Mixed reactions have trailed the emotional breakdown of General Buhari as he made a final campaign address to CPC faithfuls on 13th April, 2011. Reactions have ranged from the ridiculous to the downright dubious, from the preposterous to the quite pitiable. Some have described the emotional display as a last act of desperation, while others have described it as a sign of weakness. But posterity shall sure have a place of choice reserved for this peoples General, who resisted the lure of corruption in the many opportunities he had to serve his nation.
While some Nigerians make lame arguments in support of the PDP’s candidate, claiming the election should be about personalities and not platforms, you begin to understand why it’s so painful for those who love this country to stand in apparent helplessness, while the oppressors push out deceptive propaganda to tighten their stranglehold on the very life of our country. No one who supports GEJ’s presidential bid has told anyone, what in his antecedents make him a good choice. Instead what we have heard is that he is minority and minorities have never been there, the north has held power for most of the life of Nigeria, God put him there, he needs time to perform amongst other amazing reasons.
Nigeria’s greatest problem at the moment is endemic corruption, which has even meant that in the parliamentary elections held last Saturday which was largely deemed to be free and fair, there were reports of financial inducement of the electorate and stark naked rigging and controversies over attempts to influence electoral officials. If the problem of corruption is not solved, all other efforts at remaking this country will be akin to the proverbial water pouring on a piece of rock. Corruption is endemic and systemic in Nigeria and is at the root of the gradual and consistent degradation over the past twelve years, of our national values, failed institutions, dilapidating public service and the evolution of a bitter but clueless citizenry, driven into despondency and pummelled to submission by an unpatriotic ring of political profiteers.
Corruption is the reason our power sector has not been fixed to energise the private sector towards economic growth and job creations for our teeming unemployed youths. Corruption is the reason the Nigerian Police Force cannot provide security and why our universities have become capitals of mediocrity instead of citadels of learning. Corruption is the reason why Nigeria is now under siege of cowardly bombers and yet the Government is yet to make any convictions. It’s the reason for all unresolved politically motivated murders. Corruption is the reason why it’s difficult to do business in Nigeria, thereby making Nigeria unattractive to foreign investors and having both multinationals and Nigerian companies ship jobs abroad while our graduates are stranded on the streets. Corruption is the reason why thousands of lives are lost on our roads, due to potholes arising from substandard materials and abandonment. Corruption is the reason why the pensions and gratuities of our aging compatriots who spent their lives in service to the nation are earning interests in fixed deposit accounts for Government officials rather than in the pockets of our old folks. Corruption is the reason why countries like Ghana and South Africa have edged Nigeria further down the perking order in the committee of nations. It is the reason why our leaders and people are not held anymore in high esteem as they leave our country. Corruption has no generation, no tribe, nor region and is a common enemy.
How come therefore, that in spite of all the truths we know, some of our people have failed to confront the common enemy. If PDP is the party that has provided the platform for the greatest plundering of our national wealth in the past twelve years, if PDP is the party of James Ibori who funded the election of Yaradua and GEJ with our commonwealth, If PDP is the party that has welcomed back DSP Alamieyesiegha (GEJ’s Political Godfather) and Olabode George back to the party hierarchy after they stole monies that could have bettered our collective lots, if this is the same party whose majority in the national assembly elevated their emoluments to levels that will cause envy amongst legislators in advanced democracies of the world, then we should be shedding tears in the face of a possibility of having the party run our national affairs for another four years, except of course you don’t love this country and wish it well.
When General Buhari shed tears, he did so for the wasted opportunities of the past that could have set this nation on course to greatness. He wept because the good people are in majority but are being held down by a powerful few, who have used their positions and ill gotten resources to bring their nation to her knees. He wept because everywhere he had been, he saw little but unconscionable men holding sway at the expense of a long suffering people who have been battered to stupor. He wept because he has offered a lifetime of selfless service, but cannot ascend the presidency and bring about change without the support of a people who are so beaten that they don’t even know what choices to make anymore. He wept at the misery that lay ahead for an already traumatised nation. He wept at the alternate route which Nigeria can only take if the people could see. He wept because despite of the monumental losses already incurred along this present route, the waste that lies ahead is mind blowing. He wept because once again, the charade that is going on may not let the people see. He wept because once again regionalism which has been an age long tool is being used again by the ring of crooks, to distract the nation from the real issues and misdirect the people. He didn’t just weep alone; I did too and why not? Even Jesus too wept at the appearance of the triumph of evil.
Buhari can however be consoled in the fact that he has played his part. If the people don’t see clearly enough, its simply because they have been beaten blue-black. He should be further consoled by the fact that the journey is more promising now than when he started off. He should find solace in the fact that enough has happened recently to show that some of the people are finding their feet and their voices, and that at God’s appointed time, a peoples revolt shall sack the status-quo and usher in a new order, whether the General is still here with us or not. His tears will certainly not be in vain, just like those of the great patriots before him have not been in vain.
As we vote tomorrow, let’s reflect on the tears of a General who loves his nation and also on the dire consequences of failing our nation once again via the ballot box.
By Uchenna Nnoli