INSIDE NIGERIA: Buhari & Jonathan (Between the Devil & Deep Blue Sea)

Posted: January 4, 2015 in Articles, EZEAMALUKWUO SPEAKS 1, INSIDE NIGERIA
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President Goodluck Jonathan (left), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari rtd (right)

President Goodluck Jonathan (left), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari rtd (right)

by Okoye Chukwudi Ezeamalukwuo

Now that the issue of who the major contenders for the 2015 Presidential election has finally been resolved, the i-s are gradually being dotted and the t-s being crossed, the debate rages of who is better and who is worse, and the mostly unhealthy rivalry goes on, the momentum keeps building up, and insults continue to be hurl on both candidates by opposite fans, the stage is finally set for what might actually be the last nail on the coffin of an ever-disintegrating Nation.

Nothing has sharply polarised this Nation since the dark days of the counter-coup of 1966 as a Buhari-Jonathan rivalry. A fight between the core muslim North, together with a large section of South-Western Nigeria on one side, and the Christian South-East and their South-South partner on the other side. Judging from online media news; the rhetorics and militant speeches spoken by supporters of both men, one is left with this unnerving premonition of an impending bloodbath, no matter who emerges winner come February. It is quite an unpleasant sight to watch the continuous unravelling of the already worn-out stitches that hold this nation together, the steady tearing of one thread after another, all for the sake of two men whose known portfolios show clearly that both are neither qualified to run nor fit to lead a nation as complex as ours.

On 31st of December, 1983, Buhari and his fellow coupists overthrew a democratically elected government. With a bold and militant speech, filled with contempt for democratic and civilian rule, he ended the second republic and ushered Nigeria once more into the dark days of military rule which was to last for 15 years. This act was initially met with joy and celebration among the citizenry. Little did he know back then that the same citizens would rejoice 20 months later on his overthrew, or that 31 years on he would be contesting as a civilian in a democratic setting for a record four times in a row.

Image of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari as Head of State, & Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria

Image of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari as Head of State, & Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria

Time is a funny thing, and Nigerians with their chronic amnesia are even more funny. Our infinite capacity to forgive and forget is incredulous, and borders on cheer insanity. A man who advocated brutality and torture as a means of getting things done. Who scorn on the rule of law, who had people incarcerated without trials, and kept them in prison even after their acquittal under the most inhumane of condition is today the messiah we need. A man who had no problem serving under Abacha; that corrupt mantra, who was reported as saying that Abacha had no case to answer in terms of corruption, and who currently is working with Tinubu, Amaechi and other ex-PDP thieves and co, men who had and are looting their state and constituency dry, that same man is now an anti-corruption general. What hurts me the most is when I see youths of today; many of whom are 21 years and below saying that Buhari; a 72 year old man, who was governor at the age of 30, minister at 30-something, Head of State at 41 is the future for Nigeria. The irony of this statement is neither palatable for me, nor is it beginning to make sense beyond it being a figure of speech.

Looking that Goodluck Jonathan; our president for the past 5 years (going to six), who appealed to us back in 2011 with his speech of fresh air and change. A lot of us believed him even though we had our suspicion of PDP. The Truth is that we were already tired of the old guard who have been there since Flora Shaw seduced Lord Lugard into naming this entity; Nigeria. Thus we threw our lots with him believing that at least, President Goodluck would break the old hegemony and give us something different. 5 years and counting, with fuel selling at a higher price ever, a growing and embolden cabal, zero conviction of corrupt public officials, pardon for convicted public officials, high insecurity in the land, rise in terrorism, disarray of the army, decrease of Nigerian status in international circles, civil disobedience, unpatriotic and treasonous statements from political proponents and opponents, growing inflation and unemployment, high level of youth restiveness etc, a lot of us are beginning to repent from our previous decision.

