Let’s not jump on the bandwagon and do something we ordinarily wouldn’t because, I think I like the trajectory that this is currently taking vis a vis Farosident M. Bubu, his administration, his presidential team and his eventual chances for the coming 2019 ordeal.
The ordinary Nigerian may have known or suspected at least, for a while that he who must not be named (see the name above for “he”) was intent on declaring his intention to run for a second presidential term. Without any cynicism, an admirable aspiration as nothing shows how much a man loves his country like dedicating four good years of his life; every sleeping and waking hour (except the ones spent on medical leave. But when you are in your late 80s, that’s pretty much every other day isn’t it?) in service of their country and the actualisation of the vision that they have nurtured.
Side note: I thought civil servants were mandated to retire at 65? The President is technically a civil servant isn’t he? How come… well.
The declaration did send ripples through the political scene. Some of the ripples caused giggles; some others graduated into full scale tremors that have shaken the foundations of the ruling party and caused a few squabbles here and there but hey, how shaken can it be? Earlier in the week two member of the House of Reps decamped from PDP and joined the APC; Tinubu is still standing strong, El Rufai is still firing teachers (read as “pretending to be governor while he hopes that Bubu dies or abdicates his second term ambition and sticks him in the lead to run”), Oyegun is still an outcast who might soon decamp and form his own party (I have my money on OPC – O for Oyegun, obviously.) When Bubu said “I belong to everyone and I belong to no one”, I took it as you know, normal political sweet-toothedness, but nowhere in my most pessimistic musings did I imagine that he had the stones for the level of anarchism that he has wrought upon the APC; anarchism which the party is too deep in denial to admit let alone even work on. To rationalise it, Bubu implies that his aspiration isn’t rooted in any Mugabe-like aspiration to either die on the throne or die trying (to die on the throne: you have been sucked into a cyclical paradox, send me money or you will be here forever!), rather, his aspiration for a second term was fuelled by the “clamouring” (his exact words not mine, Dear Mr. Femi Adeshina, his exact words) of the people. Speaking of misinterpretations and other everyday calamities, by now at least, I’m sure everyone has heard about the presidential declaration that “a lot” of Nigerian youths are uneducated, privilege dependent and lazy. Well, they asked us to go to farms, and we aren’t planting yams on 3rd Mainland yet, while they hope that Nigeria magically becomes a world leader in medical practise, science and tech, etc., so yeah, perhaps they have a point. But as I am a Nigerian youth and I know a lot of us who slave night and day past the points of physical and mental exhaustion to provide for themselves and their loved ones even though the conditions in the country take a continuous toll on their faith and their belief in the system ebbs away profusely with every passing second. Without meaning to be tribalistic, maybe he was talking about youths in Daura (you guys should shut it and take one for the team in the spirit of one Nigeria. Una grandpa don too mess up), the man has only gone past this side of the Niger what? Three times in the last three years? Well, there is Femi of course who took it upon himself to translate English to English just so his boss doesn’t get misunderstood. Even though in his exact words, he called “a lot of Nigerian youths” “lazy” and “uneducated”, the president neither actually meant “a lot of Nigerian youths”, “lazy” or “uneducated”, they were not what he meant and the rest of the uproar have just been efforts by the president’s enemies and adversaries of the administration to sow deceit and dissent on the president’s good work. What a lad. Remember that time in 2016 when he said Nigerians were frauds and criminals?
Bubu knows enough to assert that 60% of the population that he leads is comprised of people below the age of 30. Some 114 million people with some 40% being of voting age; a potential 46 million votes, in electoral terms, being set on fire. Anyway, surely he isn’t banking on those? I heard this weird story on twitter about a “big man” importing people from the Republic of Niger, granting them Nigerian citizenship and issuing them with PVCs on the condition that they keep the current administration in power. Chilling stuff. Especially for us who get told to show up at some location at 5 IN THE MORNING to either register or collect PVCs, get frustrated and kept waiting under the blazing sun for up to 6 hours before being eventually told to come back the next day. Same time, same place to do it over again and some have been caught in this peculiar dance since 2014. If I had known that all I had to do was just to wait in Niger for someone to come and invite me to vote in Nigeria, then perhaps I and the many others like, would have done so and been assured in our eligibility to vote by now.
It’s been a tough week. First was the Senate v Mace (which I think could use a GPS tracker) v the Senator Omo-Agege issue that has embarrassed the entire nation in an innovative new way, although I still maintain that the senator and his thugs were just following the Okadigbo precedent albeit a more cowardly version of it. Then came the Bubu statement about how lazy we are just because it is an easier way to set fire to whatever is left of his chances at a re-election. More decent men would have just given simple statements withdrawing their intentions for a second term but perhaps, that option isn’t available in this situation. Well if anyone was wondering, this was the reason why I said I liked the trajectory Bubu was on. He has poured petrol all over the house, struck the match, tossed it into the house, all that’s left would be his active efforts at fanning the flames and eventually, when it’s all completely razed, packing up the ashes and burying it forever.
To entertain objectivity a little, according UNESCO, in 2015 it was ascertained that around 65 – 75 million Nigerians were illiterate. Comparing this with the population estimates that currently border the fringes of 200 million people (as at 2015, it was around 170 million), the spreads on the levels of illiteracy within the 36 states of the federation ranged from 92% in Lagos where strict laws regarding the enrolment of children in primary to secondary schools have been enacted, to the dismal 14.5% in Borno. The president’s own state has a literacy level of around 21%, the highest rated of the northern states (hate to take it there) was Kano with a literacy level of 48.9% and can be compared with the lowest rated southern state: Ebonyi with a literacy level of 53%. This all combines to give Nigeria an overall literacy rating of 50.6%; of every two people you may come across in Nigeria, it is statically accurate to infer that one of them is illiterate. The data from the NBS was slightly more flattering if that were to be taken prima facie. It accounted for a population of people receiving some sort of informal education with approximately 86% of them being enrolled in Quranic studies and the rest ranging in distribution from vocational training programmes to basic literacy, diplomas, etc. Thing is, if the President himself has no regards for that majority enrolled in Quranic studies and the likes, then who is the ordinary to disagree with him? And why exactly are we fussing about his assertion about people being uneducated? The average level of literacy in the northern states stands at 31.4% (illiteracy here is 68.6% on average). To oversimplify it, by rules of an exclusively bipartisan system, the majority (a lot) is expected to be a 51%, in these regions, its almost 70% – they won. We know he has been a lot more focused on the development of the northern region, man probably carried his passport when he was coming over to Lagos earlier in the month so, putting these together, we see what he means by “a lot of Nigerian youths”. For the rest of us anyway, there isn’t really a lot to say than “keep calm and get your PVC”.
Imagine what it is like for the people who have kidnapped you and held you captive with a gun perpetually pointed to your head to make a statement like “you are not even trying to escape. You don’t even like your freedom.” Oh well…