OF BUHARI’S GRATITUDE & KWANKWASO’S BULLET-PROOF CAR GIFT: When A Political Party Commits “Faux Pas” By ‘Tunji Ajayi
Any perceptive Nigerian must start to plan how to love our affable President Muhammadu Buhari without pretense. I do so in a monstrous proportion too. His Excellency President Buhari recently taught us all how not to be ungrateful to a benefactor. In one of Sunny Ade’s epic albums, “Asiko Laye/Sheindemi” (1971), KSA sings on the need to be grateful to whoever extends an act of kindness to us. In his tenor voice he delves into the hallmark of his deep philosophical music, the Yoruba indigenous proverbs. Lavishly emblazoned in mesmerizing lead guitar Sunny sings with aplomb: “Eni t’áa se lóore tí ò dúpé, bí olósà kó ni l’érù lo ni”. Yes. It feels like being robbed when an act of kindness to a person is not appreciated with a sense of gratitude. And in his Àjòò (1983), he sings: “Eni tí ó rántí eni nílé, t’ó fi’su ránsé sí’ni; ó ye k’á fi iyò ránsé sii lóko” Yes. A benevolent person who from the farm remembers to send a gift of yam tubers to you back home, equally deserves being sent a gift of salt. This evidently confirms the necessity of showing gratitude.
But to the contrary, as simple as it might appear superficially, it requires much wisdom and humility to utter verbal or written expressions of gratitude. The common words could even be a mere “Thank You”. But most beneficiaries of kindness often find it difficult to utter the two words to appreciate their benefactors. This is perhaps due to ego flaunting. Most arrogant people enjoy being showered with gifts, but are submerged by their ego when it is time to show appreciation. President Muhammadu Buhari recently taught us how to be grateful. He hollered for the world to hear: “Kwankwaso’s Armoured Vehicle Gift Saved Me from Bomb Attack in Kaduna in 2014”. Rabiu Kwankwaso was the Kano State executive governor between 1999 and 2003 after which he lost his second term re-election bid but immediately became the Minister of Defense from 2003 to 2007 under Olusegun Obasanjo’s presidency with the umbrella of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He was re-elected as governor in 2011, and was in the House of Senate in 2015, representing Kano Central Senatorial District. Under the opposition party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) banner with which he contested the presidential primary ticket in 2015, he lost to Muhammadu Buhari who clinched the coveted ticket. In 2018, he returned to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and again contested the presidential primaries election; but this time he lost to Atiku Abubakar. Kwankwaso is now in the New Nigeria Peoples’ Party (NNPP) as presidential candidate for the 2023 general elections. Like his other colleagues in party politicking, he has moved up and down as a suave peripatetic politician seeking lofty position “to serve the downtrodden masses.”
The Nigerian man and his politician seeking to “serve” him both have similar character. In “Bestiality of Humanity” (Ohio Wesleyan University Press, USA. November 1, 2020) I likened the courage of Nigerians and their politicians to that of a coupon player: “. . . the Nigerian man would wear his ever charming look, and radiate the un-crushable spirit of a coupon player. He go better soon. I shall overcome one day soon”, he would console himself till he goes back into the graveyard . . . . A Nigerian man is sick and at the point of death; but he would still chant: “I am strong. God forbid bad thing”. Even our politicians often play God. I have never seen any Governor or President who ever fell sick in Nigeria. Even when it is obviously so, having been placed on oxygen and lying half-dead on stretcher, blinking once in every five minutes; Nigerians are often told the lie by their eloquent spokespersons: “Em . . . em . . . His Excellency is on a special trip to Europe and America to learn the art of good governance.” The un-crushable spirit of Kwankwaso must have made him move from one party to another. In the same manner the beneficiary of his bullet proof car contested the presidential election three successive times in 2003, 2007, 2011 before he won the fourth time in 2015. Between 2014 and 2015 the path of the then aspirant Muhammadu Buhari and Rabiu Kwankwaso must have crossed more than any other time.
