… As he is still the only Different Face on the scene
By Kabiru M. Gwangwazo
I am no doubt obsessed with General Muhammadu Buhari (GMB). This is obvious to all who have been reading RIPPLES since we started our weekly chat on these pages. Like many others inexplicably obsessed with GMB and his Government and Politics. And what he does, what he doesn’t do. Plus of course, loads of things needing to be done that he hasn’t done.
Of people you have cause to relate with, some make you happy when they visit or interact with you. Some make you happy and ecstatic when they take their leave of you and your life and environment. For those of us obsessed with GMB, his attempt at a second term is all we see and root for. Those rooting for him and not in Government or benefiting from it, sure can’t be doing so as mere sycophants. After all, it is now endgame times for the government anyway. There is hardly anything, if at all, to get out of it at this stage to warrant all the obsession. It is just that he still appears the best of all available faces on the scene, warts and all.
On the other hand, for those who are tired of him, or disenchanted, they’d naturally be happiest if he doesn’t contest, talk less of return in 2019.
As member of GMB’s Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) Presidential Campaign Committee for the North West and CPC Returning Officer for Kano I scribbled some of the stuff here for an online chatgroup a few months before the 2011 General Elections.
In the scribbled notes then, my view then, as now is that in Politics you don’t have to win to make a difference. That is why for us, GMB must contest the 2019 elections.
If he wins then those who believe he is on course would have proved themselves right. If he fails, which this time is not an unlikely possibility GMB, his handlers and all of us, politicians would have learnt another lesson off of GMB. And that would be a great gain, further strengthening the democratic process proving Nigerian democracy has truly come of age. When Obasanjo defeated GMB as our candidate in ANPP of 2003, it was neither “fair, nor square” to paraphrase Elder Statesman Malam Adamu Ciroma. Sadly, then there was no PVC yet. With GMB in the 2019 race, whatever the outcome, the befuddling propaganda on all sides for and against him, truth as principal casualty that it is in all wars, would be more properly situated then.
To those notes on making a difference by participation in politics and contesting elections. GMB’s appearance in 2003 forced ANPP to become more focused. He gave ANPP the muscle to give PDP sleepless nights. PDP had to go the extra rigging mile to retain the Government, even when all independent observers knew the PDP didn’t win.
Many PDP Governors had to work much harder to return to power. For instance, Goje was allegedly rigged in, with figures from only one Gombe LG. And he later bit the fingers that worked him that rigging goal, proving PDP the nest of vipers of Bola Ige. Numerous others were to toe the Goje line.
In 2007, Buhari in the race stopped PDP from presenting its many unacceptable faces. OBJ had to look for an “acceptable” face to present. Thus the choice of Umaru Yar’adua, not Peter Odili or many of the more difficult to sell public faces for their weighty baggage.
Though PDP really couldn’t win, it was the harmless mien of Yar’adua and his docile deputy, Jonathan that were used to pacify our big-men of religion and tradition, turbans and all up north, GMB’s home base. It was Nasir el-RufaI then of the PDP who, in his public hubristic expose, then revealed the PDP strategy of getting to the opinion leaders to quieten us.
What el-Rufa’i, now APC Kaduna Governor didn’t do was tell us how many choice Abuja plots, that sold for N500m and more, each was given. One is given to think such thoughts knowing such “opinion leaders” don’t have the aching conscience of one retired Northern Military General who has a kindly Christian conscience, at age 70+.
That influential Officer and Gentleman, a respected elder of his people was reported to have doled some $100m of what he acquired from being close to and in government to orphanages and good causes. Others, non Muslims and Muslims only let their loot loose when they want to pay their way to public office, to allot more choice plots and stuff to themselves, sons, daughters and sycophantic cronies.
As in 2011, Buhari, in 2019 doesn’t have to win to impact the polity. That he won the most widely acclaimed election ever in 2015, doesn’t automatically translate to his winning next year. Especially as it is not in his character to support brazen illegalities. He definitely won’t allow an Obasanjo type declaration of Yar’adu’a’s PDP win, when Prof. Iwu announced results even as half the states hadn’t finished collation. He won’t countenance the type done in Kwara for Senator Saraki either. That is now a subject of a heated Court case seeking to jail the 2015 Kwara INEC Officer along with Saraki’s Agent.
With current developments in the Polity, assuming he wanted to GMB can’t manipulate the process. Even notorious riggers can’t do the usual, in view of the new Electoral Act. Particularly, the instantaneous electronic verification at polling units and instant uploading of votes at the polls. Even before the final count.
If GMB wins in 2019, he wins fair and square. If he loses whether fair and square or not he will have helped the Nigerian nation find its feet, the more. Of course, those of us obsessed with our GMB he is still our choice, win or lose! We are yet to see any other acceptable face on the scene. And the choice is his, to contest or not. Even if we’d rather he contests, come what may. His participation will force all other parties to look for, and present their best faces. And that is in the best interest of Nigeria and its politics.
GMB fit, good to go @ Jos ‘Road Map to Peace’ Townhall
It was so pleasing to see the General at his homecoming yesterday, Thursday evening so sharp and all together at the Plateau Road Map to Peace Townhall meeting. A most engaging GMB was so much his usual self with all the humor of a candidate he always portrays when on the hustings seeking votes. He listened to all the complaints and comments including the “wailing” Oliver Twist demands of women that he so smartly stepped around without an “oza room” reference, pleading a warning to be cautious he says he was handed. He spoke, taking each point up from notes he made personally, as speaker after speaker spewed forth demands of the President. And he seamlessly transited to his prepared speech, reminiscing of his days as GOC 3rd Armoured Division in then serene Jos from where he was summoned to be Military Head of state on December 31, 1983. Such of us Obsessed Buharists will with his so pleasant appearance in Jos, see every reason to want the General back in Aso Rock in 2019; and even yet again if it were possible.