By James Ogidan
MAN is not only a political animal, he is indeed distinguished from and claims superiority over other animals by his ability to create society as a platform to organise his kind for the domestication of other beings for his own welfare and social perpetuation.
Every human epoch has its own associated political structure and sentiments. When the social structure is cracking and the polity is at the risk of being rendered asunder such that no one is ultimately the beneficial owner, the political class puts on its thinking cap in search of a political solution. Politics reigns supreme over the economy as the determinant of who gets what, how, where and when. It is through politics that infrastructural edifices are built; it also takes political disagreements, and war if not well managed, to pull such magnificent structures down.
Politics is at the root of Nigeria’s myriads of problems, the solutions which must be unmistakably political. The declaration of the search for a political solution by the Federal Government must be sincere, total and realistic. Admittedly, Buhari is not the sole creator of the nation’s woes, yet so enmeshed therein, even if as one of those ill-informed soldiers of juvenile dispositions who engaged in the earliest coup and counter-coups of crude tribal dimensions, he plunged the nation into avoidable but debilitating civil war and continues to hold the nation’s politics by the jugular.
Only a few men in history are blessed with such divine privileges of leading their country both as a beneficiary of high treason and being elected for the maximum period allowed by the Constitution. Others, particularly in Africa, only transmute from Head of State by coup and transmute to the civilian president through sham elections organised by themselves.
Only Olusegun Obasanjo previously enjoyed the same grace.
Yet having seen his limit, even after being restored back to good health from the valley of the shadow of death, Buhari should appreciate God and strive to surpass Obasanjo and etch his own name in gold as the greatest statesman Nigeria ever produced. After all, he will be the very last of those soldier-politicians to ever rule us again.
Abraham Lincoln was of a more lowly background than Buhari and indeed described by Wikipedia as being born into poverty.
He self-educated himself, became a lawyer and U.S. Congressman from Illinois. In 1849, he returned to his law practice but became vexed by the opening of additional lands to slavery.
So, he re-entered politics in 1854 and ran for President in 1860, sweeping the North in victory. Pro-slavery elements in the South equated his success in the North with the North’s rejection of their right to practice slavery, and southern states began seceding from the Union.
Lincoln identified his twin priority of ending slavery as a crime against humanity and the emancipation of the Black people on one hand and the preservation of the American Union on the other.
He achieved both by mobilising the entire nation behind his vision, forming alliances across party lines with animosity towards none.
The economy responded rather positively and the entire world was the better for it. He was White yet sided with the oppressed Blacks, dealing a fatal blow on the iniquitous slavery-based economy of the Whites. He did not seek for them more slavery lands but rather closed the routes through which many have died as articles of trade. Though he died on April 4, 1865 from an assassin’s bullets, yet he accomplished his vision and mission in only four years and is forever remembered as perhaps the greatest President of the United States of America.
No elected President of Nigeria enjoyed the level of Buhari’s goodwill at the inception. He had virtually all the nation’s human resources at his call to make his administration the best Nigerians ever had, including a very cerebral deputy who, as Attorney General of Lagos State, used the instrumentality of the judicial process to fight for a truly federal Nigeria with the concomitant devolution of powers to the states; he has men who have served the country in different capacities and whose experiences were available for him.
He jettisoned these resources and placed the destiny of Nigeria in the hands of his few boys led by Abubakar Malami, whose only political exposure was being the Legal Adviser of Buhari’s CPC. The political vacuum created was capitalised upon by individuals using him as a cover to execute their personal agenda. He refused to engage the nation and communicated nothing but sectional and parochial messages that threatened and still threaten to tear the nation apart.
The President’s party men, who understand the imperative of politics at the time of Chief John Oyegun, one-time Governor of Edo State, as chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, set up the Mallam El-Rufai Committee on True Federalism when President Buhari was on medical vacation overseas.
The Committee presented reports which were virtually a clone of the Resolutions of the 2014 National Conference as the panacea for our national woes. Invariably, the President, like he did with the 2014 National Conference Reports, has also consigned the reports of the El-Rufai Committee to the shelves. Unfortunately, these reports for the restructuring and stability of the polity would have been the salutary legacy with which Buhari would have been remembered.
One often wonders if President Buhari is aware that nobody, even in his party and government, is talking about his legacy any longer which has been abandoned by the young hawks who are instead preoccupied only with the poaching of the governors and other political bigwigs of other political parties. The other time, they came calling on the leadership of Afenifere only seeking understanding on the 2023 general elections. The clear message to President Buhari is that these men have already looked beyond him and are only for the remaining months managing him like a bull in a shop.
In the proposed political solution, the unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho is a welcome development that should only be the beginning of a national healing process of the existential calamity which has needlessly become most aggravated under the Buhari presidency. Communications with Nigerians must be conciliatory, handled with maturity and diplomatic finesse, not some uncouth messages, the likes from the Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami, who needs education in the Yoruba philosophy which enjoins a wise child to endeavour to deliver every message like a freeborn even in an errand of a slave.
Malami has rather demonstrated that he occupies a position he knows not its ethos and perhaps much bigger than him. He has done most incalculable damages not only to the Buhari administration but also to the unity of Nigeria and the peaceful coexistence of its inhabitants more than any other person and at any time in the history of Nigeria.
For instance, on October 22, Malami chose a press conference to prosecute and pronounce Kanu guilty of most sensitive allegations which he did not include in any of the counts in the charges preferred against the IPOB leader and made public the previous day because he had no supporting facts for a judicial proof.
Malami accused Kanu and members of IPOB, among other wild allegations, of attacking offices, bus terminals and the palace of Oba of Lagos” during the last #EndSARS disturbances in Lagos and for killing Gulack in Owerri. The other time on Arise Television and for unsavoury ethnic effects, the Attorney- General of the Federal Government strategically switched code from English to the Hausa language when he was addressing Nigerians on the re-arrest of Kanu.
He told his special and preferred audience: “I want to let you know that when he jumped bail and started inciting the general public to sabotage the peace and unity of the Nigerian state through media platforms like the radio television and social media…
It is on that note that I want to announce that the Nigerian government has successfully arrested and brought back NnamdiKanu to Nigeria through the help of the Nigerian intelligence agency,” The clear intention was to set members of major ethnic nationalities against one another.
A political solution is called forth and deployed when a State is faced with intractable crises and in search of an ingenious solution. The political solution must be total, unapologetic putting obstructive laws in abeyance for sake of humanity. This must have been at the back of Chief Ayo Adebanjo, the irrepressible Acting Leader of the Afeniferewhen he insisted that President Buhari should ensure the restructuring of Nigeria before 2023, admonishing that he set up a Government of National Unity in its realisation.
Chief Edwin Clark, Leader of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum has equally recently warned of the catastrophic effects of the refusal of Mr President that Nigeria restructure,
The President and his few parochial advisers should realise that he nor they together possesses no magical capacity to make or remake Nigeria in his or their own image.
They must wake up from their fantasy dreams to the reality that Nigeria is not and never will be part of any person or tribe’s fief. Last week, Abuja to Kaduna Expressway was taken over by terrorists killing scores of people, As I write this are people wailing on the Plateauas police reported10 person skilled while 30 houses were burnt down by gunmen who attacked Te’egbe Community in the Bassa Local Government Area of the state.
This is certainly not an enviable legacy to be left behind by the last of the military Generals to rule Nigeria. Let the political solution, RESTRUCTURING, start NOW. Nigeria, we hail thee.
Ogidan is a final year student of Linguistics and Communication Studies, Osun State University.