By Sikiru Akinola
We have offended the gods. If not, we would not be tackling tissues instead of issues. Rather than look for solutions to the myriads of problems we are faced with as a country, we like politicising everything, just to curry favour and get those whose faces they don’t like out of the government.
With high hopes, we all supported and voted President Muhammadu Buhari into power in 2015. Most people did so because of his past records and not because he contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC. Few months into his government, people like me started seeing signs of bleak future; our ‘best man’ seemed to be unable to perform magic. And instead of alleviating our many problems, the president’s men were always trying to scheme each other out, thereby elevating our problems.
I was shocked the day Buhari announced his men. Apart from the fact some are deficient in many ways, the age of the ideas of the nominees is something to write home about. This is despite the many months it took our president to select the ‘best 11’. The worst of it, critical ministries were trusted in the hands of people without experience. And here we are in 2017, few months into election year, with no tangible achievements.
I had to summarise the Buhari administration in that three paragraphs before delving into the latest issue; the statement credited to Aisha Alhassan about her loyalty to Atiku. More than any important issue, it has enjoyed wide media hype, since the president’s men, trying to outsmart one another, ‘leaked’ it. But the sincerity that has been missing in this present administration came to the fore: ‘Mama Taraba’, as Alhassan is fondly called, dared them. She was quoted to have said that she would support former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar even if Buhari contests in 2019.
Explaining that she does not mind losing her job for supporting the Waziri Adamawa, she was quoted in BBC Hausa service as saying: “Atiku is my godfather even before I joined politics. And again, Baba Buhari did not tell us that he is going to run in 2019.”
She went further to say: “Let me tell you today that if Baba said he is going to contest in 2019, I swear to Allah, I will go before him and kneel and tell him that ‘Baba I am grateful for the opportunity you gave me to serve your government as a minister but Baba just like you know I will support only Atiku because he is my godfather. If Atiku says he is going to contest.
“If because of what I said, I am sacked, it will not bother me because I believe in Allah, that my time has elapsed that is why… Baba is not a mad man like those calling for my sack. They have been sending it and spreading that if Baba sees this, I will be sacked.” she concluded.
But what is wrong the above? Some of us knew that Atiku, just like many other political appointees, were ‘donations’ made by contributors to the emergence of Buhari. Should they, because of position, deny their benefactor or godfather?
For me, the above is rare courage, especially when such is coming from the mouth of a woman. I just don’t know why we like saying the opposite of what we mean, in Nigeria. I don’t know why we like following the crowd as if we will be crucified for holding opposing views. We should rather commend the woman for speaking the truth. Nigeria, I hail thee. So, because she has let the cat out of the bag, you want to ‘stone’ her?
Well, those of you who did not support her godfather should be pardoned. Are you telling me that if Asiwaju Bola Tinubu decides to run against Buhari, Nigeria’s information minister, Lai Mohammed will support the latter? Or spokesperson of the ruling APC, Bolaji Abdullah, will support Buhari against Saraki? Who does not know that this government came in through coalition, of many forces? If I were Buhari, I would invite her and commend her for that rare audacity. I will purge myself of the ‘yes-men’ who are always nodding in agreement to whatever I say, just to save their job.
Though it is unfortunate, since Buhari got to power, he has been ‘coming and going’ for medical treatment outside the country. The ailment we don’t know. Whether he is jetting out for medical again, we are not sure. Will this continue? We don’t know. But in case the remaining few years he has in this first term are used like this, can we not consider another option? Buhari appears tired and we cannot continue like this. The issue of labelling one aspirant as corrupt or otherwise should not be the theme of the 2019 campaign but what he or she has to offer, to take us out of the mess we have found ourselves. Nigeria and Nigerians need urgent redemption and the time to start begins now. Making much noise about Alhassan’s statement will neither lead us out nor put food on our table.