President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan in his 5 years as Head of State, and Commander in Chief of the armed forces have failed majority of Nigerians, especially the lower class and the lower-middle class. He has not shown leadership quality, and a-times had appeared unwilling to seize the initiative or to make the hard decisions needed to secure Nigerians and Nigerian interests. His decision to remove petroleum subsidy instead of persecuting the beneficiaries of subsidy scam exposed his lack of willpower to make the hard choice, rather he chose the path of least resistance, which is to dump the burden on we; the ordinary people of Nigeria. His lack of imagination and innovation, strong-will and strictness in handling the Boko-Haram mayhem betrayed his lack of judgment and understanding of what the role of government is; which is first and foremost the security of lives and properties of Nigerians. This actions and more have led to the loss of faith in his administration, by many previous supporters, save a few who are currently benefiting from his rule, and others who are driven by tribal and religious sentiments.

Hence with election 41 days away, and with the presidency (if there will still be a Nigeria after the election) going to one of the two, the future for Nigeria is dire. The foot soldiers of the two are getting their arsenal ready to cause mayhem in the eventuality that their candidate loses. I don’t want to be a prophet of doom (God know there are so many of them already) but if care is not taken, and with the way things are developing we might be having two or more nations, or a civil war by the end of the year.

To be fair the both candidate; I must concede that there are some factors that mitigated against the two of them. Buhari ruled for only 20 months, in which time he oversaw the persecution of large number of people for corrupt practises albeit mostly southerners and members of the opposition party. He tried to instill a rule of discipline among Nigerians who before then (and after then) had carried on their unruly and rowdy behaviour of jumping queue, dumping of refuse indiscriminately, urinating in public places etc. He also tried to put a rigid and disciplined hold in the handling of the economy, which was a failure though, but who knows what might have been if he was allowed back then to continue to say; 48 months.

President Goodluck Jonathan, on the other hand have ruled beyond the 48 months period, and I am not blind to some of the developmental strides he has tried to introduce in a decayed system such as ours. Such as the revival of our rail system, the rehabilitation of our roads, the containment of Ebola, the building of schools especially in the core-northern areas, the increase of minimum wage, the privatisation of power, conducting of credible elections among other things. Being from a minority tribe and having little political weight in Nigeria, plus having an very powerful and ever-power-hungry cabal of Northern origin who are not only opposed to his presidency, but have continued to agitate what they see as the lose of their turn to rule. I must confess that the challenges before him is enormous and calls for some pragmatic steps, and one might be tempted to sympathise with him.

But the truth is that after 54 years of taking scraps and shit from our ruling class, Nigerians can no longer afford to vote based on “What If” or “Sympathy” or tribal and religious affiliation. We saw hell during those 20 months of Buhari’s draconic regime, and Nigerians are seeing hell during this over-gentle and over-indulging regime of Jonathan. Who would have taught that two very opposite regime; Buhari and Jonathan, military and civilian, draconic and civil, brutal and gentle would have such similar effect on a Nation. A lot of us will not like to admit it, but Buhari and Jonathan are birds of a feather, and no matter the weather, will always flock together, and if past experiences are anything to go by, both will take us nowhere greener. I do not envy Nigerian voters at all. Having being asked to choose between the duo; Buhari and Jonathan, Nigerian voters are now left with no choice except the Devil and the deep blue sea.

The statements, views and opinions stated in this write up is solely those of the author, and does not necessarily represent those of Lyriversity.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

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Comments
  1. Chukwudi says:

    Truths, half-truths and blatant falsehoods. How could Buhari have persecuted members of the opposition when he was not even a memeber of a political party back then? One thing you should understand is that anyone who attempts to fight corruption is going to be accused.of targeting his enemies, as.was the.case with Obasanjo’s anti corruption crusade which was spear headed by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu. If you fight corruption, corruption would fight you back. The question is which of these two men has the ability to face the problems facing us as a country and brave enough to challenge the powers that be, who have fed fat on the resources and delapidated state of affairs in our dear nation.

