I read Japheth Omojuwa and Ayokunle Odekunle ‘s pieces and might I say that it’s rather odd how easily we’ve latched on to these reductive descriptors?
President Buhari won the Twitter vote. Yes, I know, elections are not won on Twitter, etc. We get it. I was amongst those who dared to believe that Buhari understood the issues at hand and he’d get right to addressing them, I was under no illusions about him being the man to move us forward as such, rather one who’d suture our national wounds and staunch the bleeding. But, he appears to have been surrounded by a coterie of praise singers whose mission is to shield the president from the ‘facts on ground’, as it were. The truth as they see it starts and ends with identifying the president’s enemies and his well-wishers. Given how openly self interested our politicians are, these people are often two sides of the same coin. Then there are the wailers; those to whom Buhari’s upright posture is a sign of an overwhelming conspiracy to perpetuate him and his likes in power, a truth they’re prevented from revealing due to an unfairly deferential (social) media.
Our two commenters occupy either side of this aisle, in some manner.
Odekunle’s chutzpah is understandably galling though; he was a warrant chief of the vocal group who refused to acknowledge overt wrongs by erstwhile president Jonathan save for mealymouthed mutterings. Where Odekunle does get it right is, we watched our counterparts prance in their ideological (or is it financial?) Resource Control hats whilst offering no logical reason(s) for GEJ to be returned as president – don’t you mention those damned trains!. Now, the stage is being manned by those whose Kubes (those natty Northern hats) belie their emptiness – “Sai baba-ing” at every achievement real and or imagined and there aren’t many of those (a personal sliver of hope for me is the trial of the current senate president. Wizard/witch hunt or not. Even if na witch hunt sef; a witch wey dem catch with fresh human leg for mouth fit cry say na ‘unjust persecution’?) anyways, we move.
If Odekunle and his ilk were roundly criticised for their obsequious support for Jonathan, why can’t he do the same now? Is gander sweeter than goose? See, Buhari has been a disappointment thus far, no matter how one dices it. From his misinformed position re the Naira’s defence, to his sluggish delay in his appointing his ministers, the budget debacle, his inability to empathise with current hardships Nigerians face. I am wailing – okay, not wailing sha, because those are the ones who complained, erroneously,
that Buhari sat in front of the wrong name plate at an international conference.
Think of Odekunle then, not the man but his ‘political style’, as a prototype, the kind which needs refinement to find its actual purpose. We saw it in full effect, we condemned it, why then should the same tactics be employed now by those who support the president for whatever reason? Omojuwa is playing possum with the issue, Buhari needs to hear from us, loudly too. There is nothing to applaud and even less to be hopeful for right now, we have a president who appears to be more interested in hob-nobbing with world leaders than confronting the problems he fought so hard to be allowed to fix. Literal wailing isn’t far fetched right and now, ideological wailing or hailing, even in their jarring gleefulness must be allowed to find a space at the table. Their proponents will be tackled and challenged with counter arguments or a simple baring of facts, right?
Our allegiance has to be to Nigeria, not men of no discernible ideology. We cannot counter every criticism levelled against Buhari by saying Jonathan did worse, yes he did and that’s why he’s not currently hanging his hat on a door knob of his choosing at Aso Rock, you get me?
Clearly, Omojuwa himself is trying on for size the shoes Odekunle stumbled about in just over a year ago, or ‘maggi-ing sour soup’. Fellas, are we not bored?
This really isn’t an either or argument, we have to show that we’ve taken lessons from our conduct during GEJ’s time, those are depths we must never really sink to again. So, how do we stop that? Buhari has in essence dissociated himself from the APC’s manifesto – A document which a lot of us proudly touted as evidence of the APC’s intention for Nigeria. Where does that leave our complex expectations? Is he addressing the needs of our specific constituency? The unfairness of our university admissions process, the unavailability of good broadband internet, the lack of jobs, the difficulty in starting small businesses etc. That discarded document addressed a lot of these ideas, why? Because young people worked on it, I’d hate to say we’ve been suckered (despite everything I said above, every time my disappointment in Buhari bites, I just think, it could have been GEJ again!) but the president is obviously FAR removed from the issues that specifically affect us.
So, to paraphrase Achebe; let Wailers wail, let the Hailers hail, which ever says no to the other, may his Twitter account be blocked. But, when all that is done, remember our currently empty petrol tanks and our depleted national treasury. Ours is the largest voting bloc, but it appears we’re not quite ready to exorcise the ghosts that made us so vulnerable either way in 2015.