By Oyewale Tomori
I agonized over three titles for this article. Should it be “20 years of the return of civilian ruse”, sorry, rule, “The diseases caused by politics in Nigeria” or the “Buharification of Nigeria.”
The first title, of course, would likely lead in the direction of the history of two decades of lost chances and wasted years; the second would have veered in the direction of the social disorders that chronic politics has brought on the citizens of Nigeria, while the third would have focused on the past 4 years, forgetting the first 16 year ruse of Nigeria’s poverty development period- with acronym inadvertently coming out as PDP.
I opted for the last, “Buharification” of Nigeria. Why? I do not know. Well, I thought “Buharification” was to be the salvation of Nigeria from the 16 -year post-military epidemic of political racketeering across the nooks and cranny of the six geo-political zones of Nigeria.
The operating rooms of which are located in thirty-seven and a half locations – one in Aso Rock plus thirty-six and a half State houses, with FCT counting for the half. However, if you are to rank by the quantity of looted money, perhaps FCT qualifies for one and a half State Houses.
Back to “Buharification.” Surprisingly, the words that float across my mind as I think of the word “Buharification”, are hope-lifting words: beautification, purification, and restoration. Those were the words that describe our hopes for Nigeria on May 29, 2015.
Buharification was to bring motivation, inspiration, stimulation, and positive provocation to develop our nation. It was to move us out of our attained accolades of dilapidation, deprivation, and humiliation, expressed in phrases such as “the poverty capital of the world”, “the top open defecation country in the world.”
Buharification was to stir the so-called giant of Africa out of stupor and lethargy of non-performance, waking up the goliath of ECOWAS from the somnolence and torpor of collapse, rousing the buffoon nation up from its flippant frivolity. Buharification was to be the sanitizer of Nigeria, the disinfectant to destroy the Ebola of corruption and prophylactically vaccinate us against the meningitis of perversion. It was to be the insecticide we would have used to wipe out the mosquito vectors of dishonesty disunity and disintegration.
Buharification was to become the key that we would use to permanently incarcerate the bad eggs of the three-tiered national exploiters- the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. It was to be used to incarcerate the looters of the nation, permanently locked up with a key that would be tossed into the center of the confluence of the Niger and Benue Rivers, never to be recovered. We had hoped that Buharification would become that decontaminator to permanently kill the bedbugs of sleaze, fraud, and bribery in our ministries and MDAs.
We actually dared to hope that Buharification would become the double-edged machete for slicing off the crowned heads of the vipers of vice occupying our respected institutions of culture and the embroidered robes of the “dunce” in our institutions of learning. By the end of the first tenure of Buharification, Nigeria’s image would have been well perfumed and on the road to restoration. We looked so much forward to the emancipation of Nigeria from the clutches of the destroyers. We anticipated the uprooting of the foundation of evil upon which for 16 years, decadence was constructed. We had expected that by 2019, we will begin to see the favourable and enabling environment that kept most of my generation at home, the conducive atmosphere for a life of improved socio-economic development. We trusted that by 2019, we would have an environment, which gives confidence and assures the safety and security of our life.
But somehow and early in the life of the Buharification exercise, we began to feel that the change we looked for was going to come slowly, in trickles, in patches and lopsided. As time went on, what we desired, we did not get; what we got, we did not desire. And so, the four years went before we realized it and for beautification, we got something close to putrefaction and ended with “uglification.”
For the restoration of our image, our corruption perception ranking dipped from 136 of 176 nations in 2015 to 144 of 180 nations in 2018. The situation was even worse in 2017 when we ranked 148 of 180 nations. This was despite the efforts of the EFCC, which raked in millions of stolen monies in every imaginable currency and recovered dozens of houses built on the sandy soil of money illegally acquired from our national treasury. We had hoped for the mortality of corruption, instead, we got the stillbirth of morality
Oh yes, we had high hopes in 2015, we were in fact so highly elated that the real change was on the way. Four years later and by the end of the first term, the hope became a mirage, an elusive illusion, and a fantasy of delusion.
In the silence and slow watch over our nation, we heard the cacophony of discord loud and deafening, with none of our six geopolitical zones spared the disharmony and dissonance. Under the silent and slow watch, there was the scarification of the innocent, a laceration for the blameless, an incision of the gut of the guiltless and the hacking of the hapless hopeless of our citizens.
The unlucky ones got AK-47ed and life snuffed out of them in a hail of bullets. As dividends of democracy, we scattered and sprayed bereavement among families, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, comrades- all brothers and sisters of one nation united in peace and prosperity! Has our nation gone too far, too deep and too lost in the wilderness of confusion be salvaged?
To Be Continued Tomorrow
- Tomori wrote from Lagos