Imagine a Buhari-Fashola ticket -By Mike Awoyinfa

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Imagine a Buhari-Fashola ticket -By  Mike Awoyinfa

 

Today is December 6. Which is to say that it is exactly three months since the day an evil driver from the pit of hell chose to run into you as you were doing your daily runs of running to prolong life.

Do I miss you? What a question! The more I want to wipe all these from my memory and move on with life, the more you fill my imagination, my thoughts with memories so green, so evergreen. In times like these, I remember you. I remember you because you are the one who has interest in writing about politics, in delving into politics, in writing about affairs of the state and the world at large. Like our friend Gamaliel Onosode once said when he invited us for the writing of his biography: “I want you two to write my biography be­cause you are men of affairs.”

You are not around, but you are around because I am around. Meaning that occasionally, I should be delving into politics—an area that is not really my forte, but yours. I prefer the softer elements of life while you preferred the hard issues. I prefer to comment on human side of news while you went for the jugular through your incisive, po­litical and economic analysis. This week for example, I planned to write on the story of a man who gave his dog a “grand burial in Lagos” as reported in The Sun of Decem­ber 3. Those were the kind of stories that defined our kind of journalism in our heydays at the Weekend Concord.

I wanted to comment on that strange story, but then, remembering that today is the third months of your exit, I decided to keep your flame burning by going political.

Oh, I remember every Monday morning when you will call and ask: “Mike, what can I write on this week?” If you were to be alive and had called, I would have suggest­ed that you write on the state of the nation. My brother, the way Nigeria is going is not making me happy. Is not making anyone happy. When you try to think that things will get better, it gets worse and worse.

Right now, Nigeria is like a car moving at top speed without brakes. A car moving on a steep hill surrounded by a lagoon yet without brakes. Like King Sunny Ade, the juju music legend used to sing in those days: “Where this car is going, I don’t know.” Which is to say where Nigeria is heading right now, I don’t really know. My prayer is that this car does not tumble into the lagoon. That is our collective prayer.

The danger there is very imminent. But we all pretend everything is fine. We are in a state of war, yet we pretend we are living in peace. Look at the menace called Boko Haram. Every day, they get stronger and stronger. They get bolder and bolder. How they manage to outwit our security systems to wreak havoc on the nation is beyond any rational explanation. Some people are claiming that there is internal sabotage. That the worm that is eating our intestine lives within us, if I may paraphrase or adulterate a Yoruba proverb. This is one cancerous war that is eating us slowly. Today, it is one part of Nigeria. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, if this monster is not extirpat­ed? Look at Mali today. Look at Kenya. Look at Soma­lia. Gradually, we are inching there. From Damaturu to the holocaust in the Grand Mosque in Kano, no place is safe for the monsters of self-immolation to enter, to kill, to maim, to put us on the edge. Of course, the Chibok Girls story is now at the backburner. The media tried to keep the story of the girls alive, but even the media is tired. Such that when hundreds die in a mosque, it ends there. No fol­low up. Everybody is just tired.

As for our politicians, what concerns them is not where Nigeria is going but how they will get themselves re-elect­ed so that they can keep on milking our country for their own nourishment. Everybody knows that the surest and easiest place to become wealthy overnight here in Nigeria is to go into politics. Once you win an election, you are made for life. It is an open secret that Nigerian politicians are the wealthiest, if not the most corrupt in the whole wide world. But still, we have to cope with it. We have to live with it like that until we find a better alternative.

If you ask me, I will side with the people who say Ni­geria needs an alternative. Let’s try something else, if this is not working as we want it. That is the beauty of de­mocracy. Democracy is about alternatives. Democracy is about choice. Democracy is about options.

For me and a lot of Nigerians, what looks like a ray of hope is a presidential ticket featuring the old soldier and former head of state Muhammadu Buhari pairing with the governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola. Oh, what a ticket that would be! Buhari has proved himself as a man of integrity, a man who can lead us to the new Nigeria we are all praying for. And Fashola, the wonder boy who has redefined leadership in Nigeria today, has the energy, the vision, the passion and the wisdom to support Buhari as a running mate in giving us the Nigeria that we deserve.

When Buhari visited Mrs. Dimgba Igwe, I saluted him for displaying leadership with the common touch. I was surprised to see him and I know my friend will be very proud that he was so honoured. I thank everybody that came, from Atiku to Bola Tinubu to Fashola to Baba Akande to everybody that stood by us in our hour of need. Most especially, I was touched by Buhari’s widow’s mite to a widow. In leadership, little things matter. They are things you don’t forget.

I am writing this and remembering John Lennon who sang the controversial and philosophical song, Imagine. Lennon was asking us to imagine a world without religion. Initially, I objected to the lyrics of the song. But today, I tend to agree with Lennon. What should be a unifying factor has now turned divisive. Religion should be about peace, love, unity and what Lennon called “the brother­hood of man.” But what is religion being turned into? Some monsters in Nigeria have turned religion into hate. And they are using it to kill, to maim, to destroy, all in the name of God. Which God says people worshipping Him in mosques and in churches should be bombed and killed with AK-47? Which God says innocent girls should be captured from school and sold into slavery?

Who cares about the so-called Muslim-Muslim ticket as a disqualification if the two are the leaders that will genuinely take us to the Promised Land? Who cares about the so-called Christian-Christian ticket, if it will guarantee us a prosperous future? The problem with Nigeria is that everything is reduced to the myopia of tribe and religion. What has leadership got to do with tribe and religion? Bu­hari is a Muslim, Fashola is a Muslim. And so what?

Like Bob Marley and John Lennon sing, I want a new world, a new Nigeria where the colour of your tribe, skin and religion no longer matter. Come to think of it, Fasho­la, a Muslim is happily married to a Christian and they are living in peace. Fashola’s boss Tinubu is also married to a Christian and they are coping very well. Who else is a Muslim married to a Christian or a Christian married to a Muslim? And how are they faring? Please let me know!

This is the time to shake off the chains binding us. Let us work together to save our country. The economy is threatened. Our security is threatened. Our children leave school and have nothing to do. Electricity has been pri­vatized yet, it’s all still gloom and doom. There must be something wrong. Whatever it is, all we need is solution. Enough of explanations. Our story is not different from the Super Eagles. But in all these, we are more than con­querors through Him who loves us.

 

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