Hey, Here Comes Buhari: The Fourth Time Charmer
By Taju Tijani
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of losing, the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of victory from a perceived enemy. “
General Mohammadu Buhari (GMB) is having a daily blast in the ongoing election campaign for the highest office in Nigeria. Our cities and towns are becoming magical laboratories where citizens and comrades are being created and converted to FeBuharism. As FeBuharism sinks deeper into our collective consciousness, the occupation of Aso Rock is a matter of weeks. The current temper for horizontal politics is encouraging enough verticality to enact and debate a new Nigeria. It is #Occupy FeBuharism at its finest!
With a kind of telluric power Buhari is dominating headlines and commanding sea of voters across this nation. He is the rejected stone that has become a capstone. He is a living testimony to the argot that says: sometimes people have to reject you before they accept you. Buhari once shook the heavens above us. He once ruffled our delicate sensibility through an uncommon radical streak. In earlier incarnation, Buhari was a man known to revolutionary orientation. Today, in our wistful nostalgia, we are awaiting the imminent return of a credible hero who warred against our indiscipline and corruption. Today, Buhari is being called upon to reconstruct our democracy.
With fond memories, we remembered him as the confident soldier who strengthened the contour of our public bad behaviour. His regime brought Nigeria under an illuminating social, cultural and political rupture. He was feared. He was idolised. He was equally demonised. Buhari had always cut the picture of a true patriot. He once sailed close to being branded a benevolent dictator. Today, age and wisdom have combined to mellow the general for the good of all.
Buhari is not a man to enjoy oblivion. Politics affords him a rare opportunity. He embraces its temptation. The temptation for power. He works on the emotion of his supporters and cheerleaders. He bestrides the Northern political landscape like an awaited messiah. The emotional scripting of his party manifestoes is working well on our sympathies. It embodies change, zero tolerance for corruption, rejuvenation of industrial fabric, enhancement of our defence, security, good governance, efficient public service, judicial probity, fiscal prudence, accountability and transparency.
In May 2011, Buhari, a man of royal social grace lost to a shoeless, inexperienced and clueless President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ).
To Buhari, the defeat was more than an insult. He alleged electoral robbery. He will not allow the perfidy to go unchallenged. He dragged Jonathan and PDP to court. For the first time, a onetime feared and idolised commander- in- chief was stripped of his power. He had no army. He had no police. He was made powerless. He was reduced to mortality. He was alone in a political wilderness.
The fomenting threats of his supporting talakawas and almajiris could not save him. He lost. Third time a loser. He returned to Daura – beaten, broken and brutalised. He embraced the cold chamber of political meditation. His retreat to Daura offered him enough space to ruminate on why he lost that epic electoral battle to President Goodluck Jonathan.
He consulted his leather-bound Koran for answers. Diviners were brought in. Who lied? God or man? Well, God cannot lie. The liars were the optical illusions from the photo-Journalists lenses. Buhari was a crowd puller. His fiery speeches grabbed us at the jugular. In this year’s presidential race, he is commanding more crowd than other contestants. The maimed, the blind, the mute, the deaf and even the demon-possessed are all stalking him. His ecstatic change-driven supporters are struggling to touch his starchy babanriga. Hey, here comes the fourth time charmer!!!
Like the event of 2011, photo journalists are today feasting on his crowds. Their optical illusion is giving hope of a reconstructive democracy. This was the same optical illusion of 2011 that gave his supporters a convincing hope of victory. When reality blunted that hope, he settled for a pragmatic option. His internal demon kept reminding him that he lost the election to massive rigging. The post-mortem from his advisers, diviners, enchanters and magicians pointed to rigging. At last, he believed!
Today, in 2015, Buhari is the burden bearer for the suffering Nigerian masses. FeBuharism is morphing into a public awareness agenda. As a reminder, the radicalism of his past was forged through an inner urge to clean up the profound untidiness of Nigeria’s corruption and failed governance. He wants Nigerians to be delivered from colonial servitude of the few. Buhari is profoundly incorrigible. This is his most famous asset. He likes to stir us with muscular statement. The typical Buharispeak! Remembering Malcolm X, he borrowed his famous maxim: by all means necessary. Remembering Jesus, he borrowed his famous argot: the Kingdom of God suffers violence and the violent takes it by force. Especially if the election is mindlessly rigged.
His desire for victory is what is driving his inner demon. Knowing the desperation of Jonathan and his temptation to rig this election, Buhari hangs on to his May 2012 warning: “If what happened in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood.” He has promised fire, brimstones, mayhem and lynching for whoever will dare rig election in February 2015. This is Buhari’s raw cry for social protest against our electoral shame. This is Buhari’s hyper-radicalism to date.
Some Nigerians are celebrating his courage. Some have voiced concern over his religious intolerance and the desire to turn Nigeria into a fundamentalist caliphate. Also, there is invisible but powerful suspicion and fear that he is a Jihadist. At heart. In his gesture. These lingering character pollutants are obscuring the messianic message of his reconstructive-driven politics.
