I must have been asleep for a good part of the journey here. For there is a great deal I cannot remember. That is probably because I was not really alive far back on the timeline of events I have read or heard about Nigeria and its political history. Pardon the unflavoured cliche, but I do really believe that we have come a long way on our timeless march to uhuru.
One thing about me is that I absolutely love driving on a journey, I have always liked long journeys by the open road – I am always entranced by the sequential transfiguration as wilderness morphs into hamlets, then into small towns, and then back into the wilderness again. I escape into surreal reveries as the sequence goes full circle then back, and then back again.
This dream logic is often soothing enough for danger to look like a prosaic routine, one you might be enticed and possessed by without even realising. It becomes pretty dicey sometimes, because escape cannot be the only way to escape.
We have come a long way indeed. And I know quite a bit about cautious optimism, but you sometimes have to close your eyes and jump – consequences be damned. It is quite scary living on the fast lane of life.
The thing about a human being is that he will never be content. Not even by a ransom of Eden. During the weekend, a friend, whom my circle of friends now calls a prophet of doom, has promised that we will one day look back fondly at the “masu-gudu-su-gudu” era. That sounded not only almost offensive but hateful too. The scary thing is that he made this exact forecast in 2015. It is scary and unnerving because that actually came to pass. Back then, you would have better luck convincing the average northerner that a camel can pass through the eye of a needle than you would have convincing them that Buhari might possibly fail.
The Hausa say that whoever remembers yesterday must have had a day today. In recent times, nostalgia has become a Nigerian staple. Who could have believed that one day anyone would want to even recall this yesterday. If you lived in the geographic amalgam called the “core” north, the North West and North East, that is, you would probably be summarily lynched for such a perverse heresy should you so much as insinuate it in public. A few years ago, I saw a large procession of disillusioned youth pleading “Baba Goodluck” to come back in comical singsong. In Sokoto!
But really, that is a good thing. A great milestone! We may not realise this fact is in actual fact a glad tiding – because that actually means that beyond the petty (im)moral compass of our sentiments, we are suddenly able to observe and make sense of objective reality. Your consciousness becomes disabused of the pettiness, realising that some of the people in positions of power we crucify every Tuesday have done a great many good things for us. It means that once that prejudicial veil of human carnal consciousness is lifted, our moral and intellectual compasses are re-calibrated and accordingly optimised for objective and dispassionate judgment.
Even though I would really hate for that sad turnout, I must admit the possibility that one day we’d be looking back at 2015-2023 and yearn for it. Buhari’s last major official sortie as president was probably the commissioning of the Dangote Refinery. He rightly called it a gamechanger. Like it or not, Buhari’s government had a lot to do with the success of that breakthrough. His government also incubated and executed major infrastructural interventions that will complement and facilitate both higher and lower levels development objectives of both local and federal governance structures.
There was also a lot of financial and political investment in the, transport, petroleum, electric power, agricultural, education sectors among others. These were also actively backed by bold institutional reforms. The Petroleum Industry Bill is now the Petroleum Industry Act and that was no mean feat. Now we have the NNPCL; we also have the TSA, and the FIRS, NCC, NCS are now cash cows in their own right. By the reckoning of this writer, and I stand to be corrected – we also had the cleanest election in the history of this country.
For balance, it has to be noted that PMB got a D+ in security, a D- in healthcare, and a “zero mai kunnuwa”, effectively an F- in the administration of justice and the rule of law.
But it already appears that Tinubu is starting on the wrong footing too – and perhaps that is why this writer is already willing to imagine Buhari in positive light. A single, ill-thought statement by President Tinubu at his swearing-in threw the whole energy sector out of whack. And I must say that I am a little disappointed with how he is handling the consequent crisis – something that should be his litmus test. The Hausa also say that a great Friday becomes discernible as early as Wednesday. This is quite disturbing.
Once the honeymoon ends and we start hating Tinubu, that is when we start seeing who and what Buhari has done. With the global geopolitical and geostrategic realignments already in top gear, Nigeria is reclaiming its leadership position in Africa and fast emerging as a power of global significance. Should our politicians play their cards right, we would touch the sky in no time.
We have come a long way, and have racked up so many milestones. And I profoundly believe we have a lot to be happy with and much more to look forward to.