By UMAR SA’AD HASSAN—
I couldn’t reach out to my psychologist friend in good time before writing this piece. I had hoped to upgrade my layman status by getting a detailed explanation on the “sub-emotions” that arose from a “parent” emotion-joy experienced by a majority of Nigerians when Muhammadu Buhari was declared winner of the March presidential election, especially the part where a lot of people were joyous to the extent of feeling sympathy towards someone they set out against after achieving their aim.
Many Nigerians (including yours truly) labelled President Jonathan a hero for overseeing a free and fair election and for accepting defeat. I can’t be authoritative in the least but, with a clearer head now, I think we were just happy to see him leave and nothing more.
We had grown tired of hearing tales of having the best economy in Africa and being shown impressive figures without a commensurate betterment in the life of the average Nigerian. We were tired of watching people steal huge sums of our money and going scot-free. Perhaps there is an explanation for our acclaiming him a hero only when we were certain we had shown him the exit.
However, we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves. Perhaps a lot of thoughts embedded in our psyche led to that conclusion. He didn’t join the PDP governors who vehemently opposed the card reader, and the war against the Boko Haram insurgency had started to yield the desired results for the very first time.
But I know what a hero would have done. A hero would address the nation himself, in detail, on the non-payment of salaries in some states and fuel scarcity plaguing us at the moment.
Sometime in March this year, Okonjo-Iweala, the finance minister and co-ordinating minister for the economy, told us the fuel scarcity was more due to pipeline vandalism and logistics than non-payment of marketers and made us believe the “little” problems they had with them were almost resolved.
The marketers are said to be owed over N200billion and with no respite in sight. A hero would not only tell us how he intended to tackle this problem but how we got here in the first place. The only plausible explanation given till date is one by the APC spokesman Lai Mohammed who claimed the Jonathan administration had looted the $12billion Dollar Domestic Gas fund and that is why it can’t pay the marketers. Even if a hero doesn’t suddenly start telling the truth overnight, he would ensure he bows out with his head held high by going the extra mile to alleviate our suffering or at least show he cares.
The president-elect has reportedly met with the marketers to try and reach an amicable resolution, and, quite honestly, I feel for Buhari. He is assuming office when the nation is in its worst state in years. With a budget that isn’t his, the least the outgoing administration could do is hand him its handover notes in good time to enable him hit the ground running. But no; he won’t receive them till May 28, a day before he is sworn in. It would take some time to study those voluminous notes and map out first steps as decisive as the present unfavourable climate would permit. Late submission no doubt amounts to another spanner in the works.
The remarkable last-minute dislodgement and crippling of the Boko Haram insurgents was the tiny shred holding Jonathan’s “hero” status together, but with the recent spate of bombings and capture of Marte by Boko Haram in the dying seconds of his administration, it has since given way.
We would all bid him farewell come May 29. But I don’t think anyone would truly mean it if they referred to him as a hero.
Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano.
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