By Abdulkadir Salaudeen
If you don’t know the nature of Nigeria’s prebendal politics, Tinubu going to Buhari is a good case study. We should open our eyes; they have started again. The excruciating suffering of the masses is never their problem. How Aso Villa has become APC Secretariat calls for serious investigation. How it has become a wrestling or boxing ring where political gladiators—like Bola Ahmad Tinubu—declare their intention to wrestle for power is not clear to us. That is sycophancy or political prebendalism, which we window-dress as a political strategy. In the political permutations of an average Nigerian politician, voters’ votes do not count; they are as useless as nursery school certificates.
It irks me, pains me, and depresses me when I see Nigerian masses willing to commit suicide on behalf of politicians for crumbs. To say concern for the masses is the least on the agenda of Nigerian politicians is being diplomatic. Do they think of us in the least? We are as good as cannon fodder in the political battlefield where absolute powers are fiercely fought for.
One funny thing I read a few days ago triggered me to smile, though, sarcastically. The Buhari Support Organization (BSO) publicly and shamelessly expressed their dissatisfaction with the President they claimed had used and abandoned them—having worked hard for his victory. If you have any difficulty understanding what ‘use-and-dump’ means in the Nigerian political dictionary, no time to understand it now. In the coming 2023 election, let’s play our politics wisely and use our voters’ cards intelligently. Do not play into the hands of power-drunk politicians so that you don’t get yourselves mired in the phenomenal cobweb of ‘use and dump.’
As if we are in the season of meeting the President to declare intention, Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State made his visit too to Aso Rock immediately after Tinubu’s—the kingmaker and ‘father of all democrats’—who is old enough to be a grandpa of this nation. We should expect many such visits. In his comical reaction to Tinubu’s infantile visitation, Kingsley Moghalu, ADC presidential aspirant, tweeted that he forgot to inform the President that he is also running. Is Moghalu trying to be comical? I like that! Moghalu chose to tell the masses, who are much of his concern. I hope other contestants follow suit.
Two things interest me in Buhari’s honest confession in the recent interview he granted Channels TV. One is how torturous it is to work for six hours as an aged president, and two, at the end of the interview, he thanked the two interviewers for punishing him. Indeed, it is punishment to ask an older man who is already in his second childhood (a state of dotage) such brainteasing questions on fantastic corruption, unprecedentedly overwhelming insecurity, dying and nose-diving economy; all these happening under his nose.
Or how better does one put it? Perhaps the President does not know that all these are happening under his nose. Please, ‘dotage’ as used above should not be seen as disparaging. We all have old parents and grandparents, and we know how they behave, which is natural. Only a few people escape this state of dotage at their old age. It shouldn’t be seen as blaming the President for what he has no control over.
It will be political harakiri—for the President or Nigerian voters—to hand over Nigeria, at this critical time, to these official septuagenarians, who are probably octogenarians. A year ago, in my article titled ‘The Trumped Trump, the Triumphant Biden, and Our Old President’, I wrote, “One of the determinants of retirement age is life expectancy which is currently 55 in Nigeria. It is 79 in the United States. This implies that gerontocracy is very bad for Nigeria; it is not too bad for the United States. In other words, if you live beyond 55 years in Nigeria, you are lucky not to have died. You can see why it is wrong to elect old people for general leadership.”
Tinubu’s meeting with the President on his presidential ambition seems to be a political miscalculation. Referring to the President, Tinubu’s statement that “he didn’t ask me not to attempt” is as good as saying “he didn’t ask him to attempt.” In another article published in September 2020 titled “Edo No Be Lagos: Crucifying Godfatherism and the Godfathers,” I wrote, “Though the Edo’s Tinubu’s misadventure is a major setback, he has been disgraced earlier in Kogi and Ondo states, respectively. He seems to be the proverbial lost dog who refuses to listen to the hunter’s whistle. He has big self-esteem, which has ballooned to a megalomaniac proportion. It is this megalomaniacally induced posture that cost him this much. I just hope he will stop nursing the ambition of being a president in Nigeria come 2023. Though it is his constitutional right to contest, wishing him good luck will be a waste of saliva. So, I will not waste mine.”
What should be our headache now is not even politics. But politicians know the best way to distract the suffering masses from their sufferings. This time, we shall not be distracted. Like Tinubu, let’s go and inform President Buhari that all is not well. Let’s inform him that Nigeria is crying while the North is bleeding. Let’s tell him that an older man like him, Saidu Faskari, behind his backyard in Daura, removed his house’s roofing sheet (to sell) to gather N100000 to ransom his kidnapped son. Mr President, this old man was initially kidnapped and ransomed only to have his son again kidnapped for ransom.
Your Excellency, Mr President, please, if you find it difficult—not because you are not willing—to wipe away Nigeria’s tears, and you cannot stop the bleeding in the North, you can at least reach out to this old man behind your backyard in Faskari Local Government of Katsina State.
As you match towards the end of your tenure, think of the legacy you may want to be reminded of. Please, anyone who feels discomfort after reading this article should please thank me for punishing them. May God help President Buhari.
Abdulkadir Salaudeen sent this article via firstname.lastname@example.org.