Buhari and a ‘messiah’s loss of appeal
We are not all endowed with the peculiar gift of clairvoyance like Nostradamus, the famed fourteenth century astrologer -cum- physician, who arguably foretold great happenings and events that would later shape centuries he could only imagine. But when an audacious attempt is made to do a post-mortem of a presidency that is yet to round off its first tenure, then, one begins to wonder whether such a presidency has crossed the rubicon on policies with disastrous effects from which returning may be impossible or perhaps, difficult. Who would expect something good from an administration whose actions and inactions conjure pictures of hopelessness even in its final days?
There is a limit to the propaganda machinery any government in the world can set in motion to inveigle her citizenry into giving it their unalloyed support, if there is great gulf between actual falsehood and reality. It is only a matter of time before the propaganda messages being deployed to influence public opinions, metamorphosed into an uncomfortable jarring sound that must be turned off to prevent the people from losing their sanity. The once fervent converts have now taken a deep dive into the rivers of apostasy because in vain, have they laboured for the religion of change.
The power and the force of appeal that catapulted President Muhammadu Buhari to power on May 29, 2015 is still a subject for political scientists to examine. Though there were divergent opinions about Buhari’s candidacy leading up to the election, one thing that was not lost on majority of Nigerians was the hankering for a sea change in status quo that would bring about the desired growth and development we have always craved for in a country where political leadership has become synonymous with failure and disappointment; and the rising poverty level in the country, only becoming one of the conspicuous dividends of our democracy.
After the 2015 election was won and lost, the All Progressive Congress never actually left the campaign mood and misguidedly, albeit true, continued to ascribe blame to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) approximately three years after the election despite having claimed to have the remedy to the country’s ills, on the strength of which Nigerians turned out en masse to ensure their victory at the polls and conversely the defeat of the PDP. Does the Buhari’s administration luxuriate gleefully in the attendant pecks that come with political power but, greatly, abhorred the onerous responsibilities that go with it?
While Nigerians eagerly anticipated great leadership (despite ominous warning from the opposition) from the Buhari’s administration that would help unite our warring heterogeneous nationalities, the Buhari administration, instead, chose to play the ethnic card in the appointment of political office holders, which gesture, as observed in the ministries, Departments and Agencies of government was so pronounced that it contravened the principles of federal character, to such an extent as is unprecedented in the history of the country.
While the anti -corruption war of the Buhari administration gathered steam from the outset, it has with the passing of time become tepid and equally failed to gather support across the political spectrum. This is because there are strong perceptions that the anti -corruption war has become selective, since majority of the people being hounded by the anti- corruption agencies are members of the opposition. Worse still is the fact that those with pending corruption cases who crossed over to the ruling APC seem to have been canonized as saints with their anti corruption cases being torpedoed in the various courts by unseen forces.
In giving more weapons to their critics, the APC leadership, due to their impolitic actions, has inadvertently corroborated the allegation of indulging in selective anti- corruption war due to the publication of the so- called looter’s list.
While the publication is a travesty of the rule of law, because of the presumption of innocence of any accused as enshrined in the constitution until such a person is deemed guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction, the APC’s “looter’s list” if one should use that word, clearly mirrors the fact that it was targeted to portray members of the opposition in bad light devoid of the overall objective to name and shame unscrupulous Nigerians that have pillaged our collective patrimony.
On the economic front, the President’s handlers would surely be quick to tout the increase in the external reserve of the country as a resounding achievement that should be celebrated, but hold on a minute. Sound economists have stated times without number that the external reserve of a country is not an end in itself but a means to an end in the growth and development of any country. A government that promised to create jobs but ended up shedding millions of job from the economy due to its misinformed economic policies with the attendant crisis that led to the flight of companies and foreign capital from the economy should be lampooned. It would be a terrible disservice if I failed to congratulate President Buhari as Nigeria has finally overtaken India as the country with highest population of poorest people in the world.
The headlines in our national dailies showing the horrors of violent killings by herdsmen and armed bandits in the northern region have made us to understand the extent to which the Buhari’s administration has kept its promise on the security of lives and property in the country. The killings have eroded so much of our humanity that we have become so numbed to what would have on a normal day filled us with shock and anger.Our minds have become attuned to such macabre barbarity that the hackneyed feelings of sympathy without concrete actions have made the Buhari government complicit, due to its monumental failure to bring the killings under control despite impassioned pleas from both ordinary and eminent Nigerians.
This is not surely what the great people of this country bargained for when they came out in their millions to vote for President Buhari and APC.There is now a pervasive sense of déjà vu, reminiscent of how the Goodluck Jonathan administration lost the support of majority of Nigerians.
Buhari, a name that once stood for everything that would have become right for Nigeria has become associated with hardship, retrogression and everything that has become wrong with Nigeria.
The seminal words of late Arlen Price who once remarked that “when the heart is willing, it will find a thousand ways, but when it is unwilling, it will find a thousand excuses” aptly describes the attitude of the Buhari APC government of the day.
Are the excuses being churned out by President Buhari and members of his administrations anytime there is a crisis at hand a pointer to the fact that they are bereft on ideas how to satisfy the yearnings of Nigerians? The world is moving forward, and as we all know, time waits for no one. It would be foolhardy at this critical juncture of our national life to allow sentiments becloud our sense of judgment.
President Buhari has so far laid no concrete foundation for anything to stand on. Any talk of a legacy at this juncture is at best amorphous, and the noble expectations of millions of Nigerians are fast becoming a disappearing mirage as this administration winds to a close. It is up to Nigerians to decide whether they want a leadership change or go for another four years of roller coaster ride with the Buhari administration.
Ogla is a legal practitioner, writer and public analyst based in Lagos.