Ahead of President Muhammadu Buhari’s final push homeward in the next one week, actions interpreted as skirmishes in the much promised war between the Lion King on the one hand and Hyenas and Jackals on the other have been observed in the battle space. The war to rescue the ‘Diverted Mandate’, the only plausible explanation for the performance crisis of the past two years appears to be more oiled than thought of and a clinical routing can be predicted.
President Buhari’s return is now firmly put within the next one week or thereabout because he cannot stay away from office for 90 days without risks. He has been out since May 7th, 2017. By August 7th, that would make 90 days of being away consecutively. Although the two senior lawyers Intervention contacted to fish out the portion of the law have yet to succeed in that, it was understood that was exactly what made the late Umaru Yar’Adua hurry home from a medical vacation in Germany on the eve of his 90th day there during his first term as governor of Katsina State.
Arriving early morning in Kano and hitting the road to Katsina, the late governor then was able to reclaim the office before the last of the 90th day, bursting Tukur Jikamshi, his then deputy’s rumoured plan to be sworn-in as soon as it was 90 days. Subsequently, the deputy was impeached. In this case, there is no such deputy. Rather, Professor Osinbajo is seen to have tried to add value to the Buhari Presidency in the face of a virtual standstill. But who knows who might be out there with a joker?
The president, Intervention was told, is now good fit and set for a homeward journey for these and other reasons described as strategic. Beyond such sources is the declaration of the war of the Lion King against unnamed Hyenas and Jackals by the president’s wife amidst rumblings across the polity that speaks to the thesis of ‘Diverted Mandate’, (see ‘The ‘Diverted Mandate’ and the Essential Buhari Conundrum”, 05/02/2017, www.intervention.ng). Add to that Senator Bola Tinubu’s assurance of the president on a homeward bound.
The most lethal attack so far is what observers of the scene are comparing to the carpet bombing that precedes the ground warfare. Alhaji Mamman Daura and Abba Kyari, described as his poodle in the interview published in Daily Trust on Sunday, (July 16th, 2017) came under a ruthless shelling by the interviewee, Alhaji Lawal Idris. Although the interview did not go further to frame the ‘New Buhari’ that is supposed to be emerging, it provided details that many consider unsettling for those at its receiving end and is, therefore, an excellent marksmanship as far as preparing the ground for the battle. It was another evidence of the idea of the media as having transformed from habouring bias for ‘bad news’ to being the battle space itself, whether in the high tech war in Iraq or in the impending war in the Presidency in Nigeria.
The battle which appears to have escaped popular notice has obviously been on ever since, if the report in a Nigerian daily well linked to the presidency is anything to go. In that particular report, the president was said to have directed those who took files to him to take them to the Vice-President. The question asked was: who would have access to files that demands the attention of the president? They are not many in the set up.
Some analysts argue that the slide in national coherence might not be unconnected with the president’s absence because the symbolism of that office is such that the occupant’s absence always produces decentering consequences. The deterioration of the quality of governance over the years has placed Nigeria last of the most hopeless cases in anti-poverty measures in an Oxfam/Development Finance International’s report this July. Although Acting President Osinbajo thundered from Zamfara last Tuesday of how Nigeria might, within the next ten years, transform into one of the world’s largest 15 economies, many did not see that as anything in that beyond a president being his country’s chief chauvinist – saying the great good things about his country, leaving the negative ones for opposition, critics and the media.
Worst of it, Osinbajo did not indicate the business model that would bring about the magical transformation. If SAP has brought the country down to being among the most hopeless case studies in poverty eradication measures between 1986 and 2016, how is the same SAP now repacked into Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, (ERGP) going to achieve a better deal in 10 years?
Alhaji Lawal Idris who vigorously sold the idea of a Buhari who might even apologise to Nigerians said nothing about how he would now move mountains in a system held hostage by competing forces and interests for whom rapid industrial transformation is not part of democratisation. Most critics say the problem with Buhari in this coming is that, unlike Buhari the statist before, there is no such label that he pins on himself or can be pinned on him beyond the nebulous notion of change. The worst is his horde of followers who cannot see anything bad about what has happened until perhaps now that Alhaji Lawal Idris is using the word underperforming. So, how are those followers feeling now?
Osinbajo’s thunder is, however, interpreted in some other quarters as revealing of national ambition. And when they add that to a judiciary that could privilege national interest and restore the PDP, thereby averting an automatic slide into a one party state) they can still see a Nigeria coming to take its rightful position in Africa.