Op’Ed: THE FURY AGAINST BUHARI (AND SARAKI)

Through acts of apparent duplicity and unmitigated incompetence bordering on abdication, General Buhari and a conniving and dangerous wing of his party, the APC, have, in a twinkle of an eye, transformed the celebratory victory of the Nigerian people over the ruinous kleptocracy of the despair-inspiring PDP and its owners into an uncertain period of national mourning and gloom. The high expectations that characterized the immediate post-election period have overnight ominously given way to clouds of melancholic suspicion and cynicism the angst and fury of which are rightly directed against mainly the president whose contrived aloofness and bungling sinecure have provided both comfort and temerity to the gangster-style impunity of an increasingly insolent and rabid Bukola Saraki and his PDP sponsors led by David Mark and the cast of fellow desperadoes whose consistently bad ways were responsible for their repudiation at the polls by the overwhelming majority of the Nigerian electorate.

Surely, any serious government should be worried by the loss of confidence in it on the part of the citizenry and the new Buhari administration ought to be doubly worried that quite early in their mandate, they stand the risk of irremediably alienating especially the common man through deeds of omission or commission that portray them as either untrustworthy or simply irresponsible.

By far the single most disastrous consequence of the truant conduct by Buhari and a segment of the APC that aided the ascendancy of a questionable character like Saraki as senate president is the threat to the popular mandate of change that was accorded the APC by the masses. With his unsavory track record of sleazy dealings spanning at least two decades, the illegitimate senate president has, in the eyes of many, come to symbolize corruption and debilitating turpitudes. Coupled with the crooked and undemocratic manner of Saraki’s PDP-sponsored imposition, his emergence and that of his alter ego, Ike Ekweremadu, a potent totem of the PDP’s reactionary politics of myopic sectarianism, banditry and profligacy, are bound to negate the progressive orientation of the APC’s change narrative. The June 9 antics of Saraki, his fellow renegades and their PDP allies do constitute an anti-climax whose objective is to thwart and render useless the visionary articles contained in the APC’s change manifesto. This is a very worrying development requiring that patriotic and conscientious citizens strive, as a matter of urgency, to undo its horrendous damage, for the sake of the nation.

To dramatically and forcefully signal the first major danger of the Saraki coup of June 9, the country is observing a troubling and untimely metamorphosis of the defeated PDP from its post-election whimpering and “trauma of defeat” posture to its now vantage position of triumphalist cheast-beating . With the terrible destruction inflicted on the nation by sixteen years of a most decadent and depraved PDP misrule, the legitimate expectation of the average Nigerian had always been that the PDP would either disintegrate completely and remain buried forever or, alternatively, suffer painful penance and, like a phoenix, rise from the ashes of its political debacle or demise by way of redemptive purgatory that would make it a truly pro-people vehicle for societal mobilization and good governance. Quite ironically, though, the unfortunate failure of the APC hierarchy to assume its responsibilities by, amongst other things, mismanaging the composition of the leadership of the National Assembly where it ought to automatically hold sway on account of its majority status, the PDP are remorselessly rejoicing, at the expense of the majority that voted them out of political reckoning. The sad and infuriating spectacle of especially Saraki, Ekweremadu and their PDP sponsors engaging in their trade mark frolicking and denigration of the citizenry is just too horrifying to bear. Nigerians are currently in a state of daze. Their justifiable anger and renewed sense of malaise cannot be underestimated. It would be a grave mistake for Buhari and his administration to pretend that they are not acutely perturbed or aware of the ignoble way and manner Saraki and his allies have so devastatingly damaged the change agenda of the APC and by so doing, once more made the entire Nigerian people, Buhari included, the laughing stock of the entire world. President Buhari in particular cannot afford to continue hiding behind the convenient pretext of wanting to stay above the fray when the Nigerian house is on fire – a fire that was deliberately set by unrepentant scavengers and destroyers of our commonwealth. He should show that he has balls and is willing and capable of wielding the big stick as the situation does demand. Saraki and his soul mates have so far consistently demonstrated that they are willing to go to any indecent and unpatriotic lengths in order to achieve their retrogressive ambition of pro-status quo paralysis that benefits themselves and all those whose actions (or inactions) have all but ruined Nigeria.

