President Muhammadu Buhari, the ruler of the most populous nation in the world might not see it coming as many have predicted he may soon shoot himself in the foot.
It is not within the power of any man to decide who will die or not, but a supreme being who knows it all dictates/decides when each man’s life on earth is up. In view of this, it is foolhardy for any man to play God.
In the human circle, many have made different predictions but none have been able to forsee what will ‘kill’ President Muhammadu Buhari. As the number one citizen of Nigeria, it is pertinent at this difficult time that we discuss the man at the helm of Nigeria’s political affairs. Here, I will attempt what no one has done.
President Buhari came to power with the goodwill of many Nigerians in an unprecedented election in which he defeated the then incumbent, former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. That alone showed the height of frustration Nigerians must have suffered in Jonathan’s adminstration. There was a massive electoral revolt by the people who were tired of the numerous unfulfilled promises that had characterized the government of Jonathan.
The success of Buhari at the 2015 Presidential election was majorly because of his 1. Past record. 2. Perseverance. 3. Character. 4. A diabetic ruling party. 5. A society thirty for real change. 6. Failure of Goodluck Jonathan to meet the expectations of Nigerians.
Many before had thought it was inconceivable, disgraceful and unthinkable for a former dictator, coupist and military leader whose coming to power in 1983 was bloody would ever emerge as the president of the most populous black nation in the world. How could a man who took power by force, for which he never accounted for, be elected into power after more than 20 years since the incident even as he had continuously denied his involvement in the coup?
Against all odds, Buhari defeated Jonathan in the 2015 Presidential election. The Jonathan-led government had made things very easy for Buhari. Jonathan’s government considered by many as a terrible joke for its numerous failures – refusal to tackle corruption that has permeated the soul of its workforce, the politicians and army; his refusal to address the issue of electricity which has been a thorn in the flesh of all derelict past governments; the lackadaisical manner in which he was fighting the war against Boko Haram; the ridiculous and shameful manner in which procurement of weapons in the war against Boko Haram was handled; the abduction of over 200 Chibok girls; increasing rate of unemployment and cost of living and the government’s senseless hike of PMS in 2012. All these worked together to send Jonathan out of Aso Villa to Otuoke after almost six years as President.
Buhari came to power as a corruption czar and the righteous messiah many Nigerians have been waiting for; this was mainly because of his past record as an outright disciplinarian and a no-nonsense military leader, at least from what many had perceived of him. So on that note, considering the pathetic manner corruption had eaten deep into the fabric of the society, it was a great delight for many to vote into power a man who would look corruption in the face and slap it without fear. So, it was like they washed him clean and brought him back to life as a new man and presented him to the people as a changed and spotless hero. All his past sins miraculously forgiven him by Nigerians because they were done with cowardly fellows who would make a softlanding and give a pat on the back for notorious government officials known for their pilfering skills. Nigerians needed a man who would send his son to prison and care less of his
feelings if his son was found guilty of a crime. That was what Nigerians wanted – and they believed they got such a man in Buhari. His past record and the underperforming government of Jonathan contributed in sending Buhari to Aso Villa.
Buhari showed resilience and an untoward perseverance. Nigerians who were in need of real change and desired it needed a man of his character. Someone who had contested three presidential elections and failed until the fourth. Many believed for a man of his status to repeatly challenge himself even after numerous failures would surely not just have a good plan, but also have the hunger and thirst to change things in the country which he found has impeded progress over the years. Some people had said he was spurred by a desire to right the wrongs of his government as a military dictator who never accounted for his days in power. Buhari was considered as a man of character who wouldn’t go back on his words, a man whose desires were to better the lot of his country men who have been battered over the years by dubious politicians who have continued to exploit the hunger in the land to perpetrate, steal and malnourish the same people who voted them into power. He was seen as the right choice whose years of experience in the army would bring about perfectly workable and offensive ideas to crush the terrorist group, Boko Haram that has claimed at least 20, 000 lives since 2009 and displaced 2.3 million people from their homes.
But in all these, something must be spelt out clearly: Buhari will die in the eyes of many Nigerians like his predecessors if he falls victim to the same things he condemned in the past. Some have began to express doubts over his much celebrated stance as an incorruptible leader who disassociates himself from anything that could dent his image. Consider for example, the president’s Chief of Army staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai who bought two mansions in Dubai valued at $1.5 million (N456,750,000), many had wondered how an army officer could afford such a hefty amount just to buy properties in a faraway land, when many in his shoes wouldn’t have afforded one of that legally after over 30 years of serving their fatherland. His critics claimed no investigation was conducted by relevant anti-corruption agencies before he was certified clean. The current structure of things defeats the president’s good intentions which many believe have been compromised by his lieutenants. Many are still suspicious how a top military procurement officer who worked under the past administration in the Army now exposed as one of the most corrupt agency of government that perpetrated the most shocking arms acquisition gaffe in the land be free of guilt?
