The medical report
was subsequently retracted and no one claimed responsibility for
authoring it at the Teaching Hospital of the reputable Nigerian
university. Today, memories are revisited for highly informed
reasons. The opposition candidate, who went on to become the
President of today’s Nigeria is indeed, now known to be truly
suffering from an undisclosed illness. Backdoor rumors point to
In spite of all
that though, and not the least, based on what we know today, every
citizen, who wishes his country well, will still rejoice that the
truth was suppressed and the ill-health info did not mar the chances
of ousting the corrupt and disastrous regime of Goodluck Ebele
Jonathan. In the same vein, however, it offers reasons for regrets
and lamentations, basically, because it uncovers a deeply rooted
culture of political manipulations to entrench the will of the
political establishment. What you see is not what you get. The
decision to remove Goodluck Ebele Jonathan from the driver’s seat
was paramount to everything else. Thank goodness for it though!
electorate, however, nurtured high expectations and saw a small-ax
messiah that was configured to take a no-nonsense stance and cut
down the mighty tree of corruption. The corrupt ones feared for
their lives too. The scramble for cover-ups and obliteration of
traces and desperate moves to intercept the President-elect on
planes to strike a deal for mercy, were the least that the evil
caucus could allow itself. Many took ill overnight and overseas
medical check became a pastime exercise. In panic and desperation,
journalistic white-wash propaganda was employed as well as the
sudden exposure of cardinals and pontifices to rationalize the
negative impact of fighting corruption.
The scammed electorates
trusted in the man and the man struck the right nerve to usher in
the birth of a new era. For starting the fight from the top and
docking the powerful and the mighty, the President was forgiven for
his unpreparedness for the routine demand of the office he fought
repeatedly, to occupy. After months of preparation as a
President-elect, the President had no clue, how to constitute his
cabinet for good three months. He was forgiven. For observers of the
scene, it was re-assuring, however, to understand that the President
was prepared to shake the establishment from top to bottom and
“give corruption a bloody nose”.
however, the President derailed and allowed the powerful to fight
back while he, obviously, in consideration of the transience of
life, saw no need to make too many enemies. He saw no need to
overheat the polity. President Buhari betrayed the trust of the
excited and frenzied masses and sold away the soul of hope in the
birth of a silent revolution. He spat on the euphoria of a people
that were prepared to run down the powerful in the fight for the
heart of a sane Nigeria.
Today, we know
that the President is sick. On a medical vacation and represented by
a buoyant Vice President, Nigerians were served a little taste of
the dish that everyone expected of a radical and revolutionary
President Muhammadu Buhari. In the aftermath of an unannounced visit
to Murtala Muhammed Airport, the Acting President made heads roll,
when he discovered the depth of management filth that kept the
system from functioning. That is precisely the type of action that
brought fame and regards for Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia of the
defunct Bendel State. It is the kind of actions that Nigerians
expected of Muhammadu Buhari.
Today, a lunatic
Governor Ayodele Fayose makes a mess of a once-dreaded General
Muhammadu Buhari. A red-eye Wike runs a state like an uncontrolled
drug addict while the President watches helplessly dumb. The
President is surrounded by interest groups, who have now
Jonathanized the system that he sought to sanitize. The Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is now reported to be operating
in the most opaque of systems imaginable. EFCC operatives are
reported to be running around town in opulent wealth and corrupt
enrichment, from incompletely submitted wealth recovery. All under
the watch of the once-dreaded General Muhammadu Buhari.
clampdown on the judiciary rekindled hope in a thorough cleansing of
the system only for the President to stop it half-way and “Sarakize”
the process once again.
however, Nigerians do not help matters. In spite of boasting of a
huge number of university graduates in a comparative continent-wide
statistical distribution, Nigeria suffers a huge shortage of
intellectuals with the capability of reasoning scientifically – a
virtue that is taken for granted in saner climes. Engaging
purportedly educated Nigerians in armchair beer-parlor debates
sometimes, you’d be forgiven if you thought you were debating with
pre-colonial village elders, who believed they too could have made
good intellectuals if they were educated. The glaring shortage of
sophistry, empiricism and rationality that is often reduced to
popularly applaudable traditional intelligence, notwithstanding,
many such pseudo-intellectuals believe so passionately and strongly
in the superiority of their reasoning and calling that you'd simply
end up pitying the country and the wasted generation that drives its
Believe it or
not, there are educated individuals in today’s Nigeria, for whom
Ayodele Fayose serves as a formidable role model. There are educated
Nigerians in today's world, who do not see any wisdom in fighting
corruption since no Nigerian alive is qualified to lead the fight.
