Sulyman Buhari: From Government Critic to Government Apologist By Mohammed Abdulkareem
“There are two kinds of fools: those who can’t change their opinions and those who won’t”- Josh Billings
For the benefit of the readers that might be hearing his name for the first time, Alhaji Buhari Sulyman was the sharp-mouthed chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC), who is, by dint of providence and political realignment now the Publicity Secretary of the Kwara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Smart, diligent, and well built with a height as commanding as his office. Buhari has no doubt carved a niche for himself in the history of Kwara politics. He is the best example of the strange choices destiny makes sometimes. But as strange and onerous as the choices nature drops on his lap, Buhari has always lived up to expectations. So much that even in extreme cases, where he lacks expertise, he does not shy away from seeking advice from the most junior of his aides and close associates.
However, Buhari is controversy personified! He curdles it as much as a bee curdles its comb. From the incredulous to the near absurd, Buhari’s three years tenure as the Chairman of the CPC was dotted here and there with skirmishes. But to his eternal credit, he came out of them all unscathed, stronger and better, though more as a politician than an ideologist.
This then brings me to his sudden metamorphosis as a prominent, vocal opposition voice to a government (or better still Bukola Saraki’s) apologist. That Buhari would today sit side by side with Sen. Bukola Saraki remains a political mystery that I am still trying to fathom. Some few months ago, if anyone had predicted that Buhari would be anywhere close to Sen. Saraki, I would be the first to dispute it. Even Buhari would, as much as I, if not more, brush aside such suggestion as fake and inconsequential. This is because for an antecedent so dotted with unrepentant opposition politicking, it is hard to believe that his political transition would be this quick and smooth-sailing.
All these and more are the reasons why I was confounded when Buhari accepted to serve as the interim Publicity Secretary of the APC under a Bukola Saraki political leadership! The appointment of Buhari as Kwara APC spokes-person and his acceptance of same, which in effect makes him the chief spin-master and defender of a state government that thrives on deceit, came as a huge shock. It comes as a surprise that Buhari would so unabashedly somersault from his criticisms of the government to accept a position that defends the same government. Buhari’s role as APC spokes-person is purely and simply a propagandist that spins the fairy tales of deceit from a political leadership for which he enjoys little capacity to implement any change.
But beyond Buhari’s paradoxical acceptance of a government position that clearly contradicts his long years of caustic criticism lies the real issues of hypocrisy and crass opportunism that plagues Kwara opposition elements. Kwara opposition politicians have since become seasoned hypocrites and opportunists who send critical anti-government press releases from their stables on a regular basis only to end up jumping into the same government at the slightest opportunity. Once in government, they become apologists of the same government they had spent years criticising. This has had the effect of diminishing any pressure such critical press interviews and articles could ordinarily have exerted on the government. It is little wonder that all other politicians, even those that mean well among them, are now seen as rabble rousing opportunistic hypocrites who only criticize because they have not been offered a position in government.
However, all said and done, Buhari has a golden opportunity to deviate from the unfortunate trademark of his ilk in the opposition. As a friend, brother and FORMER confidant, I can beat my chest that he has the capacity to be a change from within. He would be kind enough not to disappoint that confidence. Now that he has made his choice, accepting an offer to serve in a government that he had so much vilified in the recent past, he should turn this to a one-of-its-kind opportunity for a former critic to bring the change he has variously written about on the simple logic that if all good men stay away from public service, the change we all crave will never come.
Thus, in accepting to serve in the ruling party, Buhari should be wary not to act in the known traditions of hypocrisy and opportunism for which his likes have become infamous. Proving himself in this manner often requires recourse to the logic of over compensation; of going the extra mile to answer the call of duty. The bad situation is even further made worse with a principal like Dr. Saraki, who reportedly takes delight in his regular coterie of sycophants who thrive on seeing ghosts where none exists in the effort to fawn and flatter. But, no matter the pressure or allure of office, he should hold his head high up as the true son of his brave father, the indefatigable Balogun Gambari of Ilorin, Alhaji Abdulkareem Buhari Laaro.
Until then, I wish him the very best of luck!
Mohammed Abdulkareem (ESQ)
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