What’s Really the Fuss About Aisha Alhassan’s Statement?, By Sikiru Akinola
Is that we believe if Asiwaju Bola Tinubu decides to run against Buhari, Nigeria’s information minister, Lai Mohammed will support the latter? Or that the spokesperson of the ruling APC, Bolaji Abdullahi, will support Buhari against Saraki? Who does not know that this government came in through the coalition of many forces?
We have offended the gods. If not, we would not be tackling tissues instead of issues. Rather than look for solutions to the myriad of problems we are faced with as a country, we like politicising everything, just to curry favour and get those whose faces they don’t like out of government.
With high hopes, we all supported and voted President Muhammadu Buhari into power in 2015. Most people did so because of his past records and not because he contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). A few months into his government, people like me started seeing signs of a bleak future; our ‘best man’ seemed to be unable to perform any magic. And instead of alleviating our many problems, the president’s men are always trying to scheme each other out, thereby exercebating our problems.
I was shocked the day Buhari announced his men. Apart from the fact that some of them are deficient in many ways, the age of the ideas of the nominees was something to write home about. This is despite the many months it took our president to select the ‘best 11′. The worst of it, critical ministries were trusted in the hands of people without experience. And here we are in 2017, a couple of months into the election year, with no tangible achievements.
I had to summarise the Buhari administration in the foregoing three paragraph before delving into the latest issue; the statement credited to Aisha Alhassan about her loyalty to former vice president, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku. More than any important issue, it has enjoyed wide media hype, as the president’s men, trying to outsmart each other, escalated the declaration of fealty to the wider public. But then the sincerity that has been missing in this present administration came to the fore with this; Mama Taraba, as Alhassan, is called, dared them. She was quoted to have said that she would support former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, even if Buhari contests in 2019.
Explaining that she does not mind losing her job for supporting the Waziri Adamawa, she was quoted in BBC Hausa service as saying: “Atiku is my godfather even before I joined politics. And again, Baba Buhari did not tell us that he is going to run in 2019.”
The issue of labelling one aspirant as corrupt or otherwise should not be the theme of the 2019 campaign but what he or she has to offer, to take us out of the mess we have found ourselves. Nigeria and Nigerians need urgent redemption and the time to start begins now. Making much noise about Alhassan’s statement will neither lead us out of our current situation nor put food on our table.
She went further to say: “Let me tell you today that if Baba said he is going to contest in 2019, I swear to Allah, I will go before him and kneel and tell him that ‘Baba I am grateful for the opportunity you gave me to serve your government as a minister but Baba just like you know I will support only Atiku because he is my godfather. If Atiku says he is going to contest.
“If because of what I said, I am sacked, it will not bother me because I believe in Allah, that my time has elapsed that is why… Baba is not a mad man like those calling for my sack. They have been sending it and spreading that if Baba sees this I will be sacked.” she concluded. But what is wrong with the statement above? Some of us knew that Alhassan, just like many other political appointees, we’re ‘donations’ made by contributors to the emergence of Buhari. Should they because of their current positions deny their benefactors or godfathers?
For me, the above declaration of Alhassan depicts rare courage, especially when such is coming from a woman. I just don’t know why we like saying the opposite of what we mean in Nigeria. I don’t know why we like following the crowd as if we would be crucified for holding opposing views. We should rather commend the woman for speaking the truth. Nigeria, I hail thee. So, because she has let the bag out of the cat, you want to ‘stone’ her? Well, those of you who do not have godfathers should be pardoned. Is that we believe if Asiwaju Bola Tinubu decides to run against Buhari, Nigeria’s information minister, Lai Mohammed will support the latter? Or that the spokesperson of the ruling APC, Bolaji Abdullahi, will support Buhari against Saraki? Who does not know that this government came in through the coalition of many forces? If I were Buhari, I would invite her and commend her for that rare audacity. I will purge myself of the ‘yes-men’ who are always nodding in agreement to whatever I say, just to save their jobs.
Although it is unfortunate that since Buhari got to power, he has been ‘coming and going’ for medicals outside the country, for an ailment we don’t know about. And, whether he is jetting out for medicals again, we are not really sure. Also, howlong this will continue, we don’t seem to know. But in case the remaining few years he has in this first term are used like this, can we not consider another option? Buhari appears tired and we cannot continue like this. The issue of labelling one aspirant as corrupt or otherwise should not be the theme of the 2019 campaign but what he or she has to offer, to take us out of the mess we have found ourselves. Nigeria and Nigerians need urgent redemption and the time to start begins now. Making much noise about Alhassan’s statement will neither lead us out of our current situation nor put food on our table.
Sikiru Akinola can be reached via email@example.com.