Re: A Humane Proposal For Buhari To Resign
By: Abiodun Israel
Professor Okey Ndibe is one university teacher, author, journalist and columnist I respect immensely. He penetrates my heart with his write-ups on two counts; one, as a teacher and the other, as a columnist who impresses and inspires me most of the times with the vibrancy of his commentaries on Nigeria’s national affairs from America where he lives and works. That’s when he is in his natural self or uninfluenced.
But the reality of the dilemma of Professor Ndibe’s disconnect with experiences back home dawned on me, after reading his latest article titled “A Humane Proposal for Buhari: Resign.” I read the article and what kept hitting me so hard was his struggle to blend time then and time now in Nigeria under the messianic leadership of President Muhammedu Buhari (PMB).
The article simply did not jell or added up to nothing. I must confess to reading the work of an extremely disjointed display of intellectualism for the first time this year.
Ndibe opens his piece with an advice cast in the mould of your known witchcraft neighbor who stealthily assails yours senses in the dead of the night, disrupts your sleep and offers you the unsought nocturnal advice not to sleep anymore, otherwise you will die. But both sleep and death are natural and inevitable.
So, I perceived with amusement Ndibe’s usurpation of the ultimate, indomitable power of God Almighty, Who alone is the decider of sickness, life or death; bemused the more with Ndibe’s vile and disingenuous efforts to cast aspersions on the administration of Buhari; the half-hearted admittance of an ailing country called Nigeria, inherited by Buhari and his version of the President’s dissatisfactory efforts at its rebirth; and then, anchoring Buhari’s “unfruitful” outing in Nigeria by reason of his old age or ill-health and such hogwash.
Most funnily, the desperation to belittle President Buhari sees Ndibe de-robing him of everything he has accomplished in life as a leader and adds that “If there’s a scaling back in levels of embezzlement, it owes less to the Buhari effect than to the significant decline in oil revenues.” What!!
To me, it is the height of brazen auction or mortgage of one’s intellectual endowments to some power hermits, whose pristine interests must be protected. In Nigeria, heads of MDAs embezzled salaries and emoluments of their workers before now and it was deemed normal. Despite the deplorable state of the economy Buhari is still paying federal workers. Has Ndibe asked himself why no one has the courage to embezzle or divert salaries again? States governors who misapplied bailout funds are under investigation currently.
Therefore, why this needless proselytizing to the contrary? It is this path to self-destruct which drags Ndibe into the dilemma of inadvertently admitting the much President Buhari has done and at the same time, posturing as if Buhari ascended the Presidency and met everything fine and in good shape, but rather came to despoil the land?
To begin, I am impressed Ndibe has arrogated to himself the power of deciding when a leader is not just sick, but very sick. And his judgment is strangely and unintelligibly anchored on Buhari’s twice postponement of his return trip to Nigeria from London and nothing more. But Ndibe may as well as tell Nigerians how long it would take him to recuperate from a terrible bout of malaria fever when he lived in Nigeria.
I am the happier Ndibe knows President Buhari is that symbol of the rebirth and regeneration of Nigeria at this point in our history. That rebirth portrait or sculpture of Buhari has defiled defacement in the hearts of millions of afflicted Nigerians and no ink from a pen can discolour it for countless reasons. But the main reason is that Nigerians have recognized Buhari as a stainless leader; aversed to corruption and other retrogressive inclinations in public leadership that sank Nigeria into the deepest depths of the Atlantic Ocean. This posturing has instilled fears in many “lootocrats” (looters) in the country.
An African proverb says a rotten fish begins from the head. Contrary to his arguments, morality and uprightness are indispensable virtues of leadership. Its absence breeds all manner of evils from the subjects. A subordinate public appointee will not have the courage to embezzle public funds, when he knows his boss would not accept any part of the loot as his “share” of the illicit wealth as was obtainable yesterday.
His postulation that Buhari’s presidency has not achieved transformation in any sector in the near two years of his ascension to power is mischievous fabrication of deceit. Perhaps, Ndibe has not visited Nigeria, his home country for a long while and needs to take a trip to the country to assess things personally, if reading it online is such boredom to him.
In the power sector, security, transport, agriculture and a lot more, Buhari has proved himself a leader with a difference, in spite of the recessional status of the Nigerian economy and drop in oil revenues like Ndibe admitted. Could his baseless, venomous outpourings on the Buhari Presidency be a consequence of the insatiable nature of mankind?
But my greatest conviction about the author’s blindness to reason is his trumpeting of the failure of Buhari to convict any notable political figure and cited the Dasukigate arms procurement scandal case. If intellectuals begin to think this shallow, it means the world is in imminent trouble. Is Ndibe saying he is not aware of the concept of separation of powers in a democracy? And that the conviction of persons charged for any offence resides in the courts/judiciary? Can he point out one area Buhari or the executive arm of government, as the case may be, slackened in arraigning looters in court for trial?
