I have read the rumours of the death of President Muhammadu Buhari at an unknown hospital and the reactions that have trailed those rumours with a growing sense of dismay. While the rumours have since been dispelled, it is very disconcerting to watch many Nigerians wish President Buhari ill health & death.
It is a well known fact that I am not a fan of President Buhari or his administration. It is also very well publicised that I do not feel he has the capacity to deliver the socio-economic and political growth and development Nigeria desperately needs.
However, I believe we must draw the line somewhere. And the appropriate place to draw the line must be when we wish death and ill health on our President. I do not believe that such wishes are in keeping with our traditions – regardless of the ethnic groups to which we belong – or in keeping with our faiths – regardless of the gods to whom we pray.
It is not sufficient to say that members of President Buhari’s party resorted to similar antics while they were in the opposition. As true as this may be, those antics were despicable then and laid foundation for the deep seated divisions that pervade Nigeria today. It is my belief that to set Nigeria on the path to healing, we have to deviate from that negative trajectory – even when we disagree.
I have noticed that many people have wished President Buhari ill in the name of playing opposition politics. I believe that this course of action is erroneous. Opposition politics should be about proffering credible alternatives; critiquing government policies and showing Nigerians how we can do better with similar resources; how our plans, policies and projections will improve the quality of life of the average Nigerian citizen from Sokoto to Port Harcourt, Kano to Lagos and Calabar to Maiduguri.
Only then can we convince Nigerians that we deserve much better than this government is giving us at the moment. If we say we are better, we must be better.
I urge Nigerians to remember the ethnic and religious tensions that the death of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua (of blessed memory) threw Nigeria into, tensions that I do not think we have recovered from. As unpleasant as it might be to say this, the sad reality of our geo-political construct is that the death of President Buhari may return Nigeria to those days.
Do not get me wrong. I am very unhappy with President Buhari’s stewardship of Nigeria. I am unhappy that there is a 100% rise in the price of food, drugs and other necessary day to day items. I am unhappy that we have to pay N145 per litre of fuel. I am unhappy that there is an absolute disregard for the rule of law. I am unhappy that our government sends our military out to kill protesters, no matter how misguided their protests may be. I am unhappy that our exchange rate is N499-$1. I am unhappy that we barely generate 2000mw of power. I can go on and on.
All I am saying is that instead of being motivated by our unhappiness to wish President Buhari death, let us put that unhappiness to good use by registering to vote, explaining to as many people as possible how his policies are impoverishing millions of Nigerians and ensuring that we vote him out in 2019.
That is the ideal to which we must aim.
God bless Nigeria.
Deji Adeyanju is the Convener of the Concerned Nigerians Movement, a Civil Advocacy Group aimed at promoting accountability and transparency in government in Nigeria. He tweets from @adeyanjudeji.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.