President Buhari’s Yankee Problem -By Pius Adesanmi

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Pius Adesanmi

Pius Adesanmi

 

How do you create a critical mass of support for the anti-corruption war when you always deliberately worsen your perception problems, arm the enemies of the anti-corruption war with the infuriating ethnic lopsidedness of your appointments? Baba Buhari, why is it that every time your supporters and those of us who are genuinely investing our souls in this anti-corruption war want to go to town with your efforts, you take a Kalachnikov, aim it at your own head, and open fire?

Baba Buhari’s trip to America was bound to have positive and negative effects. I think one negative effect is that he learnt a thing or two about the philosophy of tokenist diversity in that country.

If you complain too loudly in America that the picture is too white in a particular office, they find one black or Asian or Latino employee to mix things up a bit and keep you quiet. Diversity accomplished.

Every time President Buhari parsimoniously makes appointments he does not want to make – I think the President prefers sole administratorship – he works from the American script of tokenist diversity and throws in one name selected by ballot from below the Niger – which he drowns in a sea of upper Niger appointments.

No problem. Ko si wahala. However, a few points must be made for the record so that it shall not be said that those who want him to succeed kept quiet while he was digging needless graves for himself:

Tokenist diversity may quieten the storm in America where President Buhari studied the script, in Nigeria, it sets a fire and pours petrol into it. It causes disaffection. It makes governance difficult or impossible. It causes endless distraction from more urgent issues.

More urgent issues like corruption – which is what we mainly hired President Buhari to do. Fight corruption and restore integrity to our system: that is the primary job description we gave you, President Buhari. Everything else is secondary. You cannot do that if you make every appointment from Daura.

As is, Nigeria is one of the most unfair and most unjust countries on the face of the earth. To fight corruption, you have to work very hard to increase the feeling that fair and just have begun to return to the polity. How are you going to increase the fortunes of fair and just in Nigeria when even your most ardent supporters will have to assume that other Nigerians are stupid to be able to defend, justify or rationalise these new appointments?

Baba Buhari, ta lo gun ‘yan fun yin to ni t’obe o soro? There is a level of national consensus and goodwill you need to fight corruption. It is difficult enough as it is: Peace Committees, Jonahideens, and all sorts enemies of progress have become veritable obstacles to the anti-corruption war. The distraction that the enemies of the anti-corruption war are causing is massive. And there is also those who support anti-corruption so long as it does not touch those they have turned into saints in APC. We need to work on those psychologies and convince them that anti-corruption must not have any exception. How can we do all these when you are making lopsided appointments – the easiest way to “heat up the polity” in Nigeria!

We need our first eleven in appointments. There is no ethnic nationality, no geopolitical region without competent and meritorious first elevens. For the sake of the anti-corruption war and to avoid the distraction we do not need, stop this lopsidedness in what is left of your appointments and try to create a sense of fairness, justice, and balance by looking at first elevens beyond the north.

How do you create a critical mass of support for the anti-corruption war when you always deliberately worsen your perception problems, arm the enemies of the anti-corruption war with the infuriating ethnic lopsidedness of your appointments? Baba Buhari, why is it that every time your supporters and those of us who are genuinely investing our souls in this anti-corruption war want to go to town with your efforts, you take a Kalachnikov, aim it at your own head, and open fire?

Baba Buhari, why do you always take a petrol shower whenever your enemies are ready with matches?

Here is how it goes, Baba Buhari. I’m all for merit and I dream of a Nigeria where it would be all that matters. We shall get there and one leader must be bold enough to set us on that course. I think you could still be that leader but there are foundation stones you are ignoring.

Come with me:

I am realistic enough to understand that we will have to take baby steps, careful steps, towards that Nigeria of the future. That Nigeria where quota shall be a thing of the past; where all 36 Ministers can come from Isanlu and it wouldn’t matter, so long as they are competent and meritorious.

But our leader must understand that the building blocks towards that Nigeria involve a great deal of national healing, of national trust building, of national confidence building, of atonement, of appeasement, of addressing unaddressed grievances and silenced tragedies of our past. These things need to be done methodically and painstakingly so that everybody will come to have a patriotic stake in Project Nigeria.

You cannot frog march Nigeria to this destination overnight by making all your appointments from Daura. The enabling psychological atmosphere of confidence in Nigeria – built on a system which the majority of our people see, feel, and agree is just and fair – must be put in place first.

For now, you must do things, bearing in mind the fact that:

We need our first eleven in appointments. There is no ethnic nationality, no geopolitical region without competent and meritorious first elevens. For the sake of the anti-corruption war and to avoid the distraction we do not need, stop this lopsidedness in what is left of your appointments and try to create a sense of fairness, justice, and balance by looking at first elevens beyond the north.

There is no conceivable excuse for the Secretary to the Federal Government not to have come from the South East or South-South. Haba!

There are some things that some of us who support you will not allow you to do to yourself, to do to Nigeria.

Baba Buhari, not even you, have the right to put needless and unwanted problems on the path of the anti-corruption war that is now in motion. Lopsided appointments can derail the anti-corruption war faster than Jonahideens and Peace Committees by poisoning the national environment with perception issues.

This is about Nigeria.

I have said my own o. Ehen.

Owo mi ma re o funfun nene.

 

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