Sunday, March 4, 2018 4:55 pm
By Tunde Asaju
How does a scout believe he has earned enough badges to critique the operations of a recruit? Sounds like the butterfly thinking itself a bird, right? That is how one feels watching the re-enactment of the same asinine insouciance that characterised previous governments Muhammadu Buhari promised to change. But how does one point out the mistakes of a government led by a Sandhurst general, master strategist and civil war veteran on national security?
We shouldn’t even go over the latest tragedy – the official medical return of the first son Yusuf Buhari. The last time governance was reduced to a personal estate was in 1996 when Ibrahim Sani Abacha crashed a government plane while on a night revelry killing himself and several of his friends. His father’s government and their friends gave him a national burial. If his dad had succeeded in whom the cap fit project, we would have had a public holiday in his honour. Kogians are waiting for the official reception, work free day in Lugard House for Yusuf. Yahaya Bello has found a godfather in Buhari.
The bar of governance has dropped so low that one no longer wince at the calibre of charlatans vying for public office, including the highest one. This has been my dilemma since the official launching of Season 2 of the serial – Northern Girl-education vs Boko Haram launched two weeks ago. Season 1 aired under a bloody civilian, President Jones. We berated, excoriated and lampooned the reigning clown-in-chief for the sloppy way in which he, his government and family handled the saga.
We are perhaps familiar with the script – a group of insurgents target a school either slaughtering the kids or abducting them; the deed is done, followed by denial because government hates that its flanks are so exposed; public uproar causes a grudging acknowledgement followed by inertia. Security forces trade blames over whose dereliction of duty led to the tragedy. Of course, there’s the doubt that a backward north, with its history of gross underdevelopment and a culture that is piquantly anti-girl-child education could even have girls in school.
With President Jones, government carried on as if nothing was amiss. There was the deafening dance in Kano, the humdrum official visits, launchings, not to talk of the epic – There is God! Anything to trivialise a tragedy and deaden the conscience of a nation – that was 2014. The ruining party was the other side of the same coin – the PDP.
In February 2018, Dapchi is just kilometres away from Chibok, it has now been confirmed that 110 girls were abducted from another girl’s school. In government is the General who has dropped the only title he supposedly earned. The same rag-tag gang of defeated, eviscerated insurgents carried this out. Our strategist General who in 2014 concurred with his late friend Sani Abacha that an insurgency lasting more than 24 hours has the trappings of an inside job was merrymaking with governor loyalists in neighbouring Adamawa. He does not fly in to see things for himself, as a general should. In fact, for a while, he is mute! The governor of Yobe first flatly denies, then later recanted.
The army that withdrew troops for unimpeded access by the insurgents blames the police it feels ought to take responsibility for internal security. It owes us no explanation on who gave its curious evacuation order. None of its commanding officers accepted responsibility. None resigned. Neither did IG nor the defence minister. In short, government carries on like enacted scene from – The Walking Dead. The President tweets a few drab and clichéd assurances, then sets up another panel. We are back to government of the panel by the panellists. He sacks no one.
All these happened after one insurgent was jailed as 400 others were set loose after being declared de-radicalized. This is not a scene from The Walking Dead; this is a tragicomedy from Africa’s most populous and most-endowed nation. Two days after the first week anniversary of the abduction of the girls, the president and his wife rallies social media and the nation to welcome their prodigal son from a state-sponsored medical trip resulting from an exuberant outing. In Dapchi parents lament the accident of birth of their children in captivity. The world watches in shock!
In officialspeak, Boko Haram is defeated. We’re back to the often-regurgitated logic of the alcoholic. They have a big problem that the little money they have won’t solve, so they go to the nearest bar to embrace the bottle and make the trouble evaporate. When the effect wears off they discover the trouble is still there and they borrow to drink more. General Buhari and his co-travellers in delusion somehow believe that if they ignore a problem long enough, it would go away. Those close to them already see a business opportunity – negotiating for the release of a few of the kidnapped girls.
While Oby Ezekwesili rallies her conscientious agitators and gear up for days of harassments and intimidations, we’re promised the scene of a rented crowd of pro-government lackeys, victims of the mass unemployment and social disconnection with their posters hanging upside down asking us to – Live Buhari alone! Why? Because apparently, Buhari is working! In Canada they say you’re either working very hard or hardly working – take your pick.