The Nation General Buhari and the open sore of a nation — Volkswagen Constellation

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General Buhari and the open of a nation


Almost five years after a coup that terminated governance in Nigeria, General Buhari has found himself at the of democratic redemption of the same As far as apostolic conversions go, this one is of Pauline proportions. What a one might be tempted to ask in exasperation and Twenty five years a novelist plotting this of magical yarn would been censored for his irresponsible But here we are, and as they actual reality has become in Nigeria.

If there is a sense, in which Buhari’s spectacular underscores the man’s steely and the continuing stranglehold of the old military on the nation’s political jugular, is another sense in which it is a of elite failure and the poverty of in post-military Nigeria. With its parties, their perverse and politicians, the fluid and flux with which they carpets and switch allegiances, current democratic experiment is a poor copy indeed.

A of a century after Chief Awolowo’s assertion that generation may never know democracy, this grim has all but come to pass. It is therefore a irony of history that his apostles should be caught in the controversy about General Whether Awolowo’s assertion is a curse to a nation that had him and wasted his outstanding talents or a of remarkable clairvoyance, we may never What we know is that and dismayed by the turn of events, the old man into gloomy solitude to be translated into eternal shortly thereafter.

But there to be a fate worse than In 1993, only six years the old man departed, his followers were by military machinations to group a reconstructed renegade. Miraculously, the apostate prevailed only to be taken apart by the feudal-military Ten years later in 2003, were forced again to behind an unreconstructed heretic who had forced on the country by their old and who quickly rubbed their in the sand. Now in 2007, twenty after the departure of their leader, Awolowo’s surviving have been forced to behind an old enemy and avid General Mohammadu Buhari.

When the issue is posed this historical angle, and the constellation of contradictory forces, it may be that the problem is not General as such but the dramatic contraction of space and possibilities in a neo-military and the continuing shrinkage of opportunities for politics and its standard-bearers in the Nigerian Every struggle in the last years in Nigeria has ended in the of oligarchic rule; every revolt against the status quo has in a worse version of the status quo the back door.

Is it any wonder that after the magical has cleared from the illusionist that was the party primaries, the two democratic exemplars and stars of our eclipse are two retired generals: The one an autocrat and militant apostle of a oxymoron that we propose as democracy; and the other a seemingly military oligarch haunted by the of his autocratic past.

There is an solution to this problem, grand chicanery and perpetual against the manumission and democratic of Nigerians from their slave-masters. One can throw up one’s in despair and frustration and then go to await divine intervention ; or one can sit and wait for the system to collapse the weight of its own internal contradictions. But revolutions do not occur overnight and is a furtive tiger which steals upon the scene much funfair

On the other hand, since springs eternally in the Nigerian and since no ruling group can be cohesive and coherent, one can explore the and crevices constantly thrown up by the of history in the political space these develop into a network with momentous With great optimism of the will coupled with an pessimism of the critical intellect one can a reasoned and measured choice the contradictory amalgam of Nigerian and personalities.

It is this maddening of contradictory forces that has up General Mohammadu Buhari as the bride of the current political Let it not be denied that the general is admired by many; openly by significant sectors of the society and worshipped by the teeming multitude national divide who see him as the only with the integrity and the strength of to confront the PDP behemoth. If this due to a staggering case of historical then we can agree with our laureate that our leaders gone mad again. But embedded in the ascendancy are harsh political which we can only ignore at our own

Yet it is also true that is haunted by ghosts from his and anti-democratic past. There is a local lobby with global reach which Buhari’s attempted return as an to common sense and natural and unless Buhari wants to Nigeria as a pariah and neo-Islamic he can only ignore this sector at his own political peril. In a case scenario, this sector can scuttle the intricate alliances Buhari must in order to have national

It is these demons from the that have brought and Ebenezer Babatope ,a.k.a Topsy, railing at the gates of in significant interventions in the past one Both men have personal and reasons to be disturbed by the seeming amnesia behind Buhari’s While Babatope’s contribution is and measured, perhaps a reflection of his of how much social and political he has frittered away in recent Soyinka’s piece is a grand dripping with venom and

As usual, Soyinka does not to take hostages. His epic speaks to the open sore of the and the failure of national reconciliation ought to have been a pursuit of the Obasanjo regime. than hide the festering wounds in a diseased purulent the Nobel laureate has chosen to acid on the open sore. The is a messy maw of mangled flesh and tendons.