Writers, opinion moulders, pundits, politicians, students and Facebook walls are polarised. His enigmatic personality is working Nigerians into a frenzy. Buhari believes that the next best ideology that will reshape Nigeria is the preparation for reconstructive action. He believes that the only shift that will push Nigeria towards the path of progress is the citizens’ readiness to take on the role of co-ownership. That is, the need for Nigerians to defend their social rights, their sovereignty and their votes. To safeguard our democracy, Buhari reasons, Nigeria needs its own republican guards.
Of a truth, Buhari has a burning contempt for Jonathan. He sees him as a professional election fraudster. He stole, killed and destroyed on his way to Aso Rock. We have to cast our wistful envy on Buhari. He talks straight. He is the true son of the Daura bulldog breed. He is also a practical humanitarian. He is an alert teacher. He can lecture us on the nocturnal, shady dealings of Nigerian politicians. He has fierce loyalty to the people of Nigeria. He is fighting to wrest the soul of this nation back from Mephisto. Today, Buhari is being called upon to lead a new Nigerian project.
Buhari has the very best of good intention. But his declaration of war on election thieves has unnerved and sharpened our dilemma. The iconic Buhari’s dilemma. There is fear and apprehension among PDP politicians and their civilian cheerleaders of political suicide if Buhari wins this election. The fear of his victory portends a clear and present danger. The assumption is that Buhari in victory will surely engage in pound-for-pound combat with all plunderers of our national wealth. It must be done. EFCC has to bite badly under his watch.
Of course, there is a sustaining sense of his moral superiority. But when the layer is peeled backward, some see him as a tarnished historical hero. He had the unhappy talent of being seen as uncompromising, Jihadist and an ethnic bigot. Of all sins, Buhari believes that corruption and election rigging are unforgivable. His agenda is to plant this awareness in the minds of his teeming voters. Anyway, why would anybody be afraid if you are not a thief and election rigger?
Buhari understands the potency of death threat to all perpetrators of election criminality. Bad guys fear tribulation. It must be said that this nation’s law on electoral malpractices deters nobody. Those who would want to enjoy democracy and its ugly dividend, so to speak, but defends election rigging, are in effect, not democrats. Predictably, Jonathan and his PDP cabal-in-rigging have intensified their attacks on Buhari and his supporters.
Buhari is being hunted, heckled and hounded by the very enemies of this nation who could not win election without subverting the sincere will of the people. A jackal called Femi Fani-Koshide acting straight out from a Goebellian propaganda dredged up certificate scandal. It hit a brick wall. Agbero governor, area boy impresario and hare-head, Mr Ibanuje Fayose of Ekiti State, placed a ghoulish advert portending an imminent death for GMB. That advert sunk him into political irrelevance. His political coffin was nailed by Ibadan Poly which exposed his crime of certificate forgery!!!
Rich and well connected democratic saboteurs are afraid to lose their comfort zones to free and fair election. Nobody has injured, shamed and desecrated our democratic renewal than the hordes of unpatriotic political rascals and thieves who subvert this nation’s destiny through vote rigging. Buhari is their future nemesis. Buhari is a grand symbol of the hostile, transforming movement that is striving for the perfection of our democratic experiment through transparent, free and fair processes.
He has an inbred resistance to cheating. Buharification of our decayed electoral processes need awakening. Nigeria is a graveyard of election probity. Why? Politics in Nigeria is either win or kill. Politics is either do or die in the Nigerian universe. We should not be content until we rid this nation of election fraudsters. Buhari cannot rest. He is consumed by a desperate struggle to lynch election riggers. I am equally persuaded to say that transparency-loving Nigerians should not rest. Let nothing calm our anger until our vote count. Democracy must be built on eternal verities of vigilance, transparency and fairness. Buhari remains our sure hope in our collective yearning for a reconstructive democracy.
Nigerians have decided to walk with a wise old man. And he who walks with the wise will be wise, goes the proverbs. Buhari’s enduring power is not external. He has no ex-thugs in the mould of clannish militants to rely on. His power is within. His power are those inner resources of integrity, discipline, honesty, frugality, loyalty, nation building, vision and hatred for corruption.
In the roll of our quadrennial electoral grievances, Buhari’s heart cry is our saving grace. He is a democratic reformer on a mission to recoup lost time and opportunity. He may never find both time and opportunity again after this election. He is on the run for his destiny. To Buhari, it is better for his lion to roam the wild than remain caged in Daura. This is our fourth time charmer!!! FeBuhari will rewrite our history and give birth to the C-H-A-N-G-E we had waited too long to see.
*Tijani is the founder of Nigerian Diaspora Group for Good Governance and Europe & Middle East Coordinator for Global Intelligentsia for Buhari.