President Buhari, Integrity Is Not Enough! -By Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú

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Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú

Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú

 

In an attempt to escape the perennial epithet of a dictator, the president is always trying too hard to showcase his democratic credentials by being soft, understanding and accommodating. The predators around him understand his psychology too well and they are exacting their costs…Integrity without knowledge Is nothing! Samuel Johnson in Rasselas wrote, “Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.”

The crises rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) is a planned hijack. It is about truncating the emergence of liberal democracy in Nigeria. Before the emergence of Buhari at the convention, most Northern leaders, including Northern traditional rulers, did not want him. It is the working poor who love Buhari. They (the Talakawas) are Buhari’s core constituency. The Northern elites merely tolerated him. They were not openly antagonistic to his candidacy because they did not want open revolt from their subjects. While the electioneering lasted, they were secretly hoping he would not emerge. It is important to note: they were powerless in the face of his cult following, the boundless enthusiasm, and commitment of his followers. For their own survival, they pretended to fall in line. After Buhari’s emergence at the primaries, they worked underground against him and in favour of Goodluck Jonathan, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate. The only people from the Northern elite class who worked with him in the APC, were those who sought elective office and rode on his momentum to relevance and political victory.

President Muhammadu Buhari is beginning to lose the support of those who supported him to win the presidency. In just a month, they have succeeded in hijacking the change we voted for and they have moved on to regionalise our victory. Like they did Jonathan, Buhari is getting shaped as a Northern president!

In the dying days of Goodluck Jonathan’s regime, notable Emirs collected money from the former president and told their District Heads to work against Buhari. Again, it could not be done because the generality of the Northern people wanted no one else but Buhari. They proved it by voting massively for him. The money they collected could not be distributed because the people would have none of it. Prior to the election, even those milling around Buhari were not working for him. They milled around him for photo ops and to hedge their bets, given the groundswell of goodwill he was enjoying. The workhorses who worked their butts off were from the South, with tremendous support from educated Northern youths and their middle class.

What is at issue is a deliberate and determined attempt at blunting Buhari’s anti-corruption mission and the self preservation of the graft altar boys.

These enemies of Nigeria, who did not want Buhari are the same people who have been feeding fat on the country and milking our cow to the detriment of the North and the South. They are the subsidy thieves, Emirs, Kings, commission agents under any government, waiver beneficiaries, government-aided businessmen and political jobbers. While we were ecstatically celebrating our win, they went to work quickly and hijacked our hard won victory. Their aim? To abort or truncate the emergence of liberal democracy in Nigeria and make governance more of the same. With their money, they penetrated the young ambitious elements of the APC and Tinubu’s legendary overreach and overbearingness became rallying points. Cleverly, they tapped into the discontent of the South-West contingent, and the idea of “cutting Tinubu to size” was birthed. True, Tinubu’s vice is in always wanting all the spoils of war, but the treachery in the APC goes beyond the person of Tinubu. Most importantly, it has nothing to do with public interest. Those who bought the dummy of Tinubu wanting to choose all the principal officers of the Buhari administration are only looking at the surface. What is at issue is a deliberate and determined attempt at blunting Buhari’s anti-corruption mission and the self preservation of the graft altar boys.

…the President appears very unknowledgeable about the political intrigues playing around him. He seem unaware of the clandestine designs to pull the rug beneath his feet. With every passing moment, he reinforces the idea that Buhari is an abstract construct who needs a doer to be effective…(We) are getting convinced that Buhari always needs an Idiagbon to be effective.

The clandestine plan is to drive a wedge between Buhari and Tinubu, to pave way for a president in their own image and mould in 2019. By creating a disgruntled Tinubu, they figure he would work against Buhari; and if Buhari can’t achieve much, his constituency will abandon him and his change train. Is the strategy working? Yes, it is. The youth are disenchanted barely one month into his presidency and rightly so. We elected Buhari as a miracle worker and the miracles we want are for him to straighten the public space out. Is that too much to ask? The masses are wondering: what is he doing? All we see is fratricidal nonsense! President Muhammadu Buhari is beginning to lose the support of those who supported him to win the presidency. In just a month, they have succeeded in hijacking the change we voted for and they have moved on to regionalise our victory. Like they did Jonathan, Buhari is getting shaped as a Northern president!

