African Outlook Online

Farouk Martins Aresa

Only Naive Folks Would Call Buhari A Saint

Only Naive Folks Would Call Buhari A Saint

By Farouk Martins Aresa

Nigeria has found itself in an unenviable position of choosing between a prodigal son and a fanatic. Determining their degree of wastefulness and zealousness within the bounds of laws and decency in a country endemically corrupt is not a good choice.

The worst critic of Jonathan or Buhari struggles in defense and condemnation of each. Most informed Nigerians realize as a matter of fact that the next President is going to be one of them, not a third option.


The best argument for Jonathan is that it is the turn of Niger Delta to “chop” the fruits coming from their backyard. Unfortunately, the fruits has not penetrated deep into the hands of those disenfranchised folks in the region. They are those that have proudly worked to support their families as farmers and fishermen before the oil boom. Nobody, not oil companies and certainly not Jonathan have made it a priority to clean up their environment enough to return to farming.


Even Okonjo-Iweala, Coordinating Minister said Nigeria lacks institutions and system to prevent Corruption. Technology, like squandered resources can be beaten. Opportunity to be an African regional power and talents were lost. Indeed, what we get is a relatively increase in foreign income that has gone into pockets of a few privileged Nigerians at the largest proportional rate in history. So while income increased immensely the lot of average folks has lagged behind.


We had efficient managers that had utilized our modest resources in the past to provide more for our people. We had plenty of coal from Enugu for our energy needs, groundnuts pyramids and tin from the North, and cocoa from the West. Each of these regions was able to feed itself and the rest of West Africa. With so little well managed, our people were more contented than we are today. They could not wait to get back home instead of risking their lives to cross desert.


In other words, what we have today is more money, abundant greed and selfishness. We are no longer our brothers’ keeper because stupendous and conspicuous spenders have overtaken the love we had for the children of our neighbors and their generation. We do not care anymore as the problem of poverty has eaten deeper creating fear of being infected before we steal from anything in sight. We are so scared of being poor, we steal ourselves blind into another life.


Though noted as the fiercest critics in the land, the Yoruba are honestly caught up with the other Nigerian sincere critics about whether to continue with the Government of Jonathan that was supposed to reduce corruption and return the golden eggs to Niger Delta or Buhari whose past ruling was brutal and uncompromising except to certain royalties. Did he learn anything?


Yoruba should be the last to vote for Buhari but this is beyond Yoruba, Igbo or Hausa. It is about Nigeria and who can pull the Country back from the brink. Some of us will survive, no matter who is elected. But if you are tired of looking at the poor and working folks suffer in the land of milk and honey while the rich and the powerful ride in private jets and luxury cars with fat hard currency accounts in foreign countries, search your conscience and vote for the right candidate.


No matter who you condemn or support, you will unwittingly become a supporter of the other. This quagmire actually visited Professor Wole Soyinka and our good friend Tokunbo Ajasin. Both are sincere and have been direct or related victims of Buhari. Each opinion can be misconstrued while it is legitimate to condemn Buhari and express dismay at Jonathan at the same time.


Pa Ajasin, Alex Ekwueme and many innocent Nigerians suffered unnecessarily in the hands of Buhari and Idiagbon. Umaru Dikko would claim the same. Indeed, depending on which part of the Country you are from, this should disqualify Buhari as a President. On the other hand, the alternative is a disaster. Anyone that wants the survival and the good of the working people at heart will be dishonest to say their condition has gotten better under business as usual.


Unless you know Jonathan has demonstrated that he is in a hurry to solve these problems, his kitchen cabinet and militias are contented billionaires. He must show the passion of a zealot and a fanatic against corruption to clean up. Some of us will suffer in the process and some prominent folks did suffer in the hands of Buhari/Idiagbo regime but majority of the people in Nigeria will have a breathing chance only when corruption is reduced to the barest minimum.


It will take a fanatic and zealot against corruption to achieve that task. Nigeria as a country has fallen far apart. Reality is: we know it. So much so that many are praying for a total breakdown into pieces of Sharia Boko Haram, Christian East, Mixed Minorities and Christian/Muslim/Sango West. Unless we get a fanatic that can defend Nigeria ardently, we are looking at Lebanon or dislocated Libya. The problem is no country is large enough to accommodate Nigerian refugees.


We will not be talking about Pa Rewane, Saro Wiwa, Isaac Boro, Ambrose Ali and many other Nigerians that have sacrificed their lives, anymore. It will be mayhem for more innocent folks losing their lives on the streets, villages, towns and cities. We have a bigger task ahead of us far beyond the reach of either Jonathan or Buhari alone. Whoever is elected, will need the help of all of us. We know who is totally above his head and who can strive with the help from us all.


It is not the amount of money we have that makes us rich, it is what we do with it and what we keep. Of course apologists would claim population has exploded, there is more infrastructure than ever and foreign taste and consumption have gone up. None of these excuses hold water.


We have to look beyond traditional coalitions of parties and past ethnic affiliation into who can return sanity to the Country and to the people no matter whose ox is gored. If the fanatic we need is elected, democratic environment and the fear of impeachment will have tempering roles to play. It is up to the voters to decide who can carry on his shoulder the task ahead.