By: Ganiu Oloruntade
Nigerians are naturally ungrateful. If thanklessness were to be human, the fellow must be Nigerian, no doubts! I pen this piece with all sense of annoyance and utmost displeasure to chastise my fellow countrymen who appear to be unjustifiably critical of President Muhammadu Buhari and his next-level-centred government.
Rather than appraise the servitude of the Daura-born retired General, these recalcitrant elements are busy spewing hatred to malign his enviable image.
For a 77-year-old man who had risked his life to partake in three major military coups; led the country as Head of State; ditched the khaki for the civilian garb; ran for Presidency three consecutive times before his triumph at the fourth attempt, this is undeserving. It is undeniable that the tall and suave Sai Baba is truly committed to Nigeria’s development. Come on, he could have retired to stay home and play with his grandkids but he didn’t, because of his undying love for the country. I would say that he, in fact, deserves a national holiday declared in his honour. It’s perhaps the least we can do.
Sai Baba has many great qualities. His frugality is unrivalled. He doesn’t indulge in wasteful spending. Forget that his rich son, Yusuf, explores the streets of Abuja with expensive motorbikes. Just like his siblings who self-funded their education abroad, the handsome chap sponsors his own lifestyle. I can beat my chest that the old ṣójà can’t afford such luxury. The Grand Corruption Fighter of the Federation, GCFR, parades a gargantuan hatred for embezzlement and lack of accountability.
I know haters will say that he “looked away” when his cronies—like chief grass cutter Babachir Lawal and Governor Gandollar—were accused of corruption. They might also go as far as referencing Nigeria’s ranking in the 2019 Transparency International’s corruption perception index as the one of the most corrupt ECOWAS countries. Wailers will always wail!
Like the typical no-nonsense father, he is disciplined and abhors indiscipline. Don’t forget that he launched a nationwide operation nicknamed “War Against Indiscipline” when he led the country in military apparel. This explains why he doesn’t condone disgruntled younger minds like Sowore, a failed presidential candidate who apparently can’t pocket his loss at the polls and is thus championing a fictitious revolution. Baba, having rehabilitated the nation’s correctional facilities (prisons, you say?) to world class standard, housed the Sahara Reporters Boss and his accomplice, Bakare, in one of these special apartments for some months. He did this to simply teach them a few lessons.
His genuine interest in the youth, however, remains unshaken. After all, a man can’t watch a lion feast on his child, no matter how repugnant the lad is! Laziness seems to be the major reason fueling this supposed anti-system narrative, an idle man they say is the devil’s workshop. These youth think they can just “sit and do nothing and get housing, healthcare, education, free” simply because “Nigeria has been an oil producing country”. As the popular street lingo by musician, Koker, goes: kolewerk! Well, out of his benevolence, Baba has provided jobs for them which include “clearing of drainage, sweeping markets, road maintenance, traffic control, and cleaning of public infrastructures like health centres and schools”. What more can you ask for?
I’ve seen these clowns compare Sai Baba with Donald Trump, the Twitter-lousy President of the United States. That’s completely absurd to me. While Trump is a pronounced lowbrow racist, PMB is a remarkably detribalised Nigerian. Though, he is quite fond of ‘inviting’ his kinsmen—an example is Mamman Daura, a native of his hometown, Daura, who headed the DSS until his exit—to serve in government but that certainly doesn’t confer him with the derogatory nomenclature ‘ethnic bigot’. I mean, there’s nothing bad in surrounding oneself with ‘trusted people’. Also, Sai Baba is a respecter of women, Trump isn’t. The latter is infamous for ‘groping’ women, our dear PMB respectfully puts them in their place: the kitchen, the living room and the other room!
They call him incompetent and wrongly label him as indifferent to happenings in the country. I beg to differ. In his usual charismatic manner, Baba has expressed shock at the sudden resurgence of a “technically defeated” religious extremist group. Mind you, a number of their repentant counterparts have been rehabilitated and are soon to be reintegrated back into the society.
While the theatrics at Aso Villa, featuring the nation’s First Lady, is yet to be completely doused, little did we know that it’s all part of a grand plan to spice up Baba’s regime. Governance shouldn’t be boring for Christ’s sake! A tinge of drama isn’t bad after all. Aren’t we indeed lucky to have him? I’d leave you to decide that yourself.
Ganiu Oloruntade is a final-year student of Political Science at the Lagos State University. He tweets @GaniuOloruntade.