By Benedict Oladipo Koledoye
Arguably, that action of the General took the shine off the ‘exploits’ of Dr. Patience Faka Goodluck Jonathan of the “PDP election campaigns bandwagon”. Take it or leave it, she was second to none in her campaigns for her husband, and his "junior brothers" in the states. By referring to gubernatorial candidates as the "junior brothers" of her husband, it clearly shows the bereft knowledge of the practise of federalism, even in the ‘high’ places.
For her, states are junior partners in the federal structure arrangement. One can now understand why some officials in the Presidency believe that the State Governors must be subordinates or appendages of the Presidency. The drama in River State aptly captures this understanding. Indisputably, and with respect, her election campaigns around the country provided comical relief to so many Nigerians. Her recorded speeches gained a wider audience than that of any of the other candidates. Notwithstanding that, very many became quite mischievous about the whole thing. To test the veracity of this, even two years after the election campaigns, ask any Nigerian of any incisive or impressive statement made by any of the presidential candidates in the said election campaigns, many of us would struggle to remember. But ask of the speeches of Dr. Patience Jonathan, I bet one would have more than enough quotable quotes. She was the ‘star’. Dr. Patience Jonathan, became a reference point. It was in such atmosphere that General Buhari seemingly ‘spoilt’ the show by shedding tears.
General Buhari’s tears elicited a mixed reaction, some shared his sentiments and frustration, while some considered the tears as the anguish of a man who saw defeat glaring at him on the election day. I must confess that it was startling to see a General crying publicly again. At this juncture, I recall the Oputa Panel, where Nigerians were entertained with the video footages of the weeping Generals. The video footages are still very much available on YouTube. I tried to spot the difference in the tears of the Generals. While one can safely assume that Oladipo Diya and Late Abdukarim Adisa cried to survive, in other words, to elicit pity and pardon, I think Buhari’s tears is not about his personal ambition and survival but tears for mother Nigeria. To this extent, and with the current happenings in the polity, it would be very important to revisit that event.
Times have really changed. Two years ago, when Buhari wept, it appeared he was alone, or at best with a motley crowd as his co-traveller. Indeed times have changed! If many still don’t like the face of Buhari, at least one thing has united them with him, tears and weeping. It is now solidarity in tears. The litany of lamentation is unending. Where do we start from? It is simply horrendous. The sad thing is that we talk and write about the many failures every day. Is it about the basic infrastructure? Is it about security of lives and property? Is it about health sector, education sector, and roads?
Is it about corruption? What is it that has not been said or written? At this time, without sounding immodest or pessimistic, we might as well change our national anthem to “By the rivers of (Babylon), there we sat and wept, when we remember...” It may not be out of place to say that the tears and cries of many Nigerians have reached cruising level. It is steady, constant and consistent. Honest, poor and sincere well meaning Nigerians are crying on daily basis. It appears that the very few who are not weeping are the “few”, thieves, roques, political profiteers and their cronies who are smiling and laughing. This group will never see anything wrong in our system, so long their wanton greed is being satisfied.
How can one refrain from shedding tears when very many of our brothers and sisters are already demented by the system. Sincerely, reading some comments of some Nigerians on critical national issues, is more disturbing and should elicit more tears than the collapse of infrastructure. As it were, you read and hear comments that readily gives heartache. One cannot but question this kind of reasoning. The recent scandal in Aviation Ministry readily comes to mind. Like Buhari, I am sure many Nigerians wept when it was reported that some group of people were out protesting and carrying placards such as as ‘leave our daughter alone to continue her good work’ . There are paid adverts on the pages of newspapers trying to justify this form of recklessness, without intending insults, it is only people that lack intellectual capacity that would ever go on such mission. Intellectual capacity is about logic and robust thinking.
I am compelled to think that, even if purchase of those armoured vehicles follows the due process from Appropriation Act, and meets the procurement process requirement, what about the other salient issues, particularly the moral issues involved? Can such profligacy stand a moral test considering the level of poverty in the same country? In a country where an average citizen lives in perpetual fear because of prevalent insecurity. I would not be surprised if some demented people from Yoruba, Hausa, Fulani, or other ethnic extractions would not do same for their son or daughter in a similar circumstance in future. As a matter of fact it has been done in the past. Indeed one cannot but shed tears. We cannot continue to play ostrich that we don’t know where this would lead the nation. If the very few Nigerians who are the profiteers of the present system feel we are heading in the right direction, I wish them luck, however, I think the tears of many Nigerians are for them, and their very many sorrows that would come.
Who says Buhari is alone in tears? But we can be sure the almighty God who never abandons his own, will turn the table around sometimes and someday. Those who are weeping now “shall come back rejoicing bringing the sheaves” – one day and someday!