Covid-19: Who will vindicate Baba Buhari?

There are music and there are good music. In good music is where you find class, education and entertainment, and that is why they stand the test of time. They are evergreen. Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey through his numerous musical outputs in the 70s stood out as an educator and entertainer combined. In a particular record of his, titled “The Horse, The Man and The Son”, he sought to remind his listening audience to never see themselves as ones that could meet all of the satisfaction of human beings. Doing so could be chasing a wild-goose. Man’s insatiable nature is sacrosanct and as long as he lives, he would forever be complaining. Jesus too, had his own back-biters among whom, was Judas, a desciple.
Do I belong to a political party? No, I don’t need any political tent under which I owe allegiance for me to air my opinions on observed public issues. I lend my voice and support in favour of any government policies and programmes that ultimately improve the livelihood and further emancipate the majority of Nigerians. Whoever is doing this under whatever political party is secondary.
Infact, there is nothing stopping the Nigerian electorate from being neutral politically. They have been led by governments of the APC and PDP, and I think experiences from the two should be enough for their evaluation. Even in the US where ideology and philosophy of the Republican and Democratic parties can never be mistaken for one another, about 30 percentage of her population are politically indifferent.

Few months into the administration of Buhari with his “body language” mantra and all his calculated tendencies towards governance, he had already contradicted the personae that I, and many more similar ignorant like-minds canvassed unrivalled support for. And as he failed to prove himself, our optimism naturally diminished. Ever since then, we have only been showing patriotism through prayers and good luck wish. Online and offline, I have literally been anti-Buhari whenever I think it is necessary, with my regular articles.

But with careful observation of Nigeria’s battle against covid-19, I admonish fellow countrymen and women to develop special interest. Buhari is just one out of about 2000 political office holders in the country. When putting blames, we can do it objectively and not with partisanship. It seems some people are just after character defamation without them knowing. They give in to emotions easily, making them to overlook so many other misdoings from other equally important quarters.

Take away the late closure of borders and major international airports that allowed people troop in without proper testing and isolation (same error governments of many other countries made), all decisions made by Pres. Buhari thereafter, have been taken in the best interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.

A task force is a group of individuals appointed to carry out a particular task over a given period of time. Leaders are not necessarily expected to be everywhere at all times. There are leaders whose gifts are in talking in public. Some like to delegate and follow up. Baba Buhari, we knew in 1983 – as military head of state – is a speech economist. A presidential task force on covid-19 was appropriately inaugurated and given a timeline of six months. It comprises government personalities like the DG of NCDC, the minister of health and his State counterpart, ministers of information, foreign affairs, education etc.
This team of individuals cannot be said to have been badly assembled. Chaired by the secretary to the federal government in person of Boss Mustapha, they are responsible for bringing an up-to-date awareness to Nigerians on testing, containment and management of this virus as well as advise the government as at when due. How these functions will be carried out should not be Baba’s headache.
Members of this committee have in the past, occupied different managerial positions in their respective endeavours. What more can I say? For a health crisis that respects no status, creed or religious faith, they all are meant to discharge this national duty with the highest level of responsibility required.

The duty of every government is to protect life and property of its citIzes. Without debate, the period of covid-19 has proven to be the best opportunity for Buhari to show his sensitivity to their feelings. The spiraling tendencies of the virus in Lagos, being the epicenter, necessitated that the state should be on lockdown. Ogun and Abuja too were added. Nigerians couldn’t not wait for this at all. Afterall, it was long due and the announcement immediately received all-round compliance. No one saw any effect on the economy: “country bad, country bad, but nobody wan die na”.

Fourteen days later, figures skyrocketed. This meant people were just literally walking about “dead” with the disease in their body, without knowing. There was no other thing than to entend. Hardly had Buhari done this, than groaning started brewing from left, right and centre. Alas! Capitalist-minded voices were no longer at ease. The average article published at that period was critical of Buhari and the extension. Slowly and steadily, he was becoming the “enemy of the state” because he didn’t put the state of the economy in consideration. Unlock Nigerians! Free us! No palliative and you want us stay indoor! To die of hunger? Strong economy was being prefered to human life. Were these reasons not strong enough, especially with the fact this same economy we are talking about is largely driven by the informal sector? The barbers, the petty traders, the farmers, the carpenters etc constitute more than 65 % of our economy, according to marketaxfair.net. They cannot eat if they don’t work in a day. Moreso, chance of surviving the viral infection is very high – at 90% or thereabouts. Another reason was the increasing crime rate in some parts of the country that was evidently caused by youth idleness.

But Nigerians seem to have forgotten that the presidency is not as close as state and local governments to them. For me, the presidency looks too far to access. More than 250 different local ethnic groups choose Nigeria as their ancestrial homes, according to USEmbassy.gov. The country houses more than 200 million inhabitants. She has never had one system of government for more than 30 years without interception. Since gaining independence about 60 years ago, military had its own share and left. Parliamentary system too was practised at a time, though a short one. Federalism – the most suitable option – for these features sited above and which we claim to be practicing is not allowed to soar. If it were practised at its best, one individual would not have been the recipient of all types of blame that he gets, particularly with the handling of disasters like covid-19.

Since the outbreak of the virus in the country, only God knows the enormity of corruption that is going on across the country, but people have decided to be over concentrating on one person, leaving out other political office holders like members of the National Assembly, local government chairmen, members of states’ houses of assembly and ward councillors. Some of these politicians are already “cashing out” with reckless abandon. These are representatives we know their homes, family houses and how they started their political career.
Depending on the severity of the spread of covid-19, state governments have been given allocation. Miyetti Allah, an association of cattle herders in the country was accusing some state governors of trying to play politics with covid-19 management. Some Nigerians have said the same thing because antecedents don’t change easily when it comes to such national cake like this.
I will end this piece with this David Schwimmer’s quote: “You are only as good as the sum of your parts, and one person can’t be a team”

Opinion of Kola

Kola Ganiyu

Kola is a meticulous watcher of the Nigeria's political developments and how they can impact – positively – the lives and livelihoods of the majority of the Peoples of Nigeria whose voices are usually not audible enough or are given limited audience.

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