General Muhammadu Buhari was quoted as saying: “…Yes, I am a politician. Yes, I am in the opposition. Yes, there is the tendency for my statement to be misconstrued as that of a politician rather than a statesman. But I owe it as matter of duty and honor, and in the interest of our nation, to speak out on the dangerous trajectory that our nation is heading…”
General Buhari’s problems are contradictory words in politics. One is either a politician or a statesman but not both at once, especially when one is almost a candidate for office.
If one is about to run for office, it is hard to distinguish when he speaks as a candidate for office and when he is telling it as it is.
Among the living Nigerian statesmen such as Shehu Shagari, Alex Ekwueme, Jim Nwobodo, the Sultan of Sokoto Muhammed Abubakar and Olusegun Obasanjo, to some extent, as well as Wole Soyinka, et al: we listen to them when they speak.
Although they might still retain their political affiliations, they have each made it clear that they would no longer run for office. So we have to assume that they are speaking for the love of country. Not to gain any advantage. This cannot apply to Buhari who is trying to live in Aso Rock. What Buhari should do now is to either chose to be a politician and his words would be considered as political statement or retire from politics and his words would automatically be assumed to be statesmanlike.
One cannot have it both ways. Each word that President Goodluck Jonathan utters is considered as an effort to position himself better for 2015. When he serves out his term and has no more aspirations for Aso Rock, I will change my perspectives.
I wrote earlier that OBJ positions would be seen as statesmanlike only to some extent because he was quite recently itching to be the chairman of PDP BOT, a political position.
As for the rest of Buhari’s statements, I have no position one way or the other. But I would not accept them as coming from anybody but a politician vying for office. And I hope nobody is lured into believing that they were made for any reason other than to place him or his party in a better position come 2015.
As they say around here: “they are all the same.”
Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba wrote in from Boston, Massachusetts, USA. [myad]