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Buharism, Buharists and Buharification In Nigeria’s Political Lexicon

The creation of political neologism from the names of influential leaders and persons with massive followership, disciples and charming personality has been lacking in Nigeria’s most recent political history and literatures. Hitherto, Nigeria has recorded the existence of Awoists who are the followers of late nationalist Chief Obafemi Awolowo based on Awo’s socialist ideology. There are equally the Zikists who are the followers of late nationalist Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe based on Zik’s Pan-Africanist ideology.At the international scene, the study of political science and economics has recorded the Marxists who are the disciples, believers and followers of late German scholar and philosopher, Karl Marx based on his communist ideology. Marxism which is the economic and political ideology and movement derived from the postulations of Karl Marx had tremendous influence on the world because at certain points in world’s political history, marxism polarised the globe into two major ideological camps namely the capitalist world and the communist world. The above explanation is necessary to usher in the subject of today’s discourse which is the emergence of buharism, buharist and buharification in Nigeria’s political lexicon.

Buharism is the political movement for the acquisition, exercise, sustenance and consolidation of political power by Muhmmadu Buhari based on integrity ideology and his antecedent.

The word, Buharism is derived from the name, personality, influence, charm and charisma of President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) based on his personal integrity, credibility, transparency and honest past and antecedent. I stand to be corrected and challenged with the following political assertions. In Nigeria’s political history, no single political leader surpasses Buhari in terms of massive, natural, die-hard and sacrificial followership. I have not witnessed any political rally in the country that has more tumultuous and enthusiastic crowd than Buhari’s. I have not read or seen any politician in Nigeria whose mere personality commands huge votes as Buhari.

Buhariasm is driven largely by the Buharists who are inextricably tied to the person of Muhammadu Buhari based on his personal integrity. Buharisn has its taproot in the Hausa/Fulani dominated part of Northern Nigeria which has spread to other parts of Nigeria sequel to the decline of then ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) during the twilight of PDP’s rule. Abinitio, the Buharists were mainly the masses known in Hausa local parlance as “Talakawas” until the Elite having foreseen the presidential victory of Buhari started embracing him.

The buharists particularly the early ones exhibited deep, honest and core loyalty to Muhammadu Buhari. It is difficult if not impossible to compromise and buy their conscience and votes against Buhari. They go to any length to defend Buhari’s cause. They have always made sacrifices and donated their widow’s mite to expand Buhari’s political adventures. This is why the core Buharists in the North describe him as Maigaskiya meaning the sincere one.

Buhari acquired such incredible clout as a man of integrity, principle and character because he had not used his public positions to amass wealth contrary to other contemporary leaders who looted Nigeria’s treasury dry. He severally served as military administrator of North-East region; Federal Commissioner (Minister) of Petroleum Resources; Military Head of State and Chairman of Defunct Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) yet he had no material wealth to advertise and pontificate for such lucrative and juicy public positions as evidenced in his meagre assets declared as the President when his Vice declared assets in millions of local and foreign currencies. This is why the core Buharists in the North describe him as Maigaskiya meaning the sincere one.

His integrity made him very popular and highly trusted especially in the Northern Nigeria where he recorded incredible massive votes in the presidential elections of 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015. His name was a gold which politicians used in winning elections. Former governors Ibrahim Shekerau of Kano and Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State were beneficiaries of Buhari’s integrity. There were many political nonentities who could not have won any election if not the appropriation of Buhari’s name. The application of Buhari’s name and integrity to win massive votes for Buhari and others is known as Buhari’s hurricane. This hurricane was witnessed in the North in all the four general elections Buhari participated as the presidential candidate.

Having won the presidential election on March 28, 2015 under the platform of All People’s Congress (APC) which was the first upset in presidential elections in Nigeria when the ruling PDP was defeated, Buhari has tried to bring his integrity to fight the vices of corruption, insecurity and economic doldrums. Writing after his 100 days in office, Mr. Femi Adesina the Special Adviser (Media) to PMB expounded the notion of Buhari’s Effect where his integrity, idiosyncrasies, values, principles, ideas etc instilled self-discipline and positive changes in public service. The speech PMB delivered at the launching of the book authored by Mike Awoyinfa and late Dimgba Igwe was described by Awoyinfa as Buharification of the book launch because of the association of Buhari’s nobility to the two authors and the project. The implication is that any project PMB associates with is Buharified because it is assumed there is integrity and nobility in that project.

Therefore, buharism, buharists, buhari’s effect, buhari’s hurricane and buharification are emerging political neologic expressions in Nigeria’s political lexicon and to some extent demonstrate PMBs popularity and legitimacy that will translate to the success of his policies and programme.

However, these neologic expressions have some limitations and challenges which maybe PMB’s alibi if not well managed. Most buharists follow PMB blindly without applying rationale thought because they equate his integrity with knowledge and perfection. They appear violent and intolerant to contrary opinion no matter how honest and objective that contrary opinion maybe. Most buharists die in silence without having the effrontery to air their grievances and primordial forces like ethnicity and religion are closely associated with buharism. The nepotic, controversial and lopsided nature of PMB’s preliminary appointments and policies tend to reduce his national acceptability. Extreme care should be taken to address the plights of the core Buharists who are mainly the downtrodden, the poor, the have-nots and the wretched who are having multiple expectations from PMB.

Some of these lapses are expected to be addressed in the course of PMB’s administration while scholars and writers are encouraged to recognize and expand these neologic terms in their professional publications.

*Innocent Okadigbo Ebirim is a pro-democracy and civil society activist, newspaper columnist, writer and media practitioner and can be reached at: innoebirim@gmail.com 08176311555.


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