Opinion: Who Does Buhari Belong To? – By Tony Okoroji

They are at it again! They are test running the announcement of the increase of the price of gasoline to something like =N=400 a liter! Somebody clearly wants to pour a devastating amount of petrol on the fire already burning in Nigeria. All this, in the middle of a pandemic, a pandemic that has devasted the income of millions of Nigerians leaving many without any income at all. Where are the people supposed to get the money to pay this new price?

Every day, I witness this peculiar economic fallacy at play. The thinking seems to be that the more money the government or the big corporations have to waste, the better the life of Nigerians. So, the government goes ahead to squeeze and squeeze the people to the point of death so that life will be better for everyone!

Elsewhere, it is understood that what makes up a nation is the sum-total of the quality of the life of the citizens. To fight the effects of the pandemic, governments in other climes are raising funds to support their people in several ways with the understanding that a crushed people cannot work, cannot buy any goods and cannot support the growth of the nation’s economy. In Nigeria, a different kind of economic model appears to reign.

When you have your personal pipe connected to Aso Rock, the NDDC, NPA, NNPC or any of the many different agencies of government, it may be difficult for you to understand the anguish real Nigerians are going through. When you live in a very comfortable house provided by the government or any of the big corporations and enjoy the perks of office, what is happening in Nigeria may appear to you like Nollywood, a video show. It is then easy for you to issue a statement to justify what is not justifiable. My people say that when the corpse of a stranger is being carried along, it may appear just like a log of wood.

“I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody”. So declared the former army general on the day he was inaugurated as the democratically elected president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. To me, those words are the most memorable words ever spoken by Muhammadu Buhari, our taciturn President. The words are his contract with the Nigerian people. Those words were expected to set up the moral compass for a presidency many hoped would attack the lack of moral compass in the way Nigeria has been run.

Unfortunately, a major part of the crisis that the Nigerian nation has faced since Buhari became president is that there are many in the country who verily believe that Buhari does not belong to them. That has been accentuated by those who by their actions and body language make it clear to you that Buhari does not belong to you but to them and them alone. These people act like they are the ‘inheritors’ of the Buhari mandate and these ‘inheritors’ walk around with a swagger, talk anyhow to Nigerians and throw their weight around like they are conquerors of the Nigerian people. As the conquerors, they believe that they can share the bounty, the produce of their conquest, as they wish and to hell with everyone else! That is why we are still engaged in the nonsensical discussion about the “constitutional” rights of cattle to enter anybody’s farmland anywhere in Nigeria and destroy everything in its wake.

Allow me to posit that the campaign for a sovereign state of Biafra, Oduduwa Republic, Republic of the Niger Delta, etc., would not have gained resonance, momentum and followership if all Nigerians were sure that Buhari belongs to them.

Each time you think that the President will recalibrate, he doubles down. Is it that he is not aware of what is going on, or that he does not care, or that he is satisfied with the result he is getting? Put differently, what legacy does Buhari want to leave behind?

The sad death of Lieutenant-General Attahiru Ibrahim, the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, gave the President a great opportunity to recalibrate. Many had thought that to douse the tension in the land, President Buhari would make a different kind of appointment with respect to the successor to the Late COAS. The President did not disappoint. He remained true to type. Buhari just appointed Major General Farouk Yahaya, another Northern Muslim, to replace Attahiru Ibrahim.

Have you noticed that suddenly, the indices for measuring development in Nigeria is the construction work done by citizens of the Peoples Republic of China at unknown cost to the Nigerian people? Have you noticed that after our struggle to stop being a British colony, we have now with open hands quietly accepted to become a Chinese colony? The Chinese are now funding and building our railways, airports, roadways and everything else! How are we sure that they are not also funding our politics?

Our capacity to do anything of value is now in question. Very soon, the Chinese will appoint our ministers.

Things are bad, very bad and it does not matter whether you are a Buhari supporter or you hate his guts. It is that bad. We all know that crazy things happen in politics but to have these things happen right in your face with so much abandon.

Wow! Please pardon me for asking, who really does Buhari belong to?

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