Re: In Defence Of Buhari’s Democracy
Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails and where society becomes an organized conspiracy to oppress, neither persons nor property will be safe” Patrick Douglas (1886).
What is the problem with Nigeria's democratic rule that worries General Muhammadu Buhari so much? Is justice denied in Nigeria? Is poverty tactically or openly enforced upon the masses? Is ignorance prevailing the society especially in the north from where the General hails? Is there an organized conspiracy to torment the underprivileged, oppress the will of the populace, suppress perceived opposition and massively loot the money of the people?
For some Nigerians, Buhari is overdue for retirement from the political scene of Nigeria. His efforts, according to this group, have grown from unpopularity to unpopularity that all he needs now is to be a political oracle for consultation and not being an errand play boy in the swampy wave of Nigerian politics. Just similar to former heads of state, he would maintain relevance when the need arises.
But others believe that Buhari is a unique type of humans who prefer to die for the cause they believe in than the cause to die before them. Buhari saw or at least heard all that happened in 1999 when Nigeria returned to democratic governance – how former President Obasanjo was imposed on the people. Buhari saw all that happened in 2003 reselection processes. He saw all the political eyesores of 2007 and another electioneering lopsidedness in Nigerian politics in 2011, having participated actively in the last three political dispensations. What of Nigeria's democracy does Buhari detest?
Speaking from the mind of a frustrated patriot who, however, wishes that things should not continue the same way in Nigeria, he made a parable of the dog and baboon. Journalists, probably those who prefer the sensational aspects of speakers' speeches picked on this, thus generating another heat in the already overheated politics.
Buhari wants a democracy where justice is enforced, where poverty is suppressed, where ignorance dwindles and where society becomes an organized one for unity, peace and development, so that citizens and their properties will be safe – a government of the people, by the people and for the people, not a government against the people, upon the people and cruel to the people, at least according to his perception.
However, in defence of Buhari's democracy, many prominent Nigerians have made certain points that are relevant in resolving the political dust raised by this. It is left for posterity to judge and for the witnesses of today's politics in Nigeria to decide which way is better for the country to tow.
General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida alias IBB recently in Minna, the Niger State capital challenged journalists to go for translation training to guard against misinterpretation of viewpoints of speakers. This was at a function where seasoned journalists were present. This was surely in reference to General Buhari who spoke in Hausa language and was believed to be misquoted in the journalist's attempt to translate Buhari's statement. IBB clearly said, “I wanted to speak in Hausa but now that I see journalists here, I will speak in English because I do not want to be misinterpreted”.
Translation is a very difficult exercise and journalists should not even attempt translating people's opinions from one language to the other. That is why some well-established news outfits employ the services of specialists in different local and international languages. That is why some of the media have the local versions of their newspapers once a week at least to summarize the happenings of the week in the local dialects of their common readers.
That is why some books which have undergone series of translation from one language to the other have lost their original meanings. In every language, there are loan words which cannot be rendered into an equal meaning with a single word in another language. This is a difficult task for the translators some of who would prefer to use the words as they are, but would give an interpretation in brackets.
Former FCT Minister, Nasir el-Rufai was even harder and blunter in defence of General Buhari. el-Rufai believed that if things are allowed to continue the way they are in Nigeria today, then 2015 may never be witnessed by an entity called Nigeria. He hinged his defence for Buhari on the fact that the nation has witnessed bad elections since 1964 through 1983 and 1993, leading to the overthrow of the authorities whether at the state or federal levels.
“There is a pattern to this that people do not want to look at. That is why I was surprised when the government was trying to attack General Buhari because he said if elections in 2015 are rigged there will be violence. History has said that. So Buhari did not need to say it and it is the truth and the PDP should understand that if they rig the 2015, they will not survive the aftermath,” said el-Rufai.
Continuing, “They will not live to enjoy the fruits of their rigging. They should understand that everybody is up to his necks in anger and frustration. Take it anywhere. They need to understand that is not Buhari talking; ask any man in the street, they will tell you the same thing. All this talk about 2015, in my opinion is a distraction,” the former Abuja boss insisted.
Deputy Minority Whip and CPC House Caucus Leader, Hon. Garba Datti Muhammad took a swipe on those who seem afraid of doing the right thing in Nigerian polity. Muhammad was of the opinion that the current dangerous wave of crisis and insecurity in the North was a game plan by the Presidency to give the impression that the North is making good governance difficult for the President and discredit its leaders in order to attract sympathy from within and outside the country. He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to demilitarize the North and evolve a more civilized and technology driven strategy for security surveillance and operations.
“No matter how Buhari is despised or whatever anyone thinks about his views, he would remain unruffled, resolute, blunt, bold and daring to call a spade a spade anywhere, anytime. Whenever Buhari sneezes, the PDP catches cold and the Presidency get feverish. Therefore, if they are frightened by the dog and baboon theory, they must conduct a credible election in 2015 and we cannot be fooled again,” the CPC House Caucus Leader averred.
In a related development to journalism, the director general of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) Mike Omeri recently while receiving the leadership of Nigerian Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Zone D urged journalists to be thorough in their investigation of event before relaying them to the public, as according to him, “the more responsible the media is, the more credible it would be because foreign media rely considerably on the local ones.”
Chief Moses Oyinlayefa and Comrade Peter Izonkeme, president and secretary respectively of Izondeinyefa Renaissance Movement, in defence of General Buhari, acknowledged that Buhari spoke in Hausa language, such statements from which a translation was made into English. The translation read, “God willing, by 2015 something will happen. They either conduct a free and fair election or they go a very disgraceful way. If what happened in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would be soaked in blood”.
The group condemned the rigging of elections in any form but warned that those who desire to rule Nigeria with a view to plunder resources of the Niger Delta should be reminded that such action would be resisted in any form. Oyinlayefa and Izonkeme appealed to General Buhari to desist from making inciting statements and allow the President to concentrate on the job of governance. They said, “If President Jonathan fails to deliver on his promises in an atmosphere devoid of threats of war in the next three years, then the electorates will decide his fate in 2015.”
They threatened to deploy any necessary means to defend their OWN from any threat, in accordance with the fact that no individual, section or group(s) of Nigeria has the monopoly of violence.
In his article Nigeria: the systemic reduction which appeared on the weekend edition of Peoples Daily on May 26, 2012, Ibrahim Sulaiman was of the opinion that the Nigerian people were losing control over their political destiny to foreigners. According to him, the nation's Democracy Thieves (DT) – the supreme cabal – have stolen the lion share of Nigeria's democracy. All the cabals and all the thieves in the oil industry, in the telecom industry, in the banking industry, in governance industry and in all other sectors are very active in the political sphere and have almost wrested democracy from the Nigerian people. They handle democracy in exactly the same manner as they handle oil. Oil flows in their direction and in their interest, so must democracy.
This was my write-up two years ago at the beginning of political calculations, permutations and wranglings for 2015 general elections.
Muhammad Ajah is a writer, author, advocate of humanity and good governance based in Abuja. E-mail [email protected]