By Akin OluKiran
I had just returned from a 25-year sojourn in the United Kingdom when the campaign that swept President Muhammadu Buhari into power was at its peak. Listening to him and his single-minded focus on ending corruption in the country got me convinced that his was coming to sanitise the system. His Campaign issue sat well with me, as it did, millions of Nigerians. I felt, anyone but Jonathan and his brigands would suffice. His seeming sincerity and conviction as encapsulated in his famous quote that “if we don’t kill corruption, it will kill us” just blew us all away. I for one, believe that corruption is the bane of our national development. I was sanguine and felt that we at last have a politician who, having tried three times previously, has a genuine interest of this country at heart and cares about the common good. A politician who is prepared to bring the country together to unleash its much talked about potential.
I joined millions of Nigerians in canvassing for votes for PMB and in voting in President Muhammadu Buhari with the sole expectation of Change! With PMB at the helms, we believed that the country was now faced with a new political reality. It was no longer going to be business as usual under PMB. This is the change for which Nigerians voted. I was very happy about this and I was hoping that his election would make our elective offices financially unattractive, thus weeding out a whole generation of reprobate politicians who are self-serving, impudent, saucy, uncouth, unscrupulous and nauseatingly covetous, subsisting as parasitic and exploitative burdens upon the rest of hard-working Nigerian masses.
How wrong have we found our judgements! As a friend recently said, “we don enter one chance”. I feel duped. I feel used. I feel my intelligence and sixth sense assaulted. I feel betrayed! Two and a half years on, I am still coming to terms with the magnitude of his betrayal. For a long while, I was in denial. I thought PMB needed some time and I wrote an article castigating Nigerians for their impatience. The catalogue of his administration’s infamy and brazen display of nepotism, economic incompetence, political immaturity and ethnic insensitivity is summed up in the composition of the country’s national security leadership. To discover that the heads of all the security agencies from the Minister of Defence, NIA, Customs, Immigration, Police, DSS, Army, Air Force, Interior Minister, through to the National Security Adviser are all from the North smacks of utter contempt for the rest of us who voted for “Change”. As a friend of mine from Kaduna jokingly said, he wondered if National Security meetings are conducted in Hausa or English language! For me, to be this insensitive is at best, indicative of the President’s psychopathic condition or at worst, his commitment to a preconceived Fulani hegemonic agenda.
I find the President’s response to the issue of Fulani herdsmen astounding, the lack of any traction in the fight against corruption infuriating and the lopsided appointments sickening. For me, PMB’s body language and actions on the fight against corruption have given the signals of a man whose music has changed. Of course, the dance too has changed as those who were afraid in the first few months of his administration are now emboldened to continue in their accustomed dirty paths of corrupt practices. Nigeria needs to be rescued from the clutches of these political hypocrites who have nothing to offer us other than some ethnic promotion agenda. This makes me to wonder, like millions of Nigerians in the Diaspora and at home what happened to the likes of former Governor of Cross River State – Donald Duke. This is a man who had proven his mettle and who has so much to offer this great country. Forgetting politics of ethnic leaning which has not led us anywhere, this is the kind of patriotic and informed Nigerian we need to encourage to come out of the woodwork and raise his head above the parapet and join other true visionary compatriots to rescue Nigeria.
For me, the APC’s glaring U-turn on their tough stance on corruption, the President’s blatant ethnic biases and so many other policies do not just feel like standard political hypocrisy, they feel like a personal betrayal and an assault on my person. And clearly, this feeling is shared by millions of Nigerians across the land, including those from the North! 2019 presents Nigerians the opportunity to right the wrongs of 2015. As they say in pidgin English: Nigerians, abeg shine una eyes o!
Akin Olukiran is a political and social commentator and can be reached on [email protected]