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A Good Idea

There is a 1996 Hollywood movie that stared Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas. The Ghost and the Darkness. Kilmer was an engineer behind schedule on a rail track project in eighteenth century Kenya. Two notorious lions were terrorizing his workforce and impeding work, so he hired a renowned hunter, Michael Douglas, to kill the man eaters. It was torrid. At one time, there was a plan Kilmer hatched, which Douglas praised. He lets Kilmer know he had seen a superior of his use it before.

“Did it work?” Kilmer had asked.

“In actual fact it didn’t!” replied Douglas. “But it still was a good idea!”

Ours, too, was a good idea.


We knew that Jonathan’s good intentions, even if profuse, would all come to naught on account of his gutlessness. The unapologetic and brazen upturning of public-oriented projects by the elites to serve their selfish interests was unbecoming and it needed to be squarely addressed. Baba stood a chance therefore.

From another angle, I, for instance, have peers that are more successful than I. Should I become president by a stroke of fate, I might be deluded to see it as a personal feat or achievement that surpasses all my peers’. But becoming president is not a personal achievement. If you become president, the best you can hope for is that for the next four or eight years, you could be granted a reprieve from the haunting thoughts of your career failures… You have bigger fish to fry! But your life returns to you once you’re done. Your bad memories too. If you were a good president, it may help lessen your load, and you adjust your estimation of yourself a bit; but the state job is no varnish to wipe away all your prior mistakes.


Against the background of the foregoing tendencies, we elected a man who, above all, ought to play father to all. A man of a gone generation who wouldn’t be drawn to the triviality of raising shoulders and comparing achievements with his peers. A man who has seen it all: the risks of intolerance and the tragedy of war. A man who would view the punts and tantrums of different affected groups with the wise and understanding eyes of a father (not the loathsome eyes of vendetta), so that it informs his positive actions, or his resilient inaction. A man who could engineer to calm the shouts of the vociferous so as to hear the coy and timid out. A man who might concur with the evil plots of the cabals, but emerges to do the right thing, calling their bluff. A man unafraid of the high and mighty, but a respecter of the Rule of Law. We had his antecedents to fear, but for these potential qualities, we staked all our chips.

It was a good idea.


As fate, perhaps, draws the curtain on Buhari’s time, there are these ebbing potentials to rue. Though we have been harassed by the economic aftermaths of his rule, we should double check to ascertain if our goal in 2015 was to vote in a man of letters. It is not on an economic front that the bulk of our hopes were dashed, but on a socio-moral one: The constantly capitulating fight against corruption; the secret family recruitments into choice government parastatals and agencies; the clear cases of nepotism; the complete absence of a suit for peace and unity across the land; the manhandling of opposition elements; the sheer lack of solidarity that trips to states would have engendered… there goes the man who could have realized the most fundamental illusion of this country. Any younger man or woman can try, but there will exist for them a lot of contemporaries who couldn’t really be kept at arm’s length. The cycle of life suggests that a 73 year old man would have fewer buddies than a 56; if the former disappoints all and sundry by failing to see beyond his nose, what hope will there be in the latter?!


There are those who voice now that they regret pitching tents with him. They need not. It hasn’t worked out as expected, maybe.

But, by God, it was a great idea!