Not many people would argue that engineers are very smart people or that medical doctors are also very brilliant. But would you hire an engineer to take care of your heart condition? Would you hire an anesthesiologist to build your house? The answers to both questions are "no." But that is what Nigerians did and what USA is trying to do. Mr. Buhari has been a soldier all his life and Mr. Trump has been a business man all his life. Both men are struggling with the political job they have sought and are being asked to do.
They seem unable to deliver. They keep rolling from one mistake to another.
As a soldier Mr. Buhari is used to law and order. He says to this man "come" and he comes and he says to another "go" and he goes. But not so in politics. The legislators have their own minds. The judges have their own ideas. Even the civil service has its ways and none of these organizations like to be dictated to by the president. To make matters worse the 108 senators each has his own believes. Negotiation is the only way to get anything done in politics. In the military you issue orders and any disobedient service man is dealt with summarily. This is what PMB understands. It does not help that he has run a country welding dictatorial powers.
Take the case of Nnamdi Kanu. PMB does not like the guy at all especially as Kanu wants to divide his kingdom into two. PMB had fought to keep Nigeria one and he knows the cost in men and material. So comes this upstart Nnamdi to upset the apple cart once again. PMB must stop Nnamdi by any means necessary. But alas there is this ugly document called the constitution which demands a process. In his old job he would simply have declared that part of the constitution null and void and issued a new edict. This time he cannot do it. But he is doing it anyway. Today Mr. Kanu is languishing in jail and no court decisions would get him out, not a lower court, not the appeal court. The general is in command and that is it.
It does not help that Nnamdi is Igbo. Were he one of the cattle herders who are actually killing people by the dozens it would have been a different story. But for a defeated Igbo, he must learn a lesson. Mr. Kanu has not even killed any Izika carrying mosquito but he is in jail. As for the murderers of 60 Nsukka citizens, they are free and about.
Compare PMB with Yar' Adua and Jonathan. Mr. Yar' Adua entered politics in the third Republic and became governor of Katsina state for eight years 1999-2007 where he learned the "art of the deal." He was succeeded by GEJ as president. GEJ, himself was a former politician and governor of Bayelsa. Both of them were faced with the insurgency of secessionist Boko Haram that wants to turn parts of Nigeria into Islamic caliphate. They also faced another secessionist organization called MENDS. They were quick to work out a settlement with MENDS which resulted in 8 years of peace in the delta region and which kept Nigeria's oil flowing. The deal also stopped the kidnapping and killing or oil workers and foreign investors. This was a departure from the efforts of OBJ who massacred an entire village in the fight against MENDS and killed the leader of BH (Yusuf) which energized the terrorist organization. OBJ was also an ex-soldier/general and he believed in the use of force. Both Yar' Adua and Jonathan were politicians in political positions and cut deals when necessary. OBJ and PMB are/were soldiers in political positions who had not learned the art of the deal. They are square pegs in round holes or engineers trying their hands in open heart surgery.
The result had been nothing but disasters.
Both were ministers of petroleum at the time they were president.
At the hands of PMB Nigeria has been sitting on the brink and its survival is now in doubt. PMB will deal with Avengers with a strong military hand, just as he is dealing with Biafrans. A soldier's first instinct is the use of force to overpower the supposed enemy real or imagined. In the process they often make matters worse. Imagine if OBJ had dealt with Yusuf as a human? We probably would not have BH or at least not as a constant threat to lives and property. There are now over 2 million internal refugees in Nigeria and tens of thousands dead. PMB is about to do the same thing with the Igbo and Biafrans.
The case of Mr. Trump is similar. A businessman who had owned and ran multi-billion dollar companies is seeking to become the political leader of USA. He wants to run the government using the methodology he used to run his business. A business leader is just a step down from a general. Both have immense uncontrolled powers. Because of their immense powers there are no needs to build alliances or to weld together different interests for common good. You get your way always. So the Donald does not care what he calls the Muslims, the Hispanics or the feeling of blacks or immigrants. He would deport 12 million of them; or build walls to stop them from coming in; he would force changes to or abrogate treaties already signed; and will trample on the laws of the land. If anybody goes against his idea of US interests, he would be captured, tortured and killed. Ditto to his families.
Any wonder why a lot of US citizens are raising alarm?
Mr. Trump like Mr. Buhari are not politicians and that is their attraction to their supporters.
But who would want a carpenter when he needs a tailor? There are reasons why people spend difficult years learning a trade. It is so that they would acquire the skills to deliver the services and products that meet the needs of the buyers cheaply. The skills are not interchangeable. If a business man wants to become a politician he must undergo the apprenticeship necessary to become a politician. If a soldier wants to be a politician he too must serve his apprenticeship before becoming one.
To believe that one would go from one calling to the top of another calling is an ego run wild. Both PMB and Mr. Trump should first go back and run as LGA councilors and after years of training, then they can run for the office of president.
Or they would bring ruin to citizens as we are seeing.
Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba
August 2, 2016