Skip to main content

(62): Fuel Scarcity, the President’s Apology and our Allegiance

Muhsin Ibrahim

“Rome is not built in a day” has become the cliché President Muhammadu Buhari’s (Buharists, as they are called) staunch supporters would tell you the moment you open mouth to criticise his ‘saintly’ presidency. Who said it was? With due respect, many of us, having grown up in uncritical, dogmatic societies and cultures, fail to differentiate criticism from condemnation and nitpicking. No, they are not the same. Dogmatism has place only in religion, and there too is only to an extent. Islam, for instance, cites a number of signs (such as the weather, topography, miracles, etc) as proofs for its genuineness and as a revealed religion by God, among other things. That is to de-emphasize over-reliance on dogma, hearsay and fairytale-like stories embedded in many other religions. Thus, religion is spared from all sorts of criticism.

For governance and politics, nothing and nobody is immune from any sort of criticism, constructive or otherwise. There are, in all countries of the world, two camps in the government: the ruling and the opposition. Neither is perfect nor knows it all. Thus, while some criticisms are downright trash, unnecessary and mere fault-finding, others are positive, useful and worthy of everyone’s attention. That is why any sane government opens its door for all, grants freedom of expression and does not harass, arrest or imprison the opposition, the pressmen and sometimes even dissents unless on rare instances. Although the present APC-led government stomachs some criticisms, the government’s mostly zealot supporters do the opposite of that.

To say or align the ongoing appalling fuel scarcity in the country to the CHANGE mantra Nigerians voted for—in defence of the President—is a highest level of illogicality. But that is, unfortunately, the belief of many people for their undue love for him. That is not love; it's abominable and a pretence as nobody is spared. Any fuel-related problem inflicts much suffering on the populace as prices of other basic commodities often multiply, mobility crippled, and other forms of hardship people go through.

I am equally so much affected, as are many others, by the scarcity. I have adjusted and readjusted my expenditures time and again to the level of extreme frugality to survive. Yet, I still face the threat of bankruptcy. Thanks to the hiking price of petrol.

However, the President had, yesterday, presented his 2016 Budget. In his address to the nation, PMB expressed his “profound apology”, to quote him verbatim. That was and still is a pleasing pill, a soothing succour. I was so glad that he too acknowledges our misery, our shrinking hope and excruciating disappointment. I can't help feeling resuscitated now, for, no doubt, the President sounds very serious, honest and hopeful that things will be restored, revived and robust, in sha Allah.

A final call

For God's sake, let's stop the blind love. As I have mentioned several times before, PMB is human, thus bound to do right and wrong. He and his government require our prayers and support, not hagiological articles and the abuse of whoever criticises him. He too said that "[I] would welcome and be responsive to your feedback and criticisms". So who are you to do otherwise? It's a disservice to the nation and the PMB-led government. We also love, and are very loyal to, the President. We actively participated for his success in the polls. I believe he too knows that, hence that apology and welcome gesture for feedback and criticism.

Besides, what is so wrong in differing with others? There is nothing wrong with that. No two people see the world through the same perspective. Psychologists say that is not possible, and they are right. For instance, you may have similar opinion on PMB, but very likely differ on another or other issue(s). It’s common. Let us learn to be more tolerant, accommodating and respectful.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria; God bless you, amin.

Popular posts from this blog

(99): Ali Nuhu and Adam Zango’s Unending Dispute and its Implications on Kannywood

By Muhsin Ibrahim University of Cologne
The Hausa version of this article, with a slight difference, was published on the BBC Hausa website.
According to numerous accounts and lived experiences, rivalry is natural among both humans and animals. It is barely, if at all, avoidable especially between contemporaries. It becomes more probable when one of the lots becomes way more successful than the rest. Mr A may begin to envy Mr B and question why he is luckier or more much-admired than I. In response, Mr B may start feeling pompous, declaring to all that he is ahead of Mr A. Therefore his accolades and achievement are due to his hard work and talent. Again, the people around the two are sometimes yet another cause of the enmity. For one reason or another, they do all it takes to plant a seed of dissonance as they profit by getting favour from either person. There are more causes for strife, but I guess these are very typical.
In Kannywood, the relationship between the ace…

(76): Girl-Child as ‘Endangered’ Human in our Society

Muhsin Ibrahim
“Muhsin”, Shamsiyya (not a real name) called my attention. I answered, and listened. “Come and marry me”, She finished, retorting my allegation that she was still unmarried not because she lacks suitors, but for her being too choosy. It was later that I pondered on our lengthy conversation and realised that I was wrong. Many men are afraid of successful women like her. She is from a wealthy family, has two degrees and works with an international organisation. She also confided to me that she could not stretch the cultural perception and norms to seriously ask anyone to marry her. She would instead continue to wait for Allah’s choice. I was left in a daze.
I came back home, sat down and ruminated over our chit-chat. I then recalled Dr Muhammad Tahar Adamu aka Baba Impossible’s lecture back in our freshman year in the university. He one-day spent many minutes of his period admonishing the ladies in the class on relationship and marriage issues. He was u…

(96): Kannywood, a Film Industry in Need of Revaluation

Muhsin Ibrahim University of Cologne
As I wrote elsewhere, the relationship between cinema and the orthodox religious institutions is often marked by uneasiness if not outright hostility. From its very beginning, the Puritans see the raison d’être of visual art as only to entertain, which means to distract people from their duty to God and ethical undertakings. Until today, the accusation is all the more raging. How filmmakers handle the questions of morality, culture and spirituality is under censorship. Kannywood, the Kano-based, up-and-coming motion picture industry of and by the predominantly Muslim Hausa speaking people in northern Nigeria, is not an exception.
It is not news that Kannywood struggles with the culture-war message of several critics who see everything with them as corruption or dilution of the “prestigious” Hausa culture. However, with the ever-expanding rise (encroachment?) of globalisation, I think this feeling is, at best, empty and, at worst…