Per chance, is the literalist suggesting Buhari would have deployed military fiat to clampdown on looters and hounded them into jail or usurp or tampered with the independent powers of the judiciary through interference with the court process, so that Nigerians like him would find a concrete reason to heap rubbish on his head? Is Ndibe unaware of the corruption in the judiciary, which is stalling most of these cases and that the executive has swiftly moved to stem the tide by the arrests and arraignment of some suspected judges for corruption?
This is a development Ndibe knows and reflects in the article as “Judicial processes operate at snail-speed; lawyers and judges collude in using incessant adjournments to derail justice.” But Buhari is the President of Nigeria and not a Regimental Sergeant Major.
That looters all over Nigeria are walking around as free citizens today, is much a laxity of the judiciary than Buhari. And to conclude that there is no hope of convicting any person is childish. Let him visit or speak to looters whose cases are still pending in court and they will let him into their world of frustrations, pains and agony by the fact of their arraignment alone. It is deterrence already.
Besides, to expect that Nigerians will voluntarily dump their appetite for corruption is too utopian. They must be forced to do so. And Buhari has applied this coercion within the prisms of democratic laws.
The Buhari brand is working and would continue to work for the ordinary Nigerian. Being deliberately blind to reason does not alter the reality. Ndibe says,“Mr. Buhari has done little more than yawn when political appointees close to him have been accused of corrupt acts.”
The highest amount of money speculated as allegedly collected in bribes by any Buhari appointee is N500 million and next to it N200 million. And yet, investigations have proved these cases as mere empty alarms. Just yesterday, the court ordered former petroleum minister, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke to forfeit N34 billion assets to the FGN; How much did the EFCC recovered from the former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Dr. Andrew Yakubu? It is N3.39 billion in his house; what about the $2.1 arms procurement fund deflated on executing Jonathan’s 2015 re-election bid?
The mega cases of corruption are in hundreds. It is in this same country that proceeds of crude oil sales amounting to about $23 billion disappeared as exposed by the former CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. And after hiring foreign auditors, it was officially disclosed only about $1.048 billion was missing, even after the report was doctored. But Ndibe is yet to the see the difference in fighting corruption now and how it festered before May 2015. It’s unfair to give a dog a bad name, just because you want her guillotined.
In spite of Prof’s unfounded misgivings about Buhari, I least expected him to subscribe to internal agents, actively backed by foreign interests in the plot to destabilize Nigeria. Agitations from groups like the Shiites or Biafran agitators and many others are masked agents of these external forces working within towards the break-up of Nigeria. These groups mindlessly and brutally murder security agents based on the sophistication of their weaponry.
They over-power civil security in their lawless, violent acts and the deployment of the military is responsible for the semblance of respite Nigerians enjoy at the moment. Advocating for the handling of such vexatious groups with kid gloves translates into mockery of law-abiding Nigerians whom they brutally molest and murder.
In addition, a hospital is not weighed on the basis of the aesthetics of its edifice. Yes, I know an Aso Rock clinic exists for the Presidency. But if Nigeria has been so messed up over the years as confessed by Ndibe, what assurance that the Aso Villa clinic inherited by Buhari is not only but a shadow of a hospital?
With paucity of funds in Nigeria, a writer cum journalist like Ndibe who is not running errands through the pen would find out how much of the N3.87 billion voted for the State House Clinic in the 2016 Appropriation Bill for capital projects was expended. Medical equipment are not acquired like books on the shelf in a bookshop. What the western world prefer to bequeath to developing countries like Nigeria, are medical technologies they have ceased to use.
But I believe Buhari’s intention to upgrade the State House Clinic is to stop him from travelling abroad for treatment. But while the process is still on, I feel it is immoral and unjustifiable to question his trip abroad for medical treatment. Buhari’s simple lifestyle should not be abused by some persons who think they can equate him with a chief in their native community. Buhari is President of Nigeria. He is not an Oba or an Igwe.
In America where Ndibe lives and works, how many times Americans did engage the world in talking about life and death of their President on account of illness. Or their Presidents don’t fall ill? That is the morality and civility in that clime, and Ndibe should be a good ambassador of Nigeria by imbibing some of these decencies.
We are not aware of Ndibe as a physician to know when a leader is frail or too incapacitated to rule. He can as well reserve his advice or tales for marines. But Buhari will not resign. And if his pen-pushing is to brainwash Nigerians into believing President Buhari is too sick and old to continue in office beyond 2019, it is a seed he has already sown on a dry rock and it will not germinate.
Abiodun PhD is a public affairs commentator and contributed this piece from Ibadan, Oyo State.