May 29, 2023, was supposed to be a day of liberation and celebration. Nigerians were meant to celebrate the end of the affliction – Muhammadu Buhari’s reign – which they suffered for the past eight years. Alas, they were rather afflicted with another pain – the ‘emilokan’ (it’s my turn) democracy.


I only blame ex-President Buhari. He became dejected when he contested for the presidency for three consecutive times and failed. He vowed never to contest again. That was when Tinubu came into his life. The new helmsman at Aso Rock went to meet him in Katsina, pacified him and persuaded him to contest again. They struck a let’s-support-each-other deal. Buhari later became President.


February 25, 2023, was pay-back time. After all, one good turn deserves another. But it appeared at some point that there was an attempt to edge Tinubu out of the presidential race. It seemed Buhari was pussyfooting in fulfilling his own part of the bargain. The former Lagos State governor had to remind him of their accord – the ‘emilokan’ (it’s my turn) deal. During the run-up to the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election last year, Tinubu, in his campaign rally in Abeokuta, amplified the agreement with Buhari, shouting, “It’s my time. I’m educated. I’m experienced. I have been serving people for a long time. Bring me the presidency, it is my turn.”         

Buhari eventually succumbed. He first deceived his compatriots to believe that the 2023 general election would be the best in the history of Nigeria; that it would be free, fair and credible. As it turned out, the election was anything but free, fair and credible. Knowing the gravity of the shenanigans that passed off as presidential election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in the ungodly hours of March 1, 2023, hurriedly announced Tinubu as the winner of the election. Those who disagreed with that verdict were asked to go to court.

Tinubu succeeded in fulfilling his well known philosophy that “power is not served a la carte. You snatch it and run with it.” It is only ex-President Jonathan who failed to understand this power game. He chickened out in his time and allowed power to slip out of the hands of the Peoples Democratic Power (PDP).

The first dividend of this ‘emilokan’ democracy is the immediate removal of the contentious fuel subsidy. In his inaugural speech, Tinubu informed Nigerians that the policy was gone for good. Pronto, fuel marketers immediately jacked up fuel prices from about N185 a litre to over N600 per litre. In some places, the price reportedly went up to over N1,000 per litre. The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) later came out with a price template, averaging N550 per litre. This has had a spiral effect on the cost of living generally.   

It is worthy to note that the removal of fuel subsidy is not a bad idea. But there is a problem with the timing. Nigerians are going through a lot of existential problems currently. Buhari made a lot of promises to them when he assumed power on May 29, 2015.     

His woeful eight-year rule turned out to be the direct opposite of what he promised. He pledged to tackle insecurity. But terrorists, bandits and sundry criminals killed over 63,000 innocent people during his tenure. They still kill almost on a daily basis. Those who are lucky to be alive may not escape being kidnapped. No place is sacred. No part of the country is free. Even innocent children are not free.

He pledged to fix the economy. But rather than improve, our economy worsened. In 2015, the rate of inflation was about 9 per cent. By the time he left office, it had climbed to over 22 per cent. The rate of unemployment was 8.2 per cent in 2015. Buhari left it at 37.7 per cent. In 2015, exchange rate was about N197 to a dollar. It hovered between N760 and N780 in the dying days of the inept regime. The debt profile climbed from N12.2 trillion in 2015 to N46.25 trillion as of May 29, 2023. Prices of essential commodities have skyrocketed beyond the reach of average Nigerians. At N35,000 and above, the price of a bag of rice, for instance, is higher than the minimum wage of N30,000. The economy went into recession twice in the life of that administration – 2016 and 2020.  I can go on and on.      

This is why it amounts to overkill to slam another hardship on Nigerians in the name of fuel subsidy removal at this time. The removal should have been gradual, with palliative measures put in place to cushion the effect. Besides, our moribund refineries should have been resuscitated or sold to private entities that could turn them around and compete effectively in local refining with the newly commissioned Dangote Refinery. But this government may not do any of these. It owes nobody any explanation. It owes no group any consultation. It came to power through INEC fiat. So, it will likely do things by fiat.     

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It is regrettable that, since independence in 1960, Nigeria has been very unlucky with its leadership selection process. The country has many brilliant minds who can equate with great leaders like Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore. Unfortunately, such people will not have the opportunity to rule. A few selfish and greedy politicians will always scheme them out so they can continue to milk the system and keep everyone in total subjugation. Hence, our democracy has continued to wobble.

