By JESUTEGA ONOKPASA
Apart from his recent June 12 gimmick, President Muhammadu Buhari had hitherto never mentioned MKO Abiola or even June 12 in any positive light. In any case, since Sanni Abacha who stole Abiola’s mandate and whom Buhari happily, thankfully and gratefully worked for remains Buhari’s hero, then that same Buhari cannot deserve any moral credit on account of anything he does about June 12, however laudable.
The bitter truth is that the only viable explanation for his sudden volte face is that Buhari, seeing his Northern hegemony in tatters in the Middle Belt thanks to his rampaging cattle herding kinsmen and clearly perceiving himself to be a drowning man, now finds himself clutching to Abiola (whom he hitherto never showed any regard for) and to June 12 (which he hitherto never expressed any fidelity to) for sheer survival.
For whatever Buhari’s positives might actually amount to, any emotionally detached scrutiny of his antics is likely to leave anyone quite disappointed at the fellow. Even those very few and far between laudable ideas that may chance to occur to him from time to time, his clannishness, nepotism, provincialism and religious bias end up conspiring to render bizarrely corrupt at every turn. The man seems pitiably incapable of doing any decent thing with any degree of sustained decency and it is as though some dark and very mischievous spectre lurks around him to twist his hands into ruining everything they touch.
MKO Abiola once said: “Kingibe is a slave of money. The day I picked him as my Deputy, I started paying him the salary and allowances of a Vice President. Still, he dumped the struggle and became Foreign Affairs Minister under the beneficiary of injustice done to us….a man like that can sell his mother for cash.”
It is this same Babangana Kingibe, the man who betrayed Abiola, his boss – the same Kingibe who, as President Umaru Yar’Adua’s Secretary to the Government of the Federation, tried to scheme himself into power when Yar’Adua once fell ill and was flown abroad for treatment (and for which reason Yar’Adua and Jonathan promptly sacked him) – that was found worthy by Buhari of a national award on account of the annulled June 12 election! And as if to add insult to injury, Buhari ensured he honoured him right beside Abiola whom he betrayed at the behest of Abacha, Buhari’s hero. Insult aside, it would appear that the only criteria for deeming Kingibe worthy of the award by Buhari is that he is a fellow core Northerner and so that not only a Yoruba man, Abiola, would have been honoured.
As for Humphrey Nwosu, he doesn’t get anything because he’s an Ibo man and while still willing to gamble that he can con Yorubas into voting for him once again in 2019, Buhari knows that contrary to the laughable bluster of already fossilized political dead woods like Rochas Okorocha and Orji Uzor Kalu, the Igbo are not giving him any more than the shorter end of his twisted 97 to 5 percent electoral stick come 2019.
As for the Niger Deltans, he would have to be living on another planet to expect in 2019, anything different from what he got from them in 2015. What he doesn’t realize is that Yorubas are a very difficult people to fool and he is only wasting his time expecting to be able to do so twice.
Even where one might admit Buhari’s June 12 surprise was a brilliant political move on his part, we cannot in any good concience pretend it was done according to any logic other than the purely Machiavellian.
In the final analysis, it would appear that “Mr. “Integrity” is learning the game, has descended into the gutter and is beginning to play his politics in the dirtiest traditions of those whose game he claimed he came to change.
To anyone for whom June 12 was a ray of light, however faint, then to that same person Buhari can only be located, hidden within the same cloud of deep darkness that sought to extinguish it’s flame. If light somehow manages to meet darkness come 2019, then I am sorry for Nigeria.
Onokpasa, a lawyer, wrote from Warri.