by Farouk Martins Aresa,
When you are so cocky under a false sense of security, you forget to learn from past mistakes as if Presidential means of government in a democracy does not have checks and balances. The United States Congress almost removed a President by impeachment over consensual sex by a man they despised with abuse of power. Before Obasanjo’s preposterous 3rd term saga, they were going to impeach him when he demanded salary and allowance cut for political looters.
Rawlings was very popular when he overthrew the military government in Ghana but he later overstayed his welcome. He has since become an embarrassment trying to sneak his wife in as a democratic elected President. There is something wrong with Africans once they assume power; they figure there is nobody else, as capable around them. Just look at Mugabe trying to sneak his wife in as the next President in Zimbabwe at his old age of 80s.
Buhari must have forgotten how and why he became the President. Give Buhari his dues, he is kicking the butts of Boko Haram; pledging allegiance to ISIS did not helped them. While many Nigerians claim he is fighting selective war on corruption, he gave them more ammunition with the latest exceptions of Burantai and Dambazzau that are implicated; not only in arm deals but made billions from the Army and bought extravagant properties in Dubai and Massachusetts.
It is not enough to claim they were trying to soil men around him without evidence because he had lost some credibility as he vouched for Abacha on stealing on one hand, then asking foreign government to return Abacha’s loot on the other hand. He would have been well advised to sacrifice a few crooks around him, as OBJ did with his friends giving Ribadu some bragging right.
Fighting corruption and leaking the potency of Boko Haram are strong advantages to capitalize on. The same weakness we saw in him during his first coming as military head of state is reappearing again. This is flagrant disregard for those crying marginalization. It is not coming from those that voted against him alone. It is also coming from those that voted for him and continue to support him hoping he succeeds.
It will be devastating for his supporters and embolden his distractors if he stubbornly continues to ignore his blind spots. Most leaders have blind spots especially if surrounded by jobbers from one ethnic or similar ethnic group. This is how Jonathan lost it or how Buhari got an opportunity to assume leadership. It is no more a blind spot when pointed out but deliberate indifference.
Buhari has so much goodwill like Jonathan did coming into presidency, there is a growing fear among those who supported him and assured him into presidency that he might lose all the goodwill by being stubborn and blindly appointing “yes” men and women from the North to carry out his agenda regardless of Federal Character. This attitude may become his poisoned pill before he loses most of his followers in the South.
Buhari may have secured his power base to make sure people like Babangida or Tinubu cannot overthrow him by military means. However, IMPEACHMENT is a probability for abuse by those that do not wish him well. There are many of them for a few reasons: one of which is his fight against corruption. It is no longer a secret that corrupt powerful men fight back. Yet, Buhari has the support of the majority of Nigerians behind him in this endeavor.
Unfortunately, Northern dominated Government is not an unusual habit of Northern leaders. We used to have activists and rebels like Gani Fawehinmi, Tai Solarin; then Wole Soyinka and Balarabe that are too old to be as vibrant as they used to be. But we still have Falana, Agbokoba etc. facing worse abuse of power, trust and treasury than we ever had. Impunity to loot in years 2000s has surpassed all time high. This is why Buhari still has our support to fight corruption.
If he fails by thinking only cliques made up of Northerners can solve all these, Buhari is in for a shocker with the only power his enemies have, which is impeachment. When we were growing up, you can trust Hausa because they are honest, you can trust Igbo because they are hard working and you can rely on Yoruba for accommodation and tolerance because more jobs in manufacturing, professional and academic openings were located in their region.
Not anymore. Hausa have become greedy looters as Yoruba and Igbo. Even worse is that the source of income is mostly from Niger Delta. Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo with any conscience must know that Nigeria cannot afford to pay outrageous salaries and allowances while the source of income continues to dwindle. When other regions see Buhari appointing Northerners with impunity to positions cornering most source of government income, it creates resentments.
What Buhari should be doing is reducing these position and cutting salaries of the high and the mighty in leadership positions, not creating and filling more positions with less income coming in to pay more of his appointees whose goal is to loot. Daily announcements of these cronies to loot, fuels militant demands from other ethnic groups, not only from Niger Delta.
Despite these, we have Audu Ogbeh, minister of Agriculture promising to solve the problem of herdsmen invading other people’s farms killing, maiming and raping their women while Buhari ignore their cry even in the North-central by claiming these are not Nigerians but Libyans! Such lame excuses from the head of state only fuels suspicion as indifference to their plights. No one wants him to make enemies out of his people, but he must stand up for justice and fairness.
Buhari will find himself to blame when his enemies and supporters that voted for him find some common ground to bring up Notice of Impeachment. The compromise he will need then would be costlier than the one to pre-empt marriage of convenience between foes and supporters.