President Muhammadu Buhari

Buhari: His Pact with the Devil and Political Damnation

President Muhammadu Buhari has searched and decided, the Department of State Services (DSS) has screened and cleared, the Nigerian Senate has accepted and announced the candidates for long awaited “ministerial list”. The Nigerian nation has been deceived and spat upon by its leader once again. Habit or repetition is definitely not “CHANGE.”

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In a nation full of decent competent technocrats and those with clean records President Buhari, the self-styled “Grand Sherriff of Anti-Corruption” has chosen the most corrupt ministerial cabinet Nigeria has ever seen for a first term or second term presidential tenure. Buhari’s ministerial list has shown Nigeria concrete evidence that to be a long standing or born again democrat you have to be pragmatic, be a thief. Buhari is now the “Prince of Thieves”.

Buhari: His Pact with the Devil and Political Damnation

Buhari’s anti-corruption message by way of his “ministerial list” to Nigerians is that if you are elected or appointed politicians, especially governors, steal as much as you can while you are to secure your career future. Even the best of men, the “Prince”, will accept your money for election purposes and protect you with his reputation and power.

The “ministerial list” of Buhari has the rare technocrat, the rest are politicians, gubernatocrats and gubernatorial candidates, the current biggest and aspiring biggest thieves, respectively within the Nigerian political economy.

The four months Nigeria waited for an active executive arm of government now makes good strategic sense. Buhari and his team imposed “inevitability” on the Nigerian in the same way Nigerian TV evangelists make miracle seekers give false testimonies before not after their “miracles” occur. The start of the miracle process is delayed by numerous postponements long enough to make the person become desperate then, a false testimony is obtained and the miracle is performed; when nothing happens you simply go away and internalise you anger. That is Buhari’s style.

If members of his cabinet, especially the thieving gubernatocrats who used vast stolen public monies intended for the people to successfully finance Buhari’s presidential ambition, secure impunity under the protection of the Man, who else is he going to successfully prosecute? Sambo Dasuki is an old enemy Buhari has prosecuted. We may see many revenge and grudge witch hunts from Buhari, not thoroughgoing anti-corruption.

Even the witch hunts will be limited to politicians whose stealing that is not linked in any way to those thieves Buhari is “princing”. If you stole with Fashola, Amaechi, Fayemi, Ogbeh and other politicians Buhari needs, it is time to thank your stars that Buhari is in power; you shall go scot free.

To see a man, who in 18 months of military rule created Nigeria’s greatest ever hope of a “Better Society” on a national and international level, backslide into a ‘prince of thieves’ in old age is certainly heart-breaking. Buhari as a military ruler refused to give rents special interest groups to stay in power. As a democratic president he has opted for giving the most corrupt type of rents to achieve and stay in power. The man loves power more than Nigerians previously thought.

The enduring torment and despair Buhari must have suffered when General Ibrahim Babangida overthrew him by way of coup d’état in 1986 and the impacts is something Nigerians have underestimated or not even thought about. However, it is increasingly evident that the coup of 1986 broke Buhari badly and irreparably. A careful examination of his recent actions would without much effort reveal Buhari has backslid on everything good he stood for as military ruler.

The anti-corruption campaign under Buhari at election was a persuasive illusion that has ended with a foul taste. Corruption is here to stay. If men can steal to influence elections to win Buhari’s favour and power in his cabinet, they will steal to win political favour with whoever will succeed Buhari. Buhari cannot stop his cabinet or the legislature from stealing or the judiciary protecting their thefts.

Africans often say “the best protector of a treasure is a thief”, but that is just native sense that has failed time and time again in the modern word. Buhari’s princing of thieves is an egregious move, but without the money of thieving gubernatocrats Buhari would never have gotten into power.

Buhari is most tragically Nigeria’s Faust. Buhari made deals with the Devil and political damnation is upon him. Buhari has squandered his past legacy completely. Most will forget the days of excellence of the Buhari-Idiagbon duo that sought to fix Nigeria effectively and remember a man who condemned himself to success dependent of the rapacious and damaging proceeds of corruption. I now understand why many insist Buhari was nothing without Idiagbon but I will not speculate with counterfactuals.

The anti-climax of an anti-corruption campaign has never been so bad so soon, at least in Nigeria.

Sai Baba! Sai Buhari!

  • Dr. Nane is an errant scholar and economist. Follow him on twitter: @Grimot

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