Buhari: A hope betrayed


By A. S. Gashinbaki

President Buhari’s glaring failure poses a dire threat to our “cognitive immunity” – our ability to discern a lie from the truth, and a competent being from the incompetent. We’re now left conflicted as our conviction is overturned, leaving us unable to trust our own judgment. The crisis of trust we now face is twofold, first against our leaders and now within our own beings.  A man can put up with not being able to trust others but when he can’t trust himself then chaos is imminent. 

The electorates are bound to cast their votes indifferently with little or no regard for the strength of characters or personalities of the candidates Should they approach the next general election in this confused and conflicting state. Hence, the next sets of leaders are inevitably bound to be worse than whatever we are currently putting up with. Thus, I’m deeply worried, and so should you. For nothing is more horrible than having downright morons steering the affairs of a nation.

The pages of history are filled with heart-breaking scenes of people who sacrificed everything to throw-off an incompetent tyrannical government only to end up with new leaders who maintained the status quo. I regret to admit that Buhari’s administration has succeeded in securing a place in such awful history.

Long stricken by insecurity, poverty, corruption, and oppression, the masses finally found their utterances at last, and change the course of their history by discarding their old representatives for new ones. A remarkable feat that only a few believed was possible.

The hour which announced such achievement was an hour of refreshing hope, fresh breath, and a serene dawn ushering in a new age. Little did it ever occur to anyone that such hope would be betrayed and that what they called the ‘new age,’ was in essence a continuation of the old rather than a breakaway from it.

Viewed as an Army General and war hero he became the natural antidote against the insurgency disease which threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions across the nation. So he was heavily voted for by the populace hoping he would shield them against such scourge. Years later, whatever gains he might have recorded against Boko Haram was wipe out by bandits. Statistically, it is clear that the live of an average Nigerian is not becoming any safer under his watch.

Buhari’s integrity status lends him national and global credibility – as an ideal lethal weapon against the institution of corruption. He tainted that image by refusing to publicly declare his assets in spite of his promised to do so. The menace of corruption is still as ferocious as ever. From policemen demanding as little as N20 from motorists as the rights of passage on public roads to billions of naira being siphon from public treasury by its gatekeepers. The ineffectiveness of EFCC has now reach a stage which referring to it as toothless bulldog is seen as great compliment.

Conflict of interest is said to be the major hindrance to objective economic decision by policymakers. That explains why the masses always prefer someone from among themselves to rule rather than from among the elites. Having little – in most cases none – interests in the economic affairs of the society, the mob man, is more likely to take decisions that will ensure equitable distribution of societal wealth than an elite that has ties with various corporations. Once again, Buhari betrayed this notion as his years in office do little to lessen social inequalities facing the populace. Despite presenting himself as a retired proletariat who was surviving on his petty pension.

Prior to Buhari’s election, most Nigerians were of believed that the radix of the country’s problems can be attributed to a flaw in their leader’s character. But now that a saintly flawless leader as Buhari has shattered such belief a vital psychologically comforting barrier has fallen. Diagnosing Nigeria’s problems now seems impossible. Not even our most prominent analysts can unravel the mysteries that engulfed this nation.

Enough of the blame game. Let’s take a moment to reflect on whether we have a part in this tragedy. And if so, how?

Due to our little understanding of the workings of government, we tend to think that government is somehow omniscient and its officials possesses supernormal intellect above the rest of the citizens. But this is a myth. We are the government and all of us are prone to fallibility.

As Henry L. Mencken once lamented, “A government at the bottom is nothing more than a group of men, and as a practical matter most of them are inferior men… yet these nonentities, by the intellectual laziness of men in general… are generally obeyed as a matter of duty… [And] assumed to have a kind of wisdom that is superior to ordinary wisdom.”

So next time when we are out to vote, let’s not repeat the mistake of thinking we are electing perfect beings – for that is the delusional fantasy that sinks us all today.

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