Skip to main content

Simon Kolawole: Buhari and the burden of expectations



To be honest, I don’t know whether to rejoice or sympathise with Gen. Muhammadu Buhari anytime I read all the sweet comments about him on social media — especially on Twitter.  I don’t know any presidential candidate who has been so idolised in recent times — which is an excellent accolade any politician will gladly take. On the one hand, it is good for him. He will not be complaining at all. No politician will complain about such good fortune, especially with only a few weeks to an election. On the other hand, my God! The expectations are sky-high. Incredible. From what I am reading, Buhari is expected to perform nothing short of magic in Aso Rock if he wins the presidential election.
I’ve been there before — as a reckless enthusiast. I had similar expectations about President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999. I voted for him based on his past. But I was totally disappointed less than six months after he came to power. I had thought Obasanjo was going to fight corruption as he had solemnly threatened, only for him to appoint Chief Tony Anenih as Minister of Works. I thought Obasanjo was going to build more refineries as he had promised while reminding us of his exploits in his previous life as head of state, but we continued importing fuel till he left office. I thought Obasanjo was going to address the electricity problem but we were producing megawatts of darkness throughout his tenure.
Buhari’s growing popularity, particularly on the social media, scares me at times. In an attempt to market him, some chaps have gone overboard, designing and spreading beautiful disinformation about him such that even the former head of state has had to come out to clarify one. For instance, there is a message being circulated that Buhari’s daughter is married to an Igbo man. Those who invented the rumour had a good intention: they wanted to prove to the world that he is not a bigot. But Buhari, perhaps honest to a fault, has denied it. He said none of his children is married to an Igbo man. Interestingly, the rumour was attributed to Obasanjo by one of the broadcasters!
Many quotes are invented and attributed to Obasanjo these days. One says: “I prefer that Buhari becomes president and sends me to jail than for Jonathan to be re-elected and then destroys Nigeria.” This is said to have been written by the former president in his trilogy, “My Watch” — which the originator of the rumour has probably not set his eyes on. How can Obasanjo want to go to jail again? Is it a nightclub? He was jailed for a phantom coup by Gen. Sani Abacha. And he was lucky to come out of Yola prison alive. He narrowly escaped death when a wall collapsed beside him while he was studying the Bible one morning. Why would he want to go to jail again?
There is even another social media rumour that Buhari does not collect his full pension. A Blackberry broadcast I got a while ago said while all former heads of state collect N27 million per month as pension, Buhari rejected the “bogus amount” and asked to be paid only 10% of it. The person who originated the rumour said he personally went to the Ministry of Finance to confirm the figure. But, in fact, the total pension package is N2,909,122.75 per quarter — as confirmed to me by a former head of state.  The breakdown: pension, N878,676.20; upkeep, N1,050,000; salaries of personal staff, N845,446.50; telephone, N75,000; and postal services, N60,000. Buhari never rejected any part of it. For goodness sake, it is his legal right. Why would he not collect it?
Good enough, Buhari has not anchored his campaign on any of these phantom stories. He has based his campaign on two promises — to fight corruption and to tackle insecurity. These issues speak directly to the heart of the average Nigerian. Boko Haram has made our lives miserable. What we thought was a mere neighbourhood gathering of some religious zealots some years ago has developed into a massive bomb that is shattering the peace and eating away at our territorial integrity. Buhari, as a retired general, is expected to wipe out Boko Haram if he wins. Also, corruption is, to put it mildly, a pounding headache. As a celebrated man of integrity, Buhari is expected to finish off corruption with one blow to the head.
Unfortunately, many Nigerians could be very fickle. Imagine the nicknames young people would start calling Buhari on Twitter by this time next year if he has not performed some magic — assuming he wins the presidential election. They derided President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua even on his deathbed. President Goodluck Jonathan’s honeymoon lasted for barely six months. The guys that called him “breath of fresh air” started calling him “shoeless and clueless” as soon as he withdrew fuel subsidy in January 2012. I don’t think Jonathan ever recovered from the massive blow the subsidy issue dealt on him.
