(5 January 2015).
By Jibo Nura
My Afro-optimism for Nigeria and an opportunity to change its history in history is supposed to be the resolution 2015 for all well-meaning Nigerians. Ladies and gentlemen, friends and colleagues of Nigeria, we are about to witness the triumph of political renaissance through the ages. The changing narrative of the dismal performance of one big joker. The handing over of a nearly failed state by an incumbent to a brand new president with personal temerity, grandeur and passion for nation building.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends and colleagues of Nigeria, it is high time we understood the arithmetic of religious blackmail that is going on in Nigeria. It doesn’t need a fortune-teller or soothsayer to explain to Nigerian Muslim and Christian that we need to rewrite the narratives on religious and ethnic hatreds, which unpatriotic elements are contracted to propagate in order to get cheap popularity. All what they are after is to parasitically become the incumbent president’s campaign directors.
One of them, a onetime former Aviation Minister, is disdainfully fanning the embers of religious odium by resorting to unnecessary campaign of calumny against his fellow humans that he shares common destiny – Nigeria. Anytime I see him doing that to his fellow countrymen, I become bemused. That Minister’s attitude overtly reveals inertia of idle mind, languorous exposure and international experience torpidity, because he did not utilized his ministerial office during his time to travel far and wide and intermingle with people of different race, culture, religion and geographical background. Failure to do just that has made him very local and skewed in thinking. He doesn’t appreciate the beauty in other people, but his own! Even amongst his people, he is always not taken serious, because he’s a harangued fellow. He and his new master’s entire attempts are at dichotomizing Nigeria along tribal and religious proclivities.
The irony with that taciturn Minister is quite unfortunate. He found a saint in his new Boss, which he had condemned of leadership ineptitudes very recently. Hear him:
“OBJ has finally closed GEJ’s chapter with his letter. Jonathan is finished- mark my words. Abati should shut up and let his boss speak for himself on this one. The Ebora Owu has spoken and the issues that he has raised are too serious to be ignored or to be responded to with amatuerish and cheeky insults and slurs from a mere staff of the Presidency. The President should find the courage to personally answer the charges and address the message rather than get his aides to attack the messenger. As Baba said, Jonathan is “bleeding Nigeria to death”. It is time for change. God used Obasanjo to put Jonathan in power and, by His grace, He will use that same Obasanjo to remove him.”
As Minister of Aviation during President Obasanjo’s tenure, he confined himself to the corridors of power by refusing to gallivant, meet and appreciate people across the globe. He was busy causing confusion in the Aviation sector by resorting to political bootlicking at the presidency. That President Obasanjo’s Aviation Minister amateurishly contributed to the comatose situation of Nigeria’s Aviation Industry.
It therefore becomes imperative to share some personal experience(s) with our former narrow-minded Aviation Minister so that he has a wider view of human relations devoid of ethnicity or religious chauvinism.
During my pursuit of RICS professional membership from England, I was searching helter-skelter for a supervisor or/ and counselor who has an RICS membership to supervise my live project. I searched amongst my people, but I could not find one that could help my situation. At last, I got Sir Olorunfemi after taking so long a time searching online. I emailed him requesting him to be my supervisor. He gladly obliged to supervise me and my thesis. Hear Olorunfemi:
“Dear Jibo: Congratulations. Please go ahead and put my name as your counselor. This is my RICS number (withheld). I am happy that you would pursue your RICS membership. Many quantity surveyors in Nigeria did not realize that RICS is the future”.
Indeed, my Dear Olorunfemi encouraged me the way Romeo encouraged old Juliet. It was him that solved my dream of becoming an RICS member.
Hence, what basis has one got to tribally hate or religiously despise someone, because he/she doesn’t share common identity or ethnic background? If, for example, Sir Olorunfemi the nationalist could take a bias position such as that of invective former Aviation Minister, he wouldn’t have listened or attended to me inter alia or/and ab initio. The lesson is: I did not get anyone from my people or from my tribe that would help my situation. It was Olorunfemi – the detribalize professional of international repute that lovingly ‘rescued’ me out of professional ‘doldrums’.
