At a time it is cry for stronger institutions all over Africa, a ruling party in disarray as in Nigeria today is a national security risk. There is no debate about the APC being in disarray. When Ahmed Bola Tinubu, one of its stars came out of a plumage with President Buhari last Monday, he talked of the inevitability of twists in the democratic journey before emphasising on the reliability of confidence building to clear such twists. Since you don’t build confidence that was not broken in the first case, his post-meeting statements were revealing and spoke to creases or tension in Form Six. Col Hammed Ali, the boss of Nigeria Customs and the president’s legatee, was more frontal. His was a confirmation of the theory of ‘Diverted Mandated’ by which Intervention has been explaining the distinctive disaster that the Buhari experiment with power has been headed at grave risk of a shattered legacy. He said the hijackers were the migrants into APC from the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP). That is the PDP component of the grand alignment that made a return to power possible for Buhari in 2015 after three futile attempts. From his arithmetic, 50% of the power of this government is controlled by this category of party elements. They are calling the shots and the struggle, as far as he is concerned, is how to recover the APC from their grip.
To the extent that he is rated to be close to the president, he could have been seen to be speaking what has been thought of within if the fault lines in states such as Kano, Kwara, Bauchi, Kogi, Katsina and even Kaduna did not interrogate his analysis. But even before the truth or otherwise of the analysis could be contemplated, the president made his move by appointing someone with traces of PDP in him (he served the Obasanjo administration for a long time though as a technocrat) as Secretary to the Government of the Federation. There can hardly be a better candidate for the job than Boss Mustapha, a politician of social democratic orientation and ideological temperament but is his appointment aimed at tightening CPC grip on power or about restructuring the government towards wider, inclusive participation?
The last newspaper that made reference to it is understood to be reeling under the pain of an unspoken presidential rebuke. So, it is a dangerous thing to make the point about the absurdity of a number of things happening at a time the Muhammadu Buhari political persona is the duly elected president of Nigeria. But that’s the truth. Some people would say that Buhari’s capacity was constructed and that only neophytes expected anything exceptional from his presidency. That is a watery analysis to subscribe to because every other person’s image is a construction. No one can become president of even a club or association or village square gathering without some construction. There is no contradiction between the image constructed and the image that should normally play out because one drives the other. The puzzle in the Buhari case now is, therefore, the question of what might have actually obstructed the nexus between the image and the reality. And it is a big puzzle!
It is a big puzzle because it can never be overstated that peace and security are, ultimately, derivatives of qualitative governance. So, a country marked by the tension scattered all over Nigeria today raises questions about the quality of governance. Where and how Buhari ended up with a team that is so insular and hostile to quality polemics and debates that can throw light on dark shades about governing complexity in 21st Nigeria is a huge part of the mystery. Is this what Boss Mustapha has been brought in to break down and reset the agenda in favour of something much more imaginative and less fearful of invented shadows and imaginary threats? Can it be morning yet on creation day?
It had better be. May 2015 to October 2017 have basically been wasted on needless acrimony that arose partly because presidential powers has not framed the Nigerian crisis creatively enough to fire the imagination of the average Nigerian. Until that is done, any and every listing of achievements is just mediocrity. That governmentality is at the heart of the challenge to the Buhari Presidency, much more than all the criticisms that have been thrown at both the man and the government.
Whether the regime can get back the groove at well past half time is open to debate. It would be great if it could because it is Nigeria that loses more for an entire tenure to be a waste.