By Josef Omorotionmwan
EVEN the greatest copycat cannot perfectly imitate the Lord, Jesus. By the time Jesus arrived Bethany, Lazarus was already dead for four days. As soon as he arrived, everyone started to weep profusely. And as if to put a sense of guilt in Jesus, Martha was insinuating that if he had been around, her brother would not have died. When Jesus saw the weeping and the wailing, he too wept openly.
Perhaps, he empathized with their grief, or perhaps he was troubled at their unbelief. In either case, Jesus demonstrated that he cares enough for us to weep with us in our sorrow.
The same cannot be easily said of the Buharis and other present day politicians who can feign anything to get sympathy votes. The trick worked for some time. A few days to an election, a candidate whose rating has plummeted would arrange for an irate youth to come and empty a bowl of ice cream on him while on the campaign podium. That ends the campaign and everybody would go and cast his vote for this man who is so hated by people for no just reason.
In the particular case of General Buhari, the campaigns were going on smoothly. Everywhere he went, particularly up North, roads were closed; markets, mosques and churches were closed; and the movement of his motorcade was often completely impeded.
There was no doubt in the man’s mind that he was on the way to successfully dislodge the biggest political party in Africa. Suddenly, the man found that the returns from the National Assembly elections of April 9 were reading in the opposite direction. He must quickly readjust his strategies and in the process, he reached for his bag of tricks and thought that a bucket of cold tears would do it.
We have seen this crying tradition in the past and it did not work for too long. Why should anybody think that it would work now when Governor Sam Mbakwe of the Second Republic Imo State could not use his weeping tactics to get the entire federation account credited solely to his Imo State treasury?
Who wants a weeping President, anyway? Who really wants a President that might break down in tears at the middle of a tough negotiation in the White House, in Washington DC? And better still, who wants a President who might resort to crying at the middle of an address on the floor of the General Assembly of the United Nations?
Evidently, this trick had expired. The PDP hierarchy had no difficulty in dismissing it as “a show of shame”. To them, this was a man faced with imminent defeat and he had to resort to shedding crocodile tears to curry favour from voters. But perhaps unknown to the General, a full drum of tears would, at that eleventh hour, not make too much impact on voters whose minds were already made up.
Of a truth, not many are unaware of the numerous fights of General Buhari and these fights are sweeter, coming direct from his mouth: “I have fought drift and purposelessness in this nation. I have fought corruption and indiscipline. I have fought indolence and the betrayal of trusts. I have fought the Nigerian civil war and struggled for the unity of this country in many other ways.
I have had the fortune and privilege of managing national resources in various capacities – as a military commander, as a state governor, as a minister, as head of the Petroleum Trust Fund, and as the head of state of this great country. And in all that I have been and done, I have never touched a kobo of public funds”.
We concede all these to the General but there are contradictions. Since 2003 he has offered himself for leadership as the clean and honest alternative. The irony of it all is that on each occasion, he has been rejected in favour of a party that in his words “turned this country into a republic of thieves”. The real truth is that Nigeria has grown to that level where a pool of tears and even the best intentions alone cannot take anyone to the highest office in the land.
Such a man must also possess the necessary political skills that will enable him know when to give and when to take. Horse trading and compromise are very vital ingredients in this journey. This includes the fact that during the merger and consolidation talks, Buhari should have known when to be less rigid and more flexible; less selfish and more altruistic.
At a point, everything coming from Buhari’s mouth tends to weaken his stand. Look at the issue of “I have never touched a kobo of public funds”. PDP’s answer to this would be that he has never worked. Could it not have been true that in his years as head of state, he was perhaps inside weeping for this nation while Tunde Idiagbon was out there doing the whole work and touching the whole money?
In the face of all this, who still wants a weeping President?
In the world out there, this country has come a long way, from Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa who was regarded as the Golden Voice of Africa; to a military head of state in the late 1970s who, on the floor of the United Nations General Assembly, could not read a prepared speech beyond the fourth line. And thank God, we have just narrowly obviated an opportunity to elect a weeping President!