In the year 2003 during the registration exercise for the National identity card in one of the villages of my local government area a man came for registration. The National Identity Management Corporation (NIMC) official asked for his name, age, occupation and other personal details and he gave. He was then asked to put his fingers, one after another on the biometric scanner and he did. Finally, he was asked to pose for a photograph after which the officer said, “that is all, you can go”. The man reluctantly stood up, walked a few metres away and came back. He looked into the eyes of the ID card officer and said, “Mallam, nifa Buhari na zaba,” meaning, “Mallam, I voted for Buhari”. The officer and other people around responded, “Baba, this is not an election. But when the election comes we too shall vote for Buhari”. They then explained to him what a National ID card was meant for and the difference between what was being done there and an election. The man left satisfied.
Fast forward to February 23, 2019. When villagers in the far North came to the polling unit, if they were not previously guided on the Buhari’s broom by an enlightened All Progressives Congress (APC) man in their village they asked to be shown Buhari’s party. They will vote for him even if their village was sacked by bandits. But Buhari did not help them. No, they believe it is not the fault of Buhari. It is people around him who are collecting money from him but they are not doing the work. But since he gave out money to fight banditry, is he not supposed to check and make sure that the work is being done? “I think Buhari should remove those bad eggs around him”. Thus, head or tail Buhari is innocent and blameless. Drag farther you are an enemy of Buhari. You know what that means.
But those are villagers who are distance away from Islamic and western education. So their behaviour is not totally unexpected. Ironically, even many educated people think that way. Buhari does not make mistake. If you mention his mistake you must be a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) man, only that you don’t want to say it. There is a friend (a real known friend in and out of Facebook) who always responds to almost any post I make either by way of reaction or comment. However, when I started making posts on the banditry taking place in my local government area he boycotted me. He only came back the day I said my family and I will vote for Buhari and Shekarau.
Last week when I faulted the power sharing formula of APC another friend sent a private observation that the PDP power sharing I mentioned was for looting not for national unity. But, we must always separate the wheat from the chaff. Looting is bad but power sharing that will give each of the two main religious groups a sense of belonging is noble. So, if someone is doing it to make stealing easier for him why can’t we do it for the noble purpose?
This type of approach may make Buhari himself to believe that he is always right. After all, power corrupts and when advisors are not helping matters it corrupts dangerously. I know of Islamic scholars who are close to the president but I don’t know the kind of truth they tell him, if they tell him any truth at all. Otherwise, how can anyone imagine that the killings we witness on daily basis in Katsina and Zamfara will continue for so long without any new strategy to address it from the federal government? Does Buhari know that Allah will ask him about every drop of innocent blood spilled while he is in charge? Don’t the scholars continuously remind him of the relevant Qur’anic verses and traditions of the Holy Prophet? Or do they behave like the scholars we saw paying a visit to Kwankwaso who simply mentioned his contributions to Islam without preaching to him on his blunders? But I respect Sheikh Daurawa, I believe he later met him and discussed the mistakes in private. Similarly, I believe those well known scholars who are close to Buhari are telling him the truth. Please let them continue and insist. We have lost a lot of innocent people who love Buhari more than they love themselves.
Please tell the president that he is not infallible. He is just another human being answerable before Allah on his stewardship as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Professor Jibia writes via [email protected]