By Martin-hassan E. Eze
Maybe, I should peel the yam for you before emptying my plate. I know many will wish to know and I will gladly oblige them. I am an Ibo Catholic; a practicing catholic as we often say in the One , Holy Apostolic and Mother Catholic Church. What I may say may hurt you and you are free to shell me with basket load of insults as it has become a norm to abuse people who hold contrary opinions.
I was one of the choiristers of the APC choir that gladly, vibrantly and with all sense of nationalism sang the sai Buhari anthem that promoted the candidatutre of the former dictator as a born again democrats during the last presidential election. We sold Buhari to Nigerians as a political messiah that have come to turn things around in Nigeria. Ikon Allah, as the episcopal anthem of the Catholic Bishop of Lafia reads, Buhari won the fiercely contested election ending one of the worst kleptomaniac regimes since the return of democracy in 1999.
However, it seems Buhari won the war but is fast losing the battle because some sections of the country have vowed to toe the line of the proverbial mischievous fellow who sold his goat but refused to let go the rope. And, once again, the old line of late sage Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo ‘Nigeria is a mere geographical expression’ have become as clearer as the tropical sunshine .
No thanks to David cameron ,Nigerians are ‘fantastically corrupt’. Its no news because we knew this right from our mothers wombs. Our own ancestor the late Chinua Achebe passed the same verdict decades ago: to keep an average Nigerian from corruption is like to keep a goat from eating yam. Be it yam as Achebe saw it, kola as oluogoke captured it in his celebral play ‘ the incorruptible judge’, or ten percent according to the gospel of Major Kaduna Nzeogwu, corruption is part and parcel of the Nigerian society. The pillar of every fundamental column of our nation is submerged in corruption and not even the bashing of Monseiur Cameron will redeem the situation. My case with the oyibo man is that he forgot to reveal a notorious fact about Nigeria. She is also a fantastically divided country. If one have been opportuned to step out of the shore of this great nation, it is only then that he or she will realise that patriotism tests sweeter than burukutu and fura de nunu. ‘Je suis Gabonais’they will gladly tell whoever that cares to listen at any slight opportunity but the moment you step into our geo-space the story changes. You need not take two steps before the rotten signs of primitive division hit you mindlessly on the face. And , I think I have enough reasons to doubt ‘if there was country’ judging from the degree of hatred, intolerance and bad blood that is flying around in the political arena and the social media like a midnight ‘amunzu’.
It is a pity that instead of forging a common front to build a peaceful and properous nation, we have allowed tribalism, nepotism and religious bigotry to constitute a cog in the wheel of building our God given nation to an enviable height as we read every actions and inactions of government with myopic and primitive lenses. Since the sheriff of ‘changi’ won the presidential election, the crack on the wall seem to have widen to a frightening dimension. The toxic of election and electioneering campaign championed by the rudderless political class have poison the mind of Nigerians and the narrative is now: PDP vs APC, Christian VS Muslim ,North VS South and nobody seem to be thinking or reacting as a Nigerian.
I am a Catholic from Nsukka and supported a presidential candidate from Daura in katsina state not because he is a fulani, muslim or the standard bearer of the APC. No, I saw him as a better candidate than GEJ who was a Christian and from the south. You may not like my choice but that is life. we all must not be in the same boat.
The fact that I was pro-Buhari during the election have not closed my eyes to some weak pionts of the APC led government because in the first place, my driving force for choosing Buhari was not based on primitive sentiments like tribe, ethnicity, religion or region. I have had my reservations about the leadership style of Buhari whom I see as a very sectional leader and as an active citizen, I have openly expresed my opinion in various forum of public discourse with decorum.
Truth be told, it is a pity that most of us lack humanity in us and out of unfounded and generational hatred, tribalism and religious bigotry we will never see anything good in Buhari even if he hands over the vault of central bank to us. Of course, some muslim-hausa fulani fenned the unjustified anti- Gej propanganda because he was a Christian and as such a kafiri. But, we should not descend to low to the same level with these Northern unpatriotic cabals and elements by pouring sang in PMB’s ‘garri’ for our country.
We must learn to accept the norms and tenets of democracy no matter how bitter it may be as a major ingredient for building a nation. We went into an election, the minority spoke and the majority carried the day. The spirit of democracy and sportmanship demands that after election partisan politics and all the dirty things that comes with it is allowed to die because nation building is a collective responsibility.
Unlike the sycophanic crowd that acts as if the president has a compendium of knowledge, Baba Buhari does not have the right or share the grace of infallaibility with the Pope. He is not above mistakes as a human being and as such can be criticized. However, criticism which is a very important intrument in ensuring that government does not sleep or slumber must be done with charity, respect and sense of pariotism. We will not be helping ourselves if we give a dog bad name just to hang it.
As things are now, we need not to build our castles on faulty lines of tribalism, political, religious or regional sentiments because it will crumble and crash like the proverbial biblical tower of babel. We must regect all forms of indoctrination, elite induced illiteracy and political manipulation of ethno-rligious sentiments my tribal lords, ethnic champions and dishonouarble and unpatriotic politicians. Nigeria is ours and we have no any other than her. Therefore, it behooves on us to eschew all forms of politics of confrontation and ‘pull him down’ and embrace politics of contribution and tolerance which will ;promote peace, national integration, progress and prosperity for all citizens.
We must resist the temptation to throw away the baby with the bath water by allowing ethno-religoius sentimets to becloud our sense of judgement. Nation building and welfarist development is not voodoo or magic within the range of Babalawos where we can obtain quick fixes and results. Nigerians, especailly the politcal class must embrace the philosophy of ‘sweat and sweet’. Gold must be smilted in hot burning furnance before unleashing its shine and purity. So, the APC government deserves a benefit of doubt bearing in mind that the old man met Nigeria in a state of total collapse. If we crucify Buhari just after one year in office, what will we do to PDP and GEJ for buying sand in the desert for sixteen years? If we don’t like Buhari , we can at least love Wazobia.