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|@9jabloke: Why Voting For Buhari Does Not Represent Change by KevD123: 1:05pm On Dec 18, 2014|
On the 16th of April 2011, there l stood at the receiving end of the treacherous blaze of the Lagos mid-day sunshine. As l looked on in clear contempt for the literally unending snaky line of people on the queue opposite me; enduring the endless jibes thrown at those of us on the other queue, a number of things piqued my mind. My contempt was hinged on one fundamental issue: here we were as a nation, with a chance to for once make a detour from the perilous path we had trod since the new democratic dispensation, and we were on the verge of throwing it all away.
We had a choice to make between Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP and General Muhammadu Buhari who was the standard bearer of the CPC. The battle cry then was ‘’l am voting for Goodluck and not PDP’’. The General had a few days earlier shed tears on national TV and that for me was as bad as it could get. It was a testament to how badly he wanted to right the wrongs that had brought a once great nation to its knees. As l cast my vote for the General, and left the polling booth, l knew it was a tall order expecting the General to win, but l was satisfied that even as a Rivers man from the same South-South geopolitical zone as his opponent, l had voted with my conscience. That alone was good enough for me.
Four years on, we are yet again faced with a similar scenario; with a choice to decide who would lead our great nation for another four years and ironically the gladiators are the same. However, this time, General Buhari as against running on the platform of the CPC is the flag bearer of the APC; a coalition of opposition parties who have made the occupation of Aso Rock their primary objective. To achieve this purpose, they are leveraging on the mantra of ‘’CHANGE’’ as their value proposition. A cardinal linchpin of this mantra is the fight against corruption; yes, that hydra headed monster that has eaten so deep into every facet of our national lives. And who is best suited to be the fulcrum of this proposition than General Buhari, the one man who is touted to be the embodiment of honesty, integrity and incorruptibility.
To be certain, these were the very same virtues on which my voting for Buhari in 2011 was premised. However, like they say, a day in politics is a long time. If we are to do an extrapolation based on this wise saying, you can imagine what four years translates to. Well, the materialization of that can clearly be seen in the calibre of characters the General has surrounded himself with in the APC.
Amongst these are two of the most corrupt individuals to have ever trodden the Nigerian political landscape. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu needs no introduction in contemporary Nigeria. Like a colossus, he has bestrodden this landscape for as long as our memories can take us. Actively participating in the opposition NADECO during the despotic terror reign of Sani Abacha, he became governor of Lagos State during the fourth republic. As compensation for his activism, Tinubu helped himself in no small measure to the Lagos State treasury, a skill he still exhibits masterfully by proxy, under the Fashola administration.
Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi on the other hand has earned his corruption stripes. If corruption were an army, he would easily be a five star General. As speaker of the Rivers State House Assembly, he was the quintessential rubber stamp that sealed the financial debauchery and recklessness that was the hallmark of Dr. Peter Odili’s eight year reign. If there was any doubt about the ridiculous levels of looting perpetuated by the Odili government, the interminable injunction against his being investigated by the EFCC, granted by an Abuja High Court, tells the whole story. As Governor, Amaechi has simply exploited all the ‘’lootocracy’’ skills he acquired under the tutelage of his principal. Between them, these two men; Tinubu and Amaechi, are the biggest financiers of the Buhari candidacy.
The question any discerning mind should then ask is, what really is this ‘’change’’ that continues to be mouthed all about? If Buhari is the epitome of all that is incorruptible, how come he is comfortable in the gathering of people who personify corruption in its rawest form? The unambiguous answer lies in the words of the great philosopher who once said ‘’show me your friends and l would tell you who you are’’. This characteristic blowing hot and cold is only a manifestation of the political ambivalence of the General towards an issue that we are made to believe he stands against. It therefore seems that while this legend of incorruptibility around Buhari has taken on a mythical dimension, when critically analysed based on current evidence; it is just an escapist sophistry leveraged on by his supporters to cover their ideological emptiness.
In the final analysis, it is simply the height of hypocrisy for anyone to say Buhari and the APC represent any semblance of the kind of change Nigerians deserve. I need to be schooled on how Buhari is expected to fight corruption when the very people who are financing him are an embodiment of the very thing. It is becoming clearer that the change mantra is only about the interests of certain individuals as against the generality of Nigerians. Certainly, this variant of change is a Greek gift nicely wrapped in a box of hypocrisy; one that is tempting enough to force a change in the hands that hold the knife slicing off the Nigerian national cake. However, it is one gift that ought to repulse every right thinking Nigerian. As William Hazlitt once surmised, hypocrisy is the only vice that cannot be forgiven. If corruption is defined as a failure of systems, l completely consent that it is a national malaise and its resolution is non-negotiable. However, what l oppose is change for the sake of it ; in this case swapping one corrupt administration with another, without a deliberate attempt to address the fundamental issues that would make a definite difference.
If this is the kind of change we clamour for and deserve, I’d leave us to our consciences.
Let that be the judge.
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