The months leading up to the 2015 presidential elections were certainly not good for the incumbent Goodluck Jonathan.
If he so much as sneezed, there would be dozens of publications including mainstream ones, complaining about the sneeze.
If he then chooses to hold back the sneeze and burst a vein, dozens of publications would still analyse his competence in handling a common sneeze (and call him incompetent).
From a lack of judgement by the obscure level 3 civil servant to his wife’s grammar.
GEJ was responsible for everything that fell between this wide gap.
Fever-pitched essays, statuses, tweets and theses kept coming at us with a frequency that we woke up every day shaking our heads at who had to be the worst president in the world.
Young people jumped in and became political analysts overnight.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) was a magnificent opposition party.
GEJ could not escape the impending doom.
But could an incumbent president actually lose an election in Nigeria?
This was the question.
People across all divides worked hard to push the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) out.
His former protegee, Rotimi Amaechi became a hero in the ‘struggle’ to remove GEJ.
He was the John the Baptist heralding the coming of the saviour.
Lola Shoneyin wrote a moving piece about how she was embracing ‘Baba’ because it was beyond whatever personal thing her family had gone through.
For her, he was the real deal.
Bright minds came together and spoke in consensus.
We are talking about the likes of Wole Soyinka right down to Gimba Kankada… or maybe Omojuwa should be at the bottom.
They all spoke about how Nigeria was going to collapse because of GEJ’s competence.
And people believed them!
On the streets, no grammar was needed.
Billboards decrying the very high exchange rate of N215 to a Dollar sprang up daily.
Buhari was going to deliver better in all facets. Better economy, better security, better life, a Naira equal in strength to the Dollar.
And people fell for this all.
‘Change’ was being chanted at all levels.
The energy was amazing. And the jubilation was explosive.
Nigeria was finally in the hands of a man filled with integrity.
“If he doesn’t perform wonders after four years, we will vote him out.”
This was a new chorus from a people that suddenly felt powerful.
An incumbent was beaten by the coalition between online intellectuals that found ways of feeding their following with bite-sized bits of how Buhari was the one.
People felt that their votes had counted and it was bigger than what the PDP could rig.
Professor Atahiru Jega was a hero overnight.
Former Minister, Godsday Orubube became the face of the dying party still hanging on to the cliff with slippery fingers.
One question hung in the air for a few people.
If Buhari underperformed, was it possible for him to be sent packing?
But barely six months into his administration, it had become quite clear that the president had no coherent direction.
He was ill prepared from the start.
And soon enough, it was evident that this job was beyond his mental and physical capacity to even comprehend.
Because the electorate held the power, they waited.
A lot of the intellectuals who had supported him began to write confessionals repenting for whatever role they played to get him elected.
The momentum was gathering.
The fire was started under Buhari’s seat.
If he so much as stumbled, there was going to be some publication claiming he had stage 10 ear cancer.
If he lost his train of thought in an interview, 20 experts would declare without a doubt that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease the next day.
Buhari became so unpopular on the streets and online.
His name became synonymous with hardship.
People explained difficulties with two words: ‘Buhari Economy’.
The insecurity across the country worsened.
Boko Haram continued their rampage.
Armed bandits upgraded.
Fulani Herdsmen terrorized.
Kidnappings, highway robberies, ritual killings and so many more crimes exploded.
The economy was on its knees.
The powerful electorate were ready. All over the country, people were in anticipation of a repeat of 2015.
It even seemed that the international community wanted Buhari out.
People voted and waited. And waited.
Then it became clear. Buhari was not going back to Daura.
Why weren’t the people able to send him back even after he collected the low hanging bar from GEJ and dug the ground and buried it?
Suddenly, the masses felt powerless.
Except for some pockets of miscreants rejoicing, Nigeria sunk into mourning.
Stories of rigging backed with video evidence were everywhere.
The 2019 Presidential elections did not feel free and fair.
The online warriors were stunned.
Padded shoulders were deflated.
What little power the people felt they had wielded in 2015 was gone.
And the democratic process of selecting a government that had seemed to have been set on a good path was shot dead.
The voter apathy that was witnessed on March 9 was simply because people saw their votes as worthless. They barely bothered to vote.
Despite Buhari’s much-vaunted integrity, his administration seems to have taken Nigeria back to the old days.
The whole nation is questioning the integrity of our institutions like the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian Army.
And if our institutions seem compromised and weak, then Buhari can arrest all the Diezanis and Dasukis in Nigeria and still fail colossally at delivering a corruption-free country.
It is of no use catching and jailing a thief without fixing the loop holes that made it possible for them to steal.
A selective fight against corruption is also corruption.
Finally, some people will say that Buhari did not sanction any rigging.
If you buy stolen property, no one will let you walk away. You cannot benefit from evil and be good.
Restoring the faith of the electorate will take a lot of work.