Corruption is fighting back! That is the constant refrain from the people in government and their supporters to criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari or opposition to his re-election ambition. If, for example, you’re a journalist and you believe the President hasn’t done enough to earn a second term, it is because brown envelopes have been in short or no supply. If you’re a politician and you feel this way, you stole while in office or you will if you get there. All of us who have opted not to say ‘Sai Baba’ ahead of 2019 have one thing in common: corruption.
This piece was written by Fisayo Soyombo. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.
Fortunately for Buhari’s supporters, they can’t all be shoehorned into one homogeneous group. Who, who and who, or which classes of people, belong to this heterogeneous mix? And are they supporting their man in the country’s best interest?
The people in government: Around the time when former President Goodluck Jonathan was being told by some bigwigs in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) he could not contest the 2015 presidential election because he had served out the remainder of the late Umaru Yar’Adua’s tenure (2010 to 2011) and was serving out a fresh term of his own (2011 to 2015), he met with Lagos-based print newspaper editors. When one of them asked him if he would re-contest or not, he neither said yes nor no. But he asked them to look into the mirror; the editorship of many of them predated his presidency yet they were still in office. He wasn’t chastising them but making a valid point about how self-perpetuation in power is intricately human. It is no surprise that the people in Buhari’s government are desperate to have him back in 2019 despite the numerous and obvious red flags. Buhari is not the reason they support Buhari; their real interests are self-serving. To expect people in government to priotise the nation over self is a tall order very few people are capable of. The people in this group we must empathise with, not chastise.
The political jobbers: Buhari’s ascent to power is widely believed to have wrecked individuals and businesses that thrive on political jobbing, government patronage and official graft. While this may or may not be true, there is no doubt that there are individuals all over the country whose financial stocks have risen either directly through Buhari’s coming to power or indirectly through the people working with him. No matter the scale of poverty, government ineptitude, insecurity and anti-corruption hypocrisy in the land, these people will give anything for another four Buhari years. The challenge with having people like this around is that you never know why they do what they do or say what they say about re-electing the President in 2019.
The face-savers: If, like me, you clamoured for Buhari in 2015 because you considered him the ‘lesser of two evils’ but he lost you along the way in his presidential reign, it’s not the end of the world — and few things are more honourable in life than admitting a mistake when one has been made. If Buhari let you down with his biased handling of security, sending soldiers to the South-East to finish off the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) without doing the same to terrorist herdsmen; or he slipped out of your good books with his bow-legged anti-corruption crusade, locking up corrupt opposition members with the speed of light but applying snail’s-speed treatment to similar elements in his cabinet, it’s not the end of the world and it’s not your fault. The people in this category are desperate to avoid the I-told-you-so smirk of Goodluck Jonathan’s supporters should they publicly express their disillusionment with Buhari. In here are people who are either against Buhari in private but with him in public, or are with him both ways but are constantly in a struggle with themselves on whether their choice is indeed