George Onmonya Daniel
I am an optimist but then I am a realist. Blind optimism that lead to devastating disappointment and when that happens it can also lead to temporary madness. I am the observer and as I watch the drama unfolding in Nigeria, I look at the future judging from the past.
They are a lot of alarmists among Rtd. Major General Muhammadu Buhari’s supporters. Half of his supporters are fanatical in their support for the man they like to call ‘The People’s General.’ Perhaps Buhari deserves it. An uncompromising iron fisted man, Buhari’s image looms larger than the average Nigeria. Most of it dated back to his brief toppling of the Buhari regime and ruling the country briefly before he was toppled by the IBB’s government.
So when Muhammadu Buhari won the APC convention recently to represent his party as the presidential candidate, the whole Buharists were esctatic. The celebration was almost to the level of Buhari winning the presidential election in 2015 in some quarter. I have seen such blind worship and optimism before, it only leads to heartbreak and when heartbreak is not taken well, as it is usually not taken well, the next thing is that you see these supporters go on rampage destroying, looting and killing. I don’t want to take you back to 2011 but I want you to remember 2011. Winning APC primaries does not mean winning the general election. The work has just began and it is just almost two months to election. The Buhari supporters must know they are against an incumbent who would do anything to stay in Aso Rock. They are against an elite who don’t really like Muhammadu Buhari. What Buharists need to do now is to educate people on why Buhari is the man they must vote come next year. Those who scream, “Sai mai Sallah!’, should pretend they don’t care about religion. Those who scream ‘Sai Arewa,’ should pretend they don’t care about region. They should campaign for Buhari on issues.
It is good to see Goodluck Jonathan has congratulated Muhammadu Buhari today. Goodluck Jonathan I notice respect elders, at least that is what I have noticed. As you campaign for your candidate, respect another man’s candidate. Let’s not turn this whole interesting period to boring hate related and tribal and religious matter instead of look at issue. These are interesting times in the media business. At least since 1999 we know that we are watching a serious match, like El-Classico, one of those Real Madrid versus Barcelona matches, and for the first time since 1999, I am not sure if the incumbent will just win this one. Buhari people should however, balance the optimism with reality. Winning party nomination is not winning the general election. We don’t want the mad optimism to turn to violence if Buhari loses because he can lose as Buharists think he can win.