I know politicians hardly give “gifts” for free. Even the modern-day supposedly benevolent Father Christmas from Rome often charges high gate fee to be accessed in his venue now before his gifts of plastic Cups & Spoons are given to the innocent fun-seeking kids. So Rabiu Kwankwaso knew why Buhari deserved such humongous gift of bullet proof car costing multiple millions of naira, which ironically later saved his life in that 2014 attack. Recalling the sordid experience in his “Essential Buhari” - a documentary, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari said: “I think Kwankwaso was being generous. He gave me an armored Land Rover vehicle. He said I should use it because he believed the competition I was going on involved people who would like to eliminate me. I was going to Kano from Kaduna in that jeep and a vehicle wanted to overtake us, but my escort stopped them and they detonated the bomb. When I looked, I saw pieces of human beings; none of us in the vehicle were injured. But somehow I saw blood on me because of the number of people killed outside by the bomb.” You see. Kwankwaso is not only a politician. He is also a prophet - a powerful seer of Nostradamus mold with capacity to see visions, foretell the future and know who could eliminate who.
Were Kwankwaso not a politician, I would have classified him also as a philanthropist. Thus, my postulation eminently suggests that you need to show me a virgin in the maternity ward, before I could show you a politician who is a true philanthropist. Yes. It is so. This is because virtually every politician’s act of philanthropy hinges on “quid pro quo” principle. Politicians show kindness in expectation of what they would get in return in the future. Unless a politician has a hunch you could rub his itching back in the future, his philanthropic acts are jealously kept in his babanriga pocket. I don’t know what Kwankwaso might need from Buhari, but it cannot be controverted that he was kind to our President Muhammadu Buhari who is at a vantage position to also rub his back in return of his act of giving. Buhari’s religious tenet must have also influenced his action of being so appreciative. The Holy Quran preaches gratitude. The Holy Bible does same. Jesus after healing the sick and the infirmed was also confronted by the incessant pleas of ten lepers who wanted to be healed. The book of Luke 17:14-17 reported: “ . . . Then as they were going off, their cleansing occurred. One of them when he was healed turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice and he fell upon his face at Jesus’ feet thanking him; furthermore he was a Samaritan.” Jesus must have been surprised with the aftermath of the healing. The book of Luke went on in verse 17: “In reply Jesus said: The ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Ten were healed. But only one came back to show appreciation.” The scenario shows that even back then, we had been living in the world of ungrateful men who found it difficult to say the two common simple words: “Thank You”. But Buhari’s show of gratitude to Kwankwaso is deserving of praise.
But here lies President Buhari’s “faux pas” and the antithesis. The President, with all the paraphernalia of office and constitutional empowerment could not replicate “Kwankwaso-like” generosity by extending similar kindness to the Nigerians who elected him. Buhari had his bullet proof car as a fortress, but the people over whom he presides have no safe abode and are so prone to avoidable deaths, injurious attacks and decapitation since he became the president in 2015. At common law, when a registered company commits an illegality, the veil is immediately removed to reveal the identities of the directors to face prosecution. Buhari’s government has consistently claimed to know those sponsoring terrorism and banditry; and unleashing sorrow, tears and blood, otherwise called “STB” like the music maestro Fela Anikulapo-Kuti would say. But even with few days to leave the saddle of power by May 29, 2023, President Buhari is yet to reveal any of the deadly goons. His time remains an era where cattle have greater honour than man, and thus Cattle are rearing Man with unbridled arrogance. They have unrestrained access to everywhere, including our hitherto sacrosanct and sacred space including the airport tarmacs.
President Buhari doesn’t forget Kwankwaso’s benevolence and the gift of a bullet proof car for his safety. But the people had thought he would also remember their afflictions and replicate same gesture by giving them their own “bullet proof car” by way of good security provision to safeguard them from the claws of the bandits, kidnappers and terrorists. For a man who lost the presidential elections three successive times and wept soberly each time he lost, one would have thought he was zealous to serve and had already drawn out a blueprint to govern Nigeria and bring it out of the doldrums. The President was anxious to become Nigeria’s President since 2013. But having been on the saddle and seen the monstrous pressure of administering a nation of Nigeria’s status, his expressions lately suggest that he is overly anxious to take exit and could even do so before due date, if it were possible. Initially he was anxious to rule. But now he is anxious to leave. While hosting some chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in his Daura home in Katsina State on July 11, 2022 President Buhari confessed to having been fagged out. Apparently having a nostalgic longing for the fresh air of freedom, Buhari said: “By this time next year, I will have made the most out of the two terms, and in the remaining months I will do my best . . . I wish the person who is coming after me the very best. I am eager to go. I can tell you it has been tough.” As innocuous as his statement might appear, this should serve as a lesson to aspirants who are fighting tooth and nail to win at all costs that governing a nation of Nigeria status is neither a tea party nor buffet dinner.
