By Aremu Lukman Umor
President Muhammadu Buhari’s first year in office made us thought our dream had come true. Insecurity in the northern part of Nigeria had reduced drastically. Corrupt politicians were seen in the dock, trembling and looking hopelessly.
If anyone had told many Nigerians who are missing Patience Jonathan today on the eve of the 2015 presidential election which booted she and her husband, former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, out of Aso Villa, that they would miss her when she leaves, they would shrug their shoulders and hastily say God forbid! Corruption and insecurity were at a peak. And instead of Goodluck Jonathan to be waging war against corruption which would later be part of the phenomena that bane his administration, he was seen on camera defending the corrupt politicians of his time: “They said I should be arresting all the corrupt politicians if I arrest them, who would remain in the country?” “Stealing is not corruption.” These two statements sweetened the bad eggs in his administration.
By the time he would come on air to narrate what he meant by ‘stealing is not corruption’, no one was ready to listen to him as Muhammadu Buhari, now President Muhammadu Buhari was already on everyone’s lips: “Sai Baba!” Even underage who couldn’t vote were seen on the streets of the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, crooning ‘Sai Baba’. Some of us who didn’t know his antecedents were told. How he had zero tolerance for corruption when he was a military president. How he dealt with drug dealers who almost besmirched Nigeria’s image inter alia. We were thrilled and queued under the scorching sun to vote for him.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s first year in office made us thought our dream had come true. Insecurity in the northern part of Nigeria had reduced drastically. Corrupt politicians were seen in the dock, trembling and looking hopelessly. There was a picture of the former senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki, where he sacks out in the dock then. Billions of naira were recovered from looters who had stashed it in their coffers. The fear of PMB even made unknown looters painstakingly drop theirs in abandoned buildings in Lagos and other parts of the country. His insecurity and corruption achievement didn’t go down well with some members of the opposition parties as they claimed his fight against corruption was one-sided. Plus, his party was allegedly the sponsor of Boko Haram.
Insecurity would later resume fully towards President Buhari’s two years in office. The North is the hotspot. Souls were mowed and houses were burnt. Thousands of northerners became homeless as they migrated to the neighbouring countries for shelters. One would think Nigerians, and most especially the northerners wouldn’t vote for Muhammadu Buhari again because of the killings when he sought re-election in 2019, sadly, he was voted. Today, insecurity in Nigeria is alarming. Thousands of northerners had been reportedly killed by Boko Haram and other daredevil sects. The killings have even escalated to the president’s home state. Imagine!
However, in times like this, when things were falling apart in former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s administration, and he was in dilemma as President Muhammadu Buhari, the first lady, Patience Jonathan, was there for Nigerians. Unlike Aisha Buhari who is busy fighting Buhari’s aides and families living in Aso Villa, Patience Jonathan would’ve been appearing on our national television with a white handkerchief in her hand, which she would be using to wipe the tears dripping in her eyes as she mourns the killings in the country: “Chai! Der is God o!” “The bombers who born them? Wasn’t it not a woman? They were once a children now a adult, now they are bombing women and children making some children a widow.” Plus, in times like this, her broken English which she mixes with conventional English would’ve served as comic relief for many Nigerians who are mourning the killings in the North and at the same time being bored with the COVID-19 lockdown. My fellow widows, sorry, my fellow Nigerians, may God heal our country Nigeria.
Aremu Lukman Umor, a Public Affairs Analyst writes from Lagos