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Banks of the Rubicon

Nigeria is blessed with so many things. These include a capacity for amnesia unsurpassed anywhere in the world.
Our parlous national memory rivals the depth of ruinous abuse that the rulers visit on the ruled. Some years ago, we vowed never again to be governed by the men in Khaki only to turn over governance right away to just a retired soldier. The same man who left panting in 1979 was begged back in 1999. No new leadership idea in the whole of 20 years. Two decades of standing in one spot.
Today, 30 years after the nation heaved a sigh of relief at his exit, some Nigerians insist Muhammadu Buhari is the only available solution.
This piece is however provoked by a rather different kind of symmetry.
The people who want Buhari are approximately the same guys who four years ago clamoured for Nuhu Ribadu. Only a few people saw then that the fellow was not presidential timber in any way, a prognosis he himself has proved so eloquently over time.
The major plank for Buhari’s contention is some unproven capacity for organization and personal credibility. His sympathisers point so raucously at his record in public office as a military commander, minister, head of state and head of the Petroleum Trust Fund. His lean purse is another factor. Buhari, according to the records, has no more than two houses and a few cows.
The guy is also gifted with a scraggy body build and an elegant oval face.
He must be very honest indeed. This is indeed a story for another day.
It is the 2011 contest that provokes this scripture … Nigerians especially Yoruba sympathizers of the Action Congress of Nigeria, [now All People’s Congress], stand in danger of being accused of refusing to do a post-mortem of a most spectacular political incident. That electoral year, the first poll had already predicted an uncertain ending for the presidential race.
The incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan, Muhammadu Buhari and Nuhu Ribadu seemed to be heading for a deadlocked poll that would not produce a clear winner.
Overnight, a meeting was held in Abuja which changed the configurations.
Voters of the South West with predominantly ACN sympathy obviously on instruction, voted PDP. Osun State for some curious reason, stood out.
There must be something to be said about the conviction and credibility of people who could be persuaded to summarily abandon their candidate overnight without the flimsiest logical excuse. It stands to reason then that there must have been an overwhelming basis for the predominantly ACN voters of the South West to accept dumping a candidate they thought was a paragon of probity. The Yoruba man is never good at turning his back to probity.
The Monday morning agreement was certainly targeted at stopping Buhari.
Today, four years later, the people who wanted to stop Buhari now want to fight to the dead to enthrone Buhari. Only in politics do you have such stupendous summersaults.
However, the true state of the soul is often revealed in the heat of such anachronism.
It is sheer laziness to escape this Gordian knot by putting the factor down to horse trading. I don’t think Tinubu singularly masterminded the spectacle of 2011. And neither do I think it was a policy of the party. Indeed, my kinsmen in Osun rebelled without negative consequences against the Monday morning accord.
Who then wanted and rented the Monday morning accord? Has he changed his mind about Buhari? These are questions we must all rue and unlock. Very fast. Before the electoral officers return to their booths. Happy new year in advance.



*This was published in the Daily Times dated Tuesday, December 30, 2014

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