Not many people believed president Muhammadu Buhari was going emerge victorious in the 2015 presidential election having previously contested a barren three times. The president was like some JAMB candidates I know, an INEC regular customer as he was dubbed a serial contestant who must observe the ritual of throwing his hat into the ring each political year. In fact, the bulldozer in Kaduna had at a point described the president “perpetually unelectable”. His decision to seek election in 2015 was in brazen violation and open mockery of his public declaration not to attempt further if the 2011 attempt was to end in fiasco. Hear the president while speaking at the grand finale of his 2011 electioneering campaign in Abuja December 2011: “This campaign is the third and last one for me since after it I will not present myself again for election into the office of the president”. Was this promise kept? Yes. Only in the bridge.
Prior to the election, his cult of fanatic supporters and ring of zealot followership were already raining fire and brimstones, threatening to bring the heavens down to consume the rest of us if Mr. Buhari was not declared the winner of 2015 election. This open threat against nationhood and semi terroristic pronouncement fed and thrived on the conspiratorial silence of the then APC presidential candidate and now president Muhammadu Okechukwu Buhari. He subtly endorsed the threat to the corporate co-existence of our nation just for a political gain. One man from Ubima in Rivers state that permanently looks indifferentiable from a heavily pregnant woman was even more explicit with his own rhythm of war. He had concluded plans to assemble a parallel government if his demigod was not served victory the way the basket of sacrifice is served amadioha.
According to an online report, over 100 people died in exuberant celebration of the president’s victory while others sustained various degree of injuries in 2015. The most affected states were, Adamawa, Plateau, Kaduna, Sokoto, Kano and Edo, while in Rivers state, the jubilant youths were seen brandishing all sorts of automated weapons and chanting heroic songs around Port Harcourt. If the euphoria of the president’s victory could account this number of deaths and destruction, the toxic venom of his defeat like it happened in 2011 would have been a national tragedy that would bring this nation to a halt. We will celebrate the man God used to avert this tragedy that activated the shame mood of the doom prophets another day.
The goodwill that heralded the president’s victory was not as a result of his reputation for being an exceptionally outstanding public servant or his track record for setting new record in anything that has to do with the welfare or general wellbeing of the entire nation but a by-product of the mendaciously fictitious campaign promises and sugar-coated lies shamelessly sold to Nigerians by his wobbling party, APC. Having used a hyperactive propaganda machination as a tool to sack Dr. Goodluck Jonathan who was like the proverbial dog, was given a bad name in a desperate effort to pepper soup on its flesh. Call it demonization you won’t be wrong. Call it decimation, you still won’t be wrong. Call it anything; they used it to send Jonathan to Otuoke to grab power they know virtually nothing to do with.
The president started way too early to advertise his inbuilt incompetence to the whole world. Just like an analyst said, the president hit the ground and refused to run. He remained there grasping for energy like a lizard that fell from a tree top. He was breathing from any opening around his body, wondering what he has got himself into; an eloquent testimony that after all, the party was not ab initio prepared for victory but violence and bent on causing chaos. It took public outcry for the president to be prodded into constituting his cabinet members almost six months after being sworn in. One can only imagine what the party was thinking about between March when its victory was announced to May 2015 when it took over that it did not bother to constitute the cabinet members. Like the housewife whose long stay in the kitchen has a nexus with the sumptuousness of the meal being prepared, Nigerians waited patiently and with kin interest for the president to go to the moon to source for his cabinet members, having assured the nation that he was “taking his time”. What latter happened when the list was announced? A chilling disappointment. A rude shock. Same old faces, names and people. Like the favourable day that starts with sunshine, we started receiving heavy showers from the dawn of this administration, not of blessings but of disappointment, uncertainty and fear.
Sooner than later, they started like a rampaging scorpion underneath the dress, dissociating, isolating, abhorring, insulating themselves from all they have promised Nigerians. Any attempt to remind them of all what they have pontificated of having the ability to do was at best seen as blasphemy. Reality began to set in and it dawned on us that goods collected in good condition cannot be returned. Ask Wuse market traders. Muhammadu Buhari has been elected president and so it stands till four/eight years do us part.
It became a sin to remind the messiah who has been thumping his chest of having automated solutions to Nigerian problems that he promised to pay unemployed Nigerians 5000 Naira monthly stipend. It became a haram to remind the change government to reduce fuel price to 45 Naira per litre. It became blasphemous to remind the APC government to declare free education at all level. It became defamatory to remind the hate filled merchants of power to crush boko haram within one year. It became abominable to remind them to revive all our refineries and build more to produce more for our domestic consumption. It became sacrilegious to remind the APC to create 3 million jobs per year. It became profane to remind the APC to stabilise the Naira.
X-raying the president from his tripod change agenda of fighting corruption, growing the economy and fighting insecurity, while one cannot be totally mischievous by dismissing the micro achievement the president has made with a wave of hand, it is only just and pertinent to state that the president is dwarfed by the myriad of problem he met on the steering wheel. Like the spectator who has the magic wand to score multiple goals against the opposition in a football pitch, the president has been brought in to walk the campaign talk but he has beyond every reasonable doubt proved that he was not the messiah he was branded to be. Remember that feeling when orange is sold to you as apple? Having left power in 1985, the General was totally oblivious of the level of change that has occurred in our political, economic and social system. A 30 year solution that has adamantly refused to upgrade to match up with the ever growing social problems can only be said to be obsolete, out-dated and serves no purpose.
