How can we talk about change, yet we are confronted by a 73 year-old who seems younger with his narratives than a 57 year-old? Never in history has a loud cry for change brought more profound contradictions. But today, we are a witness to history.
Suddenly, Nigerians have become so angry that the imperative of change is now the main sing-song. Sadly, Nigerians have grown so accustomed to eating their dry shit. Now they are fed up of their excreta, their insides have been shattered; the fissures of their heart keep oozing for a relief. And the relief is now this lanky, yet tiny ex-soldier who has offered himself for the service of a fast disappearing nation.
But something is strange about this General. Why is he so loved, so hated, so feared, so old, yet the onus of ballot revolution lies in his poor oratory projection?
Buhari’s emergence is currently hinged on the greatness of the historical circumstances that threw him up from the pack of younger brains with unsullied oratory projection. The greatness of expectations and the sanitizing effect of time conspired to remake him in open confrontation and also in paradoxical complicity.
So on what legacy is Buhari riding to offer himself for a second coming? To be fair, we need to do justice by first isolating issues from issues, which require a sort of intellectual surgery with historical import, bearing in mind the sterilizing effect of political evolution of man and his environment. First, we must isolate Buhari from the historical circumstances that threw him up and which he tried to mould by sheer granite while being molded by their unbending historical logic and imperative. Second, we must define the boundaries and then refine the legacies themselves, particularly in the face of cobwebs the legacies have collected as a result of the sleepless nights of diligent detractors. Finally, we must review the legacies with the benefit of changing historical circumstances, particularly given the heavy erosion of our collective treasuries that have witnessed uncommon transformation from something to nothing. Such scoped legacies will be better analysed in another treatise. I will save it for another day.
It is now generally agreed that colonization constituted a historic disruption of the normal evolutionary process of Nigeria. The old order was shattered together with most of its binding institutions. In some areas, the colonialists tried to reinvent the wheel, while in other places, their intervention constituted a truly revolutionary restructuring of the political process. As decolonization got under way, as independence approached, and as the new nation-state paradigm with its new institutions and new political elite were operationalised, a fresh wave of energy was released in the nation-state of Nigeria. Like the anxiety that awaited what was to be the defining moment for Nigeria’s political freedom in 1960, the current mood of the nation which has been ethnically, religiously and economically polarized, is yearning for something real, a leadership that will spring-forth hope and bring our tomorrow to bear.
Buhari’s movement is not a game of the elites. with their sedate languor and aristocratic diffidence, the elites are about to be challenged and surpassed in terms of raw energy and unburnished determination by a new hinterland faction predominantly made up of younger mights that are products of anger and desperation and some scions of the old feudal aristocracy. It was this same movement of desperados that handed him the flag of his party. The movement is like a fighting machine, this time, the dogs and the baboons are on board, now advancing with panache and precision, promising with swift regrouping when surprised into a retreat and then resuming its remorseless advance.
It is now safe to say that the moment has met its man. It is a banal truism that exceptional circumstances produce exceptional people. Buhari is a product of his time and his politics, an acute reflection of the forces at play.
Of all his peers and contemporaries, it would seem that it is Buhari who had a telepathic understanding of the historical forces at play and an elective affinity with their great unstable dynamics. With unusual mental focus and great clarity of mind, Buhari knows precisely where he wants to go and how to get there.
To this end, he has only one message for his staunch detractors, ‘I will fight corruption and govern Nigeria with best Nigerians and in all honesty.’ This would make him develop the great force of personality to make himself indispensable.
It’s me, @Obajeun