WHO in this world does not know that President Muhammadu Buhari has, in the past two years or thereabouts, been in and out of hospitals? Yet, the governors from the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday, October 31, 2017, endorsed him as its standard bearer in the next general election. The president has been on a recuperative regime that most times affects his official circumstances.
The belief must be that he is the only person with the clout to ensure the party’s victory in the presidential poll. Beyond this permutation, the governors unarguably are selfishly positioning themselves for an encore, subsequent political appointments on completion of their current terms, and guarantee their escape/trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
It is embarrassing, to put it mildly, that some thoughtless people have begun to clamour for President Buhari’s candidacy in 2019! If for no other reason, Buhari should be allowed to live the rest of his life blissfully by retiring to Katsina State—at least on recuperative grounds.
From now till eternity, Nigeria’s history can never be complete without a generous mention of Buhari. This is the best time for the number one citizen to take a graceful bow He should ignore selfish politicians who want to ride on his back in the next general election.
It is also ridiculously laughable that the APC has preposterously set up the machinery for his re-election. Even with less than two years to round off its term, it is obvious, from all indications, that the APC may end up being worse than the hounded People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN). So far, it has been one step forward and nine steps backwards. The party, as represented by President Buhari, seems unprepared for the country’s leadership, overwhelmed by challenges of governance and uncoordinated—almost confused and clueless! This administration needs to get its act together.
My earlier position that our tale of woe should be blamed on former President Goodluck Jonathan—and not Buhari—has not changed. Issuing from that standpoint, the next submission would be this: what is this government doing to right the wrongs of the past and move us away from stagnancy? There is nothing to suggest whatsoever that this government has the capacity and competency to re-engineer this country. Power was divinely thrust on those in its corridors without leadership empowerment and direction. I have the strong conviction that the APC bigwigs never knew reins would come to them on an ill-prepared platter, hence the growing and scandalous bewilderment in their mismanagement of the ordained victory.
In his last eid-el-fitr message, President Buhari declared that he appreciates Nigerians’ sacrifices. The hardship and excruciating times in the country do not call for prosaic addresses. What the people need is the mitigation of their circumstances and not sweet nuggets and etymological architecture of promises that will be unfulfilled—not being the first time. The way we are going, most of us will die before the anticipated/promised El Dorado. As bad as it was, the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) of ex-President Ibrahim Babangida’s regime was not as asphyxiating as this visionless and despondent time. There is nothing that suggests a better tomorrow. The whole environment is gloomy, catastrophic and frightfully irredeemable, almost. The level of poverty, want and hopelessness-cum-haplessness of the “average” (the middle class if it still exists) Nigerian is atrociously unprecedented, unimaginable and unconscionable. It has transcended official callousness.
And to compound matters, the Presidency and other departments of the Executive in their public communications seem to be working at cross-purposes. Statements are ludicrously issued followed by bovine retractions or elucidations. In most cases, the wrong officials make pronouncements that are secondary to their portfolios or assignations. Because of space constraint here, I will take one utterance. What was the business of the SGF telling embattled Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to vacate his seat? It only confirmed that the Presidency was behind the travails of the man. This was needless since the case was already in court amid a cocktail of controversies and suspicions. Nobody in government at any level has the right or rascal effrontery to interject in this matter. It is absurd, unethical and jaundiced. There are many other such instances of official garrulity.
Recently, for the first time in the history of Nigeria, a three-day holiday was declared for a routine spiritual exercise. In all my adult years, I have never witnessed this kind of official recklessness for which Interior Minister, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau should have been dismissed with an apology to Nigerians by the President. If we were not a lazy country that places wrong-footed premium on religion, what was the haste in declaring the initial two-day holiday? For goodness’ sake, it should not have been the President extending the duration. The overzealous and nonchalant official who fumbled initially should have been summoned to do that and thereafter fired. That is how to grow a country, its civil service and the entire machinery of governance. Bureaucracy frowns at this kind of indolence and carelessness.
I keep asking, like many other Nigerians: why is it that only members of the PDP are being probed and prosecuted? All the reassurances that the sluggish wheel will get to the APC chieftains do not make any difference. If there are 12 fraudsters in the PDP, there is an equal or more number in the APC. This selective approach to anti-corruption battle is itself a form of endemic corruption. The irrefutable impression being created is that most of the trials are mere victimization, settling of scores and outright witch-hunt. The Federal Government and The Presidency and their pliable/willing/dependent/biased agencies have not hidden their confirmatory proclivity for the current executive power drunkenness and fatalistic descent to anarchical autocracy that will ultimately end up in implosive self-destruction! Who in this country does not know that one of the most corrupt politicians in this country today is one of the prime leaders of the APC?
Still on corruptive tendencies, this phantom idea of plea bargaining should be discarded with immediately if we are serious with combating corruption. If a man admits to misappropriation and returns the loot or more, should he just walk away free? It is like catching a bandit and allows him to go free after returning what he stole and probably killed some people in the process! This obtuse celebration of corruption through the instrumentality of plea bargaining and other indulgent travesties must end if we are serious in confronting the monstrous ogre of corruption. Such established looters should be jailed to serve as a deterrent to their prospective ilk.
I do not buy the logic that the names of those who return their loot should be shrouded in secrecy in order to “encourage” other looters to return theirs. This is juvenility of the worst order. If the government knows those who had stolen money, it is either they are directed to return the loot amid prosecution or just clamped into maximum detention until they do the needful. Our situation requires some measure of official extra-judicial interventions otherwise we will not advance. Our own democracy must be tailored to be peculiar because of our distinctive characterisation.
If we must investigate our past leaders, let it start from Alhaji Shehu Shagari down to Jonathan (who should not be made a scapegoat). If sitting South African President Jacob Zuma could be probed, why should we hesitate with our past leaders?
Before the regime change, the APC spokesperson and now Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed, used to be loquacious in his oppositional communication. Now, nothing is being heard anymore in re-affirmative demonstration of how we are as a people!
This government will remain unserious about corruption and every other thing until it shows that charity begins at home by investigating and prosecuting some of the APC topmost members and sponsors. Demonising and criminalising the PDP ragtag leadership cannot institutionalise good governance hinged on transparency, forensic accountability, fairness and the fear of our Creator.
President Buhari deserves and needs stress-free existentialism for the next three decades devoid of national leadership challenges. I beg of everyone, please! It is obvious that the APC governors do not like President Buhari and this country. If they did not have sinister motives, they would not, in clear conscience, contemplate the candidacy of President Buhari, let alone endorsing him!
•Wabara (firstname.lastname@example.org/08055001948 wrote in from Lagos.