Buhari’s silence in the face of gross violation of human rights by his appointees has become a source of worry. In December 2015, the army secretly buried over 350 Shiite members it massacred in a shallow grave without the consent of their family members after a confrontation with at least 350 dead bodies unaccounted for, according to Amnesty International. The leader of the group, El-Zakzaky was beaten, reportedly blinded and bundled away by military men who razed down his house, killed his wife and son and has since 2015 detained him incommunicado. Numerous protests by his members for his release has fallen on deaf ears that we have all now forgotten him.
Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Alhaji Abba Kyari has been under severe criticism lately after he was implicated in a N500 million bribery scandal for which he has been called to quit his office and clear his name. Yet, the president has not made a decision on what step to take and repose the confidence invested on him by the people. More recently, his Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi who was a core member of the opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) before he defected to Buhari’s All Progressives Congress was accused by two Justices of the Supreme Court of trying to bribe and influence judgement on his party’s behalf. The revelation came after Buhari through the Department of State Security Service, DSS had staged a Gestapo sting operation and invaded the houses of the Judges and arrested them on corruption charges. The judges had alleged that their prosecution by the government was because of their refusal to help Amaechi who is a leading figure in Buhari’s government. Nothing has been heard from the Presidency over the allegations against one of the leading men who made sure Buhari was elected into power. It has been silence as usual. Nigerians have been left to wander in perpetual ignorance on the government’s stance on the hefty allegations against one of its henchmen – this is in fact one of the many shortcomings of Buhari’s government.
The fight against corruption must be holistic and less selective. The government must react to pressing and urgent discusses in the political space. Another example of default is the secrecy the Buhari’s government has handled the monumental fraud allegations brought against the Speaker of the House Yakubu Dogara by a former chairman committee on Appropriation, Mr. Abdulmunim Jibrin who had accused Dogara and some prominent members of the House of fraud and padding the 2016 budget for which the president sacked many civil servants who had been thought to have participated. But, unlike the helpless civil servants, Dogara had been seen walking flambouyantly in and out of Aso Villa after visiting the President in the wake of the hefty allegations. The president has not uttered a word on it. Even the anti-corruption agencies seem clueless on what step to take even as Jibrin was suspended over the matter. The critics of Buhari see the silence of the president on this matter as a clear doublestandard, one of many that is capable of ‘killing’ him.
The national apprehension being experienced now is one joy-killer the president might not survive. The hardship in the land has increased over tenfolds. This many say was caused by an unreasonable decision of the government to hike the price of Petrol with the excuse that by hiking the price and stopping the payment of subsidy, the government would have enough money for its infrastructure development. It was a frustrating plan that instead of alleviating the suffering of the people, tripled it so much so that an average Nigerian cannot afford 2-square meal a day. Many were put out of business and companies folded up as a result of government’s drastic decision without consultation from the people it is governing.
The abysmal performance of the naira has crippled the economy. Before Buhari’s election in 2015, naira was a low performer at 200/$1. But as at October 29, 2016, the naira has seen a disastrous run of form that it is now languishing N470/$1 at the parrallel market. The result of this has been the astronomical rise in the prices of goods and services leaving Nigerians complaining bitterly. This has had a serious effect on Buhari’s popularity as many have become disenchanted with him. The unemployment rate in Nigeria calls for spiritual intervention; it has gone beyond the physical. The number of unemployed graduates has brought about the need for people to engage in more skilled and vocational training. In a country where companies are massively sacking its staff with many folding up, being your own boss is the best decision ever and that’s what skill training does. It is still not clear apart from bogus paper talk, how government plans to rescue the country and change the future of its people for the better.
But, Buhari still offers hope as he still has time, by stroke of a miracle to redeem himself.
How he plans to tackle the shameful and epileptic power situation, defeat and ostracise remnants of Boko Haram in the northeast, appease the irate Niger Delta militants, fix his battered human rights image and the use of security agencies to intimidate people, battle corruption and fix the economy are the many things that would either kill or vindicate him. If the former succeeds, he will go down in the history of Nigeria as a pretender who wanted power so badly that when he got it, he became more clueless than his predecessor.