Re: “Agatu Killings and Buhari’s moral weakness” [Alternative Perspectives and a Possible Way Forward]

I finally managed to read the Punch opinion piece from last week titled “Agatu killings and Buhari’s moral weakness” this evening.

It was sent to me by a “friend”…who preferred not to share it directly online…ahem…

As is my usual habit, I kept my mind OPEN like an umbrella in reading it from start till end.

To be honest, I only read it once – that was enough. I needed no second round.

The author’s points were clearly made and only a fool would argue that they were not valid ones – worth bringing up.

Long story short:

PMB was/is…

a. Refusing, for some strange reason, in the opinion of the writer, to address the issue of Fulani herdsmen killing people in Agatu

b. Doing what Nigerians call “eye-service” by sending condolence messages to other countries for terrorist related loss of lives while “massacres” continued in his own domain

c.”Reading from (GEJ’s) playbook” by being too lethargic in taking decisive action against the fulani herdsmen. She noted especially Buhari’s statement that the government would search for “root causes” and “act immediately to address the root of the problem”

She also took a swipe at Oga patapata of police – IGP Solomon Arase – in passing, with regard to his pronouncements on the reported activities of the Fulani herdsmen & that Buhari’s evasiveness encouraged the IGP’s attitude…

Here’s my take:

1. It is impossible for MOST Nigerians to accurately argue for or against any of the points raised – except for a tiny few who may REALLY be in the know.

Reason: Just like it is in PMB’s government, so it was in GEJs and those before them.

There is information that the rest of us will probably NEVER get to read or hear, about some topical issues of this kind, which will often influence what we see our leaders do and what we hear them say.

This is why I personally refuse to expend too much intellectual glucose on these kinds of issues.

Think about it:

In other climes, the kind of worldwide movement that the #BringBackOurGirls campaign initiated would have resulted in most if not all of the Chibok girls being found before GEJ left office.

Instead, what we heard/read is that at some point the USA pulled out from helping our people search for the girls because something was not right on OUR side of the equation and THEY did not like it.

How does one explain THAT??!

2. It is my considered opinion that too many well educated Nigerians fail to realize that the fact that we all dress well and speak good english to one another does NOT mean we are all equally sane.

Yes, I mean SANE as in sanity – opposite of insanity aka madness.

Many Nigerians in Nigeria, rich, not-so-rich and poor, are in different stages of insanity, influenced by the socioeconomic environment we operate in.

[NB: Let him who the cap fits wear it. For me, I categorize people based on their actions – what they do, and not what they say about themselves!]

As a result of the state of mind of majority among us, NORMAL thinking habits that people in progressive societies employ rarely appeal to us.

This is why it is said that even Jesus Christ or Islam’s Muhammad would get corrupted if they had to spend time in Nigeria, working with Nigerians.

3. I bring the above points up because I believe we need to ask ourselves why we always demand straightforward solutions from leaders, when we KNOW we are not straightforward people, and our society is far from being a straightforward one???

When I still used to pound the pavement as an entrepreneur in Nigeria, in my early startup years, I kept doing what the books said one should do to market products and services e.g. I placed ads, designed and printed flyers and made sales calls. I attended networking events and conferences. I subscribed to magazines and so on.

Yet, I got little or nothing in terms of client projects from all those efforts. And the few I got made a mockery of my skills, experience and educational qualifications!

The problem was I could not figure out why I struggled even as I saw many crooked and less competent others getting client jobs I wanted.

One day I visited a higher institution based on an advert I’d seen in a daily, to speak with the owner of an engineering training firm about an idea I had for a Joint Venture. It turned out the gentleman was also a lecturer in the engineering department.

After I introduced myself, we got talking about what he did and at a point I mentioned that I’d once been a guest speaker at the Centre for Management Development(CMD) – Shangisha in Lagos, and that the feedback in the forms filled by the centre’s directors had encouraged me to develop a one-day seminar based on the theme of the talk I’d given there.

I however noted that despite hand delivering over 50 copies to organizations in Lagos (many of which were multinationals or large indigenous ones), I’d gotten nowhere with it.

He looked at me in amusement as I spoke, then smiled as he pulled out a one page document with names, and signatures as well as a stamp on it.

