By Dele Sobowale
“Whatever a man prays for, he prays for a miracle; every prayer reduces itself to this: Great God grant that twice two not be four.” Ivan Turgenev, 1818-1883—(VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, VBQ, P 198).
Madam, I read your appeal in the newspapers on Sunday, February 12, 2017 asking Nigerians that “We should not relent in our prayers and good deed” for President Buhari. As far as I am concerned, the fact that he is your husband is not entirely relevant. Like John Donne, 1571-1631, it is my belief that “Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved with mankind.” I will never pray for your husband’s death – or that of any other man for that matter.
However, I am a leader in a prayer house established in 1939 called the MASSEY MORNING DAILY PRAYING BAND, MMDPB, located at 2, Massey Street, Lagos Island, where every blessed morning people gather at 5.50 am until 6.30 am to pray for themselves as well as others. Permit me to say that, although I don’t wear it on my sleeves and try to make money out of it, I have a gift for occasional prophecy. I will need two or three more pages to list some of the prophecies I have made on these pages. But the one that should be of interest to you are the series on “OPEN LETTER TO MRS TURAI YAR’ADUA in 2009. You can request for them from VANGUARD office if you like and determine for yourself whether or not this is another charlatan writing. Mrs Yar’Adua ignored all the warnings in those letters and the consequences have become part of our history.
Massey praying band had already started praying for Buhari, for reasons to be disclosed shortly, but there is a problem which requires your attention and guidance. We strongly believe that people should be careful about their prayer requests; otherwise they might have their prayers answered and regret later. We expect anyone to be clear about what the prayer points will be.
In the case of President Buhari, asking people to pray for him is to us not as advisable as it appears. Different individuals, all over Nigeria, and the world will offer what they regard as the appropriate prayer for Buhari. Surprisingly, most of them might not be the prayers Buhari wants offered to Allah on his behalf.
As an incumbent President, it is safe to assume that he wants his health restored so that he can return to office to complete the rest of the term. It can also be safely assumed that he would want to leave a positive legacy – meaning leave Nigeria better than he found it, at the end of the term. Let me stick my neck out and state that it is in the interest of all well-meaning Nigerians that both of those prayers should be answered. The consequences of the failure of our collective prayers on those two prayer points had better not be contemplated. Even his most ardent political opponents must agree that there is no better alternative than Buhari finishing this term on a positive note. I personally have hope and pray everyday for those two to happen despite the difficulties we face at the moment.
Given some similarities in the cases involving Yar’Adua and Buhari some people might take the attitude that Yar’Adua departed without finishing his term and the skies did not fall, so why make a fuss over Buhari completing his own? I totally agree with the first part of the question. Nothing significant occurred when Yar’Adua left us. But, I disagree with the underlying impression that we will have another peaceful transition if Buhari “steps aside”. The reason is simple. Yar’Adua was not as crucial to the Peoples Democratic Party’s, PDP, victory in 2007 as Buhari was to the All Progressive Congress, APC, in 2015. The PDP could have fielded Makarfi, Attah, Kwakanso etc and the party still would probably have won. The opposition was so weak then. By contrast, the APC was in opposition and nobody would seriously dispute that the party would have lost the 2015 election if anybody else but Buhari was the presidential candidate. Furthermore, Yar’Adua’s departure did not lead immediately to the dis-integration of the PDP; that came latter. Buhari’s departure, for any reason whatsoever, will break the APC into warring camps. So, the nation needs Buhari, at least until 2019, more than he needs us. He, meanwhile, needs Allah. That is why we will pray in our small church for him to last the distance.
Difficulties will arise if the request for prayer covers other matters other than the two listed above. One such possibility is prayer for second term. Constitutionally, Buhari, like any other elected President is entitled to run for a second term. Already, his current term had created a large pool of beneficiaries who want him to continue in order for them to continue to benefit. Given their selfish interest, they are not prepared to contemplate one term for Buhari – even if it means that, like Yar’Adua, he will be carried out feet first. Like vultures, these individuals, feeding on carrion, don’t give a damn if, bowing to medical advice, Buhari like President Mandela decides that one term is enough. Their predecessors, including some of our media colleagues, kept on deceiving Nigerians and perhaps Yar’Adua that he was indispensable long after the man had become a vegetable. They forget that all lies, with respect to human life, have expiry dates.
If Yar’Adua had been a Christian, it was quite possible that the cabal holding him could have concealed his death for weeks. Allah was greater than all the liars. Yar’Adua, being Muslim, had to be buried within 24hours. End of conspiracy of lies. Are Nigerians also supposed to start praying for the second term when the burden of office is obviously proving too heavy to carry for a man close to 74; who will be close to 76 in 2019 and close to 80 in 2023? One of the lessons I learnt taking a course in Demographics, as an undergraduate in the university, in America, concerned what Omar Khayyam, 1123AD, called “the moving finger” which moves on relentlessly. Such is the life of every human being. Everyone gets older and weaker. There is absolutely no reason to think that a man weakly labouring under a burden at 74 will be better able to shoulder it at 80. So what should be the prayer point? That he should go home and rest at 76 or suffer more until 80?
Let me close this part of what might turn out to be a series. We will pray for Buhari to return to office able to undertake the assignments of the President of Nigeria until 2019 and to finish his term with positive legacies which will for ever constitute his own foot prints on the sands of our time. Nothing else.
WHY SHOULD NIGERIA EXTRADITE KASHAMU TO THE US?
“Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel”, Dr Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784—(VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, VBQ, p 182).
Apart from the National Drug law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, the only other person eager to ship off Senator Kashamu Buruji to the United States, hoping he will never return, is a former President, self-righteous, hypocritical, and eternally ungrateful to those who ever helped him. When Dimka struck and late Murtala Mohammed was assassinated, a certain individual ran away and hid in the house of an Ijesha Chief until more courageous men confronted the coup plotters and defeated them. Then, like professional soldiers, they went in search of the cowardly officer who was to take charge of government from 1976 to 1979. As far as I am concerned, they should have left the yellow-belly fellow under the bed where he was hidden. It is this coward who is spear-heading the effort to repatriate Kashamu to the US just because he wants to settle personal scores disguised as patriotism with Kashamu. We should not let him have his way.
Before going further, let me state without any fear of contradiction that I have never met nor have any dealings with the Senator. I doubt if he will be recognizable to me if we meet on the street. But, Kashamu is a Nigerian and he deserves all the support he can get from fellow Nigerians when under siege by foreigners. That is why this defence is being undertaken. In fact, the man’s political affiliation, the PDP, should ordinarily disqualify him from consideration for support from me – given the atrocities the party had perpetrated since 1999. But, it was the Americans themselves who taught me in their universities that “all politics ends at the border”. When it is Kashamu versus US, I stand by Kashamu or any other Nigerian. Let me give just two reasons.
It is a fact that the US will never repatriate any American citizen to any other country to face charges for crimes however heinous. In their arrogance of morality, the Americans don’t believe in the judicial system of any other nation; neither do they believe that Americans will get justice outside the US. If the US will not send an American citizen to answer to charges in Nigeria, why should Nigeria send Kashamu to the US to answer to dubious charges? Where is the reciprocity here? Are we so enslaved to the US that we must obey their instructions on our citizens?
That was a long-held position of mine until the most recent events in America concretized them.