    • Ezeamalukwuo says:

      Mr Chukwudi, I understand from your comment that you are a fan of Buhari, congrats. But I don’t think I made any fabrication here. Buhari was given a military appointment by Shagari. After the coup, a lot of prominent persons from the ruling party eloped abroad, some under mysterious circumstances, some even from military detention. While the buck of those persercueted by Buharia’s regime happened to be Southerners and members of the opposition party. This is public knowledge, a click of mouse will show you facts and figures. You have refuted my write up, with this just one argument. You didn’t argue on the blalant disregard of civil right, censor of press, torture, flogging, detention without trial, execution in retrospect, failure of the economy and other issues against your candidate. I aspected a detailed counter-argument against my article, not a one line refutation of simple fact which anyone can easily valid.

    • gaby says:

      Buhari was a dictator, Buhari went as far as druging a Nigerian politician that went on exile in the u.k. he employed the help of isreali sss or is it mossad to transport the body through a private jet into nigeria. But this mission was foiled by british authourities. i dont see any progressive change in apc, most of the politicians there are corrupt, rapacious and incompetent to rule nigeira. Same with Pdp. Apc are just power hungry, they just want power by all means. There is no National technocrat in Nigerian political setting yet. All we have is greedy, recalcitrant, Ethic Bigots. That’s why tribalism, favoritism and Nepotism will not allow us practise true federalism.

  2. onyeka says:

    Nice write up, GEJ put himself in this precarious position. I can’t imagine me looking up to buhari as an option and as a messiah. We are indeed left to chose between the and sharks infested deep blue sea

  3. Anene Francis says:

    Nice attempt at dissecting the matter and comparing the two. Between the devil and the deep blue sea. It’s really unfortunate we are in this situation.

    * hey I’m still very optimistic that the country would forge ahead as one with minimal post election violence. Personally that is where I am channeling my campaign effort more.
    * can’t campaign for any of these two cos I have not decided which one myself. Still assessing. More worrisome is the fact that many of us the masses play into their politics by propaganda game. Persons want to set the country ablaze because of those two and you want me to add my stick? Taa! (Its okay to make provision for defence but we should not be inciting violence or unwarranted provocative speeches)
    But wait o. I thought INEC approved like 10 precidential condidates of different parties if I’m not mistaking. Why are we not looking their way? We are not considering if any one would be a better candidate, because none is most likely to win, as if it is not the masses vote that would decide. How then will a Messiah come since we insist on him been born in a palace? Must it be PDP or APC? Verily, we are not serious for change we make noise about.

    * @Solar, that one refutes one point does not mean he/ she disagree with all. Personally, I read in the write up facts and points I agree with, but with some sentiments (Its hard for sentiments not to creep in sha) and point I need to comfirm. This kain matter too dey long so I’ll leave it at that… Good work once again.

  4. Anene Francis says:

    >Nice attempt at dissecting the matter and comparing the two. Between the devil and the deep blue sea. It’s really unfortunate we are in this situation.

    * hey I’m still very optimistic that the country would forge ahead as one with minimal post election violence. Personally that is where I am channeling my campaign effort more.
    * can’t campaign for any of these two cos I have not decided which one myself. Still assessing. More worrisome is the fact that many of us the masses play into their politics by propaganda game. Persons want to set the country ablaze because of those two and you want me to add my stick? Taa! (Its okay to make provision for defence but we should not be inciting violence or unwarranted provocative speeches)
    But wait o. I thought INEC approved like 10 precidential condidates of different parties if I’m not mistaking. Why are we not looking their way? We are not considering if any one would be a better candidate, because none is most likely to win, as if it is not the masses vote that would decide. How then will a Messiah come since we insist on him been born in a palace? Must it be PDP or APC? Verily, we are not serious for change we make noise about.

    * @Solar, that one refutes one point does not mean he/ she disagree with all. Personally, I read in the write up facts and points I agree with, but with some sentiments (Its hard for sentiments not to creep in sha) and point I need to comfirm. This kain matter too dey long so I’ll leave it at that… Good work once again.

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