One of the things I have resolved to do this year is to find joy in everything I come across. The kind of joy that keeps you sane through the toughest of times. That one which keeps you going when the fiercest challenges rise; the kind of joy that makes you smile when you hit the rock at the bottom of the bottom, in a tunnel with no lights.
These days, however, it is difficult to keep up with that joy; when you follow the social, economic and especially political developments in Nigeria. When you read the news or in my case, [sometimes] write the news, and you see things from 10 centuries ago playing out in the 21st century, you just cringe. But like I love to say; “Nothing can bring Mayowa down in 2018,” and yes, not even political developments in Nigeria.
So rather than get angry at some things and some people, I will offer free advice to the president, the man at the centre of many of these issues, and stay in a good mental state.
Mr. President, I understand you will be running for a second term, and your team is gearing up for the mother of all campaigns. I wish you luck. But just to remind you, sir, the history of Nigeria and its political divinations is not in favour of luck. The lucky ones from a few days ago are now the men of yesterday.
Luck will probably do you as much good as it did to that yesterday’s man with good luck. So here is what I think can do better magic than luck can do; hard and patriotic work in the few months left.
Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ) and Ibrahim Babangida (IBB) may have shot missiles at you, saying you should take a bow and honourably retire to Daura. But Pastor Tunde Bakare and many other friends who sometimes tell you the truth have said you have the right to contest but have not fully given their blessings.
In some sense, these IBBs, OBJs and your friends may matter in some sense in our political life, but I dare say they are not potent enough to determine your fate for 2019 — that is still the exclusive preserve of the voters. However, the history of the world teaches that kingdoms collapse from within, and if yours will collapse, it will be as a result of the men within your household.
In no particular order, I present to you, the incomplete list of men who may innocently collapse your kingdom in the days to come.
My first advice to anyone in power is; beware of the praise singers (let’s not call them sycophants today). In my opinion, Rochas Okorocha, governor of Imo state, is the choirmaster of the praise singing team. In November 2017, he said 34 governors had endorsed Buhari for a second term. He was countered by Bola Tinubu, former governor of Lagos state, who said no automatic ticket for Buhari. Okorocha came out to say Tinubu looks like someone crying more than the bereaved on the issue.
By December, Okorocha added that Buhari is the man sent from God to save Nigeria.
“In 2019 the votes the president will get for his second tenure will be two times more than the votes he got in 2015 because most Nigerians have come to appreciate the necessity of his coming and what he is doing with the office,” he said via press release.
In January 2018, he added that all governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have endorsed the president for a second term in 2019.
In all of these, little or nothing was said about Buhari’s performance and the willpower needed to develop Nigeria. Okorocha, who hopes to be president someday, is only playing politics and singing to the president, what he wants to hear.
More often than not, these matters breed anger in the electorate and complacency in the president; the perfect recipe for a failed re-election bid.
IBRAHIM IDRIS AND HIS POLICE FORCE
I doubt there is anyone in this dispensation that has angered the electorate as much as Ibrahim Idris, the inspector general of police, and his men have done in the past year.
First, Nigeria Police Force was ranked the worst in the world by the World Internal Security and Police Index (WISPI) for 2016. Rather than take time out to seek improvement, Idris and his men said they were the best in Africa.
Not long after that, Nigerians called for a reform in the police force, using the hashtag ENDSARS. Less than a little window dressing was done, and the rest became history. That anger is still bottled up in the people who believe President Buhari has no genuine plan to reform the police force and end citizen harassment.
Need I speak of the number of journalists who have been arrested for speaking truth to power?
A few days into the new year, Idris, who was responding to the “genocide” in Benue state said: “Obviously it is communal crisis, herdsmen are part of the community. They are Nigerians and are part of the community are they not?”
“I think what we should be praying for is for Nigerians to learn to live in peace with one other,” he told journalists in Abuja.
Over 70 people have been gruesomely murdered and the man to maintain law and order in a civil society says Nigerians should learn to live in peace with killer herdsmen! How insensitive does it really get?
A few days later, after the president finally broke his silence on the crisis, Idris had to apologise. And now, one of his men, the police spokesperson, has come out to say Samuel Ortom, the governor of Benue state, is a drowning man. His offense was that he asked the IGP to do his job or resign! The ones to maintain order are spewing disorder and lack of decorum in public discourse.
The same police, who have been unable to solve the problem in Benue is deploying 4,000 officers to Nasarawa ahead of President Buhari’s visit. For what? Who wants to kill the president? Citizens are dying and little is done, the president is visiting and thousands are deployed. This is not how to run a civil nation!
Unfortunately, Nigerians cannot change the inspector general, but the people can change the one who appointed him and consequently change him.
Time and chance will not permit me to speak of Garba Shehu, Femi Adesina, Abubakar Malami, Itse Sagay, the president himself, and other office holders who through innocent speech or conscious action, are brewing the anger against a Buhari return.
Mr. President, my two cents.
Reach Tijani across major social media platforms @OluwamayowaTJ