DEAR GENERAL BUHARI, NIGERIA HAS MOVED BEYOND YOUR ERA
“The length of our days is seventy years - or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow,for they quickly pass, and we fly away.” - Psalm 90:10(NIV)
General Muhammadu Buhari, was Nigeria's 7th head of state from 1983 to 1985; a child born within that period would be between 29 and 31 years old today(some having produced their own offspring). These kids(at the time) were told that “they are the leaders of tomorrow”, 31 years after their then head of state once again aspires to be president, to perhaps cement his place in history as a leader of Yesterday,Today and Tomorrow.
The scripture quoted above is apt for the situation GMB finds himself. A man who attains the age of 70, should consider himself lucky for so many reasons and should put his house in order having already groomed a successor, to take over from him. Nigeria's civil service rule makes it mandatory for all civil servants to retire at 60 years, because it is believed that at 60 plus an individual can no longer give his/her best. The above reasons explain my reservations about the candidacy of the General in the forth coming elections. At 72, contesting for a record fourth time to be president, should not be paramount in GMB mind. Aside the fact that he has failed three times already(and is likely to add one more number to that), by now the General should be able to tell Nigerians boldly “after my fifteen years of political sojourn, I present to you -----, whom I can vouch for and have nurtured to lead Nigeria, the way I would have done if I was given a second chance”; after all in leadership it is said that “a leader has not completely fulfilled that role until a successor is ready to take over”. If at 72 GMB has not found that successor, then obviously his claim to being a leader has 'k leg'.
I have heard many of GMB supporters make reference to the number of times Abraham Lincoln lost elections as the basis why GMB should keep contesting at 72 and maybe 77, what they miss or maybe deliberately refuse to mention is that Lincoln(after all the defeats) was 52 years old when he was first inaugurated as President. Another propaganda of GMB's supporters is that the man has no 'skeletons in his closet'; unfortunately those who should 'know better' like Professor Wole Soyinka and Nasir El-Rufai disagree with them.
“The grounds for which General Buhari is being promoted as the alternative choice are not only shaky, but pitifully naïve. History matters. Records are not kept simply to assist the weakness of the memory, but to operate as guides to the future...” - Wole Soyinka. What the professor is simply saying is MOVE ON Nigeria, let Buhari remain history.
As the 'Accidental Public Servant' put it “General Buhari has remained perpetually unelectable because his record as a military head of state and AFTERWARDS, is a warning that many Nigerians have wisely heeded. His INSENSITIVITY to Nigeria's diversity and his PAROCHIAL focus are already well known...”. El-Rufai's statement was made in 2010, four years after those words still echo the reality that GMB is not the shining star of a nation seeking to embrace a glorious future.
GMB at this time should follow the foot steps of the Sardauna as advised by Sheik Ahmed Gumi. In the words of the cleric “your weakness is your inability to control men(age could further worsen this weakness)”. “Good intentions are never enough”, if GMB has good intentions as he and his supporters want us to believe, he should step aside and allow this nation move to a future, far away from the ghosts of a past so terrible. If he did not groom a successor, he can start now ahead of 2019. If he decides to go ahead with his ambition(assuming he gets his party's ticket), it's all good - but the result won't be different from the last three.
Enenim Ubon is on twitter @enenimubon