STATE & SOCIETY: The Unscientific Defense of President Buhari BY Baba Bala Katsina
The Unscientific Defence for Buhari
Soon after Buhari administration took off, debate about whether it’s going in the right direction begun in earnest. There were mainly two camps in this debate then: those mainly APC supporters who so much believed in Buhari administration, I also believed in it, and PDP sympathisers who Femi Adèsina, the president’s media aide, called, unapologetically, WAILING WAILERS. This group would go to any length to convince us that Buhari is failing even whereas he is doing his best. For this group, Ayo Fayose, the Ekiti State Governor, is their chairman.
Lately however, the polity swings into serious crisis: There is acute shortage of fuel supply; electricity has gone from being epileptic to obsolete; there is forex issue; delay in signing the terribly padded budget into law. The economy is to say the least stagnant. There is no clear direction so to say as to where the administration is heading and people on the street are feeling it hard. They begin to complain and demand that Buhari should sit up and address these challenges for which he was elected. For this simple and civil demand, those whose approach of defending anything Buhari whether wrong or right the ace columnist Segun Adeniyi dubbed in his last Thursday column as BUHARIDEEN reacted angrily and issued an order; that Nigerians especially the northern recalcitrant should either shut up and wait for things to begin working or be just patient because Buhari cannot fix 16 years of PDP sabotage. Instead they open a door for discussion, they shut it up with these two unscientific premises.
When Buhari came to power either of the two should have happened ideally. What he had met on ground be maintained or improved. If there is need for dismantling all the previous legacies then we should be told what the administration will do to construct new ones, which could in turn have explained why we are in this so difficult a situation. Thus the need for us to exercise more patient. Neither of these is forthcoming. Earlier last year we witnessed improved, some would even say relatively stable, electricity supply, availability of petroleum at filling stations and naira appreciating against the dollar. Rather than we employ a scientific reasoning to analyse the developments to see if they are sustainable, we simply attributed them to Buhari’s body language and integrity– two critically important, of course, ingredients of leadership’s ability to deliver, but perhaps archaic without clear policy direction.
The stability of the electricity supply for example could be because we were in rainy season and when the dry season begins we may go back to where we were. We posed this but nobody wanted to listen. We wanted then a further interrogation into the possible cause, but no one seemed to want to think beyond the belief that things will naturally work because Buhari is the president. The quality of these services today we have seen have so much deteriorated and begun to have far-reaching impacts on the lives of the common man and it’s therefore only natural for the common man to react. Body language and integrity alone cannot fix a system. They are only a contributory factor. It’s unscientific to rely on just these two therefore to deliver result.
Is a nature of man to complain. Man will never ever be satisfied. Yes, man is never patient ever since and will never be, on anything. His creature described him as being in haste and impatient in achieving an end. He would ask his creature for a thing and will be haste to see it fruition. He just can’t wait. He expects it at a certain time and if the time comes to pass without that which he asked for being granted, he starts to complain that his creature has abandoned him. God would grant man many, many of his desires however, but when HE put him once in a trial, may be even meant to prepare him for a near future challenge that will see him soaring into prosperity, he groans, ‘oh! My creature has put me in a difficult condition despite I being an obedient servant’.
If man can be this impatient and to some extent ingrate toward his creature’s benevolence, I wonder why or how he will ever be different toward president Buhari. To ask him to be patient with Buhari in this situation is to ask him to act outside his normal human nature, which isn’t possible. Of course patient is a virtue, but we should understand that virtue is never conventional. It’s given to a very few privileged ones regardless of their social status. Man’s rationality of virtue or even need of it flees in the face of severe condition. That’s why he is allowed to, to an extent, transgress in such condition.
What then do you think? If Nigeria becomes like Beijing by the expiration of Buhari administration Nigerians will still be satisfied? They will never. Don’t even deceive yourself. Man anywhere on earth is complaining; from Washington to Johannesburg, all the way to Iceland. But being man an impatient rational animal has its advantages. If man is that patient he won’t have been conquering nature to arrive at all these grand technological discoveries we today enjoy. Lest we forget, himself Buhari, was a beneficiary of Nigerians’ impatient impulses. They couldn’t just any longer tolerate Jonathan’s ineptitude. They therefore booted him out and brought in Buhari to address all their sufferings. When they are not seeing the result. It’s only ideal to expect reaction.
Faruk Danmadami poses a serious scientific challenge. It could sound rhetorical but is at the same time very scientific. He says those who ask us to be patient should have the decency to tell us ‘for how long’. He adds when I speak with him that; if we are convinced with cogent reasons that by a so time things will work, he laughingly concludes, “Baba-Bala we will go back and lock ourselves away in the room and wait. No matter the difficulties we will not talk until at the expiration of the time given”. He means that, if the time comes and there are still issues unaddressed, the Buharideens could give space for intellectual discussions on the administration’s policies. Without a proper plan in a certain sector to be achieved at a stipulated time even if you address a challenge now it will only be cosmetic, which will collapse in due course. And I agree with him.
Human being by nature as social animal has his demands changing according to how satisfied he is with his preceding demands. His priority may be at first security, but once he got that, he will begin to demand for food. When food becomes available and has enough in store, he will cry out shelter. He should be given shelter or he goes to war over it. This is a natural human behaviour. To know that human demands are according to his satisfaction, we can see how our demands vary from one place to another and from one social status to another. What Americans demand from their government is different from what we demand here. But the moment we are given that which we want for now and are satisfied, we will, like Americans, begin to demand for LUXURIES. Just look at the beginning of man to date to understand this theory. We can see how his priorities keep on changing and in accordance to his satisfaction. It was food first, then shelter, then leadership, then recognition and then this and then that, and even to the level of making smart phone part of his basic needs. For this I know Tijjani Ahmed will refer us all to Abraham Maslow law of HIERARCHY of NEED.
Francis Fukuyama in his roundly countered book The End of History and Last Man, predicts that, at the end of history the last man in the part of the world he describes as POST – HISTORY will be tired of peace and therefore goes to war, which will hence cause him to return to his old order of daring violent death for recognition. Some would give example of world war to rationalise this point; that despite all the conventional causes being given both remote and immediate such as nationalism, armament, balance of power, assassination of Prince Ferdinand and name them, there is the tendency that man had lived in peace and prosperity occasioned by Industrial Revolution for about a century in Europe and then decided to go for war.
You need to put yourself in place of that who’s genuinely complaining to understand his feelings. Many lost their jobs because of this economic crunch. Someone observed that the rate at which people are losing jobs in private sector, you will be forgiven to think that at the time this administration creates 1000 jobs, some 700 may be lost somewhere within the economy. For someone whose work solely depends on electricity supply, his family will have to go to bed with empty stomach because whereas there is no electricity for about two or three days, he couldn’t get fuel to power his generator for same number of days in order to work to meet his family’s end. If this man complains. Comfort him or give him hope with explanation of what the administration is doing to fix the problem not insulting him for daring to protest.
If for nothing but for two Buhari’s recent retraction and denial of his action and speech about sacking Universities Councils and 5000 naira stipend to unemployed youth will make us adjust that “Buhari is always right” propensity. We should understand that we are making Buhari lose supporters every blessed day with this attitude, and this kind of support is only a recipe for failure. What common man wants is result not shouting match and the earlier we open our minds for critical discussions on the national policies, the better for our collective growth. MAY BUHARI SUCCEED.
Twitter Handle @BabaBala5