It is now safe to say that President Muhammadu Buhari is incapable of bringing the change he promised.
Despite his multitude of campaign promises, including ensuring that petrol sells at N45 per liter, the former military dictator seems overwhelmed by the enormity of the challenges of a chaotic country – the most populous black nation torn to shreds by many years of corruption at every level.
Half way into his presidency, he has even failed to deliver what I call peripheral change – a cushion for suffering Nigerians.
The Buhari gamble by Nigerians is now becoming a case of springing from frying pan to fire. There has been no fundamental change as he had promised. The APC government has become a naked heat. Things have worsened for the commonplace people, with the cost of living quadrupling under his watch.
With a gallon of fuel selling at N400, this has been the worst Christmas in Nigerian history.
It is useless to dwell on what happened to Mr. Buhari. Many have alleged incompetence. But with millions of competent Nigerians at his disposal, who he could employ to deliver on his campaign promises, that seems not to be the problem. The trouble is his lack of vision, open-mindedness and courage.
Nigerians had erroneously believed he had courage. We also thought he was a great patriot, who would help unite a badly balkanized country. But it is hard to call a man, who flooded his government with his Daura kinsmen and people who worship the same way like him, a pan Nigerian.
With his lopsided appointments and siting of national projects, Buhari unmasked himself as a man incapable of living above sectionalism and bigotry.
And with his apparent lack of ideology and vision of where he wants the country to be by the end of his tenure, it has become clear the man was only driven by ego and love for the perks of the office of the president all the four times he had contested for Nigeria’s highest office.
If this man had not become president, Nigerians would have forever been tormented by the thought of what would have been if he had been given a chance. Nigerians would still have believed that Mr. Buhari is incorruptible.
This belief has now vanished. It has turned out that Buhari, „the Angel“ keeps the company of „devils“. It has been alleged that his campaign was funded by public money stolen by former governors. You cannot tolerate such and be without blemish.
Furthermore, you can not keep ex-governors who are still collecting millions of poor tax payers money in bogus pensions as ministers and yet pretend to be fighting a war against corruption. It is corruption to collect double pay in a country where majority of the children go to bed on empty stomach.
As I write 20 people call themselves „honourable senators“ yet they are receiving pensions from government as ex-governors and deputy governors.
The former governor senators are Bukola Saraki of Kwara, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano, Kabiru Gaya of Kano, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, Theodore Orji of Abia, Abdullahi Adamu of Nasarawa, Sam Egwu of Ebonyi, Shaaba Lafiagi of Kwara, Joshua Dariye of Plateau Jonah Jang of Plateau, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto, Ahmed Sani Yarima of Zamfara, Danjuma Goje of Gombe, Bukar Abba Ibrahim of Yobe, Adamu Aliero of Kebbi and George Akume of Benue.
While the former deputy governor senators are Ms Biodun Olujimi of Ekiti and Enyinaya Harcourt Abaribe of Abia. Danladi Abubakar Sani served as the acting governor of Taraba state.
Yet, weekly they participate in probe drama in the senate, investigating other people of wrongdoing. Hell, do these bunch of people take Nigerians and governance seriously? For them government is the best business in a country peopled by fools.
Be this as it may, Buhari has been rightly accused of shielding his kinsmen and party members indicted of corruption from prosecution. It is widely believed that he is prosecuting a one-sided war against corruption – so much that some people now see the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, as the president’s political terror group, always ready to pounce on political opponents once unleashed.
There was a country before the invasion of the locusts – the military that looted the country dry and then handed over to trusted civilian associates who would ensure that their bounty were untouched and their interests safeguarded. And their proxies in the so called democracy have not disappointed.
There was corruption in Nigeria before the coming of the Khaki boys, like in any part of the world, but it would not be unfair to say that successive military governments in Nigeria helped institutionalize corruption and made it a Nigerian culture.
Corruption destroyed Nigeria and killed millions of Nigerians – including children. Those who refused to die had their dreams shattered.
Due to mindless corruption, over 500,000 Nigerian women died during child birth in the last 30 years. With the health sector in shambles, at least 2 million Nigerian children died during this time of curable and preventable diseases.
Malaria remain a threat in country with a yearly budget of $24 billion dollars. A giant of a country refuses to spearhead the search for a malaria vaccine to save the children. It would rather lavish its wealth and wait for countries with no malaria threat to dole out the money for malaria vaccine. Of course, that would never happen.
Due to mindless corruption and failure of leadership, majority of Nigerians spend their day loafing and sitting around because they neither have a job nor enterprise to occupy themselves with.
Due to mindless corruption and failure of leadership, majority of Nigerians have not felt the comfort of a home. Most of them live in mud houses nestled in dense forests. And footpaths remain the only roads they know. They are those who have to trek kilometers daily to be able to put food on their children’s table.
