The failure of governance
During his 10-year stint as British prime minister, Tony Blair set up a service delivery unit to track the delivery of government policies and priorities. This innovative model has been copied around the world. His African Governance Initiative was designed to help African countries address their governance challenges. This initiative enables leaders measure their performance regarding their pet projects, programmes and their execution.
Thus we can measure President Muhammadu Buhari’s performance in his 17-month reign as the Nigerian leader. Security wise, he has only been able to retrieve 21 out of 219 Chibok girls; though a few had been seen to have escaped. Boko Haram is yet to be conquered. It is still ravaging the North East; Sambisa forest is yet to be conquered. Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) still abound in Abuja, Maiduguri and Benin City. Up and until this moment herdsmen are still ravaging places in the states of Enugu, Benue and Nasarawa. The state governors have not been able to tackle the menace. However, Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State alone has been able to enact law on grazing although the Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Saad Abubakar III has declared gun carrying herdsmen as insurgents.
Then, there is a ravaging kidnap bogyman. These kidnappings constitute a grave danger to peace and stability in the country. This was dramatised in the past month by the simultaneous kidnapping of Mrs. Margaret Emefiele, the wife of the Central Bank Governor and the former Minister of the Environment Mrs. Laurentia Malam, who was seized along with her husband, Pius. On the heels of those incidents was the kidnap of the vice principal and four students of the Model College Igbonla, Epe, Lagos State. All of this goes to prove the failure of governance in Nigeria.
It was very depressing that at the parade of Mrs. Emefiele’s kidnappers, two serving soldiers, Lance Corporals Musa Maidabara and Edwin George were named as ring leaders while another dismissed soldier Ernest Uduefe played an active role in the crime. The ethnic mix of the criminals that collected N80 million ransom punctured the belief that ethnic Fulani gangsters were the criminals. Among the gang that kidnapped Mrs. Emefiele were criminals of Benue, Edo, Adamawa, Sokoto, Nasarawa, Niger, Delta, Gombe and Borno origin. That the kidnappers reflected the federal character of Nigeria is an indication of clear and present danger for this country. Certainly, kidnapping is contributing to the economic adversity of our dear country. It is preventing tourists and business men from travelling in and around Nigeria.
Only recently, robbers shot the Equatorial Guinea Consul Juan Mbomio and his wife Maria. They were travelling from Port Harcourt to Calabar when the incident occurred. They are now recuperating at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital after bullets were removed from their bodies. It was at the same time that the homes of judges were raided by men of the Department of State Services (DSS). The decay of the Nigerian judiciary is being laid bare. The DSS raided the homes and arrested Justices of the Supreme Court Sylvester Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro; Appeal Court Justice Mohammed Tsamiya; Federal High Court judges Adeniyi Ademola and Muazu Pindiga; the Chief Judge of Enugu State Innocent Umezulike and the Kano State High Court Judge Kabir Auta.
The arrest that generated the most drama was the aborted arrest of a Port Harcourt judge who was shielded by the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike. Judges and legislators have no immunity from prosecution under our laws. The National Security Agencies Act in Section 3 charges security agencies with the responsibility of preventing and detecting crimes against Nigeria and such other responsibilities as the National Assembly or the President may direct. Incidentally, the Chief Justice Mahmud Mohammed had this September recommended Tsamiya, Auta and Umezulike to their respective governors for retirement over allegations that they were demanding bribes to pervert the course of justice. These breaches are ominous as they threaten the very fabric of our society.
All these have happened despite the on-going trials of Colonel Sambo Dasuki for corruptly diverting money meant for fighting the Boko Haram insurgency. Among the many participants in the diversion is the former Chief of Air Staff Air Marshall Alex Badeh; who is standing trial in an Abuja court. Another round of allegations of corruption this time in the National Assembly has been spearheaded by the former House of Representatives Appropriation Committee chairman, Abdulmumin Jibrin. He had alleged that the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara and his principal officers, out of N100 billion House budget had allocated N40 billion to themselves in their constituencies as well as N10 million illegal allowances. He had requested that those allowances be returned to public coffers in view of the austere times we are now facing.
Surprisingly, the 25 allegations have been ignored by the President and the anti graft agencies Jibrin sent them to. Jibrin claimed to have sent his petitions to the EFCC, the ICPC, the Nigeria Police Force, the DSS and the Presidential Committee on corruption. Thus, the Federal Executive Council is playing along with the National Assembly to stifle the anti corruption war as it affects the president’s own people; in the manner General Buratai was cleared of corruption levelled against him.
Another side of the failure of governance is mass unemployment. We are not aware of any new jobs Buhari has created since coming into office 17 months ago. There are no new companies or state corporations established by government. What we know is that banks, media houses and companies are retrenching. Manufacturing companies are folding up and relocating to neighbouring countries such as Ghana. Worse still, local and state governments can neither pay staff salaries nor pensions.
The people are starving because importation of rice has been banned. Essential commodities are scarce, diesel now sells N200 per litre; petrol N145 per litre while kerosene is out of reach at N210 per litre. Consequently, inflation is rocketing at 18 per cent. This failure to deliver on promises is a failure of governance. At the closing ceremony of the 2016 Nigerian Economic Summit, the minister of planning disclosed that the policy framework upon which plans to operate will be released by the end of this year. This is objectionable because it means this country is being operated without plans for the past 17 months.