By ODILIM ENWEGBARA
I would have been surprised if the Buhari government had distanced itself from Nasir el-Rufai’s diplomatic and security blunder. By supporting him, the Buhari administration has confirmed to the world leaders who could have been in doubt that, actually, el-Rufai spoke Buhari’s mind and that what he said should be taken as the official opinion of the government.
You see, to act wise is to be foolish but to act folly is to be wise. El-Rufai should have done the right thing but he pretended to be wise in the midst of his stupidity.
What could have made this supposed cosmopolitan Kaduna governor this silly to believe that human lives are this cheap? Does he know the seriousness of his threats? Does this suggest that el-Rufai might have been instigating killings? Does he not know the sanctity of human lives?
When you know that this country has lost so many innocent citizens in the last four years, as never ever happened in the history of this country, and a powerful member of the party in government could publicly threaten that people would be killed, then, we should now understand that he must have been in a meeting where decisions to kill fellow Nigerians could have been taken.
I don’t think el-Rufai made that “body bags” statement because he was under the influence of something that made him so high. It is what he has been doing and getting away with that he now announced. From their words, one could know what are in the hearts of men. Isn’t it nemesis that has caught up with him? The good signs of nemesis, as we all know, start with making sure it blinds its victims’ eyes so that they could easily be taken to the slaughter house. Nemesis tricks its victims into behaving like those flies which, lacking an adviser, had to end up being buried along with the corpse inside the grave.
I simply disagree that because politics can be so energy- and sense-sapping, it is possible that Mr el-Rufai with a Harvard education rather than being APC’s shining star has become the one revealing the party’s kind of evil craft. Perhaps it is the ghosts of the thousands of Nigerians who were massacred on el-Rufai’s watch that have been crying out loud to heaven for revenge that have led the God of vengeance to force el-Rufai’s indirect confession.
Because this involves human lives, it is not going to be the kind of blunder to be swept under the rug. Given how this could be a coded message, el-Rufai should be held fully responsible should anything happen to any foreigner during and after the elections.
If it is not what the party does, why should the Buhari-led government, rather than be alarmed, waste no time in supporting el-Rufai’s outburst? By supporting him, the government is only telling us that more alarming outbursts are on their way. A government of sane men should have come out to apologize on his behalf. That that never happened shows us that it is only the beginning of what we should be expecting. We should be ready for more alarming outbursts. Let us not forget that it was Godswill Akpabio who alerted us to the fact that APC is actually the “Angry Politicians’ Club” on vengeance. And there is no way he would have been wrong when the party is populated by mischief-makers – the likes of el-Rufai, Oshiomhole, Amaechi, Yahaya Bello, and Tinubu.
Unfortunately, this time round they have to confront the international community. Well known for its patience, the international community has always allowed our kind of political rascals enough time to be the ones pushing themselves into a difficult corner from where they could easily be picked up. But also acting like the compassionate God, the international community has always given its targets enough room to make a U-turn, should they come to realise their mistakes and seek diplomatic forgiveness while the window is still open. This apology option would have been exercised by the government. But supporting him has since closed that diplomatic window. With el-Rufai’s blunder and the government supporting him, it is now obvious that the red line has been crossed. By that singular action, APC has begun putting itself deeper and deeper down the hole.
In short, what the Buhari-led APC government has unknowingly done is playing into the global hands of Obasanjo, Gusau, and Danjuma. When you know that you are in a chess game with master players, you should be extremely careful about each move you make in order not to play into their hands. But as it is now, this government has been exposed and is now at the mercy of these geo-politicians whose wings are all over the place. The Obasanjo-led anti-Buhari generals now have no difficulty marketing to the world that Nigeria is under occupation by the Buhari-led government. There will be no hiding place for the APC government.
A few days from now, we would be bombarded with more of these blunders and more nations will join the U.S. in distancing themselves from this government. The Arab and Muslim governments that should have had friendlier relationships with Buhari too will be officially denouncing Buhari and his APC for turning the country into a democratic dictatorship. This is why geopoliticians play geopolitics in their nations’ interests, forming international geopolitical alliances that lack in sentimentality.
Any government without some brainboxes to rely on should be ready for its humiliation out of power. Smart strategists ought to be thinking ahead of time about the cost-benefits of each action they take. And if this regime had any, there is no way it would have allowed the likes of Oshiomhole to be openly announcing that it will be jailing global statesmen like Obasanjo and expecting to win the elections. If APC had first-rate thinkers and planners, Oshiomhole would have been asked to stop attacking Obasanjo since that is only setting up APC in a power battle with him.
Had the APC been such a party with seasoned political power strategists, someone would have drawn the attention of Oshiomhole and Tinubu to the fact that confronting Obasanjo is like playing with the tail of a hungry lion. Why not wait and win the elections first? Since it is true that action speaks louder than words, why didn’t APC follow this age-long philosophy? Why didn’t anyone alert Buhari and his co-travellers to the fact that it is going to be extremely impossible for such a global statesman like Obasanjo to be humiliated by such unknown faces while the world looks the other way?
It is unfortunate that small-minded men are never good students of history. This is a truism that has played out time without number. Or were Hitler a good student of history, there was no way he wouldn’t have learned from the humiliation of Napoleon in the Napoleonic wars. Nor would he and his Nazi Party have ended in such a tragic way. Had Saddam been a good student of history, no doubt he too would have learned from the history of his own defeat in the early 1991 Gulf War and would have gone around the world pleading with George W. Bush when he was coming to finish what his father didn’t finish during the first confrontation. Why they acted like fools was because they never recognised the immense lessons from history.
It is unbelievable that as recent as Abacha’s case was, and also given the important role Buhari played in that government, one would have expected Buhari to have learned an important lesson from Abacha’s disastrous and fatal end. I was expecting Buhari to have known that once his government starts singing and playing such anti-western music, he unknowingly is now dancing naked in the market square. Buhari should have known that the way the singers and players quickly disappeared once Abacha was taken down is the way today’s singers and players will disappear and go into hiding once he is taken by the International Criminal Court to the Hague for questioning. Obasanjo will, at the end of the day, prevail — his friends at the Hague with be the ones prosecuting Buhari.
It doesn’t require a rocket scientist to tell us how it is going to eventually end. While is it the post-election events that will determine what happens to APC leaders, one thing that I am certain will never happen is for Buhari to rule this country beyond a first term. Whether he knows it or not, his fate has since been sealed. Because he is known for his stubbornness, he might try to call the bluff. But given the kind of power at the global community’s disposal, the consequences are better imagined.
Unlike Oshiomhole, Amaechi, and el-Rufai whose outbursts make them easy targets, Tinubu is smart enough to ensure that he never joins Buhari’s sinking ship. That is why he is avoiding crossing that red line. He knows that should he end up at The Hague on the invitation of the ICC, such absence from Lagos politics would end his political career. A long absence from his Lagos power base would amount to his political boys in Lagos coming together to quickly dismantle his political empire while sharing his seized loot.
Even though the coming weeks are going to be really interesting, I would like to alert Nigerians to the need to fasten their seat-belts, for the sky is going to be cloudy. This transition from Buhari to Atiku is going to be the toughest since our return to democracy in 1999.
Enwegbara, a development economist, can be reach at: [email protected] or 07038501486