Buhari’s honeymoon, if he wins, would not last for six months, trust me. One of the confessions of Obasanjo in 1999 was that the world had changed remarkably since 1979 when he left power. As a military man, he could get things done by fiat. As a democrat, he needed to go through the National Assembly to get a simple budget passed. He needed to “lobby” them to make laws for the good of Nigeria. Judges were dragging their feet on corruption cases until he resorted to self-help through the EFCC. These are some of the realities Buhari would also face if he wins. The Nigeria he led in 1985 is not the same today. Getting things done in a democracy is a different ball game altogether.
God help Buhari if, assuming he wins, he is unable to stop Boko Haram’s suicide bombers. God help him if the terrorists continue to grab more villages under his watch. God help him if his government has not created 2.5 million jobs by May 2016 — as promised by his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). God help him if we are still unable to enjoy steady power supply two years into his tenure. God help him if the courts are yet to jail any corrupt politician three years into his tenure. God help him if crude oil prices skyrocket and he has to increase fuel price or pay N1trillion annually on subsidies. He won’t find it funny!
Unfortunately, the reality is that Nigeria will not change overnight. I’m no longer a reckless optimist. There are no shortcuts to solving some of  our deep-seated problems. The road ahead is very rough, particularly as crude oil — the livewire of our economy — continues to tumble, pricewise. Truth be told: no matter who wins the presidential election — whether it is Jonathan or Buhari — there are tough decisions ahead. Tough decisions about the oil industry. Tough decisions about electricity tariffs. Tough decisions about military action against Boko Haram, which may come with collateral damage. Tough decisions about downsizing the civil service. Don’t let us deceive ourselves.
Buhari is more realistic than most of his supporters. In an interview with TheCable last year, he said: “Nigerians have to be prepared to suffer for at least five straight years before we can stabilise this country, security wise and economically.” In other words, there are no fertilisers to accelerate the development of Nigeria. I do not blame Nigerians for being impatient. The only thing a hungry man wants to hear is “food is ready”, not “food will be ready”. But a more realistic expectation is that no matter who is president, we need policy consistency, commitment and funding for at least 10 solid years before we can be anywhere near South Korea or Singapore. Rome was not built in a day. No one man will change or transform Nigeria overnight. Tough truth.
And Four Other Things…
ATTACKS ON JONATHAN
The attacks on the convoy of President Goodluck Jonathan and on his supporters in the north last week worry me. His motorcade was stoned in Kebbi, Katsina and Bauchi. One of his supporters was killed and five vehicles were burnt after the Kano rally. These bring to mind similar incidents before the 2011 elections. Over 800 lives were eventually lost and property worth billions destroyed. Violent attacks on the president of a country, no matter his “offence”, should never be overtly or covertly encouraged. Any presidential candidate should be able to campaign anywhere in Nigeria no matter his “offence”. Unfortunate.
FAYOSE’S FOLLY
The quality of people in charge of Nigeria is not the best, but it is more pathetic when you have an Ayo Fayose up there. His recent newspaper advert — in which he tried to use death as a campaign tool to frighten people about Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s health — is the cheapest campaign stunt I have ever seen in my life. Who knows tomorrow? Even if Buhari has cancer, who told Fayose that people with cancer die faster than others? Seemingly healthier people die every day in accidents or from heart attacks, while cancer patients may even live up to 90! Nonsense.
RUN-AWAY SOLDIERS
We’ve been told that we are not winning the war against Boko Haram because of corruption, leading to the under-equipment of our soldiers. However, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), the national security adviser, has added another dimension to the debate: cowardice. He said some soldiers simply run away from battle, having joined the military basically out of unemployment. He said 4000 rounds of heavy ammunition and six APCs were captured from the military in Baga as soldiers fled when Boko Haram approached. In fairness, you cannot have as many APCs and such heavy ammunition and still claim to be under-equipped. Honestly.
NO POSTPONEMENT
There are fears that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may not be ready for the 2015 elections because of the permanent voters’ card (PVC) issue. Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), the national security adviser, said he advised INEC to shift the election within the three-month window to avoid disenfranchising 30 million Nigerians. I think he has a good point, but it is too late in the day to suggest that now. Before INEC fixed February for the polls, all these issues should have been factored in. No postponement please, even by one hour. Let’s just allow sleeping dogs lie. Wisdom.