But while Babatope’s is ultimately a backhanded campaign for Umar Y’Ardua by a man who is comfortable political predators despite his antecedents, Soyinka’s intervention is an outburst from an illustrious who has fought on the side of justice for to fifty years. The danger, is that the two can be used for the same It is significant that in his piece, in anticipatory approval and without aware of Soyinka’s approaching quotes with joyous Soyinka’s earlier strictures Buhari.

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Soyinka’s strictures are and perhaps justly so. As a matter of one must expand and deepen his of Buhari in order to arrive at equity. Indeed within six of its existence, the Buhari administration was derided and reviled as the military of the ousted NPN. It was widely that the main reason for its was to forestall a more revolutionary by disaffected junior officers.

If this was arguably a piece of speculation, the Buhari government lived up to its reactionary billing. The president, Alhaji Shehu reportedly aborted his flight to upon hearing the leadership of the new government. He was‘kept in plush where he reputedly increased his while his deputy, Alex was thrown into the harsh of Kirikiri where he developed a of apostolic proportions.

General who was returning from exile for the time miraculously slipped the border while Emeka was hauled into jail he spent almost a year in a of bilious smoke and self-pity. was also the dramatic daylight of Uba Ahmed after he was captured by officers who thought it was a new dawn for the After his house was‘burglarized and his seized, it was Chief Awolowo who prophetically cautioned that the were still not clear.

We can go on ad The families of those unjustly and those sent to their deaths will never The point to be made is that the administration did not just commit human rights abuses, it rabidly partisan and militantly of the ethnic and regional sensitivities of the Such was the danger it represented towards the end, two civil war Generals Benjamin Adekunle and were openly advocating a for the nation.

It is therefore a typical Nigerian that a government so harshly in its driving ethos, a government with ethnophobic malice also be militantly patriotic on scores. The Buhari administration Nigerians proud in several its puritanical prudence, its ascetic its stout refusal to devalue the its nationalist rebuff of western its economic offensive as seen in the trade, its stirring and soulful against indiscipline, national and the forlorn cravenness of our elite above all, its heroic to recreate the momentum of the golden

If it is these memorable virtues many of our compatriots choose to about Buhari rather the harsh restrictions, the draconian Wole Soyinka must not them. Neither must he it as a descent into definitive As Kafka would say, it is not what you say is false but it is so hostile. The of memory, of remembering in a post-colonial is a complex, overdetermined affair. Too memory, particularly negative often leads to an awareness which compels the mind to negativities as a strategy of containment unremitting hostility and persistent particularly in a post-colonial polity rigged against rationality.

should take pity on his compatriots. The light-headedness often with Nigerians these the strange happiness and loss of is a form of auto-therapy; an antidote real madness in a nation of calamities. Having been to serial betrayal by their they have opened a new in the annals of laughing and forgetting, and in the grin of the serially violated. The in a reflex rejection of Buhari is it could split the progressive There is an ideological, regional and dimension to this.

There are progressive colleagues the south who have never anything amiss in whatever did. There are radical from the north who believe he is a of a South-west intellectual conspiracy. are some of Soyinka’s younger and admirers who will be forced to with Buhari going by the of current party affiliations. And are those much younger elements who cannot give a about what Buhari did to old men a long time ago. should now be done is to sit Buhari and extract from him every of commitment to the progressive ideal.

As for Mohammadu Buhari. perhaps beckons. Cashing in opportunistically on sentiments and the nation-wide revulsion the ruling party is not the same as coming up with a comprehensive which will mark him out as a visionary leader. If he intends to as a true national leader, and disavowed the Oputa panel, is the right moment to climb from the high horse of refutal and level with the of the land. That is the only way he can to heal the open sore of an nation.

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