Another lesson for our former local Aviation Minister is that in far away Peru, I helped a Christian brother, Robert Waiswa with accommodation. I met Robert at Sao Paulo, Brazil on transit to Lima. Inside the GRU airport a conversation ensued between me and Robert. He enquired emphatically of my person and where I came from. I told him that I am from Nigeria. I came from the Muslim north of Nigeria while Robert came from the Christian east of Uganda. He’s currently the senior assistant secretary to the President of Uganda, His Excellency, Yoweri Museveni. Immediately we took off to Lima, Robert complained to me that he doesn’t have accommodation in Lima. He asked me where I would stay in Lima. I told him not to worry about accommodation. I offered him one out of the three accommodation rooms that I booked for my delegates. Immediately we landed in Lima, I took him in our Taxi to the Hotel that I booked and paid for our accommodations. Fortunately, both of us (Robert and I) were UN party delegates. We were there to attend the same programme. Throughout our two weeks stay in Peru, I had nice moments with Robert to the extent of making him not to stay in the same place with his people, including his country’s Minister of Environment! We were busy living our life to the fullest and improvising in happiness from Hotel Paris to Rofino Terrico and San Borga District, Pentagonito. Whenever we’re back from our programme, Robert would be in my room using my laptop to surf the internet while I was busy saying my prayers. No hatred. No religious bigotry. No nothing in-between us! We regarded ourselves as Africans – having one driving force, one destiny, one race! Today, Robert and I became the best of Christian and Muslim friends. We appreciate life beyond religious differences or geographic borders. We live and interact in perfect harmony. In a month or two I will be with him in Kampala to build a common front between Nigeria and Uganda on environmental sustainability. Ditto Robert!
The point is: It is sad to note that the former Aviation Minister cannot simply understand life as quid pro quo of a sort. i.e. even when he had Cambridge education in law. He only passed through Cambridge, but never for once allowed the Cambridge environment and its people fine-tune or shape his archaic thinking. What a balderdash!
Back in the university, my best Igbo friend, Moses Onwuzurike, was a Christian from Nnewi. Moses, is still my best friend that we analyze Nigeria and the people that problematize its affairs using religious sentiment(s).
In view of the above therefore, the Buhari simple presidential bid shouldn’t be viewed or/and followed with unintelligent campaign vendetta by calling him names or saying all sorts of bias, because he has the majority of Nigerian people that are solidly behind him. Buhari is a fait accompli in the 2015 presidential election. And Buharism is by no means an ordinary economic abstraction from reality or “peedeepeedomaniac” bastardization of national income. No! It is an extraordinary real economic model based on regeneration of the wealth of nation as earlier advocated by olden and modern day economists such as Adam Smith, Friedrich and Elton.
As former CBN Governor, HRH Sanusi Lamido Sanusi once had it in one of his attempts at explaining Buhari’s economic and political theory, “Buharism represented a two-way struggle: with Global capitalism (externally) and with its parasitic and unpatriotic agents and spokespersons (internally). The struggle against global capital as represented by the unholy trinity of the IMF, the World Bank and multilateral “trade” organizations as well that against the entrenched domestic class of contractors, commission agents and corrupt public officers were vicious and thus required extreme measures. Draconian policies were a necessary component of this struggle for transformation and this has been the case with all such epochs in history. The Meiji restoration in Japan was not conducted in a liberal environment. The Industrial Revolution in Europe and the great economic progress of the empires were not attained in the same liberal atmosphere of the 21st Century. The “tiger economies” of Asia such as Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia and Thailand are not exactly models of democratic freedom. To this extent Buharism was a despotic regime but its despotism was historically determined, necessitated by the historical task of dismantling the structures of dependency and launching the nation on to a path beyond primitive accumulation (Emphasis mine). At his best Buhari may have been a Bonaparte or a Bismarck. At his worst he may have been a Hitler or a Mussolini. In either case Buharism drawn to its logical conclusion would have provided the bedrock for a new society and its overthrow marked a relapse, a step backward into that era from which we sought escape and in which, sadly for all of us we remain embedded and enslaved.”
Ladies and gentlemen, the choice is purely yours. You either choose Buharism economic emancipation for Nigeria or continue with “Peedeepeedic” economic dislocation, insecurity, poverty and hunger in perpetuity. In any case, Buhari has already earned my 2015 vote not one big joker.
Happy New Year.
Senior Research Fellow/Lifetime Member,
West African Research Association (WARA),
African Studies Centre, Boston University, United States.
Email: [email protected].