Last night a few of us gathered to celebrate with our friend “AGK” who turned 40. Many happy returns to him.
It started off congenially enough, with the perfunctory anecdotes, yabis, complaints about advancing in age yet not advancing sufficiently in comfort, etc. There was even some talk about Kim Kardashian’s freshly photographed oily butt, how the world was full-on porno and how no one knows the words to Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” even though everyone has seen the video more than a couple of times. Nice and, you know, laddish.
But it’s that time of our 4-year cycle again and even if it wasn’t, we would still have dabbled into the dinner-party taboo topic of politics.
It probably started with a lament on how bad things are in the country and how badly they need to change. “This is why we need to vote for APC and Buhari in February”, it started innocently enough.
I had the temerity to disagree, also fairly innocuously. “Well, I think Atiku has positioned himself as the most prepared and most statesmanly of the lot. I would vote for him over Buhari.”
Instantly the gathering lost it’s chill. The rest of the conversation, in significantly raised voices, between Buhari’s supporters (virtually everybody else) and me, went something like this.
There is no basis for you to compare those 2 personalities. How can you even say that?
Well, why not? You can’t have a single-issue presidency, so you shouldn’t run a single-issue campaign!
Okay…so tell me, what do you think our greatest issue as a country is? Is it not corruption? Can everything else not be linked to corruption?
Look, corruption is a very big issue, but this your saviour can’t even articulate how he’s going to tackle the corruption. You keep on citing credentials from when he either led or worked in authoritarian regimes. How’s he going to cope in a democracy? It’s nothing but a myth jor.
It will start with a change in body language from the top. If it is clear to everyone that it will not be business as usual, everyone will sit up. People need to start facing the consequences of their actions. Our biggest problem is that corruption and impunity have no consequence even when people have been caught.
But it can’t all be corruption naa. Look at the judiciary, for example. The case load, the procedure rules all allow cases to drag on forever. What is a Buhari, in and of himself, going to do to halve trial times and ensure justice is delivered more quickly?
Oh please! Do judges not collect money? All of them?? Trial delays are all/mostly because judges collect money? Ehn, prosecute those that have been caught if there’s evidence. This man, we are not talking academics here. How can we have a discussion about justice and law that isn’t inherently academic? Okay, what about the 3 judges that NJC recently gave soft landing to? All 3 were indicted for misconduct, but rather than face prosecution, they were sacked. Or maybe even retired sef.
I don’t know the details of that, but let’s go back to the principal characters. Buhari is a mascot. He has no support structure of his own. His backers are only there because for some mystical reason, he is a vote magnet in North. How many Buhari-types are there? Is he even really a politician in the strict sense of the word? What teams has he built over the years?
Team-building is very easy. Any of our bank MDs today can be Minister for Finance or CBN Governor. I don’t think even Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala would be averse to serving in a GMB presidency. We really just need ministers and the civil service to sit up.
Whatever. Then you people will make noise that all he has lived on since leaving office is his salary and pension. Of what use is that in today’s Nigeria? Personally, I would prefer somebody with a history of building companies, providing employment, building teams, fixing things…
Comot here jo! Which industry Atiku get? Intels? That one na cash cow and nor be only him get am. He has factories in Adamawa. Which factories? Have you been there? The man has just pulled a Shekarau on all you converts. This was how Shekarau did us debate magic last year.
Sigh, okay, fine. GMB wins the primaries, with the support of BAT. Maybe he wins the election. GMB and BAT are not of the same mould. Their ideas for appointees will be different.
Look, I even have conspiracy theory about all this. BAT is nobody’s fool. We will see his real intentions after the APC presidential primaries.
Meanwhile, how many of us don collect PVC o?