There are Nigerians, who for one selfish and emotional reason or the
other, will not see anything wrong in a legislative chamber
populated by gangsters and run in the spirit of Gangsterism. And
they are all educated.
the forgery of standing orders by a self-imposed gang of principal
officers in the legislature will be rationalized by educated
Nigerians as victimization.
intellectual deficit with which no nation can ever witness
meaningful advancement, was first laid bare in all facets during the
regime of Olusegun Obasanjo, who did his best to re-arrange the
Nigerian political space for the equitable accommodation of all the
regional entities in the nation away from Northern domination. But
guess what! His strongest adversaries were the Southerners, who
benefitted most from his mission of political inclusiveness.
Purportedly educated minds did not only take to the vicious
condemnation of those things that he got wrong, everything he did
right was subjected to the relativism of malicious condemnation. A
few years after, having had a savory taste of the late Yar'Adua and
the “Ph.D Jonathan”, many of these voices sing a different tune
today. They were all educated.
In the same
spirit of talking before thinking, many unleash venom on Muhammadu
Buhari for picking lieutenants that he can best work with, claiming
the progression of a clandestine Northern agenda and ignoring all
other facts of the inherited federal spread that are
constitutionally unavoidable. Yet Obasanjo’s blindness to ethnic
coloration was ignored at the time and glaringly portrayed as the
devil’s deal by precisely those same minds that choose to
characterize Muhammadu Buhari today, as the brainless cattle-rearer.
anticipatory and manipulatory asset declaration, forgery of senate
rules, forgery of import documents and many more vices and acts of
banditry are willfully ignored by Nigerian pseudo-intellectuals to
elevate destructive role models to survive peak positions in notable
political spaces. Today, the Dino Melayes, the Ayodele Fayoses and
the red-eyed Wikes excel in thuggery and the desecration of
institutions that are ordinarily meant to be noble and charitable.
They are cheered on by educated persons.
legislatures in exemplary democracies represent nobility and display
exceptional political intellectualism in committees and plenary
sessions, the Nigerian upper house is bent on ignoring all important
matters of state to force someone to appear before it in uniform.
Trivialities and perfidy now stand out as virtues for
representatives that are regularly engaged in emptiness and low
academic tagging. Yet, educated friends mistake ours for a grown
democracy and worry more about the impact of disobeying the
legislature by not wearing uniforms and comfortably ignoring the
need to grow a tradition by drawing the limits for all parties in
the game including legislators. The overblown sense of
self-exaltation ignoring the chance factor in being in one position
at a given time seems lost on many of our schooled but non-educated
legislators in their perception of self. If a democratic tradition
is to be grown, no doubt, they will need to learn the limits no
matter how many pseudo-intellectuals cheer them on.
A combination of these qualities of Nigerians and the apparently
health-impeded agility of the President of a nation that has
betrayed hope and enormous expectations, has presently seen Nigeria
treading a hopeless path of no redemption. It is yet not too late
for President Muhammadu Buhari to damn the impact of his own health
and fix the health of Nigeria for a lasting legacy. It does not
matter when he goes to his grave as we will all do, enemies and
friends will be there for eternity. Cozying up to the wrong friends
in Dogara and Saraki and allowing the wrong establishment characters
like Ibrahim Babangida or the power-hungry Atiku Abubakar preach the
toxic message of not overheating the polity, will only betray the
deal of moving Nigeria forward.
Follow me on Twitter @friskyLarrimore, Watch out for my new book
"Africa's Diabolical Entrapment"
Frisky Larr is author of the book "Nigeria's Journalistic Militantism" probing into the poor role of Journalism in Nigeria!