August 2, 2018

The chicken has come home to roost

By Chuks Iloegbunam
I KNEW that Muhammadu Buhari didn’t represent any sort of change with the tiniest chance of improving the lot of Nigerians. I knew also that people of my education and perspective knew that to have a man with scant redeeming qualities at the helm of Nigerian affairs would represent a tragic setback for the entity. It didn’t surprise me, though, that during 2015 a legion of informed Nigerians ate up incredible media space promoting as sterling what they knew or ought to have known was meretricious. It was all Buhari blah, blah; Buhari blah, blah, blah; Buhari blah, blah, blah, blah.

Well, the chickens since came home to roost. There had been an American flank to the nauseating valorization of mediocrity. We all always knew that once a Nigerian got educated in the United States or claimed to have got educated in the United States, he or she automatically became all-knowing – against the backdrop of all the nonentities they left behind in Nigeria for the trans-Atlantic flight that invariably transformed every sojourner into a genius. On and on, week in and week out, these infallible characters kept churning out tonnes of anti-Jonathan diatribe and fabulous episodes on their messiah.

As things have turned out, their vaunted messiah has recklessly careened the ship of state to the edge of the precipice. One more gratuitous step and the Plummet button would have been pressed for the unstoppable descent into utter chaos. But, guess what. The loud-speaking and intolerant Diaspora experts and their homegrown counterparts have all but fallen silent, their vocal cords lacerated and their tongues of chicanery incinerated. Shame, if they ever had that human emotion, never allowed them a moment to apologize for their contribution to the national swindle that showed up in the form of a middling ex-soldier from the North West geopolitical zone.

How come that folks dressed in military fatigues massacres over 300 human beings (Shiite only refers to the peculiarity of their Islam) without Nigerian voices rising as one to proclaim the inhumanity beyond toleration? That was enough impetus to lay into unarmed Biafran agitators and turn them into cannon fodder. And then the farce of their fight against corruption became acutely brazen. Those of them with forged credentials received the green light to keep flaunting them. Mountainous allegations of corruption against their party chairman, corroborated with affidavits, elicited less than the stir of the little finger. Judicial injunctions homed straight into trash cans.

So far – that is more than three years after he mounted the saddle of power – the man has held the monthly live TV Meet the Press programme only once. Thus, his questionable actions and ineluctable gaffes are never interrogated. The citizenry has never been let into the details of the mysterious health condition that detained him last year in the United Kingdom for more than 100 days. More, the country is considered unworthy of learning the number of billions from the national coffers that financed the hospitalization in Europe of this man who, as presidential candidate, pronounced anathema on flying bigwigs abroad for medical attention.

He belongs to all. And he belongs to none. Sounds like dilettantish attempt at penning doggerel. Yet, he incessantly demonstrates a predilection of partiality to those that “elected” him. He has promoted nepotism way above the giddy sky-highness of impunity. He has created an atmosphere that enables the heaviness of coercive force on franchise and independence seekers. It’s almost as though it’s never occurred to their Let’s Pretend Circle that uniform, whether of the military or the Police, has its day, which must pass – just like the acrid stench of malodorous fart, and that even the trigger, despite the resounding report and attendant devastation that follows its pulling, belongs but to a date beyond which it is detached from reckoning. The man simply plods on, his puppeteers permanently in negation of the intruding thought that they could someday stand in line to memorably welcome the insistent visitor often baldly referred to as Comeuppance.

Thus, for endless months running into endless years, heavily-armed herdsmen and their ilk roar from countryside to countryside, serving the innocent and the vulnerable a changeless diet of looting, burning, massacring and land annexation, while the C-in-C emits the absurdity that the only panacea to their encircling genocide is prayers! When people condone this atrocity for whatever reason, do they remain people or do they become non-people?

While an answer is thought up for this question, there are just two more thoughts: (1) While Pinochet draped Chile in tyranny, a Spanish lawyer assiduously took notes in Madrid. When, long after uniform and bullets, Pinochet strayed into London, the long arms of the law enveloped him in a legal embrace. Saddam Hussein fared far worse. (2) Shortly after the IRA started its guerilla warfare of the Northern Ireland Troubles, other such forces sprouted that spelt pinewood-for-pinewood (euphemism for coffins) through the next 25 years – until a Tony Blair, assisted by a Bill Clinton and a few others brokered a peace deal.

Mr. Iloegbunam, a commentator on national issues,wrote from Lagos.