By Sanusi Muhammad
Commentator on National Issues
The frustration was glaring but at least manageable under Jonathan. Insecurity was not a serious challenge as the rate of kidnapping, raping, banditry and highway robbery, were under control. Despite his efforts to serve Nigeria with dexterity and passion, Jonathan was adjudged clueless but still, he had good focus for the stability of the country which he displayed in 2015 with courage.
At the heat of the presidential run-up elections in 2015, Dame Patience Faka Jonathan described All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari as ‘brain dead’. She undoubtedly perverted truth in manic, uncouth rage of Buhari’s candidacy via APC.
Buhari was not and has never been brain dead. He is simply incapable of genius. This is surely interesting given the APC’s shrill marketing and presentation of Buhari as the best option the party could offer that would be happening to Nigeria in a long while.Yeah, Buhari happened to Nigeria. He defied the odds and emerged president in a keenly contested election. At his emergence, a great segment of the citizenry, excluding some of us, heaved rhythmic sighs of relief. Everybody waited devotedly to experience Buhari and the APC’s gospel of ‘CHANGE’having sacked Jonathan and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), not a few Nigerians believed the country would eventually be rid of corruption, mismanagement and a legion of deviously orchestrated misdemeanors characteristic of Jonathan’s PDP.
But like a recalcitrant bug that will not go away, mismanagement, corruption and a legion of more carefully orchestrated misdemeanors have since resurfaced in the nation’s corridors of power under Buhari’s watch and claims.However, I will be committing duplicity similar to that which Buhari and his APC inflicts, on Nigerians even as you read, if I fail to acknowledge the flashes of competence betrayed by Buhari and his bumbling government. Buhari’s initiative at establishing one Single Treasury Account, TSA for Nigerian government is worthy of commendation. Mr. President’s military campaign against the dreaded Boko Haram and banditry is barely commendable too. Although, he has failed woefully at keeping his promise to rescue Chibok abducted school girls and exterminate the terrorist sect within his professed timeline, the military has so far succeeded considerably, at containing terrorists activities in the embattled areas as testified by Borno state governor, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum and Sen. Muhammed Ali Ndume (Borno South Senatorial District).
Disturbed by the strength of what he described as ‘negative’ reportorial by a cross section of the media on the efforts being put to end insurgency and banditry, Sen. Ndume appealed to journalists to play the angel role rather than the devil role presently obtained by supporting the laudable efforts being deployed against bandits and insurgents . This does not excuse the fact that the Nigerian military still suffers the affliction of saboteurs, inadequate funding and lack of essential weaponry, among other ills while genuine suggestions on the way out of the quagmire are ignored by those concerned that Sen. Ndume should know at least as the Senate Committee Chairman on Army. As I have said severally, dialogue remains the only solution to the insurgency not the wasteful war embarked upon.
Such lofty suggestions proffered were ignored for reasons best known to those charged with overlooking security situations in the country.When Gen. Azazi was the National Security Adviser (NSA), with the support of his office, we made laudable efforts to disarm the terrorists and drag them to negotiating table. We had series of meetings with their accredited war commanders as approved by the NSA. After his untimely sack, the project died with him. Efforts were made for continuation, his successor was not interested. His interest was more with how President Jonathan could return to power than ending the insurgency. Allegedly, funds budgeted for arms and other sundry services were diverted to the Jonathan campaign team. The insecurity situation remains with us till date. Sen. Ndume may not know that.
Back to the main issue, Buhari had also in 2015, promised to rescue Nigerians from the moral failings of his predecessor’s leadership. He hasn’t till this moment. And it is impossible for him to do that while his cabinet reeks as a cesspit of individuals with damaged character. It is no doubt heartrending to see the president discard his cloak of sanctimoniousness to wine, dine and sing the praises of men he earlier identified as corrupt and unworthy of public office.Sycophants and Buhari groupies would deem his radical mutation as a happenstance borne of political expediency.
They tell Buhari that “In politics, there are certain compromises that you have to make……Occasionally, you wine and dine and hawk your soul to the devil (s)”.And Buhari, has undoubtedly mastered the art of such political expediencies. Governing Nigeria is vastly more complicated than Buhari had imagined. All sorts of things can go wrong. If Buhari understood his limitations, he has done little to cushion the consequences on the citizenry.
Besides peopling his government with ‘milk men’, characters whose chief expertise subsists in milking the proverbial cow even as they are grossly ignorant and inept at nurturing the cow and preserving it, he has failed in several spheres of governance from the rating of most Nigerians.Despite taking several months to seek out his ‘winning extraordinary team’, Buhari for the umpteenth time ended up afflicting Nigerians with ‘over recycled and incapacitated characters’ many of whom came with hideous baggage around their necks.The real test of his presidency came with the continued fall in oil prices and the fall in the value of the naira.
