One Indian, Satya Sai Baba, was an unlikely messiah after Jesus Christ. But Lyal Watson, in chapter 19 of his book, “The Romeo Error”, dealing with “Miracles and Realities,” recounts the great works of Sai Baba: Tall and slim with a bushy black afro hair style.
Moved slowly through the crowds that usually gathered around his Ashram, near Bangalore, always dressed in a long red silk, dispensing health and wealth indiscriminately.
He turned rock into sweets, changed flowers into jewels, produced showers of sacred ash from the air in quantities sufficient to fill huge drums, and he healed by the touch and a distance.
Close observers say no sleight of hand or deception was involved in his healings.
Hundreds of thousands of Indians who had seen Sai Baba believed that he was the earthly incarnation of a deity. During PMB’s campaign, the phrase “Sai Baba” was prominent, only second to “change.”
Was it perhaps borrowed from this Indian miracle worker? Did Nigerians not expect PMB to be one?
Didn’t I humbly warn PMB in my earlier writes up last year that he was not just expected to be a mere miracle worker, but that Nigerians expected him to don the twin togas of both the miracle worker in Pastor Chris Oyakhilomen and the magician in Professor Peller, simultaneously?
To thousands of ordinary Nigerians, PMB was the Sai Baba of our time and clime, sent from heaven, to redeem his people and wipe away their tears. He was perceived to be the only present day Nigerian leader concerned with the plight of poor Nigerians, which constituted the vast majority of his supporters.
Not a few Nigerians regarded him as the new “Lamb of God” that taketh away all the sins and travails of Nigerians. I am afraid, that perception about the President is fast dwindling. And there are serious consequences attached to that ugly perception.
This piece is not intended to x-ray the myriads of undoubted challenges faced by this administration, for this is common knowledge to all and sundry.
But poor Nigerians have known no joy or peace since this PMB administration came into office. It has been grinding and whining, crying and gnashing of teeth; buckets of tears in the eyes of the already marginalized and repressed Nigerians, living in palpable desperation and abject penury.
Even the middle class is not left in this state of anomie; it has literally been wiped out. PMB himself acknowledged this state of confusion when a fortnight ago, in the course of passing the 2016 budget, retorted, ”…I know your pains , I see your tears, I hear your cries.…”
The intent of this piece, is to foreshadow the grave consequences that accompany such state of desperation of a total helplessness and hopelessness, on the part of ordinary Nigerians.
The story of Nero (AD37-68), 5th emperor of Rome and the last of the Julio-Claudian line, is quite instructive and helpful under the present context: In July 64, two-thirds of Rome burned while Nero was at Antium.
In ancient times, he was charged with being the incendiary, but most modern scholars doubt the truth of that accusation. According to some accounts (now considered spurious), he laid the blame on the Christians—few at that time—and persecuted them. Thus, the saying, “It isn’t evil that is ruining the earth, but mediocrity.
The crime is not that Nero played while Rome burned, but that he played badly.” Simply put, Nero allowed Rome destroyed because of mediocrity and lack of proper attention.
Before the French revolution, King Louis XVI was their leader, a good but weak king. Economic recession in the 1770s during Louis XVI’s reign, may have frustrated some bourgeois in their rise to power and wealth, and rising bread prices just before the Revolution gravely increased discontent among workers and peasants.
Yet, it is now commonly believed that the revolutionary process started with a crisis in the French state.
The rest is now history. Louis, was however, unlike his predecessor, Louis XIV (1685-1715), who once imperiously declared, “L’etat cest moi”, (I am the state). His undoubted absolutism as a monarch from the house of Bourbon made him clash with papacy and the Huguenots, with ricocheting repercussions.
As Irish writer and statesman, Edmund Burke, counseled: “I am not one of those who think that as a monarch from the people are never in the wrong.
They have been so, frequently and outrageously, both in other countries and in this.
But I do say, that in all disputes between them and their rulers, the presumption is at least upon a par in favour of the people. The voice of the people is the voice of God.” If the leadership of PMB administration cannot be kept in honour, it is no longer leadership; it becomes autocracy or dictatorship. Autocracy or dictatorship the world over, festers discontent and anarchy.
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882 – 1945), once echoed this notion, when he theorized: “Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.” To a leader, no circumstance, however, trifling, is too minute.
Each counts. The PMB administration is fast unwittingly becoming an enemy of the people. It is fast becoming “they” (those in power) versus “us” (those in the vast majority who are not in government).
Every critic of the government (no matter how objective and genuine the criticism is), is termed an enemy of the PMB government. Such a critic is immediately stigmatized and tarred with the paint brush of being part and parcel of odious corruption. Indeed, the pet phrase of government and its agencies for this is that “corruption is fighting back”.
PMB and his APC members (90% of who, for the records, are actually the reverse side of the PDP coin), cannot be the only clean Nigerians. A president reflects his country.
So, PMB cannot hope to cut the image of an incorruptibly varnished and lacquered Nigerian in the eyes of the international community, whilst labeling his country men and women that he leads, as corrupt and villainous. It will be tantamount to the paradox of the “chichidodo” bird in Ayi Kwei Armah’s epic novel, ”The beautiful ones are not yet born.”
The bird hates human excreta with all its soul, but feeds on maggots that wriggle out of decaying faeces. It is akin to hating beans, but relishing on its by products, akara and moin-moin.
The assessment of British Prime Minister, David Cameron of Nigeria as “fantastically corrupt”, is only but a reflection of the actual mindset of the western world. It was not a Freudian slip. Good Leaders must have that sense of trusteeship, that they are only temporarily in charge of the destinies of their people and that their duty is to discharge that trust.
Section 14 of the 1999 Constitution says that security and welfare of the people is the primary purpose of government. The centrifugal signs are too ominous.
The judiciary now feels disparaged by PMB. Lawyers, especially SANS, are being humiliated wantonly and brazenly; the National Assembly is demeaned; business men are frustrated out of their businesses.
The international community with the “fantastically corrupt nation” appellation, has wittingly expressed utmost derision with the vindictive modus operandi employed by this administration in its anti corruption fight.
Now, the mother of all: the generality of poor Nigerians are livid and morbid, gathering steam for the worse, brimming with hatred and indignation, after the just introduced increase in PMS.
Yes, the die is cast. The chicken has come home to roost If PMB is merely content in becoming a narcissistic prima donna, working in Robinson Cousoe’s Treasure Island, it will lead this administration into self-implosion.
Nigerians do not want their nation to experience a ruin, similar to Rome, under Nero as a consequence of his indolence; nor do our people want our children’s blood reddened on our streets, as was the case during the French revolution under King Louis XVI. Nigerians want “something” to change for the better. They urgently desire change to change.
During President Buhari’s inauguration speech, he had impressed many when he quoted the great William Shakespeare: “There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.” He was greatly applauded. I was one of them. Sadly, under the watch of PMB, Nigerians are now “bound in shallows and in miseries”, and in “such full sea are we now afloat”. Unless something drastic is done and done very quickly too, we are about to “lose our (common) ventures” as a nation.
Like Antoine de Lèvre said,: ‘If you are not willing to be a comformist, if you have a soul to save, renounce the empire.” The question on the lips of Nigerians is, who will save the saved? Who will change the change?