Saturday, April 9, 2011


SOMETIME early last year, I had the privilege to sit one on one with General Muhammadu Buhari in his office in Kaduna for an interview on his biography. It was quite an interesting meeting that sharpened my understanding about the man and his love for this great country. Again my interaction with him opened my eyes to some historical facts about the Nigerian civil war and some patriotic deeds of some of our past leaders like General Murtala Muhammed, and General Shuwa,to mention just a few.

Prior to this historic interview, I had arranged a few questions for the people’s general and seated not too far away from him on his conference table, we began the intensive question and answer sessions that took about four good hours. Among the questions I asked the now presidential aspirant of the CPC was “When was your happiest moment in life, sir?” He had stared thoughtfully at me and answered that his happiest moment in life was the day the Nigerian civil war ended. I was taken aback by this revelation and wanted to know more. And more I got to know about the war and how it suddenly ended with an announcement on New Year’s Eve. One other question I asked the General was: “Sir when was your saddest moment in life?”

To this question he had stared thoughtfully away silently for some minutes and then responded with a patriotic disappointing tone, that his saddest moment in life so far was when the Supreme Court in a two to three votes awarded his mandate to his opponent in the last presidential election. What the general said had piqued him most about the whole exercise was that a Chief Justice of the Federation could allow himself to be part of deceits and in the long run cast his decisive vote to award victory to the opposition.

As I stared and strayed all my ears to digest this information, I noticed and could feel the disappointment in the voice of this resilient Nigerian,especially when he said he felt bad because it was not about him (Buhari) alone, but about 150 million Nigerians or more, particularly those who cast their votes and wanted a change. Honestly I was shocked with this sincere expression and suddenly felt so bad with the last election. I had wished the whole exercise could be repeated and those who stole this resilient general’s mandate are shamed in the public and his mandate returned to him. But this is Nigeria, and wishes like this could only pass through your mind and remain buried in your conscions for life, except a miracle happens.

This week I am going to let go my imagination and free some unimaginative but possible scenario in the current Nigerian political arena. And since imagination is said to be the ability to form images and ideas in the mind, especially of things never seen or experienced directly. So I am going to borrow from this logic and try to create a semblance of reality as regards the forth-coming general election.
Part of my solo imagination is what would happen if the opposition party suddenly wins the majority votes in the forth-coming election. I am imagining the opposition dislodging the powerful PDP in the states and National Assembly, governorship of majority of the states and the hot seat: the presidency.

Would the PDP accept their defeat with dignity, pack their bags and say bye-bye to all the seats and states they lost? Would they console themselves humbly and relinquish the presidency to the opposition and allow the swearing in of a new government and embrace change with dignity? Or would they fight it out physically by unleashing some political unrest across the states they lost? Or challenge their defeat and slug it out legally in the various courts across the country?

These are part of the many questions that raced through my mind as I set my imagination free and try to form some images and ideas in my mind. What about the opposition? Would their victory bring about any change from the current political failure in almost all the states of the federation with the exception of few? Would the take-over of the reins of government by the opposition if the wheels of change rolled in their favour, bring about massive development across the country? Would it end the disgraceful epileptic power supply and bring back to life our abandoned industries and stimulate jobs for the millions of unemployed Nigerians across the country? Since change is an alteration in an existing process, would the victory of the opposition in the forth-coming election modify the wasteful spending of our legislators and help revolutionize the lower and upper chamber and bring a difference in governance in the nation?

I am still imagining and creating some possible scenario in our political terrain. Wondering how it would look like if the opposition suddenly takes over as the next tenant in Aso Rock? Would it be flamboyancy as usual with hundreds of political aides and thousands of special advisers roaming around with nothing concrete to show for their appointment and getting paid for doing virtually nothing? What about our decaying education structure, would their conquest bring back the glory of our once respected schools and intellectual fame? Would the triumph of the opposition address the biting cost of food and high cost of living in the country? Would it stamp out the endemic cases of corruption in virtually all our ministries and the maladministration going on in most government agencies?

Can the opposition address the profound human rights challenges presently confronting this great nation;threatening challenges like the shameful communal crisis in Jos, Bauchi and other parts of the country? Including abuses by government security forces and violence in the NigerDelta, and Maiduguri?

What if the opposition surprisingly wins, just as it happened in America, Britain, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, and some other democratically propelled countries across the globe? Are Nigerians to whet their dry throats and shout a big hurray in the hope that things would change and that finally the right to enjoy the vast wealth in their land would come to them? Just imagination running through my mind, but anything they say can happen, if you believe. So let us wait and see, as for me my eyes are wide alive and still playing freely with my imagination, specifically wondering what would happen if that resilient general should win again.

Nigeria Exchange

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