Due to mindless corruption, Nigerian education system collapsed. There was a time when Nigerian universities ranked among the best in the world. But now our high institutions churn out unbaked graduates who cannot write a flawless sentence in English – thanks to those in government who fraudulently allowed the springing up of mushroom universities.
Due to mindless corruption, millions of Nigerian girls still move around with bare breasts simply because their parents could not afford clothes, talk less of bras. Most of them never had the privilege of touching a toilet paper nor pad. Not even during menstruation. I simply have no idea what they use during their periods.
Due to poverty, triggered by mindless corruption, the Nigerian girl became a sex object – a prey to be devoured by male predators.
Heartbreaking is the fact that Nigerians have been denied a life in the midst of plenty. Their lives could have been different. They could have lived a dignified life as citizens of a country that has earned over $700billion US Dollars from oil export alone since independence.
The mandate Nigerians gave to President Buhari was simple – rebuilt that country that was eaten down by the locusts.
So far, President Buhari has been incapable of that task. To say that he has failed, means that he had tried. No, he did not. I get the feeling that ex-army general sees the presidency as a retirement office.
Apart from the war against Boko Haram, which he has very well prosecuted, Mr. President has performed poorly.
Talking about security, Nigeria under his watch remains a country where human lives matter less. Extra-judicial killings are still prevalent. Nigerians live under the mercy of SARS operatives, who kill and maim as it pleases them.
A recent video by Saharareporters, showed some SARS men gleefully enjoying the anguish of arrested kidnappers in Abia State, whose testicles were ripped off by the policemen as they watched coolly their victims struggle with death. Only psychopaths would commit such a heinous crime and have the coolness to video it.
Now tell me, could such people, with no regard for human life, be trusted with keeping a country safe?
With due respect to the majority of gallant policemen and women, often the difference between some police officers and criminals is just the badge.
Under Buhari’s watch, Nigerians still live by chance. All you need to get lynched is for about three of your enemies to accost you in the open and either accuse you of being a thief or a witch. There and then a mob would materialize and give you the „necklace treatment“ which will untimely send you to your early grave.
Please pardon me for the digression, but let me add that Nigeria is a grotesque country, where the life of a „nobody“ means nothing to the ruling class.
Perhaps, the bike accident involving Yusuf, the only son of Buhari was meant by God to open the eyes of a president who has done little to make quality health care accessible to ordinary Nigerians – as citizens of the world 7th largest exporter of crude oil. Imagine that Yusuf were the son of a common man. His father could not have afforded the Cedacrest hospital where he was taken to in the first place. The poor man would have watched helplessly his son die while scampering to find the money to pay for the hospital card.
Having said this, I wish from the bottom of my heart the quickest recovery for Yusuf, whom I heard is a kind soul. He cannot be held accountable for the failure of his father.
When I supported Buhari for presidency, I did so believing that he had the balls needed to ram reforms badly needed to save our dear country.
Without reforming the judiciary and police, especially, it is useless wasting public fund saying you are prosecuting a war against corruption.
Without ensuring a decent pay for workers you cannot honestly expect them not to resort to corruption in their attempt to make up.
I had erroneously believed that Mr. Buhari would have the courage to prune down on wasteful government spending. Unfortunately, a president, who promised change, chose not to influence who emerged leaders of the National Assembly. That is why, in a country with N18,000 minimum wage, it still costs tax payers N290million yearly to maintain each over-fed member of our National Assembly.
I had expected Buhari to have planted people in leadership positions in the House of Representatives and the Senate, who would have helped reform that prodigal branch of government. With the type of money wasted on the legislators, there would always be recession and this country would head no where.
Now that Buhari has proven that he is not the man to save Nigeria, what is next?
Buhari’s failure has a banquet of consequences for Nigeria and Nigerians who had hoped for a country, where lives would be secure and modest dreams realized.
With the type of people jostling to take over the presidency, it would not be foolish to say that the Nigerian chaos (jakajaka) would continue for the next three decades, with another generation of Nigerians expected to be lost.
In all fairness, Mr. Buhari remains one of few Nigerians with some semblance of integrity. And his failure has left many questioning if the ballot box is capable of solving Nigeria’s enormous problems. The more frustrated people get with the democratic process, the more dangerous it becomes for the country.
If you followed the recently held PDP National Convention, it was easy to see that mainstream Nigerian politicians still see politics as a social club thing – a kind of jamboree.
It was clear to see that they still don’t know what time it is. Nigerians are hungry. They have had enough and no longer have a stomach for that kind of politics. They want answers to the problems threatening their existence.
And the earlier the ruling class provides the badly needed solutions, the better for them – for everyone.
Contact writer: firstname.lastname@example.org