By Aliyu Ammani Junior

Thinking in counterfactuals requires imagining a hypothetical reality that contradicts the observed facts. Like in many absorbing series, counterfactuals involve finding a critical failure or fluke and imagining what the circumstances could have been had it being the moment swung differently. What if there was no military intervention in Nigeria’s politics? What if there was no civil war? And so on.

It isn’t history, actually — because history accounts for things that happened. On the contrary, counterfactuals require imagining a speculative picture contradicting the observed reality.

Let’s try. What if Muhammadu Buhari, a retired military general, former Head of State, and a Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund, who suffered three consecutive defeats; 2003, 2007, and 2011, had resisted persuasions and stuck to his words of never—running for president again in 2015?

The pro masses General Buhari, whose incorruptible image had reached every locus and beyond accompanied with his exemplary military background, would have become an ‘emergency medicine’ for known and unknown problems of a country suffering from corruption, insecurity, and bad economy!

Now, what if Buhari had not run and subsequently won presidential election in 2015? And somebody else substituted his place? I don’t know who it could have been? How? Party? Region? Or religion? Let’s assume that ‘somebody’ is whoever is in your mind—now. Anyway, for the purpose of this piece let’s refer to him as ‘Mr. X’. And our ‘Mr. X’ should replicate Buhari’s administration: failures, achievements, and everything.

Meanwhile, skip me. But if you assume that our ‘Mr. X’s’ failure will be criticized and his achievements under-acknowledged, more than Buhari’s? I’ll not even in sleep, dare to disagree.

And had it being it is our ‘Mr. X’ that spend six months without forming a cabinet after inauguration, what’s going to be that counterfactual? Like it’s “had it being it’s Buhari he’ll have hit the ground running with a fully equipped team of experts” Oh really? Maybe Prof Kperogi would have argued earlier.

Then hundreds of school children were kidnapped in Kagara, Funtua, Kujama, Birnin Yauri, and other places so numerous that I’ll have researched earlier to call them all. Certainly, my honest position would have been “Nigeria made a suicide in failing to persuade our well—experienced Super Integrity General in 2015” Yes! I’ll even add “I’m certain Chibok girl’s abductors would have released them even before he’s inaugurated, who will dare engage the almighty thousand in one general?”.

Boom, our Mr. X is still going on a foreign medical check-up after six years and counting. Is this making sense? What is happening in the National Hospital, Aso Rock’s clinic, and other over-hyped local hospital’s? This Mr. X is worse than Jonathan. Wait! What if he’s Jonathan then? No second thought we would have seen somebody emphasizing “Had it being Buhari had contested and won in 2015? Without an element of doubt, Nigeria’s Health Sector would have been competing with that of advanced countries like UK, India, and Germany.” He may even add USA to the list. I’m not sure who he would have been, maybe Mr. Lai Muhammed, But! Only If he is not dining with our very own Mr X.

ASUU and ASUP are trying to cross my mind, Oh no! Pressure is going high.

Yes! Counterfactuals are pressure calling, maybe our Mr. X could have been worst. Whatever the circumstances are or could have been?  Inasmuch as there’s failure and fluke, we’ll always ask: “What if?”

Aliyu Ammani Junior writes from Kaduna, Nigeria.


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