As Baba Go slow goes Steady

By Richard Imhoagene

Nigerians will always be Nigerians. In case you didn't know, two things are required for one to be regarded as a true Nigerian. He has to be annoyingly impatient and must be quick to forget. I can't believe they are already complaining about President Muhammadu Buhari or Baba Go-Slow (as they now prefer to call him). For Christ's sakes, it is just seven months after we all sang the Change mantra. They should know that nothing good ever comes hurriedly.

If we all agree that Nigeria has been plummeted into the deep by successive administrations, then we must be willing to give the President ample time to tackle the various issues confronting the nation. Of course we must understand that he too had to play politics with all the promises he gave. I'm sure if he had told us we needed to give him at least two years to defeat Boko Haram, a lot of us wouldn't have voted him. So, Mr. President, here I am- your number one fan- and I dare say "Baba, Carry Go."

But as much as I have tried to support Buhari's claim of being Nigeria's best chance at prosperity and his resolve to move "slow and steady", there are some questions Nigerians continue to ask that I can't seem to find answers to. Perhaps, he can call a meeting with his advisers to see if they can come up with answers for everyone.

When they asked why it seems the President is haunting his political enemies, I was forced to reflect on his activities so far in office. They accuse the President of haunting members of the Peoples Democratic Party such as Raymond Dokpesi, Godswill Orubebe, and Sambo Dasuki, to mention but a few. When I tried to hint that the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, a member of the President's party, is also facing corruption charges from the EFCC, they say it's because he has landed in the President's bad book. Again, I was dumbfounded.

Now that Nigerians have asked, it has occurred to me that I am yet to clearly understand the EFCC's reason for detaining High Chief Raymond Dokpesi. First, the man has explained that he did a job for the PDP and was paid for it. Truly, we witnessed the intensive use of both AIT and Raypower by the PDP during the last electioneering campaign, and it is only normal that he gets paid for such. We clearly did not expect him to carry such messages for free, did we? One Nigerian asked.

As a habit, I quizzed my mind thoroughly to try and come up with an explanation for the President, because you see, unlike many other Nigerians, I am not just a patriot, but extremely loyal when it comes to preserving the integrity and safeguarding the image of the Presidency. But the harder I tried, the clearer it became to me that Dokpesi does not run a charity organisation, and had to be paid for services rendered, whether it came through the office of Dasuki or Suzuki, or whether the Central Bank was the issuing agency.

Maybe the contention is that Chief Raymond Dokpesi is a strong member and supporter of the PDP. Perhaps, the President is angry at the manner in which the arms fund was squandered by members of previous administrations. Some others even suggest that the President has not forgotten the PDP-sponsored documentary that sought to undermine his chances during the elections. Whatever the case may be, I was made to realize that Nigeria still operates a Democracy, and anybody can belong to any political party he chooses. As I thought about that, I suddenly remembered that Nda-Isaiah is a member of the APC.

Furthermore, it is not Chief Dokpesi's place to ask the PDP to explain the source of the money he was paid. He is neither a security agent nor an anti-graft official. He was simply getting paid for services rendered. How many other media organisations asked their advertisers to reveal the source of monies paid to them? These Nigerians are not saying the money could have been gotten legitimately, neither are they denying that it could truly be part of the funds set aside for arms procurement. They just believe it is not Dokpesi's place to answer such questions. After all, even the APC patronized AIT and Raypower. Have we questioned the source of monies spent?

Besides, Chief Raymond Dokpesi's stations were not the only ones that benefitted from political patronage during the elections. Why is he the only one being investigated by the EFCC? Can we say for sure that funds spent by the APC before and during the elections were personal funds? Let's not forget the widespread talk that Rotimi Amaechi almost single-handedly bankrolled most of the candidates of his party, including the President, during the last elections. Most APC Governors also allegedly sponsored the President with funds at the time. Are these not also government funds?

These are some questions Nigerians are asking. Truthfully, they've got me thinking too. Apart from Saraki who (for obvious reasons) has been charged to court by the EFCC for False Assets Declaration, no other member of the APC is being investigated for corruption. It is a good thing that President Buhari has decided to tackle corruption head on (let's hope he doesn't spend the entire first tenure doing this), it is important that the process is objective, sincere, transparent, non-partisan, and free of sentiments.

It will be highly unpatriotic of me to even think about believing the outrageous claim that the president is after his political enemies, just because he or his institutions have not yet opened a case against Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar, Olusegun Obasanjo, and other Individuals, who are currently members or friends of the APC with questionable character and a probable political history.

I actually thought we had overcome the Baba Iyabo syndrome of haunting perceived enemies all in the name of fighting corruption. If we have not, I want to appeal to Buhari to sit up and face the responsibilities before him. Boko Haram are still on rampage, poverty is still on the rise, coupled with the continuous hike in the prices of consumer goods. These are facts. One angry Nigerian exclaimed, "He made himself Petroleum Minister and instead of ensuring we have a steady domestic supply of pump products, he is busy touring the world."

Former President Goodluck Jonathan removed fuel subsidy partially and pump price increased from N65 to N97, but as he noticed his political rivals chanting "Change", he decided to give us some change of N10, making it N87 per litre. Today, under President Buhari's watch, as both President and Minister of Petroleum, the price of fuel has increased to between N110 to N140 per litre (and that is when it is available).

Sincerely, it does seem like we've been wandering in a labyrinth. Nigeria seems to have gone nine years backwards to a time of civilian dictatorship, where opposition is silenced with state machineries and where perceived enemies are detained with or without trial for preposterous reasons. We cannot continue this way. I was really glad when the president said he was a refined democrat, or maybe he is still in the refining process.

But as I noted earlier, I remain patriotic and extremely loyal to the office of the presidency. I believe that Baba Go Slow is truly a refined patriot and will not undermine fairness and justice just to pursue a personal or political vendetta. So while Nigerians continue to bask in the evidence of their Nigerianess, I choose instead to hold still, remain patient and give Baba Go Slow ample time to go steady. God bless the federal republic of Nigeria!

About Author / Additional Info: