Editor’s Note: The writer of this opinion is Femi Aribisala, a scholar and international-affairs expert. He is currently an iconoclastic church pastor in Lagos. He is also a syndicated essayist for a handful of publications in Nigeria.
In this new opinion, Aribisala uses an imagined question and answer session between himself (FA) and General Muhammad Buhari (GMB), the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, to take a look at some of the country’s most discussed political issues. Read the engaging and intriguing piece below. Enjoy!
FA: Mr. General Sir, how long will it take you as president to bring back our girls?
GMB: We have all this while ensured their safety, so we will bring them back unfailingly in the first week of my administration.
FA: What if the Boko Haram change their mind and refuse to give them back?
GMB: I am a general. I will personally take generators to Sambisa, light up the forest and locate the girls.
FA: How do you propose to do this, Sir?
GMB: Mind your business! It is top secret.
FA: Why did you go for the last Council of State meeting, Sir? For a long time, you have refused to attend.
GMB: I will soon be living in Aso Rock. I wanted to familiarize myself with my new home for the next eight years.
FA: What do you think of the postponement of the elections?
GMB: The election postponement was a military coup by President Jonathan and his agents. Coup-plotters should not be elected as president of democratic Nigeria.
FA: But Mr. General Sir, you yourself were a coup-plotter in 1984. You overthrew a democratic government. Nigerians remember you as the tyrant who terrorized their lives then. Why should we vote for you now?
GMB: It is harsh to judge me by my 1984 record. Everybody knows that a military regime is different from a democratic government. A military regime must act militarily: it cannot act democratically. I told the Catholic bishops when I went to campaign with them: “I am a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.” By the way, that is from 1 Corinthians 6:17 in the bible. Be sure to include that for the benefit of my mushrooming Christian supporters.
FA: Do you now read the bible, Sir?
GMB: Of course! That is democracy. I even attended a Thanksgiving Service in Lagos and pretended to sing some praise songs. I am the apostle of change. Have you not noticed I now wear a suit? That gimmick came from our American image-makers. When we are in power, we shall change everything. All cars in Nigeria will start driving on the left instead of on the right as from May 29, 2015. That should create at least two million new jobs.
FA: But General, Sir; you cannot change the scriptures.
GMB: What do you mean?
FA: The scripture you quoted is from 2 Corinthians 5:17 and not 1 Corinthians 6:17.
GMB: You are a very stupid boy. Just wait. We shall tamper with all of you when we are in power.
FA: Don’t you think you should at least apologise to Nigerians for the wicked things you did in the past?
GMB: You can keep waiting for apology if you want, but a general does not apologise for his actions. Never! I will win this election without any apologies. It is the PDP that needs to apologise to Nigerians for monopolizing power for the last 16 years.
FA: Were you in your right senses when you did those wicked things in the past?
GMB: You are mad! Foolish boy! Barawo! Admit it: you are a card-carrying member of the PDP. Nonsense!
FA: You said before that Moslems should not vote for non-Moslems. Should Christians vote for non-Christians like you in this election?
GMB: Do you know what change means? Get a dictionary and check. Change means change. It means to change. I am the change candidate. That means I have changed the things I was saying before. That’s called electioneering, in case you don’t know. Once we win the election, we will change back.
FA: Nevertheless, the basis on which you are asking Nigerians to vote for you is your anti-corruption stance in 1984. Why has that not changed?
GMB:You small boy. You think you can use this stupid logic to dabaru a whole general with embarrassing questions? You don’t know who you are dealing with. It is only a foolish man who believes everything he hears. There is change and there is change. Some things will change and some things will not. Once I become Head of State, the problem of corruption in Nigeria will change forever.
FA: But Sir, you were Head of State before and your regime did not end corruption in Nigeria.
GMB: The problem of Nigeria is that people don’t have respect for their elders anymore. Look how you are questioning me. Am I your mate? Can’t you see I am a 72-year old man?
FA: Don’t be offended, Sir, this is an interview and we are supposed to ask probing questions.
GMB: You have no home-training. When I am presido, I will not be the father of the nation. I will be the grandfather of Nigeria.
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FA: General Sir, the discussion was on corruption.
GMB: Of course, I know. Do you think I am going senile? As I said in Port Harcourt, I will ensure that there is no room for integrity in Nigeria.
FA: You mean no room for corruption, Sir.
GMB: That is what I said. FA: How will you achieve this, Sir?
GMB: I will arrest all the corrupt people and send them to jail for 300 years.
FA: You might need to build a few more jailhouses then. The prisons are already over-congested.
GMB: Of course, yes. I will create one million jobs by building prisons and then lock all PDP members there.
FA: What about members of your own party, Sir?
GMB: Stupid boy. Don’t get smart with me. There are no corrupt people in APC.
FA: Sorry, Sir.
GMB:Sorry for you. Arrant nonsense! Do you think I just came up with these excellent ideas? I thought about them for a long long time. I will place corruption under arrest in Nigeria and send it to jail.
FA: Well done, Sir.
GMB: That’s more like it.
FA: Are you still in favour of the establishment of sharia throughout the country? Or have you changed in that one as well.
GMB: I am not here to answer stupid questions. I am running an issue-based campaign. Issue-based! This election is about the incompetence of the ruling party. It is about what the PDP has not done and not what the APC will do. In the meantime, our policies are top secret. But we can see that the ones of the PDP are not working.
FA: General Sir, the issue of your school-leaving certificate is still making waves. Why not put the matter to rest by producing your original certificate?
GMB: It is an insult to ask a General to produce a WASC certificate. Any day, any time, a general is equivalent to a Ph.D. I have a Ph.D in coup-plotting, military strategies and Maitasine destruction. My CV is there for all to see and behold.
FA: But Sir, you signed an affidavit that your certificate is with the military.
GMB: Yes, I did. But during the bomb explosions at the Ikeja cantonment, regrettably the certificates were destroyed. In any case, I have asked Cambridge/WASC to send me the original certificate.
FA: When can we see it, Sir?
GMB: It is coming by ship. They have assured me that it will get here unfailingly by May 30th, 2015.
FA: The election would have been over by then, Sir.
GMB: There is nothing I can do about that.
FA: Mr. General, Sir, your vice-president said you will create 720,000 jobs a year if you are elected. How can that be effective when there are 1.8 million new job-seekers every year?
GMB: What Professor Osimbande was saying is that…
FA: Professor who, Sir?
GMB: Professor Osobombay…
FA: Who are you talking about, Sir?
GMB: You stupid boy, if it was in the days of Decree 4, I would have shown you pepper. You know who I am talking about.
FA: Yes Sir; Professor Osinbajo Sir.
GMB: Yes, what Professor Osimbande was saying is that we will start with 720,000. But soon, we will be creating millions and millions of jobs. In fact, under my administration, Nigeria will start exporting jobs. We will create so many jobs; we will export jobs to Ghana, Ivory Coast and the entire West African sub-region.
FA: Very good, Sir. Very wonderful!
GMB: You have seen nothing yet.
FA: What are your plans, Sir, for reviving the economy?
GMB: I have practical plans. Very practical plans!
FA: What are they, Sir?
GMB: Wait and see.
FA: I think, General Sir, Nigerians need to know what they are now.
GMB: I plan to expose the PDP as a very corrupt party.
FA: Very good, Sir, but the question is about your plans and not about the PDP.
GMB: My plans will take into consideration the effects of the bad government of the PDP over the years.
FA: Having taken that into consideration, what then will you do, General Sir?
GMB: I will assemble a team of top professionals up and down the country to study the situation.
FA: What else will you do, Sir?
GMB: I will single-handed increase the international price of oil to 200 dollars. That kind of magic can only take place under the All Progressives Confidence.
FA: What did you say, Sir?
GMB: What do you mean?
FA: Your party, Sir, what did you call it.
GMB: Are you mad? The All Progressives Confidence.
FA: But Sir, that is not the name of your party.
GMB: Stupid boy. What is the name?
FA: Your party is the All Progressives Congress, Sir.
GMB: Of course, I knew that. I just wanted to see whether you know it, that’s all.
FA: What happens, Sir, when you lose the election again?
FA: But Sir, what if you lose?
GMB: Then I will run away in 2019.
FA:You mean you will run again, Sir.
GMB: That’s what I said.
FA: At what age will you stop running, Sir?
GMB: Maybe at 102 years!
FA: Finally Sir, how are the dogs and the baboons doing?
GMB: The dogs and the baboons are doing very well for now. But if there is any hankypanky on March 28, I assure you they will all be soaked in blood.