By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde
Finally, after reading so many comments, I have watched the budget presentation video.
Gaskiya some of the interruptions were very rude. I did not expect it and clearly my mentor was taken aback too. His expression of anger was justified, though he beautifully suppressed it and continued with his speech.
The opposition may be right in many things they shouted but the manner they said them, gaskiya, was crude. The President, for example, was innocently listing projects whose contracts were awarded but he would not have cited them as achievements, in my humble opinion, had he known their actual state of execution.
The 150 km Bauchi-Gombe road, which I have been using for 44 years now and my vehicle plies every ten days, is an example. Its rehabilitation was awarded in 2016. When I used it two months ago, only about 7 km was resurfaced, that little too was just outside Alkaleri towards Gombe, a portion that has been a smooth ride for decades, leaving the 60 km where urgent rehabilitation is needed between Alkaleri and Bauchi. I have the pictures in case anyone would deny it.
This inefficiency is today taking place under a person who once presided over the PTF that in a night in 1996 got Julius Berger to re-surface 32 km along Abuja – Lokoja highway. Yes. 32 km, overnight! Please confirm it from Engr. Nura Khalil. Today, his government could not achieve more than resurfacing 7 km in two and a half years, that too only came after protests from Bauchi. What else can better depict the incompetence of his government? Let us be honest.
There are many projects awarded since 2016 which have not taken off to date. This is not GMB my mentor. This is PMB, an erstwhile effective person that allowed his government to be sabotaged by provincial ministers like Fashola and Adeosun, who are interested only in developing their region at the expense of others. He is PMB who allowed unprecedented nepotism to eat deep into his flesh of integrity. He is PMB who abandoned his life-long principles for cheap political gains, whose party is impatiently threatening to beat the record of PDP in corruption and deceit in just four, instead of sixteen years.
I write these lines with a deep feeling of delusion and my eyes swelling with tears. Though I foresaw this tragic transformation since 2010 and dared to write about it then, I never thought it will hit me so hard psychologically. A figure that until then I literally idolized since 1975 for his integrity is today condoning the corruption taking place right under his nose and in far away places like Kano, cases proven by victims and journalists beyond the reasonable doubt of anyone with an iota of sincererity and goodwill for this country, allegations his conscience must have told him are true, cases that his EFCC has shamefully failed to take any action on, cases that are daily destroying every bit of his image as Mr. Integrity.
Yes. He is not the GMB that I knew to be very courteous and urbane when dealing with personalities. He is now the PMB that will openly call, for example, the name of Kwankwaso in a public speech before an audience overseas and say he used local government money to finance his presidential ambition, forgetting that he was a beneficiary of that theft having received from it the bullet-proof jeep that God used to save his life in 2014 and another as immediate replacement, not to mention Kwankwaso’s contribution to PMB’s presidential campaign. Such statements would not have come from GMB but only from the powerful PMB who has replaced integrity with power.
Some of those calling him a liar on the floor of the National Assembly were his APC co-travellers who contributed to his electoral success in 2015 and remained ‘saints’ until they abandoned the party few months ago. So they know PMB and what is going on in his government by the dual virtues of political association and office. They have, as does the nation, witnessed the self-inflicted demystification of the President and are no longer willing to continue singing his ‘integrity’ song. They did not receive him with the reverence they accorded him when he first appeared before them in 2015, more especially seeing that he flooded their chamber with supporters chanting “Sai Baba”, as if he was there for a campaign rally. They decided to toe the line of lawlessness which was set by the President himself.
Solution, Be Like Shagari
This episode emphasizes the need for PMB and his supporters to moderate their language and approach to politics generally. The APC has today, with its poor performance and record of corruption, emboldened the PDP that it devastated in 2015 with abusive language, claims and promises. As a ruling party today, this aresenal is depleted. It is now a case of the kettle calling the pot black. PDP today, as an opposition, has every right to fight back using the same weapons. In ba kira, me ya ci gawayi?
Yet, it will be better if both sides show decorum in the way they treat each other. The President, as the leader and pacesetter, should abandon the huggish, belligerent, street, propagandist, accusatorial, protestant language of the opposition and start to address the PDP and its members with respect. Otherwise, they will continue to borrow from the street language of those I watched in a Kano rally video, drumming, dancing and singing, “Buhari mai barawo”, apparently referring to his continuous consort with Ganduje. The only difference is while this was at a rally in Kano, the legislators are singing theirs on the floor of the National Assembly. The President, who stands to be damaged most, can stop it, however, not by force but by learning to respect his opponents, now that they stand on the same pedestal. It is a game of give and take. He cannot continue to take, take and take respect forever without giving it. Wal ba ni, wal ba ka… He should borrow a leaf from President Shehu Shagari.
The rich Hausa language has, in just one sentence, a beautiful way of expressing what led to the booing of the President last Tuesday at the National Assembly. It was a case of how time conquers everything:
Yau da gobe mai sa a mari amarya.
Surely, it has conquered my GMB. Nobody, nobody could have booed him. He stood tall above most of his peers. Wallahi, they can only boo PMB.