Pointing to the fee per head column, he told me that the training manager in the company he did that training for had bluntly told him to give up N4k out of the N15k for EVERY one of the 15 attendees who got nominated to attend.

He then told me these words:

“My friend, you will not hear from them. They expect you to know what to do. If you know what to do, and make them an offer, they will then tell you what they want. From what I see on this booklet, this program of yours is loaded, but if you refuse to do what I’m telling you, I really doubt if you’ll make headway with it.”

That conversation happened in 2004 – 2 years after I became self-employed. 2 years after I’d spoken at CMD and the training manager had told me “If you say you’ve spoken here, they’ll invite you to speak”.

I went on to hear many variants of those words uttered by that engineering lecturer, from others I had cause to speak with (including close relatives!) as the years progressed.

But no one had ever told me I needed to “know what to do” along these fraudulent lines when I started out as an entrepreneur. What I later found out was that almost everyone around me already knew and/or also did it (relatives included!)

They just assumed and expected I would find out and eventually fall in line, having LEARNED that it was impossible to fight the system.

Well, here I am today. I succeed on an international level as a multipreneur, earning income without needing to leave my home – and while traveling between countries.

But I did not need to continue wasting my time fighting the system to get here. Instead, after YEARS of suffering doing that, I conceived a strategy that enabled me completely EVADE the system.

In other words, I found a way to do what I LOVED doing for a living, without needing to relate with people who believed in the system in a way that gave them power over me!

4. How does ALL this relate to the issue of Buhari and the points made by the author of the Punch opinion piece?

Well, it’s simple really.

Nigerians, from what I’ve seen over the past 14 years as an entrepreneur, are over 80% a duplicitous lot.

Forget schooling, status, class, income level etc. Duplicity has become a way of life for most!

So, anyone who wants to achieve meaningful progress working with Nigerians will probably have to be psychic to SEE through their double-facedness.

As a president, Local Government Chairman, head of a small parastatal, or a mere chairman of the building community awarding contracts in your small church(!) you will find yourself surrounded by conniving characters who show one face to you today, and another tomorrow. Scheming to get what they are not qualified to have!

Based on the above situation, no matter how good your intentions are, you may find that pleasing Nigerians will be hard – because even those crying that they are being victimized today (as well as the ones working with/for you) will often gladly let themselves be used against you – if it benefits THEM!

Example: What does it take to get 80% of Nigerians to go out and bear false witness about something that did not happen?

We’ve seen it happen again and again – accusations and counter accusations with those in charge of deciding who is telling the truth even eventually getting fingered for also joining in!!!!

5. It is possible that the above is why Buhari said he wanted to search for the “root cause”….maybe the man is seeing a lot of the duplicity on all sides as I have seen in my own small corner of Nigeria(?)

Maybe that’s what makes him so reluctant to act I.e he’s struggling to make sense of the mixed signals he’s getting(?)

Or maybe the man is just confused….or biased – as some would have us believe (NB: I do NOT agree with this school of thought).

Possible Way Forward

Hopefully it will be obvious I’m making no case in support of Buhari or his IGP here.

In fact, I’m making no case in support of, or against anyone here.

Instead, I’m simply saying the major problem of Nigeria is that it is a society of over 80% dishonest SOULS who never want to let truth prevail and always put self-interest first!

In such an environment, even an angel will struggle to get anything right as a leader.

This was why GEJ struggled to lead Nigeria, as did others before him.

My argument against GEJ was however that he was too weak, and showed no strength of character.

In Buhari’s case I have yet to see enough to justify drawing any far reaching conclusions about him.

After he’s spent 24 months in office I’m convinced I will have enough material to use as a basis for doing an accurate, fair and impartial evaluation of his leadership of Nigeria.

For now, I will continue to work and pray in every way I can for his success, because PMB’s success will benefit all Nigerians, regardless of tribal or party affiliations, including me, you and all our loved ones.



You’re reading Re: “Agatu Killings and Buhari’s moral weakness” [Alternative Perspectives and a Possible Way Forward] by Tayo Solagbade, originally posted on his Daily Self-Development (SD) Nuggets™ blog. If you loved reading this post, be sure to follow Tayo on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

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