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For the good of Nigeria

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At last, he finally responded to the elite, a class of distinguishing and eminent statesmen and women who chose to talk tough but true about the situation of things in the country. But, regrettably in a different dimension hence the concern whether he would take it in good faith and listen to the candid advice? Would government apologists and sycophants flocking around him in Aso Rock, not continue to lead him astray from doing the utmost good for Nigeria? Sincerely, I sympathise with President Muhammadu Buhari the moment he ate his words and centred himself on the political arena as the All Progressives Congress (APC) party presidential flag bearer in the 2015 elections. Then the opposition believed he is the only person who of course is different among them without a soiled finger in corruption that can unseat the incumbent, President Goodluck Jonathan.

No sooner than most Nigerians went to town in praise of the man whose impeccable character is obviously immaculate that none in the land could openly challenge. Therefore, he is seen as a saviour in Nigeria. Even before he assumed power, his party chieftains built a castle of hope in the minds of Nigerians. In the name of the saint and their party, they profess that the economy would be fixed in no time, electricity would be stable within a short period, while employment and jobs will flow like milk and honey. Of course, the health sector will be improved to discourage health tourism just as housing will not only be affordable but enough for all. In fact, the ruling party they say would pay unemployed graduates a stipend of five thousand naira allowance monthly while school pupils will enjoy a daily free meal at school among others.

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To many Nigerians, a brighter and prosperous future beckons, while the masses could feel certain confidence from the good intention or good plans. But, no sooner after the inauguration that the government began to waver from inaction and inability to focus on the business of governance and found itself enmeshed with delight in blaming the tortuous condition Nigerians are experiencing on past administrations. At the moment, it is embarrassing for those who put themselves to great exertion in betting that President Buhari would turn the country around in no time, to come out of the illusion to a reality that our political leaders have no conscience. It is rather unfortunate that Mr President has joined the bandwagon to drumbeat his government’s achievements, thereby asking critics (elite) to stop harassing his government in the face of enormous progress.

The other day, in his home town, Daura, Katsina State, while hosting the APC governors the President regretted that: “Nigerian elite are not interested in rating the competence, but they are interested in harassing us, despite all the efforts we are making” President Buhari should be reminded that serious politics is not simply a parade of one’s agenda or good intentions, just as it is an idle exercise to start pointing accusing fingers while you evaluate self. Therefore, His Excellency should please spare Nigerians the trouble of counting his administration’s so-called achievements. By the way, no one, not even the elite are in a contest about President Buhari’s administration’s ‘gargantuan’ achievements. But it is disheartening to hear that Nigerians who are supposed to benefit and enjoy these laudable achievements are being murdered daily by bandits, herdsmen among others who migrate from foreign lands to cause havoc in Nigeria. In this context, the Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka recently in an interview with British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) pidgin service, urged President Buhari to speak urgently about the herdsmen crisis before it degenerates into a civil war. He said: “…We may enter a phase of serious skirmishes which get more and more violent and may develop into civil war and a very untidy mercy one. That is my biggest fear…” The miserable predicament of Nigerians as it concerns insecurity is quite unbecoming as the federal government seems to have developed cold feet to address the issue. The ruling government has to weigh the insecurity debacle Nigerians are facing on a daily basis and realise that it cannot as a government and country of laws allow someone or group of people to conduct themselves as if the law does not apply to them.

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Perhaps a certain spirit of pettiness and meanness allowed the President to give marching orders to the governors to go back to their constituencies and make effort to convince the elite to give his government the respect it deserves. Without prejudice, President Buhari ought to know that respect is not only earned it is equally reciprocal. It is indeed a sad measure of Nigeria’s politicians’ incapacity to heed advice from people outside government. Instead of looking forward, President Buhari is compelling the elite to look backwards between 1999 and 2014 and check the NNPC and CBN records. According to him, the daily production was 2.4million barrels per day with an average cost of 100 dollars per barrel…but when we took over, production went down to about half a million barrel per day and the price also collapsed. We had to do what is called bailout…” The APC’s story is just as simple and short as that. Despite the bailout measure among others, the economy went into a recession. In the search for a solution, President Buhari government launched a mass awareness campaign to mobilise Nigerians especially the youth to embrace agriculture in order to diversify and strengthen the economy. Regrettably, insecurity took a toll in making agriculture not to flourish due to the incessant farmers/herders conflicts across the country. Of course, the constant sad news of bandits terrorising farmers in the northern part of the country is heartbreaking. Not so long ago, just before Christmas in December 2020, over three score rice farmers were killed in Bornu.

At the moment, the nation is in dire need of unity, no doubt, therefore, this is not a question of the government being considered weak or otherwise. Clearly, by asking the elite to stop talking (harassing), President Buhari is not only being petty but envious of the elite’s hypersensitivity to the nation’s challenges. The critical question is whether it might be at all in Mr President’s interest to listen to the elite for the sole purpose of finding a common ground in solving the security labyrinth facing the nation. There is a shame that Nigeria’s political leaders must admit, the inability to keep their words and maintain their integrity without falter. For President Buhari, before you join the legion of promise defaulters, you have to do things differently. Even after the missteps and setbacks of the past years, there is still time for the ruling government to fulfil the expectations of Nigerians. To be candid, not much time is left. But we can rescue the nation from the jugular of insecurity with whatever time is left at hand if the Commander in Chief leads.

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