Buhari: Path To Redemption And Re-canonisation

President Muhammadu Buhari

Nigeria is a country of surprises, endless surprises. Nigeria is a nation of opportunities; a cornucopia of opportunities – even if Nigerians continue sneer at this by our everyday acts – available to both her citizenry and the country to reinvent ourselves, ad infinitum, via copious lifelines thrown at us by Providence at every stormy stage in our individual lives and in the craft of nation-building.
Such, in our view, is the shock meeting between the national leaderships of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which, according to media reports, was called by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Against the backdrop of hate rhetoric with which the APC campaigned against the PDP in 2015 and the equal measure of vituperations the then ruling party dished “back to sender” – to appropriate a colloquial pseudo-religious expression – not a few Nigerians were shocked that President Buhari would deign to call a meeting with the PDP hierarchy! At this meeting of “light and darkness” the President even spoke so pointedly of the place of a vibrant opposition in a democracy! Wonder, as they say, shall never end!
Why were millions of Nigerians shocked that President Buhari met with PDP leaders in Aso Rock shortly after he returned from his over three months’ medical leave stay in the United Kingdom? A satisfactory answer to this poser must include a reference, however cursory, to the 2015 Presidential Campaign. Now, it must be said as a matter of fact, and not value judgment, that most political parties in the country ran the 2015 campaigns on truth, half-truth and blatant lies. It is the way of politics and politicians.
However, we recall that one of the stories put out in the media about then Candidate Muhammadu Buhari was that on the campaign trail somewhere up north, he was sitting in his campaign vehicle alongside his running mate, now Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. The vehicle was buffeted by a deluge of Buhari supporters, mostly young people, which made forward movement impossible. According to the story, which we must again say could be true or only one of the myths put out there to burnish the candidature of Mai Gaskya, Candidate Buhari turned to Prof. Osinbajo and succinctly told his running mate how expectant of CHANGE these youth pressing themselves on their vehicle on all sides are of both himself and Osinbajo. The youth, to paraphrase then Candidate Buhari, expected all their problems in life to be solved, over and done with overnight, by the wave of the APC/Buhari/Osinbajo magic wand! That was the magic the APC/Buhari/Osinbajo campaign worked in 2015. It deified Candidate Buhari and elevated him to Olympia!
However, two years down the line, only the incurably rabid rabbi of CHANGE will still insist that the nation is where the Nigerian People expected it to be half-way into the four-year term of the APC Government. Said chieftain of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Prof. Ango Abdullahi, in a recent interview with The Sun Newspaper: “The system of government that he (Buhari) is operating in has substantially failed in the same manner as the ones before it.” The Buhari halo has vanished; the man and the myth busted. This is what many admirers of the President had feared would happen, and sorely wished, even fervently prayed silently, that Mai Gaskiya would not run in 2015, pull out at some point on the way – and save the man and the myth, eternally. The Abiku, the Still-born Child at “the gathering of the tribe” in this dance of the forest has, again, proved another Shaman a lie, a fake!
From the campaign ground encounter above, it appears that President Buhari sensed the messianic expectations of the CHANGE Multitude. Now we must all concede that it is unreasonable of mortals to expect Zeusian talismanics from another mortal. The CHANGE Crown, and the rest of the Nigerian People, must deal with the Buhari actuality of today, as against our 2015 phantasmagoria.
However, we are of the clear-eye view that President Buhari can also take the redemptive step of meeting a disappointed nation halfway on some fresh detour the Nigerian People took after they met a cul-de-sac on CHANGE Highway, if he cares about his now brittle, unmoored legacy and his place in unvarnished history.
Some CHANGE Warriors are currently angling for a cabinet reshuffle. However, we align with Prof Ango Abdullahi who in the aforementioned interview, stated that a cabinet change of guard is not the “solution to government’s problems.” Ministers take time to settle in and time is a luxury for the Buhari administration now. To be sure, the 2019 General Election campaign – which rumbling is already jarring our earlobes today a la Mama Taraba, Atiku Sallah courtesy call leaks – should gather steam, unofficially, in the first or second quarters of 2018.
Only a Houdini or Professor Peller class act will do now. First, we urge President Buhari to declare his non-interest in the 2019 Presidential Race and his resolve to be an impartial, non-partisan father of the nation in the contest, via a national broadcast.
In the proposed State of the Nation Address, it should be a fine point for President Buhari to distance himself from any self-acclaimed heir and pretenders to the throne of Buharism, including the rumoured candidate(s) of “the cabal” lurking in some darken Aso Rock alleyways to jump on his back for a ride to the Presidency.
The President must also commit to organising a free and fair election in 2019, pledging to hand over to his validly elected successor, even if the victorious is not from the ruling APC.
The needless fog over any second term decisively cleared thus, President Buhari should turn his attention to the clamour for restructuring or devolution of power in the country, which opposing forces like Prof. Ango Abdullahi and the NEF have now conceded is inevitable.
Cutting into the chase, President Buhari should also direct his party, the APC, to stop the charade and shenanigans they continue to make about devolution of power. It is a mockery of a significant issue so dearly held by the majority of the Nigerian People today.
Thereafter, President Buhari should call out each region or ethnic group in the country to produce a position paper on restructuring, which should be harmonised at a gathering of all ethnic nationalities in the country, and swiftly passed – in not later than a period of six continuous months – either by an Act of the National Assembly or a national referendum supervised by the United Nations (UN).
The 2019 General Elections should thereafter proceed within the ambit of a restructured Nigeria.
This is the path to redemption and re-canonisation for President Muhammadu Buhari. The President may be down but he is not out, yet. There is still a Prize to take for Mai Gaskya. Is he willing?

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