Nigeria: Mr. Buhari’s Problem
By Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba
Mr. Buhari is quoted as saying: “…Yes, I am a politician. Yes, I am in the opposition. Yes, there is the tendency for my statement to be misconstrued as that of a politician rather than a statesman. But I owe it as matter of duty and honour, and in the interest of our nation, to speak out on the dangerous trajectory that our nation is heading…”
Mr. Buhari’s problems are the two words bolded and underline above. They are contradictory words in politics. One is either a politician or a statesman but not both at once; especially when one is almost a candidate for office. If one is about to run for office it is hard to distinguish when he speaks as a candidate for office and when he is telling it as it is.
Among the living Nigerian statesmen such as Mr. Shagari, Mr. Ekwueme, Mr. Jim Nwobodo, the Sultan of Sokoto, OBJ to some extent and Mr. Wole Soyinka, et al, we listen to them when they speak. Although they might still retain their political affiliation, they have each made it clear that they would no longer run for office. So we have to assume that they are speaking for the love of country. Not to gain any advantage. This cannot apply to Mr. Buhari who is trying to live in Aso Rock.
What Mr. Buhari should do now is to either chose to be a politician and his words would be considered as political statement or retire from politics and his words would automatically be assumed to be statesmanlike. One cannot have it both ways. Each word that Mr. Jonathan utters I consider as an effort to position him better for 2015. When he serves out his term and has no more aspirations for Aso Rock, I will change my perspectives. I wrote earlier that OBJ positions would be seen as statesmanlike only to some extent because he was quite recently itching to be the chairman of PDP BOT, a political position.
As for the rest of Mr. Buhari’s statements, I have no position one way or the other. But I would not accept them as coming from anybody but a politician vying for office. And I hope nobody is lured into believing that they were made for any reason other than to place him, or his party, in a better position come 2015. As they say around here: “they are all the same.”
Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba