Against the goodwill, hope and expectations that Nigerians invested in him and elected him to power in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari has not just delivered precious little, but has on account of his stewardship so far, lost the plot. There is no other way to describe a situation in which a person who wept profusely while begging Nigerians on three different occasions to oblige him the chance to rule the country promising to make it better, only to spectacularly falter as President Buhari is doing now, after finally getting his wish at the fourth try.
From the contradictions, inconsistencies and selective nature of his anti-corruption war, to the intractable war on Boko Haram that Nigerians were told had been “technically defeated”, and lack of a clear implementable economic roadmap all of which he promised as platform for his “change” agenda in 2015, we need no further evidence that President Buhari has neither the ken nor competence to set Nigeria on the road to the greatness he had promised to deliver.
A look at the trajectory of President Buhari’s administration in the three years he has been in office would offer some light. The special purpose vehicle, which brought him to power in 2015, the All Progressives Congress (APC) which is a merger of various political parties is tottering and may soon collapse under his watch or lack of it. Virtually all the state chapters of the party are enmeshed in one self-destructive crises or another. Having climbed on it to power using the collective strength of members and structures of the party President Buhari has proceeded to micro manage it such that nobody outside of his hand-picked acolytes matter; neither the party officials nor organs of the party, President Buhari has neither offered the needed leadership to the party in the many trying situations it has faced and continues to face, nor even initiated the process of strengthening it from the hodgepodge it was in 2014 through the needed restructuring and repositioning. Having used the party to achieve his long desired objective of getting the Presidency, he treats the party as a vehicle of occasional convenience; relevant only for the purpose of advancing his personal political goals and agenda.
This is the context in which we should consider the recent rapprochement with Asiwaju BolaTinubu who not too long ago was in the limbo of the Buhari deems. Calculating how strategic the southwest votes are likely to be in the 2019 elections and considering the massive political weight Tinubu carries in the region, the president must cultivate the Asiwaju despite his arms-length relation with him in order to have any hope of winning.
What can we say about the other areas of President Buhari’s change agenda? We all thought and were led to believe by Buhari that the anti-corruption war was to clean the augean stables. And in President Buhari whom we have come to regard as a man of integrity, untainted by allegations of corruption unlike past public officers, he will not only be trusted to take the fight to identified corrupt elements of past administrations, but would also show zero tolerance of it under his watch. Having seen the inconsistencies in the pursuit of the crusade, we now know better. It is crystal clear now that the anti-corruption war is a template to score two main objectives; to scare and subdue known and potential political opponents, and also to consolidate President Buhari’s political space within the polity making everybody else subject to his political orbit.
We have heard and read of individuals of the past administration found allegedly enriching themselves corruptly. But we have not seen anybody convicted for the infractions allegedly committed. We have also read of monies recovered from them, huge enough to fund public works for the benefit of Nigerians. But we have not been told nor given an inkling how the monies so recovered had been deployed. But what is even more significantly revealing is that the Buhari administration has shown conversely little or no zeal at all in pursuit of elements within his administration or those friendly to it who have clearly been identified as being corrupt. Indeed in one or two of such instances, President Buhari himself had bizarrely come out to publicly defend such persons even when even anti-corruption agencies under him had found them culpable.
The war on Boko Haram insurgency was supposed to be the low hanging fruit in the Buhari change agenda. Again this was not a far-fetched expectation of him as a retired general and former commander of the army division covering the Northeast area where the Boko Haram insurgency has been raging.
Admittedly in the three years of the Buhari administration, there has been remarkable improvement in restoring normalcy to the area. But while the administration claims that the insurgency has been “technically defeated”, as if to put a lie to this, there has been an escalation in asymmetrical actions like suicide bombings, guerrilla engagements and worst of all kidnappings as happened in Dapchi, Yobe State where over a hundred young girls were abducted in a secondary school. This proves that while indeed the Boko Haram insurgency may have suffered serious setbacks and degradation, its command and control capabilities are still intact. And meanwhile, the Boko Haram scourge has been joined by the incidence of kidnappings happening all over the country and the potentially more politically and socially combustible herders/farmers clash taking place in virtually all the states leaving a trail of death and destruction.
This administration’s posture towards the resurgent security issues in the country has been hardly encouraging. While a shocked nation was still coming to grasps with the tragedy of the kidnap of over 100 girls in Dapchi, Yobe State, the President thought it more urgent to lead a delegation of the administrations officials to a wedding reception in Kano. On another occasion on a visit to Taraba State, made after a howl of public protests at his seeming indifference to killings that took place there, the President could only think to make what amounted to intemperate and insensitive remark he made on the comparative number of victims in the herders/farmers crises in the state. Similarly, while on a visit to Benue state his incredible statement that he was not to know that the Inspector General of Police had flouted his directive on relocating to Benue to tackle the herders/farmers clash in that state, had Nigerians baffled at what manner of Commander-in-chief we have.
What is going on? Should Nigerians then resign themselves to living with Boko Haram and other security threats as virtual reality of their existence now that their President who is the chief security officer in the entire country has indicated indifference by his own statements and actions to the security threats daily confronting his compatriots? What is the point then in Nigerians continuing to repose confidence and expectation in the President in this area, which by his training and experience was supposed to be his comfort zone?
Gadu writes via [email protected]