Buhari’s reaction was predictable; he sought to defend the naira by keeping its official exchange rate relatively low even as the currency fell irretrievably in the black market.Inflation sky-rocketed across the country thereby causing hardship that, permeated class boundaries. Businesses collapsed, banks executed mass retrenchment of staff as sole proprietorships floundered and suffered gruesome, excruciating death. The number of unemployed swelled accompanied with high rate of crime that shot to the sky.
At the backdrop, PDP and Buhari’s APC governors owed salaries even as they threw extravagant parties across the seas with lavish entertainments to ladies of easy virtue.Buhari and his ministers enjoy the luxuries and entitlements of office while preaching cold, bitter truth to Nigerians screeching: “You need to suffer now to make amendments for the wastage of the past; Jonathan and the PDP destroyed everything: PDP is the cause of your hardship: Things will get better in…….only if you persevere”. Its over six years with APC in power, the situation instead of getting better, is worsening astronomically.Buhari also failed to deliver on his lifeboat palliative; that is, the ridiculous N5,000 monthly pittance promised to the unemployed and the impoverished if elected as president in 2015.
He has also gone back on his promise to employ 500,000 unemployed graduates as teachers. His government announced that the teachers would be trained under its social welfare scheme to serve as voluntary teachers.His brazen offensive against institutionalized corruption has yielded to his targets’ immediate lust for riches and priapism of want. Even his ‘change’ agents are currently tarred with these perversions widely regarded as the fault of dupes and satyrs. As you read through, President Buhari’s much professed anti-corruption campaign is being interpreted in several quarters as arrant posturing.
Till date, Buhari and his anti-graft missioners are unable to see to a fruitful end, the prosecution of established looters of public fund among other perpetrators of corruption.His inability to address the degeneracy within his political party and cabinet has become counterproductive to his efficiency as president and anti-corruption crusader. The APC has become a cesspool of Nigeria’s dreaded elements. Like this writer intoned in an earlier published article on Buhari’s ministers and compatriots’ in the APC, too many are vectors, moral agents of the worst kind of viruses. They have made his government food for the worms.
From the moment of their acceptance into the fold, the infestation of Buhari’s administration commenced but Buhari and his political groupies naively maintained that if the head- that’s, Buhari-be moral, the body (his cabinet and underlings) too will have no choice but get with his program.He is either naïve or duplicitous to dream of transcendental reforms and recourse from the country’s plummet down the ravine of corruption while he hobnobs with vectors of corruption.Is Buhari like his ministers, a dubious change agent feigning a moral growth crusade? Unlike certain APC and PDP governors and senators, Buhari and his ministers were expected to epitomize a moral, philosophical rampart that will continually uphold the strife of contraries by which true, positive ‘change’ evolves.Sadly, they aren’t thus the incumbent APC government manifests as yet another disease of governance and civilization.
Yet Buhari started out as a man devoted to wiping out corruption. He sought to do that while conveniently turning a blind eye to his inadequacies and self-imposed handicaps, or compromises. If you like, he forgets that nature and history only cares to identify individuals as intrinsic part of species and never as a lone genus.Buhari’s mantra of chastity and change is diametrically opposed to the realities of his politics and mutating ethics.
The president hoisted on us (Buhari) has diluted his moralist communion with toxic liquor. Thus he evolves as a revolutionary of the comedies. He won’t eliminate besmirched society by redeeming morals with the amoral. The brand of Buhari we have has eventually lost himself shying from the pathway of moralist dystopia.Let’s hope he rediscovers his groove before he exist power in 2023. Our Buhari, the presumed ‘change’ agent, may yet pamper us with ‘change’ we can believe in and prosper by.
Nigerians have tasted the served ‘delicacies’ from the pot of the mega-merger for six years. The food was served without reservation to the rich and the poor. The few that remain on the mega-merger train are there in expectation for better days in 2023 which is a mere illusion. Nigerians who labored to stand for Buhari and APC are today, the most wretched on planet earth forming queues for free palliatives to cushion the artificially created hardship as reward for their cast votes in 2015 and 2019.
Wherever they are spotted they look dejected, confused, frustrated, disorganized, greedy; impoverished and kwashiorkor infested while thinking aloud as mentally disturbed. That is the brand of administration they labored to install on Nigerians. But should the APC be trusted again when it fields a replica of Buhari in 2023? Your Guess is as good as mine. For the country and Nigerians to bounce back to better days of economic security, plenty of assorted foodstuffs for ease of purchase, security to lives and property, change from top to bottom is desirable and inevitable.
Let the days of bribing the malnourished with tokunbo vehicles, motor/tricycles, sewing machines etc be over. APC should go with its uncompromising system of silently transforming the people to beggars and domestic slaves just to access donated palliatives sourced from public funds. I come in Peace!
Sanusi Muhammad is a commentator on national issues