Legit.ng's guest author Chinedu Rylan tries to determine if the All Progressives Congress, headed by Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.), are capable of delivering the revolutionary "change" they have promised in their 2015 election campaign.
Before I delve into the nitty-gritty and crux of this exposition, I must categorically state that I have no overt or covert party affiliation. I have only put this piece together in my capacity as a concerned, patriotic Nigerian who will never stand by with arms crossed over his chest while a bunch of political careerists and crooked opportunists take this beloved country and its loving people for a joyride.
That being said, what manner of change can we, Nigerians, expect from the All Progressives Congress, the APC?
It is becoming clearer even to the "mentally blind" that the so-called "Progressives", led by the twosome of the retired Major-General Muhammadu Buhari and former Lagos state governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu, are totally and pitiably incapable of effecting the change they are promising to deliver to Nigerians if elected into office. Rather, the only change that can be realistically expected of them at this point in time is retrogressive change.
Before going further, it will be sagacious to consult some of the world's most reliable and reputable dictionaries and thesauruses to see what they have to say about the word change. The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (OALD) – the most available to, trusted and cited by Nigerians – defines change as "an act or process through which something becomes different". In the same vein, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary – considered the gold standard by most Americans – gives a similar description, authoritatively opining that change is the "act, process, or result of changing". Likewise, an App-based mobile dictionary gives us the definition of change as "the process of becoming different".
Undoubtedly, Nigeria will change under a Muhammadu Buhari presidency. Yes, the country will definitely become different under the "pure" and "stainless" GMB-led APC government, should their wishes and cravings come to pass. This, however, begs the question of how Nigeria will be different under them. What kind of change will the APC, Buhari, Tinubu and co. bring to the table if elected? Will it be progressive or retrogressive?
Going by the goings-on in the country whilst simultaneously peering into the past, it is really very easy to come at a definite conclusion.
Despite the adjective progressive being affixed to their name and adopted as a party slogan, it is crystal clear to all and sundry, Nigerian or not, that the best anyone can expect of the APC is a reversive change. A change for the worse. What manner of change can a certified military dictator, who usurped and forcibly seized power from a democratically-elected government, possibly offer? Buhari staged a coup that sacked what was only Nigeria's second democratic dispensation since independence – the first in 13 years. In an ironical twist of fate deserving of a Greek epic by Homer, it is the same general, albeit now refined, rebooted and baptized as the sinless "peoples general," who is now at the mercy of the same democratic process he truncated 32 years ago in order to clamber into power once again.
What manner of change can we realistically and dispassionately expect from a thin-skinned ex-dictator who was intolerant of even the slightest of criticisms during his ultimately ill-fated military regime? This is the same Buhari who jailed anyone who was bold enough to speak up against his autocracy that lasted from 31 December 1983 to 27 August 1985. Journalists, who now enjoy unprecedented and once unimaginable levels of freedom under the present Goodluck Ebele Jonathan administration, were put behind bars in droves.
Opposing politicians and statesmen were also not spared. It is on record that Buhari jailed Alex Ekwueme, the Vice President of the administration he overthrew, for several years; its President, Shehu Shagari, was put under house arrest. Jim Nwobodo, a democratically elected state governor, was unceremoniously jailed for 301 years by a kangaroo court sanctioned by the general. Others who found themselves on the wrong side of the general and ended up being jailed for their "insubordination" include two other democratically-elected governors, Sam Mbakwe and Bola Ige, as well as Bisi Akande, a fellow stalwart in the present APC, and Obafemi Awolowo, the ideological leader of the South-Westerners. How can we expect the man to uphold and respect courts of justice and the rule of law when he had demonstrated such flagrant disregard for them?
What manner of change does the APC have to offer with a leader who probably believes that a woman's rightful place is her husband's house, her only duties housekeeping and child-rearing? During his dictatorship that lasted nearly 3 years, he hadn't appointed a single woman in his Supreme Military Council. Most recently, he has strongly indicated that women would play a minimal role in the government he envisions by asserting that he would abolish the position of the country's first lady. He went further to declare that there is no official role for the wife of a president. He seems to be oblivious of the fact that the wives of presidents, heads of state and government all over the world are accorded special status and assigned important roles. That is why the First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS) is such an influential figure both within and outside her country. His modus operandi reeks of someone who is out of touch with reality, divorced from the trends and aloof with happenings elsewhere in the world.
I could go on and on, but it would take more than a short news-length article to comprehensively thrash out the laundry list of the things that make Buhari and the APC totally incapable to deliver the promised "progressive change".
I have absolutely nothing against the person of General Muhammadu Buhari. As a matter of fact, he's a man I have an undiminished respect for. But I still do not believe he's the leader that 174 million Nigerians need at the moment, especially considering the party he's coming from, how rigid and resistant to change he has always been, and how detached from Nigerian realia he has become.
It is my wish that Nigerians would wake up from their slumber and disenchant themselves from the hypnotism, fine-sounding words and unattainably lofty promises of the APC. There is still enough time to avoid a big mistake.
Nigerians, vote wisely.
Mr. Rylan may be contacted via his Twitter account, @ChineduRylan. You're welcome to submit your own opinion articles. Make sure you go through our Guide for guest contributors, and feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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