Buhari’s June 12 gambit: All politics, many contradictions

By Sunny Igboanugo on 08/06/2018

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Abiola

The deafening din, which has overwhelmed the country since President Muhammadu Buhari announced the recognition of June 12, as Nigeria’s Democracy Day in lieu of the presidential election that took place on that date in 1993, definitely underscores the importance the nation places on that historic outcome, 25 years ago.

Though the jury is still out in some respects, the belief that, that particular event is a watershed in Nigeria’s tortuous, slippery and underwhelming democratic journey, still finds expression in many quarters. The sheer quality of that election, in terms of the credibility of the process alone and the final result thereof, stresses the fact that the negative vibes of our democracy, and the engagements of Nigerians as individuals, ethnic and regional entities, before and after, are definitely not in our stars, but completely manmade.  

For the first time in history, election results emerged from across the country, untainted by sad stories of ballot box snatching, violence and doctoring of the balloting by individuals in charge of the process. For the first time, Nigerians clearly made a choice between primordial and destructive sentiments of ethnicity, religion and other mundane contraptions against progressive and rewarding offerings, where the issue, for instance, of a Muslim-Muslim ticket, counted for nothing.

In fact, that Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), from available records, defeated his opponent, Alhaji Bashir Tofa of the National Democratic Convention (NRC), in Kano and in virtually all the Christian South, completely blighted out both the question of ethnicity and religion.

That the military government of President Ibrahim Babangida, as he then was, annulled the election, was not only the deepest cut anybody could have dealt the soul of a nation on the verge of an anticipated democratic and socio-political breakthrough, but an ample expression of the weirdest contraption of a human mind.

Of course, so many Nigerians lost their lives trying to reverse the evil deed. So many families were dislocated and a heavy blow was done to the psyche of Nigeria as a nation, even as the entire world gave it a special place for this infamy, as the dark-goggled despot, General Sani Abacha, who became the ultimate beneficiary, continued to stretch the ogre so created, in the attempt to remain in power.

Thenceforth, the struggle to give the event and the principal players, including and particularly Abiola, who gave his life in that struggle, a special place in the history of the country, which has been carried out by many special interests, have largely been ignored or blocked by other vested interests. That was until Wednesday, June 6, 2018, with Buhari’s declaration.

Not only would June 12 now replace May 29, as Nigeria’s Democracy Day, Abiola, is to be vested with the highest national honour in Nigeria – Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR), together with his running mate, Alhaji Babagana Kingibe and the late Gani Feweheinmi, the face of the struggle to validate the event, who would also have their days in the historic sunlight.

Therein lies the massive euphoria that has greeted the move and accolades that many have showered on Buhari “for doing what previous governments could not do.” The concept and context for this outburst of celebrations across Nigeria, particularly the South West, can hardly be faulted.

However, let it be said clearly that Whirlwindnews.com, is scarcely impressed by Buhari’s gesture. At best, we apply caution and advice that Nigerians must at a point end the ongoing frenzied swirl of celebration, in order not to lose sight of the larger picture.

Because we believe that this move is an uncanny effort to hoodwink some off-guarded Nigerians, we make bold to say further that no political advantage must go to the President as a result of this pure and undiluted political action. The joy and celebration must stop at the fact that even the devil could offer some gifts to individuals in order to sway them towards a predetermined end that is usually destructive.

Just like Jesus Christ rebuked the devil when He was taken up to the mountain and shown the glory of the world that would be His if only he could bow down and serve, we must have our eyes on the ball as to what future the Buhari Presidency offers us beyond 2019, by taking inventory of the past three years.

Image result for buhari

Buhari

Why? Simple. The whole idea is without prior foundation. It is too sudden and must have been sold to the President by some smart political alecs serving as his goons or advisers. Buhari has no pedigree that supports that he could honour someone like Abiola or Faweihinmi. Rather, he would be more at home with Kingibe, for the simple reason that they both share a similar ethno-centric dispositions.

Besides, Buhari was an influential member of the Abacha regime that seized the June 12 mandate and sustained it by detaining Abiola for five years. There is no record that he did anything to free the winner of that election. There is no record that Abiola featured in his calculation in anyway, thereafter. Throughout his campaigns in his various elections, right from 2003 to 2015 when he eventually won, he never mentioned that name. Even in the last Democracy Day, less than two weeks old as in previous editions, Abiola never featured on his programmes or pronouncements.

Therefore, this later-day move must be seen as not only an afterthought, but an attempt for him to reap where he did not sow. Indeed, will it not amount to double jeopardy for the same Nigerian polity, if after serving under Abacha, and getting all the goodies of that government as the Chairman of the ubiquitous Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), considered a government within government, and denying the people of the benefit of what they believe would have been a turning point in Nigeria’s inglorious political history, Buhari would return to benefit from the same ignominy, by the mere offering of what could even be seen as a Greek Gift?

Ironically and contradictorily Kingibe, who eventually abandoned the joint mandate he had with Abiola and teamed up with Abacha to kill it, would be decorated with Nigeria’s second highest honour of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON), whilst Humphrey Nwosu, the former National Electoral Commission (NEC), who made everything happen by standing up to the military to first insist that the election not only held, but the full results be announced until he met forces far beyond him, was denied even a mention for obvious reason(s). It is not express the insincerity of the intentions, but stresses the archetypal Buhari, who must ensure that his infamous 97-5 per cent policy is maintained.  

Don’t also forget that recognising Abiola and June 12, would also be a way of the President hitting back at Babangida and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, known anti-June 12 forces, who have lately assailed his second term bid.

In all, we maintain that merely recognising June 12 cannot assuage for the parlous situation in the land. How does it mitigate the anger and bitterness of the families in Benue, Nasarawa, Bornu, Taraba, Kaduna or Zamfara states, thrown into ceaseless grief from the merciless slaughtering of their kit and kin, mostly by herdsmen with the President either maintaining curious silence or living in practical denial of their activities as captured by his usually strange insistence on many auspicious occasions that these heartless killers still go about with stick and cutlasses instead of wielding AK-47 riffles?

How does it mitigate the continuous job losses arising from archaic policies of the government? How about the massive hunger in the land and the bigoted, intolerant and clannish disposition of the President, as reflected by his one-sided appointments?

These must be the large picture. It must inform the attitude of Nigerians at times like these. This is a highly suspicious gift. Caution, still.

 

 

Source Whirlwindnews.com

Posted on June, 8 2018

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