The warm reception of President Muhammadu Buhari in Kano is something Development Administration theorists have long solved, there’s no mystery to his attraction of such crowd. That unless there’s an economic change, it’s hard to have a critical mass. Only sentimental citizens, largely gullible, who identify with primordial values along religious, ethnic and political lines.
But how can you even have what Development Administration theorists refer to us “quantitative change” when the people are largely economically dependent, most of them not even literate to tell what “capital expenditure” is, what “recurrent expenditure” is, what budget is? And how these things work, enough to at least fairly determine the performance of a President who’s visited to, wait for it, commission nothing done by him. Only 500 prisoners he unleashed on them in grand style.
My main takeaway from Buhari’s visit to Kano is this reassurance that we really need a critical mass to move forward, pitying the crowd that came out to welcome a President who has, ironically, done nothing for them. Even the road to their self-styled “Centre of Commerce” is no longer good for commerce, even for casual visits by curious tourists.
It all reminds me of a fanatical Buharist who once told me he’s disappointed in President Buhari and I asked why he hadn’t shared those views publicly. He answered that doing so may make those “Jonathanians” – the wailing wailers, as Buhari’s spokesman once called them – laugh at him. He thought that holding his President, or President Buhari (since he was unforgivably critical of former President Jonathan) accountable meant he’s regretting his electoral choice.
This place is a funny country, but we all have equal stake in it, it’s nobody’s or group’s private enterprise, and must remain irrepressible in discharging our civic responsibilities in this quest for a better country.