The late social crusader, Fela Anikulapo Kuti [pictured above] has turned out to be the veritable prophet who saw tomorrow. In his songs he prophetically predicted that the same failed leaders who ruined Nigeria in the past will be continually recycled to come back and rule the nation again and again one way or the other.
How true his prophecies have been!
In the last 16 years Nigeria has returned Olusegun Obasanjo who was a military head of state in 1976 and Muhammadu Buhari who was a military head of state in 1984. In between, other ruler such as Musa Yar’Adua who is a younger brother to late General Yar’Adua was facilitated by Obasanjo as a continuation of the dynasty of returning former rulers.
Likewise, many of the top government officials that have continued to dominate the political scene in the last 16 years have been men of yesteryears. The likes of Audu Ogbeh, Bamanga Tukur and Ahmadu Alli amongst others have been in the political ring for more than three decades and counting.
Interestingly, Buhari’s recently revealed ministerial list, an obnoxious roll call of recycled governors and politicians did not in any way depart from Fela’s prophecies.
Yet of all Fela’s prophetic songs, there is one that stands out as a defining description of the present times and that song is “Zombie,” a song in which the Nigerian army was characterised as a Zombie army that follows their leaders blindly without any interrogation.
In today’s Nigeria, we have a new set of Zombies in Buhari’s followers who have chosen to be led by the nose even as Buhari has repudiated all the campaign promises, principles and essence of the change movement that had supposedly galvanized their support.
Even though there was always the undercurrent of sectarianism as a driver of Buhari’s support base, I was one of those who initially thought that many of those who supported him did so on principle believing him to be a genuine vehicle of change. I only began to change my mind when some of those individuals continued to blindly defend Buhari even when the facts had become obvious to the contrary.
In the course of the campaign, certain key fundamentals were cited by Buhari’s supporters as the major planks of the basis of their support.
Most important was the promise to wage a relentless war against corruption, declare his assets and encourage others to do same, make EFCC independent so as to be able to fight corruption more effectively, quickly constitute a cabinet of incorruptible technocrats to tackle critical deficiencies in all sectors, end the war against Boko Haram in three months, pay a minimum of N5000 social welfare to the poor, introduce free meals in schools, take new initiatives on nation building and embark on a massive push for job creation.
By any standard, these are lofty promises that would easily lure the unsuspecting. But soon after Buhari came to power the process of reneging on his promises began.
First he claimed he never promised to declare his assets, even though that declaration was the face of his campaign, but surprisingly his followers supported and even defended him, when he eventually only partially declared his assets after much pressure and there were glaring discrepancies and outright lies from what had been earlier claimed, they still supported him.
Then there was no move to make EFCC independent and the promised corruption war turned out to be only noise in the media with no real action they still supported him, when his sectional appointments exposed him as a bigot who represents a danger to Nigerian unity they still supported him, then he denied all the campaign promises and they still supported him.
Finally when the promise of quickly appointing a ministerial cabinet of incorruptible technocrats dragged on needlessly for 5 months and eventually he appointed only recycled corrupt ex-governors and politicians and they still supported him, I realised that the nation is confronted with a new generation of Zombies in Buhari’s followers.
These are not driven by any principles but are rather contented to be led by the nose without interrogating the lies, inconsistencies and repudiation of everything the Buhari campaign had promised.
If Nigeria was a nation driven by principles, Buhari would be on his own by now, having disowned every promise and principle that brought him to power, but like Fela Kuti prophesied, ours is a nation of Zombie hordes and thus no matter how much wrong he does his Zombie followers will continue to support, cheer and defend him as he rides roughshod on an already traumatised nation.
Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org