Toba Alabi. [email protected]
In contemporary history of the United States, two Presidents of that country have made the most profound impact on the United States and the World as a result of their extraordinary performances. They are Ronald Reagan of the Republican Party and Bill Clinton of the Democratic Party. Reagan took over the reins of power in the US when its influence was at the lowest ebb as a result of idealist doctrine of Jimmy Carter, a Baptist Deacon who did not largely understand the inner dynamics of global politics. Under him Iran took American diplomats hostage for long 444 days. During his electioneering campaigns, Reagan told the world that he would end the menace of Iran and radical Islam and he did. Fully aware of his strong resolve, within a week of his Presidency, the 52 American hostages in Iran were released.
In 1986, he taught Mummar Ghadaffi and radical Islam a big lesson by massive bombing of Tripoli and Bengazi. Through out his tenure, Ghadaffi, who narrowly missed death in the America attacks on Libya never posed a threat to the American interest.
Through his concerted efforts with other Western leaders like Margaret Thatcher, Helmut Kohl and Brian Mulroney he brought the Soviet empire to its knees in 1989. Under him, the American economy recorded a phenomenal boost through his neo-liberal economic doctrine.
Bill Clinton so much transformed the American economy in such an astonishing manner that during his impeachment as a result of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, he had a 66 per cent approval rating. This has never happened in the American history. In more than a century, these two Presidents were the only American Presidents that on the verge of leaving office had over 60 per cent approval rating.
What stood out these two American Presidents? Incredible performance in office. And to be sure, the criticisms they were subject to were so severe that some would have taught them they were on the wrong side of history.
Has there been any world leader in history who has made lasting impact that has not been severely attacked. None.
It is therefore within this framework that I want to appraise the allegation of the Presidency that some elements are trying to topple the Buhari government. Each time I listen to Garba Shehu, Femi Adesina and Lai Mohammed defending the Buhari government and in the process attacking the critics of the Buhari administration, I am often amazed at their low level of professionalism as journalists. What would any sensible Nigerian gain by trying to topple the Buhari government today! Absolutely nothing.
Listenin to IPOB Oduduwa Peoples Congress and other separatist groups what they are agitating for is to leave the entity called Nigeria. They are no longer interested in being part of the country any more. So the idea of ruling Nigeria is the least of their priorities.
There are other groups that are advocating for the restructuring of Nigeria. These elements are not interested in ruling Nigeria in its current form. They see the current Nigerian federalism as pseudo and a fraud foisted on the country by praetorialism that must be reversed.
No realistic Nigerian today can deny the mounting fissiparous forces that are working towards the annulment of the corporate existence of the country as a result of severe security crisis, mounting economic problems, primordial sentiments, nepotism and ethno-religious bigotry. Nigeria could not be in these doldrums and the government will not be criticized. That would be largely irrational and unrealistic. The only pragmatic step to be taken now is to see how the insecurity, economic crisis and the clannishness in the country could be addressed.
Patriotism demands that all hands must be on deck to support the government in addressing the national challenges and a line must be drawn between partisan politics and national interest.
Nigeria currently is in severe crisis. The handlers of this government should realise that they will be doing a great disservice to not only the Buhari government but the entire nation if each time the government is criticized, the critics are viewed as the enemiee of Nigeria that are trying to topple the government. Garba Shehu is highly rapacious in this regard. Not too long ago, Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka criticized the Buhari government, all Shehu could say was that Mbaka was aggrieved because the government failed to give him contracts. This is highly pedestrian and seriously unprofessional. What about the problems of insecurity, banditry, the killer herdsmen, unemployment, poor infrastructure, high cost or living, the 70 per cent of Nigerians that are living below the poverty line etc that he raised. When within three years your economy entered into recession twice and you embark on a blame game, there is a need for a self critical review. Electricity tariffs and fuel prices are on a steady increase and you think that these are the handiwork of the enemy of government, you are hardly not in touch with the economic reality in the land. These are the issues that a professional handler of any government would be expected to address.
Perhaps, if you are out there and you are trying to topple the government as alleged, let me put it to you that you are highly misguided. The realistic thing to do right now is to support the government to solve the mounting problems confronting the country today. And let the government know that Nigeria is under a civil rule and freedom of speech is an integral part of the constitution. Your best friends are usually your critics and not praise singers. There is a need for a national dialogue. The current contraption needs to be tinkered with. This is the reality that can hardly be tantamount to planning to stage a coup against the government.