President Muhammadu Buhari has a political “house” he heads and it is the recently emerged All Progressives Congress (APC). New houses either collapse or withstand whatever the elements throw at them. What usually comes to mind when the strength or weakness of a house is mentioned is the nature of its foundation. How strong is the Buhari’s House in the current uncertain climate of Nigerian politics?
Many have heard the story of Faust (in one form or the other) who makes a pact with Devil; in exchange magical powers from the Devil to enjoy for a more satisfying and much better life Faust accepts the eternal damnation of his soul as his repayment. In Nigeria the Devils are corrupt “patrons” and “godfathers” who will take prospective political candidates to Okija-style shrines to sell their souls to enter into public office by election or appointment. Buhari shockingly is beginning to look like Faust.
When the Afenifere chieftain. Senator Femi Okunrounmu, famously announced recently that Buhari tricked Bola Ahmed Tinubu, one of his major backers and financiers, to get into office to fulfil the Northern agenda to rule Nigeria many saw it as misbegotten ethnic politics. However, the trickery perspective is somewhat plausible. Buhari signed a pact with Tinubu to get into power and the consequences may soon pierce his ‘anti-corruption optimism bubble’. Buhari also signed pacts with Babatunde Fashola, Chibuike Amaechi and a whole lot of major actors in the Nigerian political economy who have credibly been alleged or exposed to have engaged in grand corruption.
In reality, those who Buhari signed pacts with are the foundations of APC, at least financially. In our neoliberal world money answereth all things. Many “authentic” APC supporters are now complaining that it is the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) members who have infiltrated the APC that are responsible for any buckling of the foundations of the Buhari’s’ House. It is fair to ask such people about the pacts signed by the Head of the House with patrons and godfathers well-known for their rapacity and misgovernance.
Buhari’s soul will be how posterity will judge him. Integrity is a priceless commodity in politics and perhaps the only political treasure Buhari possesses and it should not be lost over an antithesis of his person. Being a political leader that sold his conscience to get into power is not good posterity at all. As the cases of corruption against Fashola, Amaechi and others loom closer and closer it is not their convictions if found guilty that will be the spots of the most damage, it is the damage to Buhari’s House and his good name that will take the primary shattering.
I concretely know Buhari, and by a great margin, to be the finest anti-corruption president Nigeria has ever had from his tenure as Head of State back in the 1980s despite the track record of his human rights record relevant to that era. There is well-reported evidence that Buhari is on the right track to fulfilling his anti-corruption promises. To countless Nigerians Buhari is the Good Guy. How Buhari ended up sharing pacts with Devils is something not easy to fathom. Whatever, the reason political damnation as a return on the pacts is looking likely but not certain; life is full of surprises.
Nevertheless, in politics three to four month is an incredibly long time. The first real ‘political tight-rope’ Buhari will have to walk for all to see is the appointment of his executive cabinet. Because he has left it this long it would be expected that his cabinet would be far much better than usual. How ‘Northern’ or ‘Federal’ will Buhari’s cabinet be? How many members of his cabinet will be instantly or eventually recognisable as ‘thieves’? Is this the best Buhari could do? These are questions already being thoroughly prepared for when a cabinet is announced by the president. The answers to the question will be anyone’s guess.
Criticise Buhari, praise Buhari, apart from those who entered politics to exact thievery on public funds and the beneficiaries most Nigerian secretly or overtly covet change especially in the form of anti-corruption. It will be tragic for Buhari’s House to collapse especially under the burden or suspicion of corruption.