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President Muhammadu Buhari and His “Heavenly Saints”

“The worst choice of all is to continue to refuse to choose because the fear of making mistake is the greatest mistake of all.” —Ian Bremmer 

There is no doubt that President Muhammadu Buhari as then presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) won his historic election riding on the back of proverbial political wheel of change, the APC used its stronghold on Nigerian media to recreate personality of President Buhari by portraying him as an infallible messiah from third heaven of holiest of the holies, who has the magic wand to weep out the nation’s age-long myriad of challenges by simply betting an eyelid. 

Based on his perceived integrity and anti-corruption instinct which are integrated in mysterious “body language” mantra, the APC via its media machinery came up with another illusion that President Buhari’s obvious delay in constituting his cabinet was because he was taking his time to shop for experienced; stainless, corruption-immunized Angels and political virgins who are not only embodiment of excellence and epitome of virtues but ocean of integrity, to enable him clean the so-called pit of rot left behind by successive the PDP administration. 

Nigerians voted for the APC in last general elections as a result of President Buhari’s two major campaign promises: fight against corruption and eradication of insurgents in the terrorists-infested North-East of Nigeria. After the inauguration of President Buhari-led APC government on 29th May, 2015, expectations of Nigerians were very high especially on creditability of potential appointees that would meet the integrity cut-off mark and moral yardstick set by President Buhari to qualify them political appointees in a government meant to be run by “Saints and Angels” from Heaven whose impeccable character is second in terms of righteousness after God; who remains the holiest of holies. 

Each time discerning Nigerians complained to President Buhari that appointment of ministerial nominees was eating deep into the life span of this promise-ridden administration, they were always rebuffed by the APC propaganda outfits with flimsy excuses that President Buhari was being meticulous in choosing his over-hyped cabinet members using his microscopic spectacles in consultation with the gods of the APC. 

Nigerians were also hoodwinked into believing that Mr President needed time to embark on a journey to another planet where sinless and spotless super-humans would be employed to come and evacuate “mountainous heap of corruption filth” allegedly left behind by past administration led by President Jonathan—who the APC via its unofficial information Minister, Adams Oshiomole has decided to divert his time and energies from his newly married wife and governance in his primary constituency of Edo State to President Jonathan and ministers that served under him, as if he was given a media consultancy job to rubbish Jonathan and all he stood for during his five-year term as Nigeria President using unsubstantiated allegations just to prove to his new wife that he is a household name in the nation’s politics as part of honeymoon gift to her.  

The superficial search of “Heavenly Saints” as potential ministers stagnated Nigerian socio-economic environment for more than four suspense-filled months of intense lobbying and political horsing trading, it kept every prospective “Saint” dedicated to slavery service to “oracle of integrity”—President Buhari by justifying all the controversial actions and decisions made so far like lopsided appointments, delay in forming a Federal Cabinet, appointments without Senate confirmation, witch-hurting of perceived political enemies etc; in other to be seen as sacred enough to make the proverbial “holy” list of ministerial appointees.

The noisy propaganda fight against corruption made gullible Nigerians to believe that only those “Saints” that have no corruption allegations hanging on their heads could make the holy book of life—Ministerial list which was being complied by deity of “integrity and Messiah of Change”, President Buhari—who happens to be the only eye of the gods, that he has come with his “Heavenly Saints” to right the wrongs of sixteen years of the PDP reign—which the APC accused of leaving behind pit of rot. A school of thought had it that Senate President Bukola Saraki is being persecuted because he is too “dirty” to preside over screening of “Saints” as Ministerial nominees.  

As the pressure kept piling on President Buhari to announce his cabinet members from discerning Nigerians who are not under the broom spell of the APC (according to Femi Aribisala), Mr President made September 30th, 2015 the last date for submission of Ministerial list to the Senate. As the deadline approached, political suspense and high blood pressure increased amongst prospective ministerial nominees and their godfathers and godmothers. Nigerian media became a washed with so many permutations and speculations—thanks to the APC’s propaganda on the “righteousness and sainthood” of would-be Ministerial nominees. 

Some thought-provoking questions that raced through the agitated minds of Nigerians were: who are these “Angelic Saints”? How many of them could be found in Nigeria? How many months would it take for them to arrive from third heaven of holiest of the holies? Who and who are pure enough to be part of this ministerial list of “Angels and Saints”? Is the APC trying to paraphrase biblical verse that all Nigerians have sinned and fallen short of Ministerial list; which invariably justified President Buhari’s four months voyage to the world of Angels and Saints to search for potential ministerial nominees? 

On 30th September, 2015, Nigerians woke up with great expectations; faith in their hearts and mind filled with suspense that Angelic ministerial list would berth in the Red Chamber as they must have transcended all the heavenly superhighways and galaxies to reach planet-earth; precisely Nigeria’s political capital of Abuja. As the legislative proceedings in the Senate were going on, the suspense became so unbearable and in tensed that Senate minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio broke the ice by speaking out restless minds of Nigerians who glued to their televisions and mobile phones watching developments in the Senate as regards to submission of ministerial list from President Buhari who promised to keep his word that the exaggerated “Heavenly Saints” would be finally unveiled that fateful day. 

Senator Akpabio questioned Senate President Saraki on why he refused to read out the names of those “Saints” who made it to the holy book of life—ministerial list at least to douse the tension-soaked environment which was caused by the APC propagandist tendencies. Senate President Saraki responded that he was yet to receive any list but that it would still come before the close of work for that day.  This “disappointing” response from Senator Saraki dampened hopes and dashed expectations of restless Nigerians who “fasted thirty days and nights” to purify themselves to receive “Heavenly Saints” from holiest of holies that were scheduled to begin their “Change Assignment” of cleaning the so-called Augean table. Another reason of fasting by Nigerians was to prevent the Prince of Persia from withholding ministerial list of “Saints”.

In furtherance of the psychological trauma Nigerians went through that fateful day of 30th September, 2015, Senate closed plenary session without any sign of list forthcoming. As Nigerians were about minding other businesses they had for the day, there came breaking news tagged: Saraki receives ministerial list, this development heightened the already douse tension which prompted a lot of Nigerians to swing their attention to televisions and internet devices just to see or read names of the “gods” approved “Saints”. They were largely heart-broken again when Senate President Saraki insisted that the “righteous” envelop that conveyed names of the “Saints” (ministerial nominees) would remain undefiled (sealed) till another legislative day at least to accord respect to sanctity of the “Saints”. 

As a result of curiosity of Nigerians to see the “holy” faces of the “Heavenly Saints”, few days interval to the day of unveiling of “Change Agents of Saints” became like a century.  On Tuesday 6th October, 2015, the APC’s broom spell cast on many Nigerians during the elections using change slogan fell off when names of supposed “Saints” as painted by the APC came out to be a big ruse and deceit!  

It happened that the names that were read out by Senate President Bukola Saraki were made up of ninety per cent of those recycled old political jobbers whose actions and inactions left Nigerians two hundred years behind its contemporaries that got independence almost the same period.  

The million-dollar question on the minds of objective Nigerians now is: where is the change? Only President Buhari-led APC government can answer this question.

Nwobodo Chidiebere, political Analyst wrote in from Abuja; chidieberenwobodo@yahoo.com         

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