Buhari says he has done his best for the country where the spate of insecurity has sent many helpless and hapless citizens into the graveyards, while asphyxiating poverty and unemployment scourge have suffocated the living turning “homo-mortus”, while many are committing suicide. The erstwhile President Olusegun Obasanjo has described the past years as “hell on earth”; while the General Overseer of The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye said that it was God who made Nigeria survive 2022. Each successive year since Buhari came into power has been with heightened tension. On December 25, 2022, in his Christmas message to the congregation the ever-blunt Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Matthew Kukah said that Buhari had broken his promises and had left Nigerians more vulnerable. According to Kukah: “. . . nepotism has eaten deep into the country as a result of entrusting power into the hands of mediocres who operate as a cult and see power purely as an extension of the family heirloom.” Hunger and squalor pervades the entire land. Danger looms large everyday as no citizen feels safe anywhere. Kukah continues: “It is sad that despite your lofty promises, you are leaving us far more vulnerable than when you came; that the corruption we thought would be fought has become a leviathan and sadly, a consequence of a government marked by nepotism.”
No one wants to die. It is painful to die an avoidable death as the President himself had shown repeatedly. President Muhammadu Buhari loves life as he has no confidence in his country’s hospitals but would rather visit UK Hospital at short intervals for treatment, while shunning the decrepit Nigerian health care system under his watch. He moves about in his bullet proof car in a country where even the working class citizens can barely afford the prohibitive galloping prices of petrol to fuel their rickety cars due to bad roads; neither can most of Nigerians afford to buy cooking gas and kerosene due to their scandalously high prices.
Father Kukah in his usual candid counsel again gives his homily with candour: “We need new mechanisms for saying no to the violence of governance . . . We need to rally together to destroy those who have institutionalized a caste system in our societies because every life matters.” Kukah added: “The deliberate culture of pauperization and destitution of our people continues. So we need a change of strategy so that we can turn a new page. We need a new strategy to confront those who sit on the throne of power in arrogance and are determined to reduce our country to a jungle.”
As the electioneering campaign heightens, Buhari’s ruling party, the APC regales in the excitement of having the President mount the soap box to campaign for his party across the suffocating nation he had ruled for about eight successive years now. But an ambassador reflects the image of a country he represents in foreign lands. Indeed, business companies, organizations, etc, often latch and leverage on the intimidating images and enviable track records of music stars, sports personalities, models, etc, whom they appoint as their ambassadors to shore up the organizations’ profile and become more popular to have bumper sales of their products or services. This is because no one celebrates or is attracted to failure which has no friend. But everyone claims consanguinity with success. A person’s live image or effigy evokes either a memory of grand success or crass failure. Consequently, whoever has advised that President Buhari should mount the rostrum to campaign across the country for his APC ahead of the 2023 elections has committed a “faux pas” - (Quod Erat Demonstrandum)
However, perhaps Nigeria needs more of Kukah’s candid counsels often given with sincerity and candour. After all, the book of Ecclesiastes 7:5 advises us all: “It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.” Verbum Satis Sapienti. …………………………………………………………….. *Tunji Ajayi, a creative writer, author and documentary producer writes from Lagos, Nigeria. (+2348162124412; +2348033203115) 1. Please Like, Comment, Share, and Subscribe to Henrisol Entertainments Ltd. on YouTube Channel https://youtu.be/-XaKx3HyBb0. 2. Visit: https://web.facebook.com/tunji.ajayi.946 for updates on Henrisol Entertainments/LOTO Projects. 3. Buy this new Book via Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/KING-SUNNY-ADE.../dp/B09FSCJX78