And I’m not talking of incredulous campaign promises. By now, we all should know that neither APC nor PDP promises are bankable. But I’m more interested in the strange tales flying around.
For instance, a friend of mine, who knows nothing else than to peddle rumours, told me, a few days ago, of some clandestine moves ahead of the 2019 presidential election, which sounded rather unbelievable.
This rumourmonger hinted me long ago that a new party was in the offing and now insists that former President Obasanjo’s latest caustic letter to President Muhammadu Buhari was actually the first major step in the direction of that new party; said key Buhari men in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have hatched a plot to ensure that PMB’s re-election does not meet with any misadventure.
The ‘plotters’ are beginning the move from within the opposition PDP. In fact, they are said to have severally met with very strong and influential PDP chieftains (including serving governors) who have some skeletons (and a few fresh dead bodies) in their cupboards. Some of the meetings even held outside the country.
My friend said the APC men are deploying both persuasion and subtle blackmail.
I know he is feeding me half-truths, but I’ve learnt to ignore his rumours to my own peril. In fact, this time around, he swore by the clay foot of Sigidi that the only thing the APC deities are demanding of the PDP chieftains is that they ensure that neither former Vice President Atiku Abubakar nor ex-Governor Sule Lamido gets the presidential ticket of the PDP for 2019. For some reason, those behind the moves say their principals are mortally afraid of those two men!
The APC dealers even suggested a politician from the North East as a possible PDP presidential candidate. That way, they believe, PMB would have a ‘walkover’ election.
They even told their powerful PDP friends that they have also reached out to other strong and ‘loaded’ PDP chieftains who would remain in the PDP but work for PMB from within – to ensure the opposition party puts forward a weak presidential candidate.
I don’t know how these permutations are any business of EFCC’s, but my unreliable informant, who, I suspect, may still be battling with typhoid of the brain, also swore that an EFCC file might have been waved before this ‘loaded’ ex-governor, to put the fear of God (or mammon) into him.
But, like I said earlier, I don’t believe this, because PMB has not told anybody he wants to run. Rumours!
And because all these are rumours, I’ve also decided to treat as inconsequential all these APC ministers (and governors too) setting up structures left and right for Buhari’s re-election.
In fact, I prefer to treat all these as self-serving, knowing that one or two of these ministers are eyeing the APC governorship ticket in their respective states. The permutation is that, if they were seen to be more Buhari than Buhari, PMB would be blackmailed into imposing them on their respective states as governorship candidates. At least, I know one very nauseating case in the South West.
Some of the ministers are also said to be angling for the running-mate slot for 2019, while yet others are believed to be playing a double game. They scream “Buhari must run” and “no alternative to Buhari” in the afternoon, but at night they continue to put structures in place for their own presidential ambitions, predicated on stopping PMB’s re-election.
Now, fellow Nigerians, are you as confused as I am? You’re on your own!
Well, another thing that I’m finding difficult to believe is the claim that the Presidency is honestly doing anything yet to arrest the onslaught of armed herdsmen in the country. Now, that is not saying that the Presidency is not doing anything, or would not eventually do something o! It is just that, right now, there appears to be this unwritten agreement (call it body language, if you like) to ‘teach the Benue people a little lesson’, before the rampaging ‘herdsmen’ are called to order.
How do I mean? Simple! The seeming Freudian slips by both PMB and his Minister of Defence say it all. While Buhari told visiting Benue elders to go back home and learn to accommodate fellow Nigerians, the minister stopped short of ordering a repeal of the Anti-Open Grazing Law in Benue.
And if those weren’t enough signals, then the recently celebrated case of cattle rustling in Nasarawa State sure clears every doubt. Even before any serious investigation had been carried out, we’ve concluded that it was a reprisal attack by Tivs for the recent killings in Benue. That is probably why the attackers chose to kill exactly 73 cows – each cow obviously representing one of the 73 human beings killed by marauding herdsmen in Benue State. In other words, one cow life equals one human life. What a way to make a mockery of the dead!
And to add insult to injury, some do-gooders are standing before television cameras, to not only make a big deal of appealing to herders not to launch any reprisal attacks on Tivs, but justify the Presidency’s communal clash theory, which no one wants to buy. Painfully, those of us who think otherwise are not in any position to be heard at the highest level – or how many other tendencies attended the all-powerful security council meeting on the matter, from which the Defence Minister emerged to defend the indefensible?
But then, what justice can a cockroach ever hope to get from a jury of fowls? That is the danger in refusing to broaden perspectives on key national issues before decisions are made. It mortally stunts our worldview! We deny ourselves the potpourri of ideas needed to drive modern nation states. We become cocky.
That is why, today, none of us wants to listen to the other person, let alone reason with him over this national security straightjacket we’re all stuck in. And that is why I don’t totally believe any side of the divide.
But there’s still more that beggars belief, in this season of the abominable.
One of such happened penultimate week, when President Buhari hosted two different groups from the South East.
Now, I’m not willing to contradict the President’s claim that he’s not anti-Igbo, especially when he took out time to explain to the visiting South East APC leaders that he feels pained when people accuse him of hating the South East.
I am just curious that, nearly three years after election, PMB sounded like he is still hurting from the fact that the entire South East could only give him a meager 198,000 votes in 2015, which he said was less than what one local government in the North gave him.
Simply put, PMB sounded like the South East should be grateful for his condescending to give them the constitutionally required ministerial slots, as if he could have denied them that if he really felt like. He sounded like he feels they should be punished a little more. I guess I misread his body language.
However, Buhari does not need to tell us he does not hate Ndigbo; we can hazard a guess. PMB does not need to tell us he is not clannish and nepotistic: we have observed him for nearly three years now and we can make up our minds.
Well, now that he has deemed it fit to gather some Igbo leaders to advise him, we pray that the Good Lord empowers him with the grace to listen to their advice, and act on it. I just hope this newfound rapprochement is not a political gimmick with 2019 in mind.
Unfortunately, former President Olusegun Obasanjo chose this time again to intervene, with his lice-and-blood-stained-fingernails analogy.
Now, I’m not a great admirer of former President Obasanjo. But I’m not so foolish as not to take him seriously whenever he intervenes on any national issue, irrespective of the fact that I can smell his selfish motive from a mile.
But I disagree with OBJ that we do away with Buhari. Completely. There is still one Buhari that I think we still need in Nigeria. That Buhari has remained the very conscience of this administration. That Buhari has remained our only reliable eyes and ears in Aso Rock. That Buhari is called Aisha Buhari. I’ll gladly vote for her as President, not her husband. PMB can then become First Gentleman (as in First Lady). If you believe me, you’d believe anything!