Buhari’s Cockroach Ride

President Mohammadu Buhari, has shown that he enjoys sycophancy. He appears to revel in it. He swims in it. He eats and drinks it. He definitely loves it a lot. The echoes of praise – singers are sonorous in his ears. The cacophony of sycophants translates to rhythm of rhymes in his ears. He adores the way boot-lickers make his shoes shine.

The cringing around him seems to make him feel whole. It is a revelry not grounded in reality. And if he continues with this attitude to governance, it is easier to see how he would end up. Any president who is already accepting any form of nomination for a second term towards the end of his first uneventful year in office has to be less serious minded than expected.

The party leaders who are behind this are not friends of President Buhari. To begin to offer him the ticket of the Party three years out at this point in time is premature, sycophantic and inimical to the country’s progress. It is aimed at bringing the President down and ensuring his failure. But Buhari himself, cocooned in self aggrandizement, inebriated in self importance and intoxicated by egoism could not see the danger of the Greek Gift. His crapulent myopia could not avail him the opportunity to see how such a decision was not in his own best interest.

The implication of this is very huge. It suggests that President Buhari wants to be president just for the sake of it and not for the interest of Nigeria and its yoked people. Since he assumed office about a year ago, everything has been going from bad to worse. He has no single achievement he could point to that he has accomplished. He has filtered away all the goodwill he enjoyed when he assumed office and majority of his reasonable supporters are already scratching their heads if they had not made monumental mistake by electing him to the country’s presidency.

Rather than focus on the challenges of putting Nigeria in order and getting things to work, President Buhari has turned himself to Mr. Gulliver. He has been traveling all over the place. This is not new. What is new is that the public uproar about this has not made any dent. He does not seem to care. Nigerians could make as much noise about what he is doing wrong, he won’t be bothered. He has continued to travel and cost Nigeria hard earned naira. Some estimates have put each travel by the president at around NGN 350 million. It could be more in some cases. For a President who complains about lack of money in the national purse, this does not make any sense.

According to a recent report in the media, the combined worth of Presidential Fleet is $390.5 million (NGN 60.53 billion). This fleet includes two Falcon 7X Jets, two Falcon 900 Jets, a Gulfstream 550, one Boeing 737 BBJ, one Gulfstream IVSP, one Gulfstream V, Cessna Citation 2 Aircraft, and Hawker Siddley 125-800 Jet. The President’s party APC criticized the previous president, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for profligacy. Refusing to dispose some of these Jets to recuperate some money and put an austere style in place makes the President to look like a hypocrite.

Not only that, it has also been reported in the media that Buhari’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources , Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and the Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank have been riding the “top – rated Canadian made private Jets chartered regularly by by the immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison – Maueke.” If one knows President Buhari very well, he would not do anything about this. He would keep silent and hope that this goes away quietly. With everything that have manifested so far in this Buhari administration it is becoming more evident by the day that President Buhari is as profligate as GEJ.

All this is apart from the increasing lack of salary payment to workers across the country; non – payment of pension to retired workers across the country; increased degeneration in power supply knee-capping industries; increased scarcity of petrol; high cost of food; breakdown of law and order as evident in increased kidnapping, armed robbery and assassinations; worsening religious crises as evident in the massacre of the Shiite faithful in Kaduna and adopted guerilla warfare by the Boko Haramites. Put into this mix the active war of the Fulani herdsmen against Nigeria resulting into hundreds of innocent deaths.

It is in the middle of all these woes that an insensitive caucus of the ruling party, APC is already offering the second term candidacy to President Buhari. Is this a reasonable course of action? How is this helpful to the country? How is this supposed to move the country forward? Is this party about the welfare of Nigerians or just holding power for the sake of it? What is the objective of this kind of action at this point in the administration of Buhari? Does it mean that the sufferings of Nigerians do not bother the leaders of the ruling party? Which of the sycophantic party leaders is behind this opprobrium?

In addition to the insensitivity of the leadership of the APC, some of the supporters of Buhari just keep defending him as he stumbles from one incompetent act to the other, gallivanting from one foolish act to the other and moving from one error to the other. The supporters of President Buhari do not really care whether people are dying on the streets because of lack of petroleum or because of high cost of food. They do not care if millions of government workers have not received salaries. They do not care if Nigerians are dying in hospitals across the country. They keep using GEJ as a whipping boy at every turn and for everything. And if one remembers correctly, GEJ was President of Nigerian before Jesus Christ was born!

The supporters of Buhari are like Islamic Jihadists who believe in things not seeing but things hoped for. They are like the fundamentalist Christian crusaders who are ready to kill like Emperor Charlemagne who murdered over 4,000 women and children in a single day because they were not Christians. The Buhari supporters come across as indoctrinated, narrow-minded, tunnel-visioned, fascistic and oblivious to reality. They refuse to accept the right of any Nigerian to criticize their man. The label and name-call even the most fair-minded critic of President Buhari. They shriek like shoats in search of slop. To them, facts do not matter; reason does not matter. And neither does logic.

Nothing matters to the supporters of Buhari except to support him faithfully and blindly. With their attitude they are making it difficult for President Buhari to have second thought about his mistakes and correct them. With their attitude they are making Buhari to believe that he could do anything and he would still get their support. They are trying to make Buhari believe that he could do no wrong while is he is going from one perverse act to the other. Yet the right attitude is to praise the President when he has done anything right and hold his feet to fire if he goofs or is not making the right call.

We all know that Buhari is not perfect. We know that as a human being he would make his mistakes. We expect that he would be wrong on some issues. But the least Nigerians could do is to remain engaged. They should praise him when he does well and should criticize him when he goes off the track. But the challenge here is that President Buhari is accomplishing more wrongs than successes. Buhari supporters, nevertheless, are not more patriotic than other Nigerians regardless of their party affiliations. Every Nigerian has a duty to watch the acts and the behaviors of the president and his men. This is what democracy is all about.

What the party leaders did by endorsing President Buhari for 2019 is like embarking him on a cockroach while convincing Buhari that he is on a horse. They are humiliating him while they make him believe that they are praising him and that he is indispensable to the future of this 170 million people. The supporters of Buhari are dragging Buhari around with his behind scrubbing the dirty floor while making him believe that he is having the best ride of his life. The Buhari supporters think they are being loyal by supporting him blindly when they are actually engaged in active betrayal of the president. They are making a fool of him and he not realizing it, is ironically wallowing in it.

In the parlance of Yoruba cosmology, a cockroach ride is a concept to describe someone who is deceiving himself or allowing himself to be deceived. What is presently happening to President Buhari is analogous to this concept – riding a cockroach in the pretentious belief that he is riding a horse. When you ride a horse, your feet are held aloft on the two sides of the horse and the move is smooth. But when you ride a cockroach, your sitting format is not only discomforting, you are immovable, stagnant like a statue without any hope of progress. There is the need for President Buhari, his party and supporters to get real.

“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.”

- John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address January 20, 1961

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Articles by Remi Oyeyemi