February 25, 2018

What does President Buhari think he is doing? by Niran Adedokun

What does President Buhari think he is doing? by Niran Adedokun

I cannot readily remember how many times I saw President Muhammadu Buhari carry the broom insignia of the All Progressives Congress(APC) during the electioneering period in 2015, but I am sure that at some point, he must have joined his enthusiastic party men and women in waving the broom at Nigerians, who like the Jews before the days of Christ, were desperate for a political messiah.

The APC campaigned to Nigerians in poetry as politicians are wont. In the broom was the very appropriate metaphor of a cleanser, which was coming to disinfect Nigeria of the massive germ that the then ruling Peoples Democratic was believed to have become, sweep the country clean of all forms of toxicities and take it to a place of infection-free prosperity.

But like all symbols, embedded in the broom, are more than one metaphoric potential. Another of such and one, which is critical to the success of any political endeavour is of unity of purpose. The sense that people who shake the brooms at us are not just playing to the gallery but have agreed to work together to take us to where we should be as a country.

This essence is fundamental to every other possible metaphor that the broom could ever hold; without the binding together of several strands and sticks, it would be impossible to execute any sensible cleaning with the broom! We do not know how the APC came about its broom but it is safe to imagine that a unified party was within their contemplation of the many eggheads within in its fold.

Unfortunately, the APC has been everything but the promise that it made to Nigeria. I am tempted to suggest that the party’s failure to give hope for any meaningful change in the lives of Nigerians is a result of its inability to deploy its first eleven unto the field of this national revival.

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Buhari was sworn in towards the end of May in 2015 and within weeks  the party went to war with itself due to the poor management of the choice of leaders at the national assembly. Let them say whatever they want, the APC has never been the same since then and it is working hard to never being the same.

The Likelihood that the party will ever recover gets paler with internal arrows daily fired from one party heavyweight to the other and each missile meeting reciprocity in equal if not weightier measure.

Penultimate Sunday, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed,  the frontline National Leader of the party from the south-west and without dispute, a prime mover of the APC idea issued a statement in which he called out the party’s national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun. Tinubu accused the chairman of manipulating the gubernatorial primaries in Ondo State and called for his exit. Since then, there has been no letting off.

Oyegun had initially taken the criticism in his strides but just before the end of last week, he repented of his erstwhile stoicism. He fired back at Tinubu, describing his statement as reckless. I bet that the next couple of days would have supporters of these men tearing at each other.

And then the President pretends like nothing is happening.

Well, it is true that we have nothing on the president suggesting he might be the Jacob’s voice behind this altercation but we also do not have anything suggesting that he has deployed his paternalistic weight  to see the end of this unnecessary distraction.

What is worse is that the President is tacitly contributing to the confusion. Last week, his authorized biography was launched over 30 years after he left office as military head of state.

We should avoid the lure of asking why it has taken so long for a retired general and former head of state to consider a book because when he decides to write is a personal prerogative, but one could be pardoned for wondering why now?

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This becomes a more pertinent question when you consider the volume of bile this book is generating among party members. Imagine the controversy surrounding how Vice President Yemi Osibajo emerged running mate to the President. That information, totally redundant as it is to the very urgent need for national revival is another pointer to the incurable nature of the gripe within the party

You wonder who cares?  We all should care because without these people working together, it would be impossible to actualize whatever vision the APC might have for the development of Nigeria. Consider the state of mind of Osibajo, head of the economic team of the administration when his boss and his mentor are in a public squabble.

As irritable as this may sound, the failure of the president to bring the Tinubus, Atikus, Sarakis and other knowledgeable politicians to the table is the reason why his administration seems to be groping in the dark 16 months after it took office.

Maybe these men do not fall into Buhari’s idea of those who should advise him closely, maybe they are guilty of stuff, maybe there is a need to fight at some point and disencumber himself and enforce his personal convictions, and maybe it is a fight that is necessary, just maybe.

But politicians reserve fights like this until the third year of their administration when they would have used these men of clout to gain a reputation of performance. Fighting just as an administration takes off is a costly error that distracts and may deny that administration a legacy of any kind.

Follow me on Twitter @niranadedokun

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