After three years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, if there is a light at the end of the Nigerian tunnel I am yet to see it. Actually the darkness got more intense. The trapdoor is dangerously closing on Nigerians who were hypnotized by the seductive message of change in 2015, orchestrated by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and his gang of new patriots.
As a trapped people, Nigerians are now thinking of ways, desperately ways of getting out of what they were deceitfully lured into by the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The APC experiment has turned out to be a case of jumping from frying pan to fire. The anguish is immense. Things have turned from bad to worse for the commonplace people; the cost of living quadrupled under Buhari’s watch.
To be fair, Mr. Buhari met a raped nation. Nigeria was torn to shreds by the mindless corruption perpetrated under the nose of former president Goodluck Jonathan – so messy that the country lacked guns needed to secure its sovereign territory against the Boko Haram rampage.
Hopelessness had engulfed the country. Notwithstanding APC’s message of change, I guess that was what even made a Buhari presidency possible in the first place. Back then in 2015, anybody, anything would have defeated Jonathan.
The carrot of change dangled by APC was naively embraced by Nigerians. They voted massively for the man from Duara and had eagerly looked forward to a better life under a new united country; the shinning nation on the West Coast, where legitimate dreams could be realized.
Despite the promise of heaven on earth by Buhari and his co-travellers, it would have sufficed if the former army general had taken steps to unite a badly divided country, secure its territory and provide cushion to the suffering masses. Put differently, the president would have done his part if he had given the country a positive direction. These could not be difficult to achieve.
However, the trouble with Buhari is that he chose to do nothing – except to deepen the lines of division in the country with his lopsided appointments, for which he has been accused by some critics of having close to his chest an agenda to islamize Nigeria.
And he also chose to say nothing in dire times when citizens expected to hear from the father of the nation and the commander-in-chief. As president, Buhari mastered the art of using silence to derogate from his duties and undermine the legitimate expectations of a vibrant citizenry.
Twice, Benue, a state that voted massively for him in 2015, held a mass burial for victims allegedly killed by Fulani herdsmen on New Year Day in various parts of the country and in April when they attacked early morning worshippers in a catholic church in Gwer. Twice, the father of the nation shunned both funerals. Imagine a father deliberately skipping the funeral of his children. Only an irresponsible father would do that. To add salt to injury, on both occasion, not even a condolence message from the president to the Benue people as they buried their dead; their people Buhari failed to protect as president and commander-in-chief.
Buhari comes across as man who sees the Presidential Villa, Abuja as a retirement home – a place he rarely left, except when he goes to his farm and kinsmen in Duara or junkets abroad in search of treatment for an undisclosed ailment at the expense of the taxpayers. A man, who promised to change the way business is done in a country, would have been honourable enough to tell the people the disease that has afflicted him, so that they could reach the decision if he is still the right person at the helm. More so, when the citizens are the ones picking his medical bills. What if the sickness is something that could be treated in Nigeria? Yet Buhari claims he has integrity.
This was a man who had contested the presidency four times and failed before 2015. The last time he failed, Nigerians watched him shed crocodile tears. Maybe, if he had not become president, and things did not get better, we could have been tormented by the thought of what could have been if he had been given a chance.
Mr. Buhari eventually got a chance, realized his dream of becoming president and suddenly, he has only one year left of his mandate which has turned out to have been obtained under false pretences.
Nothing flies like time, Mr. President! You have finally unmasked yourself as incompetent and a man incapable of living above sectionalism and bigotry.
Judgment is now looming for you in 2019 and for those who sold you to Nigerians. It is only in a country like Nigeria that a president will perform so abysmally in power and yet have the audacity to ask for a second term.
To be candid, Mr. Buhari has so far failed to show me, his former supporter, and I guess majority of Nigerians, why he had desperately sought to lead this great nation. Yet he wants us to come to terms with the fact that he is seeking a second term, notwithstanding his failing health.
The truth is that our dear country cannot afford another four years of disaster, which is what his first term turned out to be.
Anybody supporting Buhari for 2019 must either be a sycophant or a person on a chase of personal gains. The next category of those backing his re-election bid are those who badly need psychiatric test.
Despite the suppressing of the Boko Haram insurgency by the Buhari administration, darkness hangs over the Nigerian landscape – that is the balance sheet of Buhari’s three years in charge.
Nigerians are being slaughtered on a daily basis like cows with the security forces doing little or nothing to stop the massacre, in spite of a $1.5billion defence budget.
Youth unemployment stands at 80%, with its attendant problems of armed robbery, kidnapping, terrorism etc.
With majority of Nigerians going to bed on empty or half-fulled stomach, infant mortality has spiked, not to mention maternal death due to lack of accessible health care in a country that rakes in billions of dollars yearly from oil export alone.
Unpolluted and drinkable water remains a luxury in the country. Nigerians wake up each morning battling for water to brush the mouth.
In spite of campaign promises, electricity is still not stable. Nigerians wake up each morning soaked with sweat. Under Buhari’s watch, the ordinary people are still denied the common things of life that would have differentiated them from their animal cousins.
Interestingly, two times Nigeria has experienced recession in its history, Buhari has been in charge – first as a military head of state and now as president. Though he could not be held wholly responsible for both economic depressions.
Surely on Democracy Day, instead of sober reflection on how they screwed their chance, Buhari’s handlers will bombard Nigerians with a long list of peripheral achievements, for which a country does not need a president to realize. Unfortunately, that is where we are as a nation. What they see as achievements could not be used to measure progress; they have no impact on the people’s life.
The truth is bitter, especially for those who thrive by suppressing or stretching it. Buhari’s government took the country backwards. Nigeria under him regained its status as a country where court orders are shunned with disdain. As I write Buhari is keeping political prisoners, which his predecessor never did. The former National Security Adviser, Mr. Sambo Dasuki, arrested since December 2015 is still behind bars despite court judgments ordering his release.
Do I need to mention the Ibrahim Zakzaky case or the alleged genocide carried out by Buhari’s military against the Shiites in Zaria. Yes, the president, did not order it. But has done nothing to bring to book those who allegedly killed citizens he took an oath to protect. Till this day, nobody has been sacked or arrested – not even a probe panel. In fact, Buhari, in his usual arrogance and indifference, has not uttered a word of condemnation or comfort to those who lost their loved ones in the massacre. Terrible President!
In 2015, we were warned that the former military dictator was not a democrat. Unfortunately, we did not listen to people who knew him well. Rather we chose to listen to his promise of being a changed man. Now, we are paying the price.
The APC balloon of hope has been deflated by the same people who dubiously created it. Nigerians are already looking beyond President Buhari and his party as we resume the search for the answers to what has hindered us as a people from attaining true nationhood. There is also a palpable national resolve to jettison the Hail Mary practice of choosing old and recycled people to lead the country.
This nation no longer deserves a leader who would go abroad four times within two-and-half years on medical treatment.
A youthful and spirited president would be needed to drain the swamp of mess that will be left behind by this government, rekindle hope and restore light at the end of the Nigerian tunnel.