Steve Nwosu

For the third week running, the attention of the whole of Thailand, and the sane world, has been focused on rescuing the 12 teenage football players, and their coach, trapped in the mazy caves of northern Thailand. That is in a place where human lives matter. While the Thais are at it, we have slaughtered hundreds of our countrymen in Plateau State, in a massacre that the authorities were swift to put the casualty figure at 86 – as if they were too eager to prevent the actual figure of the dead from leaking to the public.

And even before we could begin the investigations into the ‘immediate and remote causes’ of the killing (as if we didn’t already know), more killings had already taken place in the same state and in neighbouring Nasarawa, as well as not-too-faraway Adamawa and Zamfara states.

And, as if to rub in the fact that our security agencies could not do anything about the killings, the ubiquitous killers (who, by the way, a not Nigerians – even though we have to ‘’accommodate” them and give up our ancestral lands to them) even killed seven policemen too. Of course, that killing so infuriated the police that they decided to take out their anger on a harmless female corps member in Abuja.
Now, how can one possibly keep track of all these, and still report the president who is forever on condolence visits these days?

Surely, practising journalism in Nigeria is like bearing the burden of the proverbial mongrel, which is invited to two simultaneous faecal feasts. In confusion, the dog ends up grazing its snout against the hard ground, and still misses both feasts.

One is forever accused of not doing proper investigation and following up on breaking stories. But how can we, when Nigeria’s admixture of politics, murder and sleaze is an unending 24/7 drama!

For instance, who still remembers the Armaggedon that played out on the Otedola Bridge in Lagos only a few days ago? Who still recalls that barely 24 hours after that inferno that claimed about 12 lives and burnt 54 vehicles beyond recognition, two stubborn bus drivers still managed a head-on collision on the other side of the same bridge? Didn’t people die there too? Whoever listened to the people of Southern Kaduna when the raised the alarm a few days after the Plateau massacre?

Did we notice that Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu made some earth-shaking observations in his morning interview with Channels TV a few days back?

Do we still take notice of all the treason that some identifiable persons say on national television, all in the name of defending the Miyetti Allah and indefensible killer herdsmen? Or that Abaribe was arrested, partly, for standing for IPOB’s Nnamdi Kanu, and failing to produce a man whom the government itself chased away?

Even when a journalist genuinely makes up his mind to further interrogate some of these developments, Kemi Adeosun chooses that same time to (allegedly) forge NYSC discharge certificate, and the Supreme Court also chooses the same time to acquit Senate President Bukola Saraki of corruption charges. And, as if to tell the courts that their inability to jail Saraki would not stop the presidency from dealing with him, Buhari suddenly weighs in with his Executive Order.

But, even at that, Nigerian system would still not let our legal luminaries and human rights activist speak enough grammar about the legality and illegality of the Presidential Order before R-APC changes the narrative. And just as we were trying to understand where Buba Galadima parted ways with
his friend, Buhari, PDP and the coalition of 27 other political parties muddied things up again. And we’re still trying to decipher where nPDP figures in the mix.

It now seems such a long time ago that the federal government declared it was going to share the over $300 million recovered Abacha loot to Nigeria’s poorest households at N5,000 per household. They did not even tell us how they arrived at the database, nor how these poor households all run bank accounts. In fact, it was days after that it suddenly dawned on me that, at N5,000 per family, only about 1 per cent of the entire money would be so expended. Government is still quiet about the remaining 99 per cent. My reading of the situation is: even if the remaining is ploughed into the 2019 election, for instance, we would be kept busy debating over what we did with just 1 per cent. Smart guys! That is how they always throw up one thing or the other to distract us from the actual looting and misgovernance going on. But I digress.

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Back to the permutations for 2019

Curiously, however, while all this is going on, Buhari, over whose head the clouds are gathering, is carrying on as if all is well. Seemingly emboldened by aides who seem permanently incapable of reading any situation correctly, the president and his goons carry on with an incomprehensible arrogance.  The type of arrogance that pushed Jonathan and PDP out of power in 2015. In fact, it is almost unfair to Jonathan, to compare his naïve arrogance to the suicidal arrogance of Buhari today. At least, by this time in 2014/2015, Jonathan had already decoded that many of the people he trusted were either not doing anything to help his re-election bid or were actually working against him. As at this time in 2014, Jonathan had at least begun to do the campaigning and the (money sharing) by himself.

For Buhari, however, with a few months left to the election, he still believes he has some 12 million northern votes canned and in the bank. Yes, he expects these votes from the same North that has Benue, Niger, Plateau, Taraba, Kaduna, Adamawa, Kogi, etc. He still believes there is another 1.9 million votes to harvest from Kano. That Imo would return the same votes it returned in 2015, despite the fact that many of the APC bigwigs in the state feel betrayed with the outcome of the last convention. And because the Jigawa State governor was very prominent during the APC convention, the Buhari camp is not aware that the politics of Jigawa has returned to Sule Lamido, who is dyed-in- the-wood PDP.

It is this seeming arrogance of the Buhari camp that makes one wonder if there is something else they are relying upon to win next year’s election, which has nothing to do with the votes we will cast. And therein lies my fear – the fear of what could happen if that option backfires and Buhari loses. And that is my question: Will Buhari go if he loses? And if he loses and refuses to go? An APC insider told me last week that they are not factoring in a loss in their permutations. With all the writing on the wall? Surely, there must be something these goons are hinging Buhari’s re-election on – for obviously it is not our votes. What with the grandstanding, the arrogance of power! The overrated incumbency factor.

It all reminds one of that classical Babangida line: ‘We’re not only in government, we’re also in power.”

But Jonathan and PDP acted the same way ahead of 2015. Pride, like they say in our neighbourhood beer palour, comes before a fall.

So, as the 2019 general election keeps drawing closer and closer, my mind keeps playing tricks on me. My imagination has suddenly become fertile, so much so that it has been playing and replaying different scenarios as possibly outcomes of the polls.

And, I must confess, the most frightening picture it has painted so far is the event that President Buhari loses his re-election bid.

If monkeys and baboons soaked in blood, even when he won, only God knows what would happen if he loses. Would he, like Jonathan, take it in good faith, concede defeat, hand over power and walk away?

I suspect PMB might be tempted to do so, but there is nothing in the body language out there today to suggest that his goons would let him thread that path.

From what I’m seeing, it would appear there is even no plan B, in the event that the election is lost.