The first economic milestone the administration recorded was to drive a robust and the number one economy in Africa into avoidable recession. Within the first month of his administration, the president was junketing round the world telling everyone how everyone in Nigeria is a thief. He scared investors away and those already in business became highly sceptical injecting their money into an economy owned, run and operated by “thieves”. The recession led to loss of millions of jobs. Families were thrown into hardship. The haves became the have not and the labour market grew to high heavens. Our people suffered a debasing standard of living which still characterises many families today. If the figure by the National Bureau of Statistics is anything to rely on, between the fourth quarter of 2015 and third quarter of 2017, the number of Nigerians that became unemployed grew from 8,036 million to 15,998. What that implies is that contrary to the deceitful promise of providing 3 million jobs, the administration provided almost 8 million slots of unemployment. Today, their campaign slogan has acquired a negative connotation. Change in the Nigerian parlance is now associated with neo hardship, economic strangulation, poverty, hunger and death. Hardly is there a family, group, association, corporate body that is not touched by the policies this administration took or refused to take one way or the other.
The so called anti-corruption campaign has since lost its glory. The worst form of corruption in a democratic setting which is a threat to the rule of law is not found in short supply under this administration. It is so audacious and walks with its shoulders high threatening to suffocate our democracy. The flavour of democracy which has the theory of separation of power as its bulwark is constantly under threat in this administration. It has arrogated to itself the power to arrest, prosecute, convict and execute punishment. That the former NSA Col. Sambo Dasuki has been incarcerated in the past two agonising years is a sad reminder that Buhari has no iota of respect to a democratic institution like ours. Despite several court orders that has granted him bail, the undemocratic elements at the helm of affairs in this country have continually desecrated the sanctuary of justice by ensuring that they flagrantly disobey court orders.
Hear Sen. Shehu Sani of Kaduna central on fight against corruption: “Corruption in the judiciary and others is treated with insecticide while corruption in the government is treated with deodorant”. What could be closer to the truth than this? The former Secretary to the government of the federation David Babachir Lawal who was suspended on corruption related charges after a public outcry is yet to face prosecution, likewise other members of the president’s cabinet including those indicted by various panels in their respective states. Those who decamp to the president’s party no matter what they have been accused at the other side automatically get washed by the cleansing power of president’s moral anointing. This is happening when virtually all those who served under the last government are being hounded about. Nothing is wrong calling people to account for what they did but when such accountability call becomes an alibi to get at real and imaginary political enemies, it becomes a bigger corruption to fight. The amount recovered since the campaign began is still shrouded in secrecy while the NNPC towers still pollutes the air with the stench of corruption emanating from there. The recent Transparency International (TI) rating of our corruption perception index under a government that pontificates to have the sole key to fighting corruption is worrisome. As typical of them, they have resorted to finger pointing.
On security, the number of deaths recorded across the nation since this government came on board is humongous. We are virtually swimming in the ocean of blood. From Borno to Adamawa to Yobe to Benue, the stories are of the same gory nature. From the activities of the boko haram terrorists to the rampaging Fulani herdsmen, to sundry criminals, our people cannot sleep with their eyes closed. From Agatu to Guma to Logo, the Fulani herdsmen leave their footprint of agony and pain wherever they go. Villages being sacked, houses torched and property destroyed. They have been rated the fourth most deadly terror group in the world, yet the government has for obvious reasons remained complacent in declaring them a terror group, or recognising that they are criminals who go about spilling the blood of the innocent. They kill, maim, rape destroy both humans, adults, children, animals and farmlands. Benue state has been the worst hit in the recent rampage of the Fulani herdsmen with over 900 people killed, about 99,000 displayed according to official records. Even when the president at last visited Benue state, he went there to tell them to farm rice and get ready to receive his campaign train. What inhumanity!
How has a government that promised to secure us succeeded in watching our lives being snuffed out by a criminal gang without doing much to help us? Even the premature celebration of boko haram defeat, decimation or degradation, the recent abduction of 110 girls from Girls Technical College Dapchi in Yobe state has exposed how helpless we are. Who would imagine that after the kidnap of over 270 girls in 2014 in Chibok Borno state, we have learnt nothing? This smacks of cluelessness and insensitivity and an indication that the government is bereft of ideas on how to protect us. Whatever weakness they used as strong campaign point against Jonathan and PDP, they have replicated and surpassed.
The president has continued to distinguished himself in utter parochialism and vexacious sentiments. He acts if he is a president of the Northern Nigeria with a special interest in Daura. Our society is complex, religiously and ethnically charged and ready to go in flames at the slightest of provocation. His appointments are permanently skewed to favour the people from this Northern origin. He has made jest of federal character and gave it a clean bathe in the mud. Opportunities to calm miffed nerves are being frittered away under this government like they are there to leave a visible line of division than they met on ground.
The president’s overrated ability to transform Nigeria into America of sort has created more wailers with some ex hailers being inducted into the wailers’ camp. Who will agree that Chief Obasanjo, the number one benefactor of this government would have by now completed his induction process into the wailers’ camp? His party is in disarray and the honeymoon is getting sour because of the endemic undemocratic culture the APC has suddenly birthed, nursinf and incubating. Can these guys give us democracy in it full regalia?
Whoever that is advising the president to seek reelection in 2019 is his real enemy. A president that’s in a “trance” according to prof. Wole Soyinka. A president whose IG disobeyed his instruction to stay in Benue till normalcy was returned. With all that has happened to his image and the abysmally poor performance, advising the president to try his luck beyond 2019 will amount to a political suicide. A goal at extra time still counts. The president can do all he can with the one year still left. Whether Nigerians will allow the calamity and disaster to linger between 2019 will be decided at the polls.