- This Best Outside Opinion was written by Simon Kolawole/Thisday

Comments

  1. Welcome back Tee, hope you're at 100% now?

    Dear Oga Simon Kolawole, there's nothing "mild" about a pounding headache. Been experiencing one since yesterday and i can tell you, its not child's play.

    Now to the post..
    I dont expect that nigeria will change over night, i dont expect GMB to perform signs and wonders within his first year in office, i dont expect him to do more than he can. What i do expect from him is an accountable government, a government that works, not a government that blames "the opposition" for everything that's wrong with it. I expect his government to take responsibility for its actions and inactions.

    I dont expect him to wipe out corruption totally in one year however, i do expect to see that he is fighting it with all the power and intellect at his disposal. He has promised to curb terrorism and protect lives and property, then he should do that.

    I dont want a government that will not dance shoki with our economy and expect a miracle, or will reduce fuel price by 10naira without a provision for how to pay the difference in the budget ( a budget that was put together by "Faith" that the price of crude oil will somehow rise to $65). I want a government that will save for the future and wont spend all our money on jets, food, etc.

    I expect a forward thinking government from GMB. A government that isnt thinking about the next four years but about the next 20, 30 years.
    PS: Explain to the people, carry them along. Explain why we have to pay more tax, or why you are removing subsidy. Dont just come and say "its going to be like this" and then put an Okonjo-Iweala or Aruma Oteh in our face to speak complex economic terms.

    ReplyDelete
  2. He just hit the nail on the head, I love this guys articles

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep,hes so humorous that this article didn't do it justice.
      TBH,Obasanjo was to be our Jerry Rawlings and Mandela wrapped in one when he was given the mandate in '99. Pull a Rawlings on the corrupt politicians and pull a Mandela by making Nig see herself as one and not divided by ethnicity and tribe.
      When GMB was HoS,everyone wasn't employed yet the population of Nig wasn't as much as it is now.
      BH leader just admitted that our soldiers are cowards cos the ammunition they(soldiers) hv is enuf to win the war against them yet the media and propaganda claims they are under-equipped.
      APC expanded and existing 28km road and has the balls to toll is and no one is calling that out?
      Btwn the devil and the deep-blue sea,the sea remains better cos at least ur given the opportunity to stay alive...

      Delete
    2. *expanded 28km with N50bn

      Delete
  3. I've loved Simon Kolawole's articles on the back page of Thisday sunday newspaper since forever.
    This is some of the truths Nig don't wanna accept. Go online and read his other archived articles and u can see Nig from other angles (albeit humorously)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hmmmmmm he really got at them. Nice piece.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Turia Pitt Suffered 65% Burns But Loved Conquered All...

Amazing Story Shared by Dr. Ben Carson on Facebook, i thought it is inspiring and i decided to share;

The Australian ex-model Turia Pitt suffered burns to 65 per cent of her body, lost her fingers and thumb on her right hand and spent five months in hospital after she was trapped by a grassfire in a 100 kilometre ultra-marathon in the Kimberley. Her boyfriend decided to quit his job to care for her recovery. 
Days ago, in an interview for CNN they asked him:
"Did you at any moment think about leaving her and hiring someone to take care of her and moving on with your life?"

His reply touched the world:

"I married her soul, her character, and she's the only woman that will continue to fulfill my dreams."

***
This made me very reflective. I just wonder; if the person you love today encounters an incident or accident that transforms who they are physically, it could be amputation, it could be paralysis, it could be severe burns that scald their flesh beyond recognition, w…

#WriteRight. VIVIAN: MY FIRST SEX EXPERIENCE WITH MY BOYFRIEND

He was my coursemate, crush, then my boyfriend.... he was super
intelligent, smart, tall, dark and handsome. Believe me he got
swag, but he didn't seem to notice me. (I'm a nerd but a sassy one
if I say so myself).  So oneday I decided to take it to another level..
After listening to a song "IF YOU LOVE SOMEBODY TELL THEM THAT YOU
LOVE THEM and watching the season film of The Secret Life of
American Teenagers. ..when Amy Jeugerns mum told her "you are only
young once". LOL that part got me.
Hope you know what i mean?

Though I'm okay with chemistry class I approached him to coach me for
the Quiz that was coming up, we found out that we had this
great chemistry between us.. hehehe both the covalent and
electrovalent bonds....

So one thing led to another till one unusual Saturday. I invited
him to my house and he came. The guy got swag, he even came
with a packet of durex condom.
We talked for a while and and and and and and
Kai!
See how you are serious dey read this story....!
My…

...

