By Egheomhanre Emmanuel Eyieyien
There are two kinds of Buharists: the Classic Buharists and the Neo-Buharists. The Classic Buharists genuinely love Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. To them, he is the epitome of a true leader. They truly believe he is all they say he is. They think he is not corrupt and that he is even incorruptible.
Their devotion to the man they like to call the “People’s General” is total; bordering on worship. No contrary argument can burst their bubble. In fact, you dare to persuade them that Gen. Buhari is not the man they think him to be at your peril. Violence, verbal and/or physical, comes natural to them when they think you denigrate GMB.
The Neo-Buharists are recent converts to Buharism who fed too long on the well-orchestrated narrative that President Jonathan is “clueless” and is incapable of leading Nigeria. They have been led to believe that our country’s state is dire and that things are in their worst possible condition.
They believe “$20billion is missing”! To them, “nothing is working”. It is futile pointing out to them the achievements of the Jonathan administration. They see none whatsoever. They want “change”.
Ordinarily, the Neo-Buharists would never even have considered Gen. Buhari as presidential material. They know him too well. They are not impressed about Buhari’s antecedents. But they would rather not discuss it. Since they are convinced that President Jonathan has not performed well enough they believe they have no option but to settle for Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.
To reassure themselves about the rationality of supporting Buhari, they are quick to point out the difference between a military despot and a democratic president. They are forgiving of Buhari’s inglorious past. They hope he has changed. They are not unaware of his many short-comings.
They know he is a religious fundamentalist who is an avowed proponent of the implementation of Sharia across Nigeria. They point out the impossibility of instituting Sharia nationwide in a democracy and remind you that their man did not even do so when he could as a military Head of State.
To them, it matters not that the brand of Sharia Law he advocates is a contravention of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which he would be sworn to uphold should he be President. They equally ignore the fact that he once called on Muslim voters to vote only for Muslims even as he is now tranversing the country soliciting the votes of Nigerians of all religions.
Neo-Buharists are mindful of Gen. Buhari’s lack of administrative acumen and management capacity. But they are ready to excuse his incompetence and make a virtue of his notoriety to transfer responsibility to his immediate subordinate. So they highlight the qualities of Prof. Pastor Yemi Osinbajo, his running mate. They see the Professor of Law as a would-be Proxy-President and even push the idea of an Outsourced Presidency as a great concept.
On the issue of combating corruption, the Neo-Buharists do not like to be reminded that the General’s financiers and close political associates cannot explain how they became so wealthy as public officials. They pretend that they have not noticed the sudden change in the General’s anti-corruption mantra. He will now only prosecute (and “send to Kirikiri”) those who remain corrupt after he becomes President!
But Neo-Buharists have lingering doubts; serious doubts. Their own idealism will not allow their consciences rest. They have nagging questions about Gen. Buhari. Questions about his past; questions about his future.
Does he have what it takes to lead Nigeria at this stage of his life? Is he the change they seek? What is his vision for Nigeria? Does he even have a vision? How will he accomplish all that those who speak for him say he will do? Is he in poor health as is being rumoured in some quarters?
And the Neo-Buharists’ doubts are fed the more as they hear him speak on the campaign trail. They know he is uninspiring; but, with the new trendy garb he adorns, they hoped for more. They do not expect soul-stirring speeches but, at the least, not the usual dull and incoherent drivel. Haba!
As the doubts grow, sadly, some Neo-Buharists would simply settle for apathy.
Those of them who actually have the Permanent Voters Card may very well decide that they will not violate their consciences….and stay home on 14th February, 2015: the Fail Buhari Day.
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