Buhari is just another politician, after all

Buhari is just another politician, after all

For a while now, I have reached the point where I could no longer give a care about what the Nigerian politician does or does not do.

As far I am concerned, there is nothing beyond the average Nigerian politician. Of course, there are a few exceptions to this unfortunate General Order but that is what it is- the general order.

I have said a couple of times on this column, that even though I understand that politicians world over are slippery and unpredictable, Nigerian politicians are a significantly peculiar lot.

Our politicians care only about power, being in power that is. For them, it is a game of the end justifies the means. It does not matter who they are in bed with; it does not matter what the shape or colour of feather of the next bird looks like, once it helps them get a hold of power, it is good enough!

Forget whatever name they choose to call their party or that they hang brooms on their heads or assail your sight with umbrellas big enough to accommodate a community, those who play politics in Nigeria are birds of the same feather.

The group of people they associate with today are those who make bread and butter easy for them. The moment the jar of flour is used up in that party, they are ready for a quick flight to the other one. They do not serve fatherland for the love of God but the interest of self, followed by that of party. This is why someone could say to us that a large percentage of those who constitute the current administration are the same people accused of plundering the country for the past 16 years. Most politicians are guided by nothing other than their stomachs.

They think about themselves alone and do not give a hoot about you. When they build roads or hospitals or schools, it usually has little to do with your welfare, it’s all about winning the next election. That is why new hospital buildings are left without basic drugs or equipment and schools without teaching or instructional materials. So, in my opinion, Nigerians take themselves too seriously to assume that these guys genuinely care.

But then, we ourselves have surrendered our citizens’ right to question authority and demand performance to these itinerary politicians, who are mostly motivated by personal ambitions aggrandisement.

Due to ignorance, hero-worship or a combination of both, Nigerians neglect the enormous influence that democracy bestows on them in the determination of the future of their children and those who lead them into it. A popular argument in favour of the largely docile nature of our people to the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, for instance, is what is seen as his impeccable personality, coming from what a lot of us describe as the advantage of not being a “typical” politician.

We forget that Buhari had mingled with politicians for over one decade before his eventual ascension to presidential office and that like they say of the sheep that stays in the company of dogs for long, politicians are able to corrupt good character.

This is the only explanation I see for the President’s promise to enlarge his cabinet during the National Executive Meeting of his All Progressives Congress, last week.

Mind you, the President was not talking about reshuffling his cabinet for the much-needed efficiency. He spoke about enlarging his cabinet to satisfy the desires of members of his party who have grumbled about alienation for long.

During this meeting, which was indeed long in coming, Buhari was quoted as saying that the: “compressed Federal Executive Council will be expanded to bring in more SUPPORTERS (emphasis mine) at federal level, with fresh ideas to be injected into the government”.  This statement and one or two more things the President said in the course of this meeting indicated that he was planning to expand the cabinet in satisfaction of rumblings within his party.

This argument can be extended further to speculate that President Buhari is persuaded to do this, possibly in spite of himself, in an attempt to swing the preponderance of opinion in his favour in the scramble for his party’s presidential ticket in 2019. Like all of them, ambition has coloured the President’s judgment; he has caught the bug!

My point is, I agree that dishing out such political patronage is the way of politicians but this president was not meant to be one of those! Not in the expectation of Nigerians and not by his own public utterances and disposition.

Was it not the President who spoke about the need to shrink the structure of government and conserve national resources? Was he not the one who spoke about the need to save for the rainy day and put an end to profligate governance? How come this austere apostle now suddenly sees the meagre improvement of the country’s economy as a leeway for inviting more people to come and share of the national cake? At a period when the economy, even if they say is improving, is still on palpably shaky grounds?

In addition to expanding his cabinet, an action, which does not guarantee better performance given the President’s indifference to the crying inefficiency of some ministers over the past two years, he also pledged to constitute the boards of parastatals.

While this may in itself not be an unreasonable proposition, the timing is suspect. Why has the President waited all of 30 months before contemplating the composition of the boards of agencies and parastatals? Is it truly because of the state of the national treasury or can we say that like all politicians, he has held this joker back as a transactional quantity for his second term ambition, especially as opposition to granting him the right of first refusal seems to be mounting and from a quarter as powerful as that of the chair of governors elected on the platform of his party?

I concede that Buhari or any other politician is entitled to playing their politics anyway they like, but what hurts the interest of the country is the inability of Nigerians to see that the President is not essentially different from others. He has shown himself susceptible to all the tendencies that best politicians, including trading the health of the country for their own peculiar gain.

But it is sad however that a majority of us do not even get it. Even if the compromises and recanting get more serious than this, we are still going to make excuses for our leaders.

Nigerians must realise that no country, especially one emerging from dictatorship should totally leave its destiny in the hands of politicians. Politicians do not always work for our interest. In politics, it is the survival of the fittest; it is the interest that currently satisfies the end that the politicians of the day want to arrive at. Sometimes, they camouflage their interests as identical with ours, but that is no more than a smokescreen.

We must realise that even those things that they do for us are about building their electoral capital. It is either about winning a second term or retaining their political party in power. The philosophy that guides the average politician, anywhere in the world is political survival, it does not matter whether the politician is a Goodluck Jonathan, a Muhammadu Buhari or an Olusegun Obasanjo, politicians are driven by self-preservation but the destination of generations is in the hands of the ordinary citizen- you and I.

@niranadedokun

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