Good morning people! 
Just checking in to sign the register. Lol. It's been a very busy week and it looks like it might be an even busier weekend. I was hoping to get some writing done when I got to the airport yesterday but I even almost missed my flight. It was hopeless trying to do any work on the plane as it was bumpy af, and this toddler behind me wouldn't stop screaming in piercing shrieks like he was being exorcised. 
I got into town pretty late and needed to keep an appointment ASAP. I'm heading out right now and it's going to be a long day, but thought I should drop this first. 
Have a splendid day. Im'ma be back soon.

THE ‘NEW’ SIDE CHICK: I WAS HER

A side chick is commonly known as a mistress or a woman that’s romantically involved with a man who is in a committed relationship.  However after doing some reflecting, I realize that’s not the only type of side chick.  I want to discuss “the new side chick”–a woman who decides to stay by a man’s side after he has expressed his lack of relationship intentions with her through his words or actions.  So many women have made this mistake at least once in their lifetime, and unfortunately I’ve done the same thing. I like to think of the new side chick as an appetizer.  You’re there just to satisfy the immediate appetite of the man, but as soon as that mouth-watering entrée comes out to the table, you will get pushed to the side, literally.  Why?  Because that entrée is what he really wanted; he went to the restaurant to order steak, not hot wings.  You were just a placeholder, fling, temporary commitment, or  maybe even just a “good ol time” until what he really wanted was presented to hi…

Shhhhhhh....

I'm in an amebo mood tonight. Don't ask me, I honestly don't know why. Also I'd like to share too but I'd do that anonymously in the comment section. Tonight I want to talk about secrets. It's ok, we can all be anonymous. 
Is it true that EVERYBODY has a secret? 
Is there anyone here who doesn't have a secret? I'd really like to know; You're a completely open book and there's not ONE thing about you that you wouldn't mind other people knowing about? Please raise your hands up. 
And for the rest of us, what's something about you that no one knows, or very few people know? Who's got a dark secret here, or a weird one, or a funny one even? I really don't mean to be invasive but I don't want to be the only one sharing, plus I think hearing other people's secrets is quite fun, don't you think?

Let's Be Random Together! (Open Keypad).

Hey guys, a while back blog reader F said something about creating an Open Keypad post, where you can write whatever you want in the comment section. I thought it was a fun idea!
So who is interested? Comment on anything you feel like, ask me or anyone a question, talk about how your day went, your job, your interests, tell us something about you that we don't know, share a testimony with us, rant about anything you feel like, talk about your crush/boo/spouse/relationship/marriage, challenges you're facing, ANYTHING AT ALL! 
I'll only make one request; that we stay civil. 

(F it was you who made this suggestion, right? I'm not too sure and I can't even remember the post the comment was made on). 
BTW please Ejoeccome out come out, wherever you are!

One More Post...

Adventures, Fun, Friendship & Laughter at the TTB Hangout (Lekki Conservation Center).

Nicole to Clare: mummy lets go. I want to climb that ropy thing!

Isn't Clare beautiful?!

Uyi et moi. Clowning. 

Mother & child. 


Scary af! Trish on the ramp. The chica loves the outdoors so much, she was like a kid in a candy store. She and Uyi took this walk twice! More power to them, you can't pay me to do this a second time.


Uyi & Tiwa

Giveaway Finale!

Happy Sunday y'all. 
This is the conclusive part of #WCG. 
All the N25,000 recipients have received their cash.
All the students have also received their N10,000. 
Once again guys please comment under any of the posts, or this one that you've received your money. Thanks. 

So moving forward, this final giveaway contains 
1. N10,000 for 5 people. 

2. 3 kimonos from Julian's dressmakers. 
3. 3 pairs of Palm slippers from WaleOnibata. (Gents) 
4. 2 pairs of shoes from Courtney's Closet. (Ladies. Size 9 and Size 11). 

5. 1 human hair wig from Gabby's Wigs'n'Weaves. You pick from one of the wigs below. 
6. 3 cakes from CakesandCream 

7. A getaway at CitiHeight Hotel Ikeja for 3 people. (Who can each bring one person along).  


As I said earlier, Kon has already won a stay at CitiHeight and Clare, a kimono. So those gifts are now available for 2 people each. 
There is no competition. We are only going to play a game. 
I have each gift item listed out in numbers. Number 1 to 100. …