish the idea that they love this country better than anyone who doesn’t see things from their point of view.
My friend’s premise, like those of a lot of people, is the conviction that those who pick holes in the president’s moves belong to the clan of those who supported former President Goodluck Jonathan and are poised not to see anything good in Buhari’s government. And to get back, they refer to any critic of Buhari as part of the “Wailing Wailers.” This is not just derogatory but fallacious.
The point that all Nigerians must note now is that elections are over and that who you supported or did not support stopped being important after the pronouncement of a winner in March. That Buhari won makes him the property of every Nigerian whether they voted for him or not. Graciously, the man himself testified to this when he promised that he belongs to everybody and belongs to no one. In essence, it is those who are stuck in the stardom of Buhari’s personality that should wake up from their slumber.
To stretch the argument further is to remind ourselves that the fate of Nigeria, at least for the next four years, is in the hands of the President. As a result, the electorate must communicate with him about what to do and what we think about what he is doing or not doing?
President Buhari in his case has a pedigree which Nigerians cannot forget in a hurry. Although we try to convince ourselves that he is a converted democrat, changing the name of a leopard does not change its habit. This is more so in Nigeria where the President wields enormous powers at the same time that the populace is neck-deep in compromises. Given the powers at his disposal and the urgency with which he wants to get things done, a leader like Buhari might be tempted to trample on the rights of people. But that would be wrong because this is a democracy and we must tell him that.
In explaining the popular saying by British historian, Lord Acton that “all power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely” Ben Morell writes in an article titled “Power corrupts,” published by the Acton Institute for study of religion and liberty as follows: “…These persons who are corrupted by the process of ruling over their fellow men are not innately evil. They begin as honest men. Their motives for wanting to direct the actions of others may be purely patriotic and altruistic. Indeed, they may wish only “to do good for the people.” But, apparently, the only way they can think of to do this “good” is to impose more restrictive laws” I am afraid that Nigeria cannot risk this.
I agree the president is a man of integrity but democracy does not run on integrity alone. He will be hobnobbing with thousands of men and women who are deft in the art of politics and would give him advice that could muddle up his clarity. He must, therefore, be on the alert.
More importantly, Buhari is not infallible. The President, like every mortal, is susceptible to mistakes and Nigerians, whether they voted for him or not have the right to point out these errors and demand better performance.
This is the only country where supporters will not just defend Freudian slips made by leaders but shout down people who point out such slips. Such tyranny should be unheard of in a democracy. Feedback from citizens is the tonic for democratic growth and those who attempt to stop people from expressing themselves do not love the President.