In the Second Republic, for instance, the administration of the then President Shehu Shagari was very inept. The major way to show it the exit door was through election. Nigerians went to the polls in 1983 and spoke with their votes. But the election was massively rigged in favour of the then ruling National Party of Nigeria (NPN). People became downcast and hopeless. The military came to the rescue by overthrowing the government.

In 1999, General Olusegun Obasanjo was brought out from prison and made our President. It was essentially to pacify the South-West over the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential election presumed to have been won by Chief MKO Abiola. When Obasanjo was leaving, he foisted the late Umaru Yar’Adua on the nation. Yar’Adua admitted that the process that brought him to power was greatly flawed. He promised to institute reforms. But he was sick. Three years into his presidency, he died.

Yar’Adua’s death enabled his deputy, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, to succeed him. Jonathan too was a disaster. He was variously described as clueless, directionless and timid. But one good thing he did was that he allowed the river of the democratic process to flow freely. Even when results of the presidential election were yet to be fully announced in 2015, he accepted defeat and congratulated Buhari. This is a legacy Buhari failed to sustain.

There is serious need for electoral and political reform that will make our votes count and move our democracy forward. We need, for instance, to amend our laws to make it mandatory to conclude election petitions before swearing in anybody. Until we embark on these reforms, going to the polls will continue to be an exercise in futility. Until then, we may have to continue to endure ‘emilokan’ or ‘awalokan’ (it’s our turn) democracy!

Re:  Aisha Buhari’s N21bn Villa clinic

Casmir, the success or failure of Buhari’s administration will be determined by the number of people traumatized by his reckless economic policies, numerous workers’ strikes, victims of Boko Haram, banditry, kidnappings, religious victimization, nepotism, bastardization of federal character, medical tourism, naira redesign, electoral rascality, aggressive corrupt practices, administrative lies and deceit, judicial subjugation, EndSARS, Fulani herdsmen, economic policies somersault including unprecedented indebtedness, etc. Most people are of the opinion that Buhari failed in every parameter of governance. Aisha Buhari’s Villa clinic is good project but added no value to the pacification of the suffering masses. The occupants of Aso Villa can afford Medicare anywhere they want. One would have expected that such projects would have been built in each of the six geopolitical zones to be reference point of medical treatment. Finally, Buhari lost the last chance he had to redeem himself through deceitful election. The aftermath of his actions of aborting the will of the good people of Nigeria will haunt him till his last day on this planet.

-Pharm. Okwuchukwu Njike, +234 803 885 4922

Dear Casy, please note that behind every failed President, with Buhari as a reference, are his wife and aides! Reason? When the President began misfiring and going astray, his wife and aides were there, either keeping mum or goading him on! For voting Buhari in, as President, based on the public presumption of his Spartan and puritanical posturing which he deceived us with, he rewarded us with immeasurable sorrows which abound in every sphere of governance.  To worsen our sorrows, he gave us a valedictory but harrowing gift — the product of electoral heist that is under litigation, thereby leaving the nation in uncertainty! To further worsen our sorrows, the wife, Aisha, in a show of detachment from the poor masses, and driven by narcissism, raised a health facility of a whopping N21billion in Aso Rock for the health needs of ‘first family(ies)’. Casy, if this N21billion was equitably distributed to various Federal Teaching Hospitals or Federal Medical Centres across the nation, will it not make better sense?

– Steve Okoye, Awka, 08036630731

Casmir, it is fascinating to see Aisha Buhari gloat over a N21bn clinic for the first families. It is an aggravated assault on the IQ of the averagely poor Nigerians who constitute a large bulk of the tax payers through which the project was funded. In her 8 years as First Lady or wife of the President, what project did she initiate on behalf of the poor? It is perplexing to say the least that the Biblical saying that weeping may endure for a night but joy comet in the morning doesn’t apply in the case of Nigeria! In Nigeria what we have as leaders are master/ruler leaders unlike in saner climes where they are true servant leaders who are selfless, humble, non-profligate, considerate and compassionate.

– Mike, Mushin, Lagos, +234 816 111 4572                         

The major attraction of a typical Nigerian politician or office holder is his lust for power which is usually attained via a rigged election. And by extension, his unbridled greed is further amplified to enable him to acquire more wealth which he exhibits through a life of affluence. It’s a sad commentary that the Buhari government has succeeded largely in bequeathing a system that is unpardonably riddled with division, insecurity and squandermania.

– Edet Essien Esq. Cal South, +234 810 809 5633