THE TYRANT AND HIS ZOMBIES – THE MOVIE
Nigeria’s political atmosphere today reminds me of those apocalyptic Hollywood movies where a strange virus afflicts an entire population turning most into Vampire-like Zombies while few survivors immune to the virus (or not yet infected) battle hard to save mankind. A lot of things have gone wrong in Nigeria under President Buhari’s stewardship, sometimes it’s beyond comprehension how a chunk of intellectual citizens and the not-too-bright become uniformly brain washed and hypnotized under a spell laid by the APC led federal government.
It all started during the run up to 2015 general elections where renegades from the then ruling PDP successfully teamed up with the ‘angriest’ set of politicians in Nigeria’s history. These set of politicians were not angry at Nigeria’s level of under-development or the plight of its masses; they were simply angry at their inability to ‘taste’ power at the centre ever since the return of democracy in 1999. APC’s emergence coincided with the inability of then President Goodluck Jonathan and his party PDP to maintain positive narratives about their government. To some of us, it seemed a section of PDP’s leadership especially those closer to President Jonathan had already been compromised and tactically watered the ground to make a Buhari victory inevitable.
A huge section of the Nigerian populace became seduced by real prospects of a utopian society once Buhari is elected. Former PDP members that played key roles in major corruption scandals over the years became proponents of narratives bordering on how ‘16years of PDP’ ruined Nigeria. PDP had no answers nor made aggressive attempts to effectively counter this negative publicity, the narratives stuck and bore fruit, more Nigerians bought the story. APC’s propaganda run became so deep that many citizens equated a vote for Buhari as the only true source of happiness in Nigeria. Friends turned against each other, blocked themselves on social media platforms, some even got physical. An unbiased assessment will reveal that those who supported Buhari and APC seemed more aggressive (and angrier). PDP supporters on the other hand, like President Jonathan, were more laid back, accepted criticisms and adopted persuasive strategies, but it didn’t work. The APC virus was just too strong.
On May 29th 2015, Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as President and a lot of Nigerians looked up to his leadership, especially as it relates to the fight against corruption. During the campaigns, APC had successfully convinced many that Nigeria’s only problem was corruption. Neither Buhari nor the APC believed that beyond corruption, Nigeria had fundamental flaws in its foundational structure and fiscal federalism. APC never preached the strengthening of Nigerian institutions but rather preached the strength of one man-Buhari, and many believed. A 72 year old redeemer had been sold to Nigeria and his disciples became blinded by faith. Most Skeptics of this false messianic doctrine were either bullied into silenced or drowned in the vocal euphoria that greeted Buhari’s second coming as Nigeria’s leader.
In the early weeks and months of Buhari’s leadership, his supporters engaged in hysterics – Presidential planes were sold off to cut cost; unknown corrupt politicians surrendered their loot at the feet of Buhari; Buhari’s charisma powered turbines across the nation generating electricity and reviving refineries; Boko Haram was on the verge of surrender. Delays in appointing ministers tempted the faith of many supporters but hope was rekindled as the delay was attributed to Buhari’s rigorous search for men and women of integrity. Alas, when Buhari’s ministerial list emerged several months later, it was a conglomerate of good old usual suspects. Hopes dashed? Not a chance.
President Buhari promised to fight corruption; luckily for Buhari and APC, the war on corruption emerged as opium to his teeming supporters. About eight months onto this new administration, its only achievement seems to be same war on corruption. Where alleged looters mostly associates of the PDP or Ex-President Jonathan have been arrested and publicly humiliated even before a comprehensive investigation or trial is conducted. As this charade rages on, Nigeria’s economy is crumbling on all fronts; massive job losses everywhere, energy crisis deepening, value of the naira plummeting and sharp drop in standard of living. The only good news here is that whenever Buhari catches a new ‘PDP thief,’ his supporters forget about current economic hardships and praise him to high levels. This has become the new political reality of APC’s Nigeria – find any reason to support your President even if his economic policies (or lack of it) are killing you.
Defenses and excuses made on Buhari’s behalf have ranged from the absurd to the plain ridiculous with blaming previous PDP administrations at the centre. For example, we’ve heard some say, “If crude oil prices were as high as $100 per barrel, Buhari would have delivered much more dividends.” Unfortunately for propagators of this weak line of thought, crude oil was already hovering around $50 per barrel when Buhari and his APC drafted and dished out unrealistic campaign promises. Not too long ago, in the city of Zaria, Buhari’s military massacred over a thousand innocent Shiite Muslims, their crime? Well, a number of APC and Buhari supporters have helped us understand that obstructing traffic on major roads during peaceful religious processions and touching a Military officer’s chest during an argument is a capital offense punishable by gruesome death.
Today, the rule of law is now secondary as APC and their supporters insist that due process can be waved aside in order to deal with perceived looters. President Buhari now disobeys court orders at will, but it’s cool, so long as his supporters enjoy watching the humiliation of (PDP) looters. Meanwhile, piles of petitions against corrupt APC members are being swept under the carpet, those questioned miraculously return looted funds and their sins are forgiven. Dissenting voices insisting that the rule of law must be obeyed are tagged as PDP sympathizers angry at Goodluck Jonathan electoral loss or plain enemies of progress. Often times they are taunted with, “GEJ is no longer President, move on.” A comical twist to this assertion is that the APC government and its appointees keep Goodluck Jonathan alive in the consciousness of most Nigerians by constantly blaming him for all the nations’ woes including refusal of Buhari’s cows in Daura to produce milk.
The APC right from its opposition era down to its present role as Nigeria’s ruling party has introduced a more retrogressive type of politics where the winner not just takes all but seeks to mop up even the scraps and leftovers. Consequences will manifest in the next general elections by 2019, where, thanks to Buhari, major Political parties will fight to the finish knowing that gaining power at the centre will preserve their existence while losing it could subject the party and its members to annihilation.
For Zombie followers that have now made it a habit and religious obligation to applaud impunity by Buhari’s government, one can only hope that like Hollywood movies towards the end, an antidote is found that either kills off or turns infected Zombies back to human again.
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