BUHARI: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
I decided to write this piece as a result of people’s reaction to a viral video in which the former President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR was seen in a moderate seating room allegedly in his house in Daura, during which he complained about ineffectiveness of an Air Conditioner. The netizens response amazed me. Some comments are irritating, immature, unprofessional and lacks moral standing! Who cares about morality anyways, in a world where immoral activities are seen as moral, and morality is being questioned.
The post was full of comments like, “with all the money he stole”?, “He couldn’t even build a befitting house for himself?, and many more comments that I wouldn’t like them appearing on this referred blog. It is very sad that some netizens don’t even know what they want. If Buhari has built a gigantic mansion somewhere in Europe or America, same clowns would have rushed to their social media pages to nail and crucify him! Now, that he has led exemplarily, like Tafawa Balewa and many other fathers of this nation, he is being whitewashed, insulted and abused like a common man. Though, a common citizens like all others now, but, the Novel, Animal Farm thought many of us that all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. It is very important to say that Buhari never succeeded but he didn’t fail though, but he has been able to heal some important wounds, cure some cancerous infections drawing back the Nation. Being a fan of Buhari might not be necessary, he doesn’t even care if you are, I am not also one, but if all Nigerians can make him a mentor and learn from his uprightness, his loyalty and love for the Nation, then, our promise land is here. I pray to have such spirit and am working tirelessly to be incorruptible like former President Buhari.
I once worked in an office during President Jonathan’s era, the incumbent who was to hand over the appointment to me was a corporate affairs person and a staunch critic of President Jonathan at that time. On stepping to his office, we exchange pleasantries, he offered me a seat and we began to chat. He was not comfortable with the style and ways of the then President. He criticised him, abused him and called him names. However, when I critically listened to him, scanned through his thoughts via his utterances and hand over briefs, gauged his environment in comparison with his appointment, it was glaring that at his level, he has failed woefully more than the president he was criticising. The rug carpet in his office was bare headed and dirty, no TV ( In a Corporate Affairs Officer’s Office), colonial window blinds and more annoying facilities. In his second office, where his staff were seated, the table I used in my primary School, a community school, in a remote area of this country was better than what his staff were using in this century. In his own sphere and level, he was corrupt and not a good leader.
He was like the character in a dramatic monologues, the Poem, Ulysses written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. The character of the speaker emerges almost unintentionally from his own words. Ulysses’ incompetence as a ruler is evidenced by his preference for potential quests rather than his present responsibilities. He devotes a full 26 lines to his own egotistical proclamation of his zeal for the wandering life, and another 26 lines to the exhortation of his mariners to roam the seas with him. However, he offers only 11 lines of lukewarm praise to his son concerning the governance of the kingdom in his absence, and a mere two words about his “aged wife” Penelope. Thus, the speaker’s own words betray his abdication of responsibility and his specificity of purpose. What a shame!!!! Anyways, I was able to change things before I left. This is how many Nigerians are. Some of those criticising President Buhari should check themselves because they might be a better failure in their responsibility than the man they are criticising. I am not against criticism though, but, it should be done with common sense. Now, an honest look at the bad, ugly and good times of Buhari’s administration.
According to Punch newspapers in its review of President Buhari’s administration, “this era witnessed a relentless upsurge in human misery, rising national debt, two recessions, record unemployment and inflation levels, and receding foreign direct investment. While so much had been expected of him, he delivered eight locust years.” Amongst many other shortcomings of his administration, Buhari’s social investment programmes were adjudged uncoordinated and a failure. The increment of workers salary to 40% to ameliorate the subsidy removal was said not have been done with tact. Unemployment rate is said to be at 33.3 per cent, and youth unemployment at 42.5 per cent. Insecurity discourages direct foreign investment. International airlines cannot repatriate over $800 million due to dollar shortage that has also restricted the importation of raw materials, machinery and parts. The Almighty Naira swap!
Buhari’s administration shortcoming was said not to be lack of policies. Indeed, he had many interesting policies rolled out or inherited under him. However, delegation of responsibility without supervision, feedback, or reviews, Targets are missed or abandoned, and sanctions or replacement of incompetent officials was said to be rare. Problems, mistakes and miscalculations everywhere. Surely, sincerely, it’s very, very bad! This sub heading is the shortest in this piece with the most catastrophic contents. I intentionally didn’t include all bad situations, not to discourage you from reading this piece. It was really bad. I understand how Nigerians feel. They wanted Buhari to perform magic on assumption of office because they desperately wanted a change from the failure of PDP. He couldn’t! Many Nigerians were and are still disappointed with his supposed failures.
