By Moses Ochonu
ABUJA (Sundiata Post) The Buhari excuse and rationalization industry is going to eventually force some of us to apologize to former President Jonathan if the denizens of that industry, the holdout, dug-in Buharists, continue in their current manner.
The products of this industry are already forcing some of us to question the patriotism and sincerity of those who became overnight revolutionaries in 2015, mouthing what seemed like primordially neutral commitments to accountable governance but which in hindsight were nothing more than commitments to enlightened political and ethnic self-interest.
Many of the same things that we rightly condemned under Jonathan and appropriately blamed on his stewardship or lack thereof are today either being rationalized or blamed on other entities.
If you listen to the dwindling tribe of Buharists, the epileptic power supply in the country today is not Buhari’s failure, it is Fashola’s.
Fuel scarcity and exorbitant pricing of petroleum products are not Buhari’s fault but that of Kachikwu, NNPC, fuel marketers, and of course the nebulously defined “hoarders.” When it comes to the fuel supply crisis, the proverbial buck no longer stops at the president’s desk; it takes detours to the desk of others, never mind that Buhari ran for the presidency on the promise to fix the refineries, wean us off fuel importation, and end both scarcity and subsidy. Never mind that Buhari is the minister of petroleum resources.
The rising insecurity defined by an exponential increase in both kidnapping and armed herdsmen violence is blamed on “security agencies,” not on Buhari who appoints the heads of these agencies and, as commander-in-chief, sets the agenda for them.
The economy has been mismanaged into a hellish hodgepodge of inflation, de-industrialization, mass layoffs, rising unemployment, widespread hardship, falling standards of living, high cost of living, and a decimated middle class. The Buharists say, however, that Buhari is not to blame but the trio of Osinbajo, Kemi Adeosun, and Godwin Emefiele. In a narrative that inverts the order of logic, they even argue that the economic meltdown under Buhari is a sign that his “policies” are working. They have given a new spin to the familiar “pain before gain” adage; they have redefined the semiotic properties of chaos theory in social science.
In 2014, they screamed that Jonathan had failed to protect the schoolgirls of Chibok and they rightly blamed the kidnap on his failings as Commander-in-Chief. Today, they say the “security agencies,” not Buhari, failed to protect the schoolgirls of Dapchi.
There are many other examples that similarly point to the fact that Buharists’ love affair with Buhari is a case study in cognitive dissonance and that it borders on the psychological bonds some captives forge with their captors–the so-called Stockholm syndrome.
I saw the most dramatic illustration of this phenomenon on someone’s Facebook timeline a few days ago. I hope it is fake news. However, knowing the cult of personality that the love of Buhari has become–a love that surpasseth all understanding–I would not be shocked if it is not. This Facebook interlocutor quoted the father of one of the kidnapped Dapchi schoolgirls as saying in a BBC interview that he believes that the kidnapping was done to besmirch and bring down Buhari’s government.
Take a moment to process this statement, which, if true, would give us a glimpse into the almost-religious devotion that defines the relationship between Buharists and Buhari. He can do no wrong in their eyes.
Even when Boko Haram, which his government claims is “completely defeated,” invades a school with many gun trucks unchallenged, loads more than a hundred school girls onto trucks, and drives away, again unchallenged, the invasion is attributed to the president’s enemies, not to his failures, not to his government’s penchant for creating false, alternative universes through propaganda and deception, which then lulls people into a false sense of security, leaving schools and other so-called soft targets exposed and vulnerable.
Buhari had the perverse benefit of Chibok (which Jonathan did not have) and yet failed to take adequate measures to protect schools in the war zone. Apparently, not even this indicting, fatal factoid is enough to come between Buhari and Buharists.
If this story is true, it tells us that, for some Buharists, not even the failure of Buhari’s administration to protect their daughter from Boko Haram kidnappers is enough to separate them from the subject of their unquestioning devotion.