The calamitous combination of Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima were inaugurated earlier in the week as Nigeria’s first and second citizens, respectively. Expectedly, the general mood of the country on the inauguration day was that of despondency and defeatism, however, a tiny section of Nigerians have remained overwhelmingly optimistic about what the odds hold for Nigeria and nothing can be more idiotic.
It is utterly bewildering how Nigerians with well-groomed common sense and fairly intentioned instincts managed to force themselves to believe that a President who was a product of the famous gang of looters called the APC whose specialisation is state capture will lift a finger to pull Nigeria from its present quagmire. It is mind-boggling to come to the realisation that Nigerians who saw Tinubu and the APC blatantly rigging themselves into power somehow believe that the President who came to power through that process will care enough to use a stolen mandate to fix Nigeria. It is indeed, heart-wrenching to see Nigerians shouting renewed hope barely eight years after they were hoodwinked with the empty mantra of change as promised by the cow-loving former President, Muhammadu Buhari.
During the long period of campaigns, Nigerians had enough time to assess Tinubu and his running mate, Shettima. They had time to notice them in their vacuity, arrogance, and entitlement mentality. They saw how they treated the citizens whose mandates they were seeking with unpardonable disdain by refusing to engage them in interactive sessions, debates, and media interviews. Tinubu and Shettima never granted any interview to any Nigerian-owned media outfit in a campaign season that lasted over eight months. What other reasons did Nigerians need to know that they clearly have nothing to offer?
These same optimistic Nigerians can easily recall Tinubu’s display of pitiable incapacities, including difficulty with coordination and articulation, apparent memory problems, incoherencies, and blunders for which he even became a butt of joke among Nigerian youths on social media for the entire period of the campaigns.
For a party that claimed it had something to offer Nigerians, they continued to flounder and grapple throughout the entire duration so much so that it caught itself struggling with messaging and direction for the entire period. It would be recalled that at the beginning of the campaign, Tinubu who could not specifically name any development project or programme he initiated and executed in his eight years tenure as Governor of Lagos State, rather he busied himself with appropriating the achievements of his predecessors and successors in office to himself. When that failed, the Tinubu/Shettima Campaign came up with the promise to continue on the ‘legacies’ of the failed Buhari-led APC administration. When they realised that such was a serious pitfall given the massive failure of the maladministration where Tinubu held sway as a leader, they resorted to a desperate attempt to dissociate themselves from the APC administration. What is most laughable is that this is coming after he had boasted publicly that he single-handedly installed the Buhari maladministration.
From all available facts, the only things one can attribute to Tinubu or Shettima are borrowed robes. Despite all the allegations flying around against the first two citizens, Tinubu has not openly come out to effectively disclaim the allegation that the name he currently bears is not his name; that the parents and family he claimed were not his; that the certificates he claimed to be his are not and that the schools and institutions he always claimed to have attended, have either denied him or failed to confirm his attendance. Shettima on the other hand has not come out to explain his relationship with Boko Haram or what famous suicide bomber, Kabiru Sokoto was doing in his house, or what really happened during the kidnap of the Chibok school girls. The question that should actually be on the minds of many Nigerians is; what sort of baggage is bigger than this for a country like Nigeria which has obviously continued to struggle to sell itself to the world, to now have its President and a Vice that is apparently burdened by this pernicious antecedents?
For these optimistic Nigerians, their first task should be to help Tinubu solve his problem of legitimacy. Going by cooked figures announced by the electoral umpire – the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), only 8.8m out of 93.4m registered voters said yes to the drug lord. That disputed victory actually meant that Tinubu was backed by the smallest number of the electorate in any election since Nigeria ended military rule in 1999!
The problem of legitimacy is already manifesting barely hours into his stolen government. In a bid to assert himself while reading his inauguration speech, Tinubu announced that ‘subsidy is gone’ and almost immediately, the entire country turned against him. The reality of the goodwill which he failed to buy has eventually dawned on him. What is perhaps more ironic is that it is the same Tinubu who had fought former President Goodluck Jonathan bitterly in 2012 when he announced subsidy removal that is now insisting that the scheme has to go. What manner of shameless hypocrisy is this?
There is nothing tangible on the ground to suggest that Tinubu and Shetima have anything tangible to offer Nigeria. Their only mission is certainly to devour her patrimony, oil their political machines, achieve their lifeline ambitions, and ultimately destroy the lives of Nigerians.
Without rolling out any palliative or cushions, it was really surprising to see and hear Tinubu removing the subsidy on fuel even when it was obvious to him that the poor, vulnerable, and less privileged in the society were the people that would feel its brunt. With the national minimum wage still pegged at N30,000, how on earth does Tinubu expect Nigerians to survive?
The best advice one can give to the optimistic elements is that there are no signs that Tinubu and Shettima have the capacity and believability to transform Nigeria from corruption, mediocrity, and cronyism to excellence. Their past records do not exude that neither does the political party they represent which is evidently populated by greedy criminals.
Nigeria has been deeply scarred by corruption, greed, mediocrity, impunity, cronyism, tribalism, and religiosity that leaders who do the regular will not be able to cause any fundamental change. At worse, what Nigeria needs is a leader that will lead by example and break away from the regular way. The Nigerian system has been so fouled that most Nigerians now believe that what is clearly corruption is some sort of divine blessing or ‘smartness.’ With a dangerously corrupt criminal to look up to as President, one can only imagine the decadence that will follow in the coming years.
Most Nigerians kill Nigeria every day through their actions but think that by repeatedly saying ‘Nigeria will be great’, it will make Nigeria great indeed. They don’t show how Nigeria will be great. They assume they are patriots and positive thinkers, while others are not. They don’t know the difference between empty positivity and reality. They don’t know that that hope is not a strategy. No country has ever become great through mere wishes.
In conclusion, Nigerians must now understand that they are clearly on their own and that only they and not their wishes or aspirations can save them. While mounting pressure on Tinubu and his minions to understand that power indeed belongs to the people, they must also mobilise themselves to strategically turn the heat on the national assembly to as a matter of urgency restructure the country to bring governance closer to the people from where they can eventually take their destinies into their own hands.