By Hassan Gimba
“When there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do you no harm.”
– Ancient proverb.
“The Ides of March”, made popular by William Shakespeare in his book, Julius Caesar, is the 74th day in the Roman calendar, corresponding to 15th March. Marked by several religious observances, it was notable for the Romans as a deadline for settling debts.
The Ides of March is best known to us as the date Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC after a seer had warned him to “beware the Ides of March”. In a story of betrayals, about 60 conspirators led by Brutus and Cassius stabbed Caesar to death at a meeting of the Senate. The pain and knowledge of imminent death did not stop Caesar from exclaiming, in shock, disbelief and sadness, “Et Tu Brutes?”, meaning “And you, too, Brutus?” If anyone would betray him, surely not Brutus, he believed.
The story of what is happening currently in the All Progressives Congress (APC) is akin to the story of Julius Caesar in many respects, especially the betrayal of trust. This is a story for another day.
Again, the internal wrangling can also be likened to the case of a man who gave someone an assignment to go to the pond and get him water in an earthen pot. When the messenger was about to enter the house after the long and tortuous trek from the pond, the sender started wrestling with him, claiming he was slow. Just imagine the fate of the pot and water!
When the APC was in tatters some 19 months ago and its death knell was sounding ominously, affecting governance at the centre, it was to Honourable Mai Mala Buni, the Yobe State governor, that the party turned to. He was able to save it from the jaws of death, resuscitate it from its self-inflicted wounds and nurse it back to life. As a result, he swelled the ranks of the party by bringing in three more governors to its fold and more members of the legislature, making the party have a comfortable majority in both the Red and Green Chambers, stabilising the government.
Yet, this is the man that ambitious and desperate politicians drew their daggers and long swords at! Because of interests and egos, some people will prefer that all these gains are lost. And worst of all, they chose a time when he was at a most vulnerable period – when he was on a sick bed. One of such people once told the world that all those he fought with died or were disgraced in life; such people can switch off the life support of a sick man.
But beyond all these, such inordinate behaviour by political actors is the bane of our political parties and cause of poor governance. The Pull him Down syndrome being exhibited by some of our politicians has made them sabotage others instead of allowing them to contribute to the development of society.
Some among them just hate to see others succeeding and so must pull such people down. Others have a psyche of entitlement, believing God created the world for them due to where they come from. They look at family background or even where one comes from and conclude that all those not sharing similar pedigree or coming from the same area are serfs. Others think they have super intellect and that everyone else is an intellectual Lilliput, and so they turn themselves into the president’s mouthpiece, thinking they will befuddle all.
But God, in His infinite Wisdom, gives whatever to whoever He wants, irrespective of wherever that person comes from. Today He has deemed it fit to make Buni whatever he is. And despite his elevation by God, he has remained level-headed, giving credence to what the ancient Chinese philosopher, writer and founder of philosophical Taoism, Lao Tzu, said: “I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”
Those who want Buni removed, through an illegal process, may not mean well for the party. Though they bandy about the president’s name, reasonable people will doubt them. Even though it is said that they met the president and “showed him pieces of evidence”, it will be difficult to accept that President Muhammadu Buhari will put one to the guillotine without giving him the opportunity for self-defence. Surely Mr President is aware of Article 21 D (vi) of the APC Constitution, which stipulates that an officer or officers of the party must be given the right to a fair hearing before any organ of the party can remove them.’
Politics is politics, and politics, especially the one being practised here, is dominated by unprincipled people who see nobility in their acts of betrayal. But betrayal may be so devastating, especially if it is by people you trust, people you root for, those who you think will always have your back. The only solace is that everything happens for good, as long as the victim has a good heart. God will sieve the chaff from the grain and remove from him those that may, in reality, seek for his life given the opportunity. But no betrayer has ever escaped the avenging spirit of karma. Eventually, but surely, karma makes them feel the pain of betrayal. Yet, some people never give up in their bid to sabotage others because they want it to always be that no one else is good enough if not them.
Coming back to the practitioners of illegality, they ought to know that just as Caesar’s death triggered a civil war in the Roman Republic leading to the execution of 300 senators and equites by Octavian to avenge Caesar’s death, so will any illegal removal of Buni cause a “civil war” within the APC that will be the final nail on its coffin.
But the death of the APC, or that of any political party in power, would not augur well for any country. The upheaval, chaos and disruption to the system such would cause may lead to a nation’s dismemberment. But maybe the interests of the plotters outweigh those of the country on their scales of preference.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop.” Those who know Buni know him as a gentleman who won’t use illegality to fight illegality. He is a man who hates rancour and does his best to avoid it. However, being a politician’s politician who has been in the business of politics longer than most of his ignoble traducers, he must have a lot of admirers and supporters across the country who will not mind deploying all the arsenal at their disposal to fight for him. He will not wish for so, but then, he may not be able to control them.
And do not forget that it is such an interest-laden crisis that caused the Peoples Democratic Party to lose power and shape that it is still finding it difficult to steady its ship.
With just a year to elections, the APC can ill afford to fall prey to the desperate ambitions of selfish politicians who see their presidential or vice-presidential hopes fading away in the face of the positive paradigm shift Buni represents. Therefore, their endgame may be to cause serious crises that would destroy the party, and then they can have ample excuses to perch their greedy selves on some other platforms they are conspiring with. The attempted “coup” against Buni is just a ploy to achieve that.
However, one good thing, though, is that APC now knows who and where to point the finger at should anything negative happen to its convention slated for the 26th of this month.
Gimba, the publisher of Neptune Prime, writes from Abuja.