The Saraki/Dogara coup is not against Tinubu. It is a calculated warfare designed for the demystification of Buhari. The earlier he knows it, the better.

Sad enough, Buhari does not get the memo. In an attempt to escape the perennial epithet of a dictator, the president is always trying too hard to showcase his democratic credentials by being soft, understanding and accommodating. The predators around him understand his psychology too well and they are exacting their costs. The pond skater does not skate the pond on its own volition, the drummer who engineers the rhythm of the skate lies beneath. These people will stop at nothing to shroud the lamp of Buhari’s presidency if he does not come to knowledge quickly. Integrity without knowledge Is nothing! Samuel Johnson in Rasselas wrote, “Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.” Integrity is not enough if a leader does not take the time or effort to define, communicate or reinforce it as a value. Without the president defining, communicating and reinforcing his values, with his party members and the country at large, the values that stands him out will be nothing but theories.

A lot in the future of Nigeria rests on Buhari’s presidency. We cannot let him fail. Integrity is not enough! Buhari needs more than integrity to govern. He needs to steel himself against these gnomes, understand the game and refuse to be caged.

As far as what obtains today, the President appears very unknowledgeable about the political intrigues playing around him. He seem unaware of the clandestine designs to pull the rug beneath his feet. With every passing moment, he reinforces the idea that Buhari is an abstract construct who needs a doer to be effective. With every passing day, those of us who witnessed his first coming and sold his disciplined ways to the younger generation are getting convinced that Buhari always needs an Idiagbon to be effective. He comes across as not wanting to get involved with the rough and tumble, the cut and deal nature of political maneuvering. The Saraki/Dogara coup is not against Tinubu. It is a calculated warfare designed for the demystification of Buhari. The earlier he knows it, the better. The president must know, he cannot claim a value and not make the effort to define what it looks like in action. If that happens, he sends a signal that the value he touts is not very important. He cannot claim a value and refuse to make the effort to communicate it frequently and consistently. He cannot claim a value and be unwilling to call violators of that value out or have them fired for not adhering to it. When that happens, he sends and unmistakable signal, that, that value is not important.

To fight for #RealChange, we should begin by making our voices heard. We should start calling the Sarakis and the Dogaras who said he won his seat courtesy of the Sultan not because of your votes out, by revealing their plans.

A lot in the future of Nigeria rests on Buhari’s presidency. We cannot let him fail. Integrity is not enough! Buhari needs more than integrity to govern. He needs to steel himself against these gnomes, understand the game and refuse to be caged. On our part, we know he is surrounded by more of the same and we won’t have any of that. It is time to fight for #RealChange. Time to start the fight all over again! Time to go back to the trenches and organise ourselves. We must not be silent because “In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.” That was the most powerful quote in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago where he chronicled the vast prisons and labour camps created after the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia in 1917 with expansion under Stalin.

Buhari must not fail. We must help him to succeed by going after the crazies who are determined to rob us. If Buhari fails there goes Nigeria and the hopes of generations whose future lies in us doing the right things and doing things right.

To fight for #RealChange, we should begin by making our voices heard. We should start calling the Sarakis and the Dogaras who said he won his seat courtesy of the Sultan not because of your votes out, by revealing their plans. At every step of the way, we should begin organised protest against actions, appointments and policies that goes contrary to what we voted for. It was on social media and new media that Buhari took root. You, young Nigerians went out on a limb for him. We should and will let them know that he who held the ladder for you to climb can bring the ladder down. Buhari must not fail. We must help him to succeed by going after the crazies who are determined to rob us. If Buhari fails there goes Nigeria and the hopes of generations whose future lies in us doing the right things and doing things right. It is that simple. Get ready to fight, if you want #RealChange.

Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú maintains a weekly column on Politics and Socioeconomic issues every Tuesday. She is a member of Premium Times‘ Editorial Board. Twitter @olufunmilayo

 

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