There is no doubt that this is the Buhari season and Nigerians are sufficiently afflicted. We are today divided between two opposing camps that now electrify the polity with their antics. On one side are the Buhariphiles, those who are in excessive love of the opposition presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, and on the other side are the Buhariphobes, those who excessively fear (and therefore loathe) the retired general. Put differently, Nigerians are afflicted with Buhariphilia and Buhariphobia.
Many factors are responsible for Buhariphilia, a contagion that seems to be gaining momentum. As far as this group is concerned, Buhari is the solution to all the problems facing Nigeria, the desired change that the country desperately needs. Nothing demonstrates this more than a retort by a netizen (a citizen of the internet, the social media aficionado) who was pissed off by the character assassination campaign against Buhari. The viral message goes thus:
“If you like, tell me that Buhari went only to almajiri school, I will still vote for Buhari. Tell me that Buhari never attended any school before, I will still vote for Buhari. Tell me Buhari was actually raised in the bush by wild animals only, I will still vote for Buhari. Tell me Buhari is actually an alien from Mars, I will vote for Buhari. Tell me Buhari is 100 years old, I will still vote for Buhari. Tell me Buhari jailed every single Nigerian that was alive during his tenure, I will still vote for Buhari. Tell me that during Buhari’s tenure, people had to apply to Government and get approval before they urinate, defecate, eat or drink (sic), I will still vote for Buhari. Tell me during Buhari’s tenure, couples must apply to Government and get approval before they could make love, I will still vote for Buhari. Tell me that Jonathan Nigeria will be better than Paradise in 4 years if I vote Goodluck, I will still vote for Buhari. Save your words, save your energy, save your keyboards, save your time, and leave me alone!”
That is the way millions of Buhariphiles in this country are wired partly because of the way those who are minding the campaign of President Goodluck Jonathan are going about their business. The evidence lies in every part of the post above especially the last part which urges the attackers to save their energy, their keyboards and their time! Nothing they say can sell.
To give vent to Buhariphilia, the “Concerned Members of (Original) PDP, Borno State”, as the group called itself, placed an advertisement in the Daily Trust newspaper this Tuesday (February 24, 2015 p.12). The advertisers drew a comparison between two photographs of the presidential and governorship rallies of the two leading political parties, PDP and APC, at Ramat Square, Maiduguri, on 24th January, 2015 and 16th February, 2015, respectively.
While drawing attention to how APC was able to draw “a crowd of over one million persons, that was the first of its kind in Borno’s political history” at a single place, they indicated how “former Governor Ali Modu Sheriff organized a near empty rally for President Jonathan”. Their striking simile is that comparing the two rallies “is like spotting difference between light and darkness”.
The force behind the growing Buhariphilia is the integrity of Buhari and the frustration of many Nigerians with the status quo. And as Lady Macbeth said in one of the Shakespearean classics, Macbeth, “the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand”, the combined forces of the world propaganda arsenal seem incapable of washing the blood of perversion from which Buhariphiles seek a breath of fresh air.
The opposing camp of Buhariphobes has its own army of followers largely comprising corrupt leaders, cash-and-carry religious merchants and ethnic supremacists. These are largely people with skeletons in their cupboards and maggots who live on filth. What drives Buhariphobia is more of personal survival though the nation may burn to ashes.
Senator Silas Zwingina loathes Buhari because of the same reasons right-thinking Nigerians love him. “You know Buhari, he will send us to jail for between 200 to 300 years and it is the lucky ones among us that will get 50 years,” he recently told his listeners. But why should someone fear jail if he has committed no crime?
The prize for the greatest Buhariphobe in the land today goes to the man with the tainted conscience that sits in the Government House of Ado Ekiti, Ayo Fayose. He has been exerting himself wishing Buhari dead and trailing him all over the world, vowing he will never be Nigeria’s President. His reasons are not altruistic but selfish. Such a man is a danger to the interests he represents. As Joe Igbokwe puts it in a recent blistering attack, “For Ayo Fayose, the fear of Buhari is now the beginning of wisdom.” He is indeed is the most Buhariphobic person around.
It is evident that Buhariphobes have taken their Buhariphobia too far so far. The irony is that Buhariphobia is the chief driver of Buhariphilia: the more they loathe Buhari, the more others cross-carpet to love him. And the more Nigerians love and loathe Buhari, the more they make him overshadow the entire political climate.
FALAKI: SUNSET SO SOON
I never knew Prof. Ahmad Falaki of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, until the news of his gruesome death, in circumstances where the police were complicit, hit me like a thunderbolt. I have since read tributes and reports on his life, which made my lips drop on the cruel hands of fate, as my admiration for the life he lived knows no bounds.
Sophocles wrote, “Death is not the worst evil, but rather when we wish to die and cannot.” The sun of the late Professor of Agronomy has set so soon leaving a long trail of tears and sorrow. The best among us are dying, the worst are stomping the earth, the tragedy of the nation.
May Allah grant the family, friends and associates of the late Prof. Falaki the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss. May He forgive his shortcomings and admit him to Paradise.