(Notebook of an Independent Campaigner)
Let me confess how the mind of this Class ‘A’ Buharist (you know me nah!) worked in those days. Like when the CHANGE mantra first hit the road in the good days of 2014/15 Presidential campaign.
For a non-partisan, self-appointed campaigner, the word “CHANGE” presented as a super mantra that not only held good meaning, it was fit for purpose. An eye witness to how one of the candidates distributed money to Yoruba Obas (he insisted USDollars were used) told me how it all happened and because I believed his account, I said to myself ‘Chai, General Buhari would win this election o. These guys are truly in a quandary now. It is time for Nigerians to strike’. I then started imagining myself as President Muhammadu Buhari and what I would do to implement CHANGE.
Within a few hours I had listed 15 items on the imaginary Agenda. I stopped jotting when it started sounding like a coup-planner’s script which the likes of Major Wale Ademoyega (you remember?) wrote as their accounts of 1966 coup planning.
Take only 7:
I would kick off with floating the idea of a first budget that would assume zero oil revenue while whatever came from oil would be a jolly addition to running the economy, to be shared as the Constitution specifies. I would move strategy to Knowledge-Economy and the first Committee to be appointed and to work out the CHANGE from oil to knowledge economy would be the only that might not respect the national character clause in its assemblage. My argument? Its Technology, not politics. I would shock the Afenifere people by taking on the 2014 Edition of the National Conference Report and insist that technocrats drew an Implementation Schedule which must be ready and published within six months of assuming office. Various Committees among which would re-sharpen anti-graft laws and draw Codes of Conduct for Members of Boards of Commissions and Parastatals would submit their reports in six months, and thereafter the Boards would be appointed one after another in a manner we would get done with all of them before the first anniversary.
Committees working in parallel would engage all classes of standing regional, ethnic, resource, and all shades of restive agitators to take a record of and hold genuine discussion on their grievances and I would surprise them with my genuineness in formally responding to their complaints and my resolve to do battle with those who continued to be recalcitrant after due dialogue.
I would not hide my special attention to two Federal Commissions, namely: Electricity Regulation and Communications Regulation; as their Chairmen would relate with me on first name basis if they cared. They would already have received a mission-dossier on day-1 and I would be available 24/7 to intervene in any manner they desired.
I would not travel overseas for treatment no matter what ailment I suffered while the assignment lasted. If things got so bad, I would have to be forced to agree to importing experts to treat me provided they would do it within a Nigerian hospital and under a Nigerian as Medical Team Leader.
I would, oh naturally!, chase after looters like never before and give them a run for all their money. I would aim not only at recovering recoverable cash loots but also send those with very bad cases to jail provided those who are implementing the agenda exhibit justice and fairness in the ordinary and technical meanings of the words. I would, predictably against the advice of those who surround me, many of who I expected would be ex-looters themselves, publish names against whatever we recovered. I would be ready to face any consequences of the action so long as the Advisers did not successfully stop me with any silly technical arguments.
Chances would be that by the time I completed 3 years, it would have suited somebody to successfully put a bullet through my head hopefully not before completing many of my planned reforms. At 76, I would be ready to bite the bullet if that was what it would take to end the assignment.
And if somehow I made it to 77 and end of the tenure, I would not offer myself for another term. I would remain in Abuja for another 12 months preferably in a government guest house so I could face the consequences of my actions before either returning to my village at 78 or spending time in any prison they might choose.
God bless you for saying ‘Thank God you are not PMB’.
Barka Da Sallah.
From the Observatory of
July 6, 2016.