We, the unbelievers By Lewis Obi



Majority of Nigerians having spoken, the least we can do now is to congratulate Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Bu­hari on his victory.

One resounding round of ap­plause belongs to President Good­luck Jonathan for being the first Nigerian President to be defeated at the polls and who, above all, found the courage to accept his loss. By so doing he demonstrated the goodness, the humility and wisdom that endeared him to mil­lions of Nigerians.

The general’s victory is clear and unambiguous and should not be discounted, even though it is not exactly a landslide. But the or­igins of this victory cannot be dis­guised: it is the Caliphate’s seeth­ing remonstrance against Jonathan for succeeding President Yar’Adua and for having the temerity to run for a second term. This passion was nationalized and translated into a propagandized mass hys­teria and drumbeat about corrup­tion and insecurity by the war­lords of the Southwest against a hapless President who was mani­festly unprepared for the public hanging that was set up for him by the new, immaculate, angels of Nigerian politics.

It is a huge Northern power play which is likely to reopen old wounds renew feelings of insecu­rity if not impotence of the South­ern Minorities and the Southeast. Born to rule is alive and well and old ghosts of Biafra are hovering in the consciousness of many.

Voting for Gen. Buhari must have been a huge leap of faith for those who are not part of the gen­eral’s frenzied worshippers. As for the fanatics, they finally got their messiah’s second coming.

But we the unbelievers can­not but remember that in his first coming, Gen. Buhari created one huge national disruption which his young fanatics are either too young to know or too blind to see even if it is shown to them.

I and millions of other La­gos residents are victims of his poor judgment in cancelling the metroline, for instance. On 22nd November 2014 I outlined that is­sue on this page. Most Lagosians tended to agree with me that it was wrong to vote for a man who brought so much misery by deny­ing Lagosians the only viable and effective answer to the perennial traffic problems of Lagos. The immobile Lagos traffic has for 50 years been a monster that defied every administration in the state.

Buhari won Lagos State. But it was such a scrappy victory; it could not bear close scrutiny. Only 28 per cent of the regis­tered voters bothered to come out. And of that miserly number only 160,133 separated Buhari from Jonathan in a city of nearly 20 mil­lion residents. All this in spite of the overwhelming influence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State.

This is a period in Nigerian his­tory which will be remembered as the putschists’ rehabilitation era. All the coup plotters are taking their turns. After Obasanjo came Buhari; after Buhari came Baban­gida.

So given the results, it is Gen Ibrahim Babangida’s turn to start warming up. And a coalition of the Northern oligarchy and the Southwest plutocrats is going to result in a fascinating if intoxicat­ing brew.

It is beginning to feel like 1984 all over again not only in the Or­wellian sense but also in Buhari’s 1984 Nigeria. The slightly queasy feeling, an illusion of change soon replaced by the inexorable reality of the hard knocks of reality – the raiding of warehouses in one bout of revolutionary fervor, then the massive arrests, and the embar­rassing scarcities from bread to toilet paper, the recession, then Decrees 2 and 4 to dramatize the new era of dictatorship and, of course, the so-called ‘war against indiscipline.’

Fela was no fan of the Shagari administration, but he had to sing about the egregious insult on Ni­gerian citizens by usurpers who labeled Nigerian citizens as “un­disciplined.” Yet we all knew then as we know now that Nigerians are just like people everywhere. The follow first principles and watch their leaders.

Buhari’s second coming is more auspicious. He will inherit an economy growing at 7.5 per cent per annum; he will inherit a massive expansion of power gen­erating facilities worth tens of bil­lions of dollars. He will inherit a new vote of confidence in the Ni­gerian economy by foreign inves­tors. He can blow these up or build on them.

The central theme of his cam­paign was to rid the nation of corruption. Most Nigerians wish him every success, God’s speed and man’s co-operation. Nigeria is ready to assist him in that fight. His efforts in 1984/85 yielded very little because he insisted in solving it “with immediate effect.” He is today 31 years wiser. The fear is that since the fountain of all cor­ruption is in the government how is he going to deal with the Nation­al Assembly, the Augean stable.

The only way Nigerians will be­lieve the monster is caged is when the legislature truly becomes the people’s house, not secret conclave; when the government spends less than one per cent of the national budget on governance as obtains in other parts of the world and when a man can go to the li­censing office and be attended to in five minutes.

As one of the leaders of the sharia movement in Nigeria Bu­hari should be able to ask the Boko Haram jihadists to hold their fire now that he is in control. Jonathan and the gallant forces of the Nige­rian military and allied neighbors have militarily defeated Boko Ha­ram. What is left is to mop up and win the peace and then send Boko Haram’s leaders to the Hague for trial for their innumerable crimes against humanity.

Unemployment is real. The campaign is over. It is time for governing. Many Nigerians are dubious of military people’s un­derstanding of how the economy works, for it is not enough to hire great economists, though it helps. The general can build on the small shoots sprouting from President Jonathan’s efforts, or destroy them and begin anew, which was the case in 1984/85. It led to a miser­able result.

Ousting President Jonathan al­ways seemed wrong for what it symbolizes – the exercise of raw power in its most naked form. It will come with consequences. The political weaknesses of the South­ern Minorities have just been ex­ploited against a good president who is sometimes clumsy and in­decisive but who has a good heart, a truly liberal democrat.



  1. Hmmmm. Extremely unimaginative article. Very skewed in unintelligibility.

    May God help your unbelief!

  2. The recent happenings in the political landscape in the country further enhance my understanding of the psychology of an average Nigerian; especially on political issues, ideology and orientation. Funny but true, mere reading some writers and contributors’ names would tell you their mindsets and political leanings and (non)sense they would likely make.

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