Buhari came to work. He wanted to change things, he loves Nigeria more than many of his criticism, he wanted a great country. He came with zeal but maybe no plans and not ready for governance. And maybe he thought it would be an easy ride like his regime as the military head of state when no question should be asked for orders and directives. It took him months to appoint his cabinet, a very ugly situation that made the nation stood still. He was distracted and his approach to governance maybe bad. Strategic communication was not at its best. He was sick!! Yes, he was! He confirmed the tendency of the sickness, “I have never been this sick in my life”, Buhari lamented in an interview. I always call it a strange sickness. He spent 8 months in London for proper treatment. At a point, Fayose, the former governor of Ekiti State proved that Buhari was dead. Citizens started suspecting if the man that returned, looking fresh and robust is actually our own president. I then asked, why did President Yaradua died. He was Governor for 8 years, though he was said to be sick, he did not die as governor, but he died as president few years to his first term in office. Ugly situations everywhere that all cannot be highlighted in this piece. Aso Rock, a place to be, but not to stay.
According to Dr Reuben Abati, he said and I quote, “People tend to be alarmed when the Nigerian Presidency takes certain decisions. They don’t think the decision makes sense. Sometimes, they wonder if something has not gone wrong with the thinking process at that highest level of the country. I have heard people insist that there is some form of witchcraft at work in the country’s seat of government. I am ordinarily not a superstitious person, but working in the Villa, I eventually became convinced that there must be something supernatural about power and closeness to it.……………… I can confirm that every principal officer suffered one tragedy or the other; it was as if you needed to sacrifice something to remain on duty inside that environment. Even some of the women became merchants of dildo because they had suffered a special kind of death in their homes (I am sorry to reveal this) and many of the men complained about something that had died below their waists too. The ones who did not have such misfortune had one ailment or the other that they had to nurse. From cancer to brain and prostate surgery and whatever, the Villa was a hospital full of agonizing patients.” Hmmmm, indeed, a very ugly place to be.
Abati continued in his piece, The Spiritual Side of Aso Rock, “I really don’t quite believe in superstitions, but I am tempted to suggest that this is indeed a country in need of prayers. We should pray before people pack their things into Aso Villa. We should ask God to guide us before we appoint ministers. We should, to put it in technocratic language, advise that the people should be very vigilant. We have all failed so far, that crucial test of vigilance. When Presidents make mistakes, they are probably victims of a force higher than what we can imagine. Every student of Aso Villa politics would readily admit that when people get in there, they actually become something else. They act like they are under a spell. When you issue a well- crafted statement, the public accepts it wrongly. When the President makes a speech and he truly means well, the speech is interpreted wrongly by the public. When a policy is introduced, somehow, something just goes wrong.” Alas! It has started with the first day of the new administration. May God bless Nigeria.
In his inaugural address, the action packed speech, Buhari declared, he was for everyone and belonged to nobody. He ordered the security chiefs to the frontlines immediately to curb the increasing terror activities at that point. He has introduced unique policies which include the Treasury Single Account, the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, the IPPIS salary payment system, Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020, the National Development Plan 2021-2025, and several sectoral and sub-sectoral programmes.
In a recent statement released by the Presidency highlighting former president’s achievements, titled ‘Buhari’s footprint on the sands of time,’ the presidency said, “ President Muhammadu Buhari for eight years, has served, making a salutary impact on nearly all sectors of the national landscape: security, economy, anti-corruption, infrastructure; rail, roads, air and seaports, power, housing, water resources, the oil and gas sector, legislative matters, foreign affairs, sports, youth development, and many others. “Those who are objective, taking a dispassionate look at this fact sheet, would admit that President Buhari came and served meritoriously. As he had promised many times, he would not be leaving Nigeria the way he met it.” On infrastructure, Adesina noted that the regime had, and is constructing, over 961km stretch of rail lines crisscrossing the nation. It noted the launch of a new national 5G policy in 2021 and the successful licensing of two private companies to rollout 5G nationally, adding that Nigeria’s 5G spectrum auction had generated $547m in licence fees.
On the foreign scene, the presidency noted that the Buhari-led government had struck profitable ties and signed various MoUs across infrastructural, security, economy and humanitarian lines. These foreign entities include the United Nations, China, Saudi Arabia, United Arabs Emirates, Morocco, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Germany, among others. The regime, the fact sheet said, had also been instrumental in the appointment of several Nigerians as heads of various global organisations.
They include the Designation of the President as the African Union Anti-Corruption Champion for 2018; Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, appointed 2017; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General of the World Trade Organisation (first African and first woman to hold the position, elected 2021); Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, elected in 2015 and re-elected 2020; and Benedict Oramah, President of African Export-Import Bank, re-elected for a second term in 2020. Others are Mohammad Barkindo, Secretary-General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries; elected 2016, re-elected 2019; Chile Eboe-Osuji, President of the International Criminal Court, 2018–2021.
Aside these highlights, President Mohammadu Buhari has made the Nigerian Armed Forces a very strong, reliable and one of the best armed forces in this part of the world. It can be argued that terrorism has drastically reduced in the North East. The displacement of terrorists led them into kidnapping and attacks on soft targets. The security agencies are also gradually getting on top of this situation. The signing into law of 2023 Electoral Bill was a great achievement as it gave us a near perfect elections during which incumbents lost to their opponents and the Almighty Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu lost Lagos state to LP Presidential candidate, Peter Obi. The above mentioned achievements amongst others showed that Buhari has not actually failed and also, he didn’t succeed.