Buhari’s Critics and their Early Lead -By Olalekan Waheed Adigun

Filed under: National Issues |
Olalekan Waheed Adigun

Olalekan Waheed Adigun

 

For those celebrating, Buhari’s “sluggishness” appears only to be a demonstration of the fact that his critics are bereft of political wisdom. They are revealing their usually bad prognosis, again, too early in the game. They perhaps need to be reminded that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had congratulated the then President Jonathan for an “early lead” in 2015 presidential election as the results of six states were announced then. In fact, the loquacious Femi Fani-Kayode, the PDP Campaign spokesman, had told the world that the party was in “early lead” in 22 states. The PDP and Buhari’s critics seem to be continuously trapped in the fallacy of “early leads.”

Victory is sweet; no one wants to be associated with defeat in a culture that makes people avoid defeat like a plague. Not wanting to be classified as “failures” after their “hero” lost the presidential election, President Muhammadu Buhari’s opponents or better still critics appear to be cruising off with an early lead. The most recent his critics have done is to label him “Baba Go Slow”, referring to his seeming lack of activities. But is it all about an early lead?

Watching from a far, I have come to realise that Buhari’s critics can fall under any of the following categories: First, are the career Jonathanians or GEJites as they are now popularly known. Leading this pack is our dear Femi Aribisala. In fact, one of these people had openly written that he will not accept Buhari as his President. These people were so sure that their boss or hero would win the last presidential election, no matter the costs. They “prophesised” that Buhari will never “smell” Aso Rock. In fact, Aribisala once wrote under the title: “How to Lose Presidential Election Four Times” in one of his columns, stating his reasons why Buhari would lose the fourth time. If wishes were horse, they say, men will ride.

Not all Buhari’s critics are pro-Jonathan, as many may think though it is very difficult to vouch for this distinction. We can have a second group as those having issues, either personally with Buhari or with his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). This group accommodates people like a former governor of old Kaduna state Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa and a renowned writer, Okey Ndibe. One really cannot explain Balarabe Musa’s issues with Buhari, considering the fact that they are now from the same state, Katsina. He was noted to have criticised President Jonathan vociferously at some points and I am not aware he has changed his opinion of Jonathan. His criticisms of President Buhari is what one finds hard to explain, other than the fact that he may probably know something about Buhari that is not public knowledge. On the other hand, Okey Ndibe’s case can be because he had issues, at some point, with the way the APC was being run. I am not sure Ndibe will be your first choice of a Jonathanian or GEJite. Either way they constitute a pack of their own.

The third group is perhaps the most reckless. This consists of people who are nothing but tribal pirates, ethnic buccaneers and religious Vikings. In this group we boldly include Radio Biafra and its sponsors. They are myopic in views, tactless in approach and reckless in criticisms. On the one hand, they urged their “people” not to vote in the past presidential election, yet they wanted Jonathan to win an election they had sought to prevent their people from voting in. I find it difficult to reconcile these contradiction. I became more confused, knowing that former President Jonathan is Ijaw, a tribe that proudly supported the federal army during the Nigerian Civil War. It was only this radio that broadcasted the news that President Buhari authorised the bombardment of “Biafran territories”, by which they mean Cross Rivers and Akwa Ibom states. While they told their viewers that “Igbos are not Nigerians”, one is left to wonder at what point did the Efiks, Ibibios, Orons, etc (which they also claim as part of “Biafran territories”) became Igbos. Apart from this pirate radio which, I later realised, broadcasts from London, no other credible news medium reported the “bombardment”!

The fourth group can be ignored, as it consists of mere “professional” critics, wanting no more than attention or patronage for themselves. Although, some of those in this category might have good intentions, generally.

The most laughable of these criticisms is the notion of “Baba Go Slow”. I only laugh any time I read or hear these critics making their arguments on social media. I have carefully avoided taking part in these discussions because once you air your views, you are most likely going to get insults of all sorts. While not making excuses for the pace of the president’s actions, I think these critics must get their facts right. First, they have done their very best to compare Buhari to Jonathan. They tend to forget that Jonathan’s early missteps were just enough to turn Nigerians against him. Second, they also tend to forget that unlike Buhari, Jonathan had close to two years in office as successor to the late President Umaru Yar’Adua before his own election in 2011, so there were no issues about “transition” with him. Third, Jonathanians, in particular, must by now be aware that the Buhari transition committee submitted its report only recently because the Jonathan administration did not cooperate with the committee, which would otherwise have made their job faster.

When they push the argument that Buhari’s administration is slow, two things come to mind. The first is the Aesop’s fable, “The Hare and the Tortoise.” The moral of that story is very simple: Thoroughness and quality counts for more on the long run than speed. The race is usually not about swiftness, as there is no sense in starting fast and ending poorly. Alas! This is one of life’s terrible lessons. Second, I remember Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd United States’ President.

Like Buhari, Roosevelt defeated an incumbent President, Herbert Hoover in 1932. In the weeks following the election, Roosevelt withdrew from the public glare, leaving the space for his enemies in the Republican Party to criticise him. He was not prepared for the challenge, they said. Their criticisms became even more personal and aggressive. At his inauguration, he gave a rousing speech on what is now known as his first “Hundred Days”, which served a major blow to the GOP leaders’ attacks. Roosevelt then went on to win the next three presidential elections, which is unprecedented and unsurpassed in US history. Roosevelt’s initial circumstance appears to be the present situation of Buhari’s critics.

For those celebrating, Buhari’s “sluggishness” appears only to be a demonstration of the fact that his critics are bereft of political wisdom. They are revealing their usually bad prognosis, again, too early in the game. They perhaps need to be reminded that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had congratulated the then President Jonathan for an “early lead” in 2015 presidential election as the results of six states were announced then. In fact, the loquacious Femi Fani-Kayode, the PDP Campaign spokesman, had told the world that the party was in “early lead” in 22 states. The PDP and Buhari’s critics seem to be continuously trapped in the fallacy of “early leads.”

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