Tinubu is here but, do we have our president yet?


Hurray! We have grinded through the eight gritty years of Muhammadu Buhari. It had seemed like impossibility but here we are. Looking back, it seems like the administration just raced by as there are now less than 48 hours to the end of this better-forgotten tenure. By Monday afternoon, Muhammadu Buhari would have ceased to be our president. That forlorn thought that the last eight years of our life seemed like eternity now feels differently because we are almost there. At last! Those who reaped the benefits they said were in the Buhari government and those who were gnashing their teeth as it dragged on, would all welcome a new dispensation. Some people described this relief-inducing denouement of the Buhari tenure as “end of an error.” To those who benefitted from Buhari, he was not an error, it is indeed, end of an era.

For eight years, many Nigerians didn’t feel that they had a president they could confidently call their own and overtly defend. It was more so when many of them brought to the front burner the amount of hope, energy and confidence they had invested in Muhammadu Buhari as the man to steer Nigeria off the course of perdition they thought Goodluck Jonathan had set the country on. These people were known as Buharists. They thrived and bubbled for a short while, like the effervescence of Andrew’s Liver Salt. Not so long after President Buhari mounted the saddle in May 2015, they began to thin out. By the end of that year, the discerning ones among them had seen the áká mgba (wrestling style) of their idol and “borrowed themselves some sense.”

‘Buharists’ were among the first group of Nigerians that had their confidence and trust in the administration shattered. The coalition gave a vivid picture of the Yoruba imagery of the typical broom. The Yoruba tell of how the broom gradually loses its children in steady succession, one by one. Today, there are not many Buharists around. We do not hear from them as much as we did some years ago. One staunch Buharist we knew in Oyo State was also a member of the Federal Executive Council. He was prevalent – like an epidemic – in Oyo State and was often in the news because he was the Minister of Communications. Today, Adebayo Shittu has gone out like a brush fire. We no longer hear from him as either a leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State or anywhere else; or as a former member of the highest decision-making body in the country.

In the same mould as Shittu, altho.ugh slightly of a different configuration due to experience, is Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi. Except otherwise proven, Amaechi was a Buharist but slid out of the bunch after some years. He was Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly for eight years, and two-term governor of the state. These give him far wider width of experience when compared to Shittu. Amaechi was also a former Minister of Transportation in the same cabinet with Shittu and a certain Pastor Usani Uguru Usani. This along with being Buharists brought them level on equal grounds. That Pastor Usani struck a different chord as a tenacious Buharist. In 2015 when he was being screened by the Nigerian Senate for ministerial appointment, he made a near mess of himself before the band of co-politicians and the watching world. He was asked if he had ever been a member of (the defeated and deflated) Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and he blurted “God forbid!” in a swift reply. That response was unexpected, and shocked the senators, especially the PDP members. They must have thought in their silent lamentation that “when the big tree falls, even a woman can climb it.” In their utter helplessness, they knew that Uguru was un-politician in his response to that question especially considering the blandness and ‘anyhowness’ nature of the Nigerian political offering. Usani Uguru was later to be the Minister of Nigeria Delta Affairs and did very well as a vocal Buharist. In the end, this (sometimes unduly) forceful Buharist also got punctured. He was deflated and was even hushed and thrown out of his beloved APC and Buharism. He contested against APC in the last governorship election as a People’s Redemption Party (PRP) candidate. Perhaps, Nigerians would begin to see more of or hear more from them after 29 May, 2023…

Nowadays, some of those who defended Buhari, benefitted from or were part of the inequitable policies of his administration are now more pan-Nigeria in their disposition. Their speech and attitude have changed from the initial arrogance and disdain with which they held those who disagreed with them on the persona and outlook of their idol. The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Reverend Matthew Hassan Kukah, was told on more than one occasion to shut up when he lamented raging insecurity in the country, even as a victim. Well, the masqueraders’ season of festivities is over, now the child of the chief masquerade curator will also have to buy akara like the other citizens. We are back to the basics – all of us – looking forward to what would become of us and our country in the hands of Bola Tinubu.

Nigerians have moved from that pain of an aloof, uncaring administration to the hope of witnessing another government that would have a clear grasp of the many issues bedevilling Nigeria. For eight years, we needed to be told – and sometimes in very harsh language and loud, hard voice – that the Buhari administration recorded remarkable achievements. We needed to have been told the achievements to believe that they were there. We’ve heard of the railways and we have seen the beautiful criss-cross in parts of Nigeria, especially the Abuja – Kaduna and Lagos – Ibadan corridor. The rail transport sector is in perfect working condition. The second Niger Bridge has been inaugurated and we await its opening for public use. What again now? When these laudable projects are ready, Nigerians would not need a Femi Adesina or Garba Shehu to tell us. Performance shouldn’t sneak in on us like the Nigeria Air’s plane of Friday.

The longest ASUU strike in our history  and Dr. Chris Ngige’s near physical engagement of the President of ASUU, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, are novel. The Naira redesign of Godwin Emefiele, who just fiddled while Nigeria burned, didn’t concern Buhari.

Aregbesola didn’t have any  clue in the Interior Ministry but spoke at his appointment. The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, spoke after he had finished the ministry. Nigerians can see that with square pegs in round holes, all is well with our dear country. Even nepotism is dead in Nigeria. Take a bow, Buhari. Welcome Tinubu. Welcome to these issues.

Tinubu is here… But, do we have our president yet?

 

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