Again, Buhari Goes To School
“Buhari buharile owa
imanu ele army chanjile
nu Shagari ladule… change,
Change ’83. Queue up, order,
These were the words of a very popular and talented Ikwerre Eri Uvor musician late James Avunonu Wizor, alias Jimmy Conter, Eze Agala 1 of Ikwerre in his song titled “Change ‘83” released in 1984. A simple translation of the above quotation is:
“Buhari has upturned the World, the army has sent Shehu Shagari’s government home and change has come in 1983. That change involved orderliness and discipline in Nigeria”.
This song succinctly summarized General Mohammadu Buhari’s first coming as the political leader of Nigeria in 1983 through a military coup. I am sure that if Jimmy was alive today, he would have composed another song for the second coming of Buhari through a democratic means that sacked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led government on 28th March, 2015. The first Buhari’s change was anchored on the ideology of discipline due to the monumental corruption that took place in the Second Republic. His second change is yet to be galvanized into an ideology. Meanwhile, we the ordinary folks are writing to suggest what should be the ingredients of Buhari’s second change.
Many have opined that the second change should be anchored on his election promises. Therefore he must deal decisively with corruption, insecurity and provision of development infrastructure. Nigerians strongly desire that he should deal with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) including the issues of the refineries; fuel scarcity, price, subsidy and importation. The problem of fuel subsidy has become a steady disgrace and embarrassment to Nigeria.
Furthermore, Nigerians have reminded him to bring back his “War Against Indiscipline” (WAI) and that is why many are insisting that NNPC should be probed to determine how $20 billion got missing from its account as alleged by the former CBN Governor, now Emir of Kano. In fact, Nigerians are asking Buhari to do so many things within a short period because they have become thoroughly impatient with their misery largely due to bad political leadership. But Buhari, having recognized this mounting impatience, has said that his change was not going to be miraculous.
Besides what Nigerians want Buhari to do for them, there are other serious things he must do for himself first if he must succeed as Nigeria’s civilian president. First, there is a fundamental need for him to consciously re-examine and understand deeply his personality. Second, he needs to understand and know how to deal with the presidential template and paraphernalia.
On Buhari’s personality, he is like gold in the political firmament of Nigeria. But this gold is so raw and must pass through the crucibles of the furnace fire to bring out its finesse. In some way that was what Tinubu, Fayemi, etc did to him: to rebrand or refurbish him. That rebranding is not done yet, Buhari himself needs to re-examine himself more closely and compare who he was under the ANPP/CPC era and now under APC. This is his first school of change.
The second school is how Buhari will handle some socio-political issue-sentiments that invisibly rule the Office of the President. They are unwritten sensitive rules that must be handled with great care, morality and principles, otherwise they can easily cause the failure of government. For example, should government continue to fund religious pilgrimage? Should the lazy party/tribal “big boys” continue to have their dubious contracts and political patronages to avoid wrecking the ship of government? How would Buhari handle the excesses of the National Assembly? Should government have a say in the prices of goods and services, especially cost of land, rent, fuel, vehicles etc? How will Buhari handle sycophancy even in his cabinet? In fact, must things continue to be done as usual? These are some of the issues in the template and they can easily make or mar the presidency if not well handled.
We recall that Buhari has never been trained to be a civilian political leader; he was a military officer trained to protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria. But now he wants to lead and not to rule. It was because of this seeming vacuum that I wrote my first article in 2012 titled: Buhari Goes to School (see www.gamji.com ) and this was after he lost the presidential election under the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in 2011. I made the point that “… Buhari should rather not contest for the presidential election in 2015 but should proceed immediately to study Political Science (the science of state leadership) in any good university so that in the next eight years he would have been well grounded and enriched in the ideals of civil political leadership”. This was expected to assist in discovering and refining him and his political beliefs and how to achieve them as a very passionate patriotic Nigerian that he is.
In today’s article titled: “Again, Buhari Goes to School”, I want to insist that for Buhari to succeed as a civilian president of Nigeria, he needs to do a deep introspection of himself. This self study is quintessentially critical to enable him re-align his personal forces with the exogenous political, social and economic forces that invisibly rule presidential behavior in Nigeria. In Nigeria’s past, the handling of the template had actually made or marred political regimes. For example, it was the misreading of the template that made the Azikiwe-Balewa government to brutally suppress Western Nigeria and allowed the “ten percenters” have their way. This culminated in the military coup of 15th January 1966.
The presidential template and its paraphernalia did not allow Shagari to work as Shagari and this triggered the December 1983 coup that “Buharied” him out of office. Under the influence of the template, Babangida arrogantly annulled the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election and stepped aside. The second coming of Gen. Obasanjo in 1999 took the template for granted and this led him to mischievously scheme for the ill-fated Third Term Agenda. Time saved him; else he would have been disgraced out of office. It was the template that made late President Umaru Yar’Adua to feel he was stronger than Mike Tyson. I do not think that President Goodluck Jonathan understood the forces of the template when he undermined the zoning ideology of the Peoples Democratic Party (and I did warn Mr. President then in August 2010 in my article titled: “Zoning, Don’t Kill Jonathan”- see www.vanguardngr.com and www.saharareporters.com ) The other two factors in the template that nailed the PDP in 2015 include the underestimation of Boko Haram and corruption.
Buhari is an inestimable gold God has given to Nigeria for political leadership. To succeed, in the midst of the wide-yawning gap for good civil political leadership in Nigeria, he should go back to self school to study himself very well, study the presidential template and its paraphernalia and adjust himself objectively to the needful. This is a prerequisite for successfully dealing with corruption, insecurity and infrastructure gaps.