By Emeka Obasi
Politicians love tension and the hypertension that follows it. All over Nigeria, electoral hyperactivity is in the air. Those who are heating up the polity may end up in frustration for I see President Muhammadu Buhari doing the unexpected.
Buhari will be the last Civil War veteran to rule the country. I do not see him creating chaos for another crisis and I am convinced that henceforth the president is in charge of himself. He knows his successor, there is nothing like Cabal here.
I am sure we all remember how Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo’s successor emerged in 2007. It was believed that a Southerner would succeed him. Rivers State governor, Dr. Peter Odili was heavily loaded for the task. From the blues, a Northerner, Umaru Musa Yar’adua was anointed.
The same scenario will play up. I have noticed that Mr. President has become more assertive politically in recent times and looks healthy enough to issue directives that will not be flouted. I now understand why he bamboozled everyone on inauguration.
When that quote: ‘I am for everybody, I am for nobody,’ went viral in 2015, many did not see the philosopher in Buhari. The man will show it just before he takes a bow. His course mates say he was a good marathoner. Now I understand better.
All those who have taken the Presidency as a sprint will crash out before time. Buhari’s successor will be one who was anonymous as the race hit the 100 metres mark. He was not reckoned with as the quarter mile was achieved.
Gradually, the next President is forging ahead. Some of those who began the race early are losing steam. Slow and steady, the victor will emerge. A good marathoner does not burn out in the early stages. He does not smile first. He who smiles last, remember, smiles best.
I will try and decode Buhari. The North wanted him in 2015. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan read the hand writing on the wall and walked out of Aso Villa. Mr. President came and has done so much for Northern Nigeria. It is too late for anyone from that part to complain.
The South-West played a huge role in Buhari’s ‘Second Missionary Journey.’ While relying entirely on Northern votes or picking a South-East running mate did not help previously, romance with the Yoruba yielded dividends. His government has been generous to the West.
Chief Moshood Abiola was an Egba Yoruba, from Abeokuta. He could have become President of Nigeria. His friends in the military made sure it did not happen. After his arrest, an Abeokuta man, Chief Ernest Shonekan became President through the backdoor.
Following Abiola’s death in 1998, Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo, from Abeokuta ruled for eight years (1999-2007). MKO’s brothers forgot to right the wrongs of June 12. Those who came after them as presidents: Alhaji Umaru Yar’adua and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan were not bold enough to acknowledge the supposed winner of the 1993 Presidential elections.
Buhari came and took a bold and decisive step. Abiola was decorated, posthumous, and elevated to the rank of President. The National Stadium, Abuja was named after the late pillar of sports in Africa.
The South-East will continue to complain until fair play is applied. And Buhari knows it. We may not see his role in the construction of a second bridge across the Niger but it is happening under him. The same man completed Zik’s Memorial.
There is one atonement that may pacify the South- East. Maj. Gen. Buhari sacked the government of President Shehu Shagari and Vice President Alex Ekwueme, on December 31, 1983. It is remarkable that the duo died during Buhari’s time as president.
Ekwueme was the first to go, on November 19, 2017. Buhari gave the Okoh, Anambra man a befitting heroic funeral. Shagari departed on December 28, 2018. Probably because of religion, his burial was not celebrated as that of his vice.
When Buhari struck just as we were preparing for New Year resolutions, Ekwueme was taken to Bonny camp by troops led by Maj. Mustapha Jokolo. The Igwe of Mbaukwu, P.N. Anokwu and the Vice President’s cousin, Aneto Okeke tried to see him, they were turned back.
Chief Joe Ifedobi, Okosisi of Akpo, hired a lorry and moved Ekwueme’s belongings to Okoh. The Vice President would have succeeded Shagari in 1987 if Buhari and the Beret Boys did not strike. Ekwueme remained in detention all through the Buhari dictatorship.
This Buhari has a way of correcting the wrongs of the past. The Eagles, African champions in 1994, could not get the houses promised them by Gen. Sani Abacha. Now those players, dead and alive, are proud landlords, thanks to PMB.
Dr. Chuba Okadigbo became a Buharist in 2003. He got more than a dose of teargas. Nearly two decades later, his son Pharaoh died in a crash in Abuja. Buhari was in mourning. Senator May Okadigbo, presently heads the board of the NNPC.
Buhari has a parting gift for the South. We have an unprecedented number of candidates jostling for his job. Mr. President is not a job man ( trickster). He knows what to do, at the appropriate time. Abubakar Malami is moving to Kebbi. It is a good sign for the South.