Buhari on his successor

The statement credited to President Muhammadu Buhari to the effect that he would ensure that he would not be  succeeded in 2023 by looters is yet another example of the the persisting mindset of the current president who calls himself a converted democrat. This is in spite of the attempt by Femi Adesina, his Special Adviser on Media, to explain it away as no more than the wish and expectation of the president that he is not succeeded by looters.

To be sure, no society would rightly support the takeover of government by looters. But this is a situation that the Nigerian society has already taken care of through the constitutional provision barring convicted offenders from standing for election. That the Nigerian government would not be taken over by looters is not at the behest or good act of President Buhari or through his wish and expectation, but through the constitutional provision ensuring that convicted looters cannot stand for elections. And given that convicting any Nigerian of the crime of looting is also essentially reserved for the courts, it means that President Buhari is really interested in acting outside of the existing rules by imagining that there are looters that he is concerned with outside of conviction in the courts of law. For if he is only concerned with court-certified looters, who in any case are the only looters known to Nigerian law, it is not his place to debar such from taking over government as they are already barred from contesting for any elective posts by the existing rules in the country.

It is, of course, possible for anyone interested to seek to engage in mobilising voters for or against particular interests, or to engage in enlightenment campaigns to raise the consciousness of the voting public, but all this would be within the purview of seeing the voters and the people as the ultimate determinants of those who are to govern them under a democracy and not through the powers and antics of a sitting president or some other anti-democratic interests and forces. The point is that President Buhari has been elected to govern Nigeria for the next four years and his responsibility in that regard does not include determining for Nigerians who should be their president after him. That responsibility is squarely that of the Nigerian people as voters in the next presidential election and it would be their right to vote in any of the valid contestants at that point, regardless of the opinion or sentiment or even preference of President Buhari and also those asking him to venture into what is not within his powers.  For, pray, when does it become the duty of a sitting president in a democracy to determine who would become the next president when that is firmly the duty of voters?

The implication of the above is that President Buhari and all those, like Pastor Tunde Bakare, urging him to get involved in the scheming to ensure that a particular set of people are not those who succeed him in 2023 are yet to strip themselves of the military essence of looking to a super person to help determine and make major decisions for the society even while pretending to operate under a democratic system. This is because in a real and true democratic system, ultimate power resides with the people who as voters are empowered to elect whosoever they want into all elective offices, including the presidency.

The idea of a sitting president determining those who could succeed him/her is a throwback to the military era and that is an era that Nigerians have roundly rejected and supplanted with the ongoing democratic dispensation. Nigerians would definitely not take kindly to the attempt to impose a military veneer on their hard-earned democratic practice and should therefore be spared this back-door romance with military autocracy. It is the responsibility of Nigerians to determine those to govern them and they have not ceded, and are not going to cede, that responsibility to President Buhari under any guise.

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