NOTE: This piece is lengthy but certainly worth the read.
What you are about to read may turn out to be nothing more than a one man’s opinion or, perhaps more certainly, as credible as a sage’s prophecy, only time has the miraculous ability of unfolding. You may have already concluded upon reading the title that this is nothing more than a staunch Buharist putting his overzealous and pessimistic dream into writing, if you belong to the main opposition or many of the opposition parties; or perhaps, for the Buharists, among those familiar with me or follow my writing and criticisms, as an injury time convert from the threatening position of political neutrality and unaffiliated objectivity. I assure you that you will realise that you are mistaking as soon as you are done reading this piece.
I am neither a Buharist nor am I a pessimist, who I am rather is someone, having observed for quite a while, the mindset of the common Nigerians – the majority and the deciders of any election; mingle as well as interact with them on a daily basis, have a very good and authoritative idea on how they think, what they may or may not do, their yearnings, their beliefs, their political ideologies as well as their concepts of heroism and vilification.
Firstly, for the purpose of this writing, I will like to categorise Nigerians generally into two:
I- The New Age Nigerians; and
II- The Old Age Nigerians
The first category encapsulates virtually all those belonging to the political, upper and middle classes, the highly and moderately educated, etc. Put simply, notwithstanding exceptions, those with access to the social media.
The second category, on the other hand, consists mostly of those in the lower class, the poor, the homeless, the jobless, the educated and semi educated, etc. Put it simply, notwithstanding exceptions, those with little or no access to the social media. You may agree with me that the latter category more than the former will almost entirely vote for the continuation of Mr. Buhari for various reasons which are peculiar to their mindsets, social yearnings and ideological preferences which will be unravelled in the course of this writing.
Buhari, a former military Head of State who has been known to be tough, honest and upright has created a niche for himself as the common man’s Messiah for his uncontested detestation for corruption which he has helped the common folks into not only understanding but believing that is the cause of all their misfortunes (which is actually true), having contested for the office of the President and losing thrice capitalizing on the PDP, the then ruling party’s propensity for different forms of corrupt practices and ignoring the condition of the masses to which he ostensibly belonged. Not only that he made it very clear that he won the seat in all the three attempts but was refused by the PDP’s expertise in rigging and electoral manipulation to maintain the status quo and continue looting the country’s resources thereby increasing the poor man’s sufferings. This, over the years, of course with the help of the PDP’s scandalous proofs, painted an image on the psyche of Nigerians with PDP representing corruption and suffering while Buhari and whatever party he belongs to represents eradicating corruption as well as their sufferings.
The average poor Northerner believes every one living in a big house or driving a nice car is a thief and has built that house or purchased that car with money meant for him, where you commonly hear something like ‘ga wani barawo’ (another thief here) and ‘kudin mu ne’ (it is our money). Buhari therefore represent the power he needs to seize these ‘stolen riches’ of his and kick them back to poverty thereby removing the class barrier between them. For this very reason he will vote and support Buhari no matter the consequences. Even when the opposition will stop at nothing to prove the failure of the present administration, he ignores as mere wails of the very villains being fought by his tireless super hero. His belief in Buhari is so deep-rooted that the toughest and craftiest of verbal and logical diggers cannot uproot. He does not mind his condition as long as his ‘thieves’ are dragged down.
The average poor South westerner also shares similar mindset with his counterpart in the North in respect of corruption and the oppression by his previous set of leaders which he believes the PDP represents. The South Easterner may not really view Buhari the same, he, as a matter of fact may see or call him nepotic and ethnocentric. Perhaps stronger than this sentiment of his is the age long held dream of having his kin as the President; Buhari having finished his first tenure has only four years remaining if elected to continue, voting against him therefore will mean bringing in another Northerner who will certainly want to spend eight years which they will have to wait. So the safest deal for him is to vote the old man so ‘him go finish, carry go and make way for my own.’
The new-age Nigerians to which I and, more certainly than not, you, happen to belong are always on social media having more demand from a government are mostly not supporters of the Buhari Administration and criticize the slightest move or act of the President. They are equally important as they keep the government on their toes and hold them accountable with constructive criticisms. All we do is go on social media, air our opinion, vote on online polls and end up over sleeping on the election day just to wake up and log on to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to check out what is going on while our PVCs lie in the comfort of our wallets or wardrobes with the ‘I no go kuku kill myself’ feeling.
Both categories are important to the countries democracy but the latter has more than half of the countries population and will stop at nothing to make sure the cast the only power they have – their vote.
Still wondering how Buhari will win the election?
You know what?
Buhari will win because Mallam Audu, the poor farmer who will go to the polling unit as early as the first crows of his cock backyard while Alh. Maikudi the successful businessman sleeps in the comfort of his bed forgetting where he has left his PVC.
Buhari will win because Madam Dolapo, the fish seller, and diehard Buhari supporter of Buhari, will not mind closing her shop and standing on the long queues just to cast her vote while Dr. Abayomi the academic, who does not support the President decides to stay back at home to finish an article he is writing for publication in an international journal.
Buhari will win because the sugar cane seller, the Akara sellers, the bus conductors, the old beggars, the poor farmers, etc. Will come out enmass and vote while the Faceboovists, the Twitter influencers, the Instagram Slay Queens and Kings, the Snapchat celebrities, the intellectuals, the students, the rich and high placed and the apathetic Nigerian will not for various reasons peculiar to each of them.
Buhari will win because the real voting happens in the polling units and not on social media. This is with the exclusion of their appeal towards the governmental aid granted to farmers and petty traders.
Personally, I think both Buhari and Atiku belong to the same crop of politicians whom this country is better off without. I believe redemption for Nigeria is an emergence of a better,younger and more enlightened set of leader to pull us out of the abyss we have sadly found ourselves in. But from factual indications that redemption seems farfetched as the common Nigeria still believes in Buhari and no one else for their support for Buhari is more than just a political choice but a belief sunk deep in the quicksand of their psyche.
The biggest battle is won on the mind and not on the field. The polls are less than forty-eight hours away. Buhari has won the former, the latter seem within his grasp but in a country of infinite possibilities certainty is a deadly mirage.
Isiyaku Ahmed Danlawan is a Kaduna based activist and public commentator.