Opinion: Questions Buhari Should Answer before the Elections

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Nigeria: Questions Buhari Should Answer before the Elections

With the current exchanges of verbal batons across political parties, there is no doubt that the 2019 general elections are presenting the nation a lot of melodramatic episodes. While some elite class that are partisan are exchanging verbal missiles and cross fires across various campus social media, the reality is that both Buhari and Atiku’s political ventures have divided us. Some of the divisions are realist, and some are emotionally inclined. However, it is a current reality that even though our ivory towers are non-partisan political blocs, we are most suitably conscious of the complexities and  truths about our Nigerian polity. Therefore, we are in a position to educate the masses.

The ASUU strike notwithstanding, many in the academia are still positively hopeful that President Buhari will accede to the compelling need to revitalize the age-long ruptures in Nigeria’s education sector. In the history of presidential elections in Nigeria, this very one has been possibly the most strident and positively driven by silent ideologies of the uninformed, uneducated class. For example, the Tradermoni has played a significant role in the partial economic redistribution of the nation’s money. In that the Buhari/Osibajo team is attempting to subvert the hold of the capitalist bourgeoisie on the means of our national resources. In that wise, the APC camp is committing “political class suicide” by subverting the upper class in favour of the masses.

But, on the other hand, the Atiku led PDP is also alleging the capitalist hypocrisy of the APC. While daggers are now drawn across many layers of concerns in this election, the truth is that Nigerians are not blind. They understand that the meaning of politics is crossfire subversion of the rivals and the opposition. Amidst this grill of political collages, there is a pertinent question: What is the epistemic truth about the current national questions? Some NGOs and individuals have often asked the political parties to engage issue- based campaigns rather than personal accusative assassinations of character.

It is on this note that I like to open up certain kernels of truth in appreciation of what Buhari has achieved and to ask him to clear some historical contradictions which have put question mark on the acclaimed nationalism of successive Nigerian governments. In all honesty, the modern rail bus project is a good development for Nigeria. Buhari has blazed a trail by completing this project. I remember however that the rail project started under the PDP long time ago. That does not mean that the initiating government is better than the government that completed the project. Nigerians should learn to speak the truth always. For me, I want Buhari to complete the good works of development and financial discipline that he has imposed on Nigeria via the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the blockage of conduit pipes for the siphoning of our public funds by fraudsters in government and their acolytes.

But, what I want Buhari to do next is to minimise his alleged nepotism on appointments, whereby at least 90% of the serving army chiefs, allegedly, are northerners. It is being alleged that nearly all serving southerners in the army, the police, and other services as well as other keys appointments are being retired or sacked and given to his relations, or northerners. Obasanjo didn’t do that. In fact, he posited himself as a nationalist rather than a Yoruba person. Most of the key positions in Obasanjo’s government went to north, the southeast, and the south south, without any feeling of emotional cleavage to service the Yoruba’s appetite for the national cake.

If President Obasanjo was right in that audacity, it is only because the Yoruba people gave him paltry votes at the 1999 presidential elections in revenge over his utterances against M.K.O Abiola’s presidential bid at the chequered June 12, 1993 annulment by the then Military  President Babangida. In a nutshell, President Buhari needs to explain certain things concerning the accusative campaigns of the opposition that he is guilty of nepotism. I like to ask our president one pertinent historical question: Why has it never been possible to make either a Yoruba or Igbo or any southerner the comptroller-general of the Nigeria Customs?  If that has been a beleaguering question in the minds of studied Nigerians before and after Buhari’s corrective government, why is that aspect not corrected by him in line with his stance on integrity? Well, I think this is a historical problem.

But, our president, being so positively corrective and fiercely opposed to the hypocrisy of yester governments, should promise to reverse this historical shame in our customs service. Then, the issue of an alleged plan to Islamise Nigeria and turn Nigeria into a mono-religious nation at the expense of Christianity and other religions has not been addressed in his campaigns. Even though, some of us are not too gullible to believe such accusative spread of hate to malign his character, we at least want him to talk about it.

Let me not deceive the president that this issue is a disturbing burr on the minds of Christians in Nigeria other than those in his cabinet, especially his brilliant and eloquent Pastor Professor Yemi Osinbajo. It is not good to read the minds of Christians via the viewing lens of his VP.  He is also being accused of creating cattle ranches in all states of Nigeria in order to allow the Fulani people to overrun Nigeria and take over in a jihadist war! Again, we are too logical to trust the makers of this accusation. However, there is the need to make it a topical issue of refutal in the logic of his campaign speeches.

These accusations were never addressed in the APC campaigns. And this gives room for the opposition to make them their frequent subject of recital at all town hall meetings. About our president’s ferocity of angst against corruption and corruptible elements, I like to suggest that rather than issuing out threats that he would clamp everybody into jail for corruption, he should just maintain diplomatic silence over that for now. After winning the presidential elections, he can take action. One of the reasons why Awolowo failed or was failed to become Nigeria’s president was because of his pre-election dreads and threats that he would “probe” the corrupt political capitalists of the petro-naira oil boom in Nigeria at that time.

Even though that may no longer be historically possible in our generation, a lot of caution would do the ruling party some good. History still remains the greatest teacher of all times! I love Buhari. Therefore, I like to warn him that there are foxes and foils in his camp who are very corrupt and are merely using his image to cover up their stench. I’m very sure that our president is aware of this fact of suspicion and allegation by the opposition. I like to warn President Buhari to beware of some powerful politicians who are singing his praise, but are digging the grounds under his foot for him to fail in this election. Some of them are aware that if he wins, he may turn around to probe their corrupt activities. Such thieves that are with Buhari do not like him.  They’re afraid of the tiger upon whose back they are now riding politically and economically. They are awed by the possibility that they may end up in the belly of the tiger on whose back they are now risking a free ride in hypocrisy.

Finally, I like to speak on a current perplexing  question that is beleaguering the public space of gossips, especially in the hinterlands and insecurity- prone communities all over Nigeria.I like to ask President Buhari why he has not considered it worthwhile to assent to the Vigilance Group of Nigeria Bill so that these formidable tiger VGN officers and men can help the nation to tackle the problems of insecurity. This very question is on the lips of all Nigerians who are aware and are always amazed at the gallantry of the well trained Vigilance Group whose skills are proven and well acknowledged by the police and other security agencies at the local government and community levels in Nigeria.

For example, whenever the VGN battalions go into training camps and they are not in the communities, the armed robbers usually have a field day to unleash terror. There have been several heroic accomplishments in which they usually help the police to catch gun running criminals alive by disarming them.

Again why are the state governors being allowed by the FG authorities to commit illegality by setting up new vigilance groups when there’s a subsisting FG recognised vigilance bill for an act which has been made ready for the president’s assent? Truly, in terms of tackling the gargantuan insecurity problem in Nigeria, President Buhari must realise that the nation is waiting for his assent to the vigilance bill as a mark of his sincerity to checkmate the daily increasing insecurity problem in Nigeria.  Our president should address these issues before the elections. I wish President Mohammadu Buhari all the best of victory in this oncoming presidential election.
Fashina wrote from University of Ibadan.

As published on TheGuardian

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