It is the indefatigable and politically astute ex-governor of Kano State and now senator, Rabiu Kwankwanso, who rightly opined only last week that the Saraki coup at the Senate is a direct threat to the Buhari government and the country as a whole. The reckless and irresponsible conduct by the illegitimate senate president has proved Kwankwanso correct. Soon after that coup, Saraki irrationally closed the Senate for two weeks. It re-opened for business on Tuesday, June 23. But no business has been conducted as Saraki and his co-conspirators have continued to indulge in their puerile, irresponsible and self-serving shenanigans. Barely two days after, Saraki has again locked up the Senate and dispersed the legislators who have been asked to resume on July 21! This is the height of madness. The profligate Saraki should be made to understand once and for all that Nigeria is not his estate and that trampling on the legitimate aspirations of the people the way he and his sponsors are doing does have its limits. President Buhari should react to this latest transgression on the part of the Saraki gang by showing, if for nothing else, that he and his government are not in connivance with Saraki and co. who may be suspected of providing a convenient alibi for the president’s tardiness in, for instance, forming his cabinet. Saraki and his allies cannot be allowed to continue to brazenly toy with the destiny of the nation without any countervailing influences of the moral majority – the one that massively voted for real change – rising to challenge and decisively defeat them.

The Buhari presidency has been badly indented by the Saraki coup. Let’s make no mistake about that. The apparent inability of Mr. President and his éminence grise to deal a fatal blow to Saraki’s lunacy and impudence has portrayed both his administration and his party as being in a state of disarray while the country must now grapple with the odium of being under the stranglehold of a visionless, power-hungry and deadly gang of soulless usurpers hell bent on negating the salvation of the Nigerian people.

At another level too, Saraki, his fellow coup plotters and sponsors are making a mockery of Nigeria and Nigerians. Worse, their reckless and irresponsible conduct is negatively affecting the economic climate, with potential foreign investors reportedly continuing to avoid Nigeria in the understanding that nothing has substantially changed from the locust years of the impunity-seeking PDP kleptocracy.

Buhari’s seeming weakness and obvious truancy have mostly been responsible for precipitating the PDP-inspired anti-people coup led by the demonically ambitious Saraki. The president’s whimpiness, not to mention his irresponsible laissez-faire attitude to executive authority, has offered a moral cum-political vacuum that allowed a sinister coalition of depraved, reprobate pols, acting in conjunction with mercenary influences of the fuel subsidy and financial wavers hue, to regroup in a desperate bid for political revanchism aimed at demoralizing and scattering the very democratic forces of the nation who had for nearly a decade tirelessly and patriotically laboured to usher in the progressive change that the country voted for a few months ago. Buhari and the so-called Northern establishment have so far failed to seize the opportunity offered by the APC victory in the North, including especially in the North-Central zone, also known as the Middle-Belt. That opportunity is the re-forging of Northern unity (and by extension that of the whole country) on the basis of equity and fairness that takes into consideration the region’s ethno-religious and cultural configuration. If Buhari and the entire leadership of the party had done what was expected of them by eschewing pettiness and the dubious appeal of primordial loyalties of whatever guise, the diversionary and unnecessary byzantine quarrels would most probably have been avoided. Not to have done the needful has damaged the nation’s unity and cohesion. Moreover, the Christian and ethnic minorities of the Middle-Belt deserve to be rewarded for the very significant role its leaders like Senator Akume did play in the decisive victory of the party in the last elections, not to mention their active contribution in the sustenance of democracy in the country in general.

The APC must quickly do the needful by undoing the great harm inflicted on the polity by the Saraki/PDP coup. President Buhari should be seen as leading the way in that regard. Those desperate and visionless pols who have reportedly chosen to grotesquely put their narrow and selfish ambition above the nation’s stability and democratic advancement, all in the name of allegedly angling ahead of 2019, must be told to perish their reckless impulses. It is not too late to do the right thing. The right thing to do is to save Nigerian democracy (and what that entails) by seeing to it that the impostors and usurpers don’t have the last say.

Aonduna Tondu.

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