By Abubakar Adam Ibrahim
In the last one week alone, and without actively seeking them, I have chanced upon half a dozen Hausa songs lamenting the state of the nation, by artistes who had previously sung in support of President Muhammadu Buhari. These artistes are now denouncing their previous support for Buhari.
In one of them, the artiste, whose name I do not know, has the lyrics:“If I think of Masari, I feel like bursting into tears/ If I think of Buhari, I feel I am not far from death/ I long for/ I miss Umaru Musa [Yar’adua]/ I miss Jonathan even though there was smuggling during his reign.”
Yet, in previous years, these songs in tone and content would praise and lionise Buhari’s credential to save Nigeria. Now the lamentations are delivered in clear words.It is a dramatic full circle for the president who had enjoyed, without necessarily deserving it, the greatest support from Nigerians, from the grassroots, especially in the North, where poor Nigerians volunteered their resources to print campaign posters for Buhari.
When Jonathan mismanaged the rising Boko Haram insurgency, was too slow to act and nip it in the bud, was obviously complacent to the perversive corruption in his government, he was roundly criticised. I remember thinking at the time that perhaps no one would ever fritter away the goodwill he rode on to power as Jonathan did. And most Nigerians thought that perhaps there could be no president worse than Jonathan.
Without historical revisionism, Jonathan mismanaged a lot of things. Various scandals, like his condoning corruptions, shielding officials indicted for corruption and the various arms scandal that embarrassed Nigeria internationally, the Chibok abductions and the politicisation of it, and even that diplomatic row with Morocco that dominated the front pages of national dailies for days and somehow, missed the attention of the president because his handlers stirred that national embarrassment from him were only a few examples that the man was not fully aware of events in the country. Now, the same could be said about this president based on his taciturnity on issues that trouble Nigerians.
The fact that Buhari, with his baggage, won that election in 2015, defeating a sitting incumbent who had his own army of desperate, perhaps fanatical supporters, was attributed to one thing—Jonathan’s spectacular misgovernance of the country. It was thought then that even an average Joe would have managed Nigeria better. Jonathan’s failings made Buhari look like a messiah, albeit one whose face is perpetually cast in a sneer. headtopics.com
It would seem Nigerians preferred this disdainful sneer to the infamous “Jonathan pose” of bafflement. It did not go well.I think Buhari’s greatest achievement as president is making Jonathan look really good as president. That Buhari today as president is being thought of as a far graver disaster than Jonathan ever was is a spectacular accomplishment no one thought was possible seven years ago, not the average Nigerian wary of Boko Haram bombs, by the public intellectuals who wrote articles waving away Buhari’s antecedents, by the traders who locked up their shops to go chant Buhari’s name at the squares, by the Okada riders who bought scratch cards to contribute their last kobo to Buhari’s campaign and not even by that poor old Kebbi woman, Hajiya Koko, 95, who waited nine hours in line to donate her entire life’s saving to Buhari expecting nothing in return but good governance. If she were alive today, would it have been possible for her to visit her village today if those rampaging bandits haven’t yet decimated it?
Two weeks ago, after I wrote my article “From Rapa Nui to Rapa North”, detailing some aspects—only some aspects—of the insecurity in the North of Nigeria and the grave danger the region is in, further attacks and killings have taken place. These have been dismissed by the president in favour of Bisi Akande’s book launch in Lagos.
While the dead were being buried, Buhari was in Lagos describing Bisi Akande as a man of “inflexible integrity.” The irony was that in 1984, Buhari’s military junta had sentenced thissame Bisi Akande to 42 years imprisonment “on a two-count charge of conspiracy and unlawful enrichment of our political party — the UPN.”
The North has been seething, at least while the killings continued and drab condolence statements sometimes escaped the villa, on social media, #securethenorth, #thenorthisbleeding trended. Protests were planned in some parts of the North demanding that the president act, or even pretend to show concern about the region that consistently, against better judgement, gave him block votes. Critical comments have emerged and those music videos of lamentation have continued to pour out. There is so much to lament over. Rising inflation rates, rising fuel prices, rising insecurity, rising disdain for the citizens.
Unfortunately, this outrage hasn’t been sustained with any gusto. There are several reasons for this. The fact that some people felt that they made the mistake of re-electing Buhari in 2019, despite the glaring misgovernance of the preceding years, perhaps made them feel they deserve this punishment. Others are perhaps still too ashamed to challenge the grave errors they committed. Some are content to say “Allah ya isa!” and leave the matter in the hands of God.
The lack of sustained momentum means that Nigerians are often distracted by other issues, like the weekend’s wedding of the 90-year-old Emir of Daura, Faruk Umar Faruk, to 20-year-old Aisha Iro Maikano. Some things simply do not make sense.Distractions aside, of course, Buhari still retains the support of some die-hards, who still peer through the bloodshed, smoke and carnage to see the saintly halo over the president’s head. But this base is thinning. And if anything, the increasing number of critical hit songs, from artistes who have only recently sung Buhari’s praises, flooding the social media is a testament to this rapidly disappearing fan base.
It matters little, to be honest. Buhari is in no need of anyone’s vote now. He is not contesting any office and Nigerians’ opinion of his government matters little to him; has always mattered little to him. But those, who despite his failure to deliver on his campaign promises between 2015 and 2019, and still decided to return him will have to live with the choices they made then.
Of course, the options were limited. For some reason, Atiku Abubakar, Buhari’s main challenger in 2019, has proven to be a hard sell, especially in the North and his PDP had lost its mojo to actually unseat the president. And so, we are here now.We are at that point where it is obvious that Nigerians are tired of Buhari and Buhari too is tired of Nigerians. That explains the constant desire to escape to foreign lands when there are fires to be put out at home. There have been increasing calls for the president to resign and let those interested in governing the country to do so. It is hard to see that happening. But if it did, it would probably be the best thing that could happen to Nigeria in the short term. No country deserves to be bled like this under the watchful nonchalance of its elected president.
– PUBLISHED BY Dailytrust on 16th December, 2021 firstname.lastname@example.org
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