By Amanze Obi
There is no beating about the bush here. The cold, hard fact is that Nigerians have just received the deepest cut. They have been stabbed in the neck by someone who promised them life. They have been hit below the belt by a man they thought was harmless. Now, the people are writhing in pain. The country is convulsing in its death throes.
We trace all this to the grand betrayal by Mahmood Yakubu, the infamous chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Yakubu, in life and death, will go down in history as the master dissembler who took his country through the minefield of treachery and deceit. The people believed him till the last hour.
They only woke up overnight to discover to their chagrin that he has given them the worst election in the annals of history. The most ironic is that Yakubu’s trenchant assault on the country’s democracy took place at a time the people were expecting to have the freest, fairest and most transparent election in their country’s history.
With the way Yakubu subverted the people’s will in the presidential election of February 25, it is now clear to one and all that he poses a great danger to the peace and progress of Nigeria. Many Nigerians did not know this until now. As a matter of fact, the unveiling of the true Mahmoud Yakubu was heralded with spontaneity. Before now, he was something of a lily of the valley. But now, he stands diminished like an unpleasant dome with caves of putrefaction.
The true Yakubu draws attention to the central message in Alexander Pope’s satirical poem, “The Dunciad”. The basic idea of the poem can be captured like this: stupidity conquers all. Pope’s treatise was provoked by the ribaldry of his time. He was against the hack who, not possessing any scrap of artistic integrity, wrote anything for money.
In line with Pope’s portrayal in the satire, Yakubu is bereft of integrity of any sort. He is a treacherous intellectual without any abiding standards. He harbours an integrity deficit that makes him easily purchasable. Yakubu has just demonstrated, most tragically, that he can do anything for money. But this deviancy is not without a cause. It is the product of disarming stupidity. In Yakubu, stupidity, that paralysis that manifests in senseless and unintelligent actions, is having a field day.
Before Yakubu’s unintelligence became a clear and present danger to the survival of the country, l had, some five days to the election, had cause to scrutinize this man. I had wondered whether we should trust him or not. I had written:
“Mahmood Yakubu is now the man of the moment. What will he do with this election that promises to give us a new Nigeria? This question should agitate his mind, that is if he intends to bequeath a legacy that Nigerians will be proud of. Should we trust Yakubu and his avowals about credible and transparent polls in 2023? We express this reservation because, as William Shakespeare will tell us, there is no art to find the mind’s construction in the face. We will also not accuse him of anything. He has not committed any. We will rather give him the benefit of the doubt, with the hope that he will not dash our hopes.”
This was my own way of releasing my adrenalin on Yakubu on that fateful election week. Now, the man has confirmed my worst fears. He has dashed our hopes. We just found out that he was just putting up a show all along. He was just lying to Nigerians while pretending to be working for their common good. Shakespeare will forever be right on this score. We could not find the construction of Yakubu’s mind on his face. He fooled Nigerians in a way nobody has ever done.
But ultimately, it is Yakubu, not Nigerians, that has been fooled. Here was a man who had promised Nigerians that their votes will count and will be the sole determinant of the electoral outcome. We are talking about a fellow who told us that his commission will deploy appropriate technology to protect the integrity of the choice made by Nigerians at the polls. The people believed him. That was why they showed extraordinary interest in the 2023 general elections.
But while we were busy believing him, the man got seduced by negative forces. A band of nation-wreckers besieged him. They reduced him to a benighted soul who follows neither the heart nor the brain. He fell for filthy lucre. He sold his conscience for a mess of pottage.
The way it turned out, it has become evident that the Buhari presidency conscripted Yakubu into doing its dirty bidding. The Presidency wrote the poisonous script. Yakubu’s job was to act it out in the most inglorious of ways. He made himself a willing tool in the hands of Buhari and a rapacious cabal within the fold of the All Progressives Congress who do not mind putting Nigeria in a tailspin for the sake of their destructive agenda.
By his action, Buhari has elevated deceit to an art. He has made it an integral part of his reign of destruction. Why would a president promise his people free, fair and transparent elections and give them the very opposite? Again, like I did in the case of Yakubu, I believed Buhari when he promised that he will deliver a credible election to Nigerians. Even though the president has failed Nigerians in a way and magnitude that was never imagined, I thought that he would redeem or salvage his very damaged reputation by bequeathing to Nigeria a credible transition programme. But it was all a fluke. Nigerians have been led by the nose by their president.
After all that Buhari has been through, I had thought that he has matured to the level of a statesman. I thought that he would be interested in taking steps and actions that will advance peace and progress in the country. Rather than that, Buhari is leaving us with an aberration. He is bequeathing to Nigerians a fraudulent Presidency.
Beyond the fact that the mandate was stolen, Buhari is handing over to Nigerians a presidency in which the president and his vice are of the same religion. That is very abhorrent. It is an assault on the sobriety of Christians in Nigeria.
No lover of Nigeria will contemplate this arrangement, let alone insist on its imposition. This makes Buhari a nation-wrecker extraordinaire. By co-opting a relatively younger Yakubu into this deviousness, he has, wittingly or unwittingly, destroyed all that could have been good about Yakubu.
But should we pity this undeveloped heart called Mahmood Yakubu? No, we should not. We should, instead, resent him for his disgraceful conduct. We should confront him with his indiscretion. He chose primordial and sectional interests over and above national interests. That is most regrettable. Yakubu has lost a historical opportunity to write his name in gold.