By Idang Alibi
If President Muhammadu Buhari is not a prayer warrior himself this is the time that he direly needs to hire or somehow secure the services of prayer warriors to help him pray fervent overcoming prayers in order for him to overcome the great perilous storm that has come upon his government and his very life in the form of energetic, determined, unbribable, focused and nationalistic young men and women on the streets of Nigerian towns and cities called #EndSARS Protesters.
I believe that at this time in his life and in the life of the government he is heading, he needs prayer warriors more than any set of people else. He does not now need to depend on the counsel of his usual, normal official advisers because these times now are not normal at all for him or his government. I say so because at this very delicate time he needs the three P’s that anyone who aspires to be a good and successful driver requires to remain alive to show proof of his driving skills and success story namely prayer, precaution and patience because the very unpleasant problem that has come upon him right now is akin to that of a man who has woken up from a good slumber to discover that he has a mosquito or a fly firmly perched on his scrotal sac! And that man needs to get that pest away from that sensitive part of his body but he must be extremely careful lest he hurts himself even more severely than if he had simply left the fly there to do whatever it is it wanted to do to him in the first place.
I know that for a man with a rich military background and who is known to have little or no democratic temperament, the continued occupation of the country’s space by the #EndSARSists is a source of constant, continued, continuing and extremely immense irritation to Buhari. If he were to have his way, and he cannot have his way in this 21st century world, he would have just wished that that affliction or visitation never happened to him or happened at all in his own time at the presidency of Nigeria. And for one who is surely surrounded by hawks and flatterers who will counsel him to show the soldier that he is by ‘’dealing decisively’’ with the ‘irritants’, the temptation to drag in the soldiers to go out there and ‘’use every means possible’’ to get the boys and girls off the streets will be a very great temptation indeed.
And this is why I am calling on him to get prayer warriors to help him pray for wisdom and great tact. Buhari may feel that Fate has been very unfair to him. That it is under his rule that this delicate problem has come upon the country requiring him to deal with it. Why did it not come earlier upon someone else? he may mourn in the secrecy of his presidential bedroom. In a sense, Buhari is a character that some literary critics may describe as a ‘’carrier’’. He is a symbol of the unfortunate one whom Fate has destined to carry his own sins and the sins of others and he has no right to question God as to why it is he who is so fated. And if God would deign to engage in any argument with mere mortals, He will tell Buhari that it is he who chose to be president of Nigeria at this time when things had gotten to a head and Nigeria was ripe for divine judgment and the people’s demand for leaders’ accountability to their patient and long suffering people.
My humble advice is that under no circumstances should Buhari succumb to the temptation to call in the army or the remnants of the disbanded SARS because it will be pouring petrol on a raging inferno. The world and her media of mass communication are waiting to feast on such a step. in a sense, the problem confronting Buhari comes down to whether the man would like to go down in history as a statesman or aa a crude brutal despot. Whatever he decides about himself we social historians have our notepads and keyboards ready to record.
If force in any form is employed to disperse the young Nigerians on the roads and streets who are seen as heroes by a good number of Nigerians and members of the international community and they are moored down in their numbers, the pictures of the dead being carried in body bags and the maimed, badly wounded and bleeding, and being carried in stretchers, will do terrible damage to Buhari’s image. if he lives thereafter as Nigeria’s president or he is swept away by the tide, it will be difficult for him to be perceived as a great Nigerian president whatever he does to leave any legacy of excellent government. Can we know see why I say he needs a lot of prayers? Not only for himself but for his country not to be dismembered.
It is normal; it is something to be expected that any government facing the kind of existential threat that Buhari is facing on the streets would fight back to retain its hold on the country. No government would like to be thought weak especially in the eyes of its youth. But two attempts so far fashioned by Buhari or his government or its sympathisers have proved miserably pathetic in their sheer incapacity of achieving their intended goal. The first was thugs sponsored and armed to disturb and distract the protesters. They young people on the streets and onlookers quickly saw through that crude attempt and it came to nought.
The second was that extremely ill-advised resolution passed by the 19 Northern Governors Forum affirming SARS and condemning the #EndSARS Protest. More dangerous than the first, even this one too failed to achieve anything as it was condemned by many as an old trick and a gambit to divide the protesters and invariably the country. The kind of bad names that Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong is being called as the puppet used to drive that idea is enough to kill a young infant. The advisers who persuaded the President to go along with that step do not mean him well at all.
Here is a man who throughout his nearly six years in power has faced constant accusation as a man bent on dividing rather than unifying his country behind him through his appointments, his words and implementation of development projects, getting persuaded to support such an action at this time when such cynical divisiveness is one of the ills the protesters are protesting against. This is why I want Buhari to recruit prayer warriors and not depend on politricians to help him out. He is in a hole right now and such no-gooders will advise him to dig much deeper and wider hole which will cause him to sink further and further.
The rumoured plan by the Administration to organise a 100 million Man March to counter the impact of the #EndSARSists, is the one that will provide the coup the grace to the whole thing. It will be pouring petrol to the whole fire and escalating the conflict. It must be said that the sentiment in favour of the #EndSARS campaign is much deeper in the south of Nigeria than in its north simply because for certain strange reasons southerners are an overwhelmingly greater victims of SARS brutality. Many, including APC card carrying members in the south will not be willing to be recruited into that army of a million-man march. It therefore means that that army will be seen as a Northern Constabulary Force to annihilate the south and ensure the continued hegemony of northern power mongers who have had a stranglehold on the country’s leadership.
Any confrontation between the two forces will easily be interpreted as an outbreak of Nigeria’s second civil war. Such a prospect will not be good for Nigeria or for Buhari. In all the steps that have been taken and the many that are in contemplation to be taken, Buhari seems to be confronted by the Devil’s Alternative.
Whatever he does will not be good or suitable or appropriate enough. Whatever step he takes many are likely to die or be inconvenienced or the situation on his hands is not likely to be solved. What a fate to befall someone!
But if all these hawkish ‘solutions’ are condemned by the likes of me as no solution, then what is the solution? For me, I want Buhari to adopt the attitude that if Fate has fated it that it is he who must live to see the Old Nigeria buried and a new one birthed in its place, he should be ready to accept such Fate in good faith and meekly submit to the dictates of the circumstances. This will certainly sound outrageous to many of Buhari’s party men and women and his supporters especially in northern Nigeria who think that there is nothing wrong with the way Nigeria is presently constituted and run.
That is why my sincere advise is that if Buhari himself prays this is the time for him to do more of it or requests the services of prayer warriors because prayer for divine guidance and wisdom is what is needed now more than anything else.
Another important virtue Buhari needs also is readiness to submit to whatever peaceful action is dictated to him from above. If it is dictated that Nigeria should dissolve peacefully under his watch, he should submit without a fight; if it is said that it is the Old Nigeria that must be interred in order to bring forth a new one, he should not stand on the way of that solution and even if it means that it is his position and the positions of hundreds and thousands of public officials that must give way so that peace can reign and progressed assured, he should also be disposed to go with that. That is my solution and humble suggestion.