My mother taught me to always be wary of sympathizers who appear to feel more pain than the one wearing the shoes. And it doesn’t matter their gender, age, or social status. Growing up, I have seen it play out on numerous occasions. There was this politician who went to mourn with a community that just experienced a tragedy in the State he governed. He cried. Only to ask his aides on his way back to the capital if he was impressive in the way he cried! It was all crocodile tears.
The Yoruba have a saying that if you really want to know those who love you, just pretend to strike your foot against a stone and see who sympathizes with you. Yes, there is wisdom in that saying. However, the intended outcome may not be realised because many of those ‘sorries’ are from putrid-smell, desperate and wicked hearts.
The events of the past few weeks in our country have confirmed my belief that a good majority of the apparently enlightened critics of governments at all levels are motivated by less than altruistic concerns. A case in point is the hullabaloo about the imagined relegation of the role of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo by the President. To them, the composition of an Economic Advisory Council by Mr President is a direct assault on the Vice President. When you put this side by side with the reaction that greeted the memo requesting the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to explain the drop in revenue collection in the last couple of months, neutral analysts and critics will have no option but to conclude that these perpetual critics certainly have a different objective which is hardly difficult to decipher.
Is it not amusing and contradictory that some of the critics of the Buhari administration that have lampooned him for not having a technocratic economic team will turn round to pollute the composition of same – insinuating that it is targeted at whittling down the powers of the Vice President? Assuming without conceding that the ‘demotion’ of the Vice President is a natural consequence of the President’s decision, how should that worry anyone if what we desire is to have an economy that works for the greatest majority, if not for all? Should the interest of an individual override the general good? Why should we read power play into a routine matter as simple as a memo to a State official requesting for explanations over an issue of concern? Do we really mean it when we mouth the need to build strong institutions as against strong individuals? Must we always cry wolf when there is none? Can you imagine that some busybodies have even introduced ethnic dimension into it?
Thankfully, in the face of all of this we have seen even members of official opposition applaud this long awaited action of the President to avail himself of professional advice from non-partisans especially on the economy. For those who are genuinely concerned for the Vice President, be of good cheer for he has made his mark and he will continue to do so under President Buhari. His constitutional roles as Vice President are guaranteed. His principal’s trust and confidence in his abilities are intact. His future is in God’s hands.
For us Nigerians, we need to realise that at some points in our lives, we will need our country. It doesn’t matter how successful or otherwise we are. We may not like the individuals in government but we should not allow our hatred to extend to our country. As they say in local parlance, ‘soldier go, soldier come but barracks remain’.
24th September 2019