2023 And The Future Of Nigeria


By Ibukun Idenobe Ayo

In less than two years from now, elections will be here again if the government of Muhammadu Buhari will allow that. Already certain permutations and consultations are taking place. Posters have started doting major cities. Before the passage of Abba Kyari, his posters had flooded certain major cities in the North but today all that is history now and that lends credence to the popular saying that the Almighty God alone has the final say in the affairs of men.

The young and luckiest man to have got the chance to rule a state in Nigeria, Yahaya Bello of Kogi State is also generally believed to be angling to rule Nigeria, despite his unholy approach towards actualizing his second term ambition and his dismal performance so far. Recently the picture of a collapsed bridge or culvert he allegedly built or put in a better way, which his contractor built with diameter 12mm iron rods were all over the internet. That is the level of competence we hope to see at the national level if such a person attains his goal of becoming the president of the country. The way and manner he got his second term will inform Nigerians of the kind of electioneering campaign he intends to run especially if he is seeking a second term. God help whoever would be his opponent then and his campaign coordinators and supporters at all levels.

Although Rabiu Kwankwaso of the famous Kwakwansiya Movement in Kano, one of the mouthpieces of the Fulani who went with Muhammadu Buhari to Oyo State years back to make a case for the purported killings or attacks on some Fulani in the Oke-Ogun area of the state when Lam Adesina was the governor, but reportedly left the state shamefacedly when he found out that they were there to defend the provocateurs and aggressors, is also warming up for the highest position of president of Nigeria. If his dream of clinching power is realized, there may not be any difference between him and the present occupier of that seat because of his conduct even when he went to Osun State as a result of the clash between the Hausa traders and their host community in Ile-Ife. Kwakwanso may just be a more educated replica of Buhari, with little or no finesse to justify his academic claim.

Owelle Rochas Okorocha, the smooth-talking former Governor of Imo State whose reputation for creating statues and talking for several hours without giving his crowd of listeners the opportunity of feedback as conversations should be, is another dreamer. The current occupier of his former seat has exposed his capacity to loot public treasury by exhuming all his dirty deals which he wanted to use his son-in-law to cover unsuccessfully before the Supreme Court gave the current governor the favourable infamous judgement. A Rochas Okorocha presidency would create jobs for sculptors, no doubt. He will flood the nation with statues of any great man that has ever lived in the world that tickles his fancy. Rochas will create a Ministry of Happiness or whatever he called it in his state then and make his daughter minister. Maybe that ministry will be the alter ego of the Sharia proponents that forbid the drinking of alcohol.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Jagaban of Borgu and the prodigal son of the political legacy of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who rose to prominence fighting for the actualization of June 12, 1993 elections is another serious joker, whose title of National Leader of the ruling party and his role in enthroning the thorn on the flesh of the nation today expose his lack of foresight and discernment. A lot of politically naive readers may not know what the writer means by being politically prodigious. Awolowo never wanted an alliance with the Fulani. He understood the people more than they knew and did not want anything that will make them hold on to power at the centre. He tried to form an alliance with Nnamdi Azikiwe in 1978, but the latter bungled it because of the supposed betrayal of Awolowo in Action Group. Like Adisa Akinloye, Akintola and all those who had romanced the Fulani in their quest for power before him, Bola Tinubu’s political survival is hanging precariously.

The statement by Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos last week that “you cannot sit in Lagos and decide what happens in APC”, is a direct affront on Tinubu. Whether the image makers of Buhari fine tuned it or not, the cat has been let out of the bag and the remark was a bombshell. To me that is the greatest revelation of 2021. That also seems to be the only take home from the incoherent media rambling.

One is not too sure if the famous man of God, who claimed God has spoken to him three times that he will be president of this country will hear from his “God” this time around. But if he does, he might be another joker on the queue. One wonders how an Omnipotent God, who all religious people of the world ascribe so much power to and whose little show of power has always overawed the world could tell His righteous servant that He would make him president and then fail to be able to accomplish it. Well, the Bible says “Touch not my anointed”. So, we leave it at that.

On the streets of Abuja now, posters of the former CBN governor, former Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi of Kano have surfaced. It is expected that other cities would also have them too. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi also wants to take a shot at the presidency. It is the inalienable right of anyone for that matter, and so no one would blame him or his political handlers. But a man must be sensitive to the environment he lives in, if he wants to earn the respect of others. When he was deposed as the Emir of Kano, I began to sympathize with him as much as empathize with him, especially when the pictures of the obscure home he was banished to surfaced on the internet. I felt it was power play taken too far but someone very close to my heart told me to forget these people. The person told me that it could be a game plan to perpetuate Fulani hold on power. The argument further touched on the way he had been trying to make a case for the poor while in actual fact living an opposite lifestyle. How he made false claims against Jonathan only to reverse his statements over and over again. It was obvious that such characters cannot be trusted with the collective commonwealth and trust of the people. As these posters stare at me on the streets of Nigerian cities, I seem to find logicality in that side of the argument. I also begin to believe the argument that the Fulani, no matter how educated or polished they might seem, they erroneously believe that power in Nigeria belongs to them and them alone. Otherwise, Sanusi Lamido, Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso and their Fulani brothers would make a case for a president from another region in the country, especially one with the capacity to unite the country and sew whatever pieces of this torn country that is left of the misadventure since 2015.

One very common characteristics of the politicians mentioned above especially those of the Fulani stock is their silence over the killings that have been taking place, especially where it becomes obvious that the aggressors are their kinsmen and the victims are not their people. Apart from Atiku Abubakar, who has subtly denounced the killings making very ambiguous statements, others have either defended their people outright or even made statements capable of escalating the tension.

Such positions tend to lend credence to insinuations from certain quarters that some of these elite politicians in the North are sympathizers of Boko Haram and are the brain behind fundamentalist attacks on people of Southern origin, especially Ibo Christians in the North. A very disturbing case is the allegation that the 1995 beheading of Gideon Akaluka, an Ibo trader accused of desecrating the Holy Koran was masterminded by the former Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. Such scary accusations were never denied and they pose great dangers to the unity of the country and are common indicators of suspicion of the ulterior motives of the Fulani tribe.

The Nigeria state has failed and woefully, too, but there is still a way out of this mess we find ourselves. The Fulani must soft-pedal in their dream of ruling the country forever. The other tribes will not subscribe to modern-day slavery. They are benefitting from a united Nigeria more than any other tribe. My people say when a child is breaking kernels and succeeding with it, he has to thread slowly otherwise he will break the edible nuts that he gets from it. A hardliner like Buhari has done more harm than good to the Fulani existence as an ethnic group, and the rest of his people had better done a proper assessment of the reality on the ground before they put their entire population at avoidable risk.

— Ibukun Idenobe Ayo, writes from Abuja.

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