Home Opinion Between President Buhari and Bishop Kukah: The lesson for the rest of us

Between President Buhari and Bishop Kukah: The lesson for the rest of us

by Isiyaku Ahmed
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Ahmed Yahaya – Joe

While according to William Shakespeare in Macbeth, “there is no art to read the mind’s construction in the face” it is perhaps too early in 2023 to already have a picture of the year.

Every picture tells a story. The attached one dated January 11 this year is no different irrespective of the intense furore over Kukah’s 2022 Christmas homily just a few weeks ago.

No doubt, the Bishop has an intrinsic nuisance value as a public intellectual in the way and manner he spoke to power in nearly the last 8 years. While he is entitled to his opinion every nation deserves a conscience because the rough draft of history is often written in the court of public opinion.

The outgoing President Buhari with less than 16 weeks or so to go into office by openly recognizing his old friend as, “my most vigorous fighter” has abandoned those that have always condemned the bishop’s public interventions between a rock and a hard place.

Truth is Kukah has had a long-standing relationship with Mr. President that transcends that of many of the verbose and more acerbic Buhari supporters cannot even boast of. On October 1, 2015, he unequivocally declared, “I have known the man for the better part of twenty years and can even claim some level of friendship and greater familiarity than most of those who met General Buhari after,”

If so, what is the best way to deflect open criticism from the likes of the Sokoto-based cleric?

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) reminds us metaphorically, “A monkey was carrying two handfuls of peas. One little pea dropped out. He tried to pick it up and split twenty. He tried to pick up the twenty and split them all. Then he lost his temper, scattered the peas in all directions, and ran away.”

In the picture is PMB reminiscent of IBB in public anger management as it relates to another habitual commentator, OBJ?

“When General Obasanjo was vying for the post of UN secretary-general, some (IBB) aides were livid with anger over the government’s support for Obasanjo. When this issue came up at the weekly staff meeting, Babangida stood his ground saying that beyond the fact that Obasanjo was a Nigerian citizen who deserved the support of the government, he (Obasanjo) was his former boss and a good friend.

He had the previous week gone to spend a public holiday at the man’s Ota farm, discussing freely national and other issues. He recalled that Obasanjo saved him from the envy of his colleagues who were not quite pleased with his appointment to the Supreme Military Council during the Murtala administration.

Obasanjo had insisted then that Babangida was every inch qualified for the position on account of his outstanding career records. He had not quite forgotten that good turn in spite of Obasanjo’s open attacks on his SAP policy. He said the General was as free as any other Nigerian to criticize his policies as a matter of principle.”

See details on page 39 of Prince of the Niger: The Bababangida Years (1992) by Dr. Chidi Amuta

Interestingly, PMB also has a similarly long history with OBJ who specifically chose him to be his Number Two back in February 1976 after the demise of General Murtala Mohammed. Back then it was General TY Danjuma that overruled preferring Buhari to be mentored as a future army chief instead of holding a political office that was scheduled to terminate in 1979 which made then Lt. Colonel Buhari become the only officer in his generation to attend the US Army War College.

As recently as the documentary film “Essential Muhammadu Buhari” aired on January 1 2023 on TV stations across Nigeria, President Buhari similarly alluded to the envy of his colleagues over the opportunity Obasanjo and Danjuma availed him without mentioning their names. The rest as they say is still living history.

The lesson for the rest of us is as 48 Laws of Power admonishes, “Win through your actions, never through argument. Demonstrate, not explicate,” and since politics is the continuation of politics by other means the same author in 33 Strategies of War adds, “Know how to end things. The height of strategic wisdom is to avoid all conflicts and entanglements from which there are no realistic exits.”

Simply put, all those who have fought, abused, and insulted other Nigerians on behalf of President Buhari would soon be on their own come handover day.

“The truth shall make you free, but first it shall make you miserable.” – Anon. page 253, Vanguard Book of Quotations (VBQ)

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