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If I were President Buhari


 Buhari at Eagle Square, Abuja, during his inauguration as the fifth President of the fourth Nigerian Republic.

Buhari at Eagle Square, Abuja, during his inauguration as the fifth President of the fourth Nigerian Republic.

On assumption of office, I would have ordered a change for the Nigerian currency. That would have had more effect in the fight against corruption than chasing people about today. Many are so sophisticated that they have money hidden in vaults in their homes, in septic tanks, soak-away pits and in their farms, immune to CBN’s BVN policy the same way kidnappers have become immune to tracking despite the registration of SIM cards. What even works in this country? This money can serve them for seven-forevers without venturing to the bank.

Its hard to believe that people hide money in their farms. The change of currency would have forced looters to visit the banks for exchange and be taken out to EFCC in fetters for questioning. I recall luminously, someone mentioned in a public place that during the last general elections, many people in his village were given money wrapped with ‘All States Trust Bank’ wrappers. Goodness gracious me! All States Trust Bank went bust years ago. That money was obviously saved in a vault in someone’s home and there should be more where it came from.

As Mr. President I would never have allowed the national assembly to elect its principal officers without recourse to the party’s preferred candidates. As leader of the party, I would have appealed to the sensibilities of the overly-ambitious to support the party and elect the preferred candidates in both houses of parliament. That remains one of the greatest albatrosses of the president. And it was too early in his administration for such shilly-shallying. PMB may not admit it, but it is the main reason his policy thrusts aren’t pursued with neck-breaking speed. And folks who are members of his party have settled for nativist agenda away from national agenda. Non-alignment is a never a good policy. A president must be aligned and should have a bird’s-eye view and a worm’s-eye view in the workings of the legislature. Being abreast of goings on there is the fastest way to get his policies passed in an accelerated manner.

As president, I would have thanked all those who worked assiduously to ensure the victory of the party in power. But it would have stopped at that: “thank you.” The party establishment ought to have stepped aside to properly direct the affairs of the party and not be active players running affairs of the party as Ministers, Chairpersons, Director Generals, Managing Directors of corporations, Special Assistants, etc. It would have been fitting to recruit capable hands and be given the mandate by the elders of the party to pursue the party’s cardinal points. Dismal performance would have led to the sack of these people. The reverse is the case today. Many of the persons who worked to install the party into power have one appointment or the other with big egos and wear opinions on their sleeves. The effect of this, is that the party is beginning to lose steam and appears to lack structure.

It is a fact that the feeling of entitlement by stakeholders in a project destroys the team. PMB should have allowed these stakeholders to be elders indeed. One way would have been for them to ‘stir’ the affairs of the party but not to directly ‘row,’ the affairs of the party.

Nigerians are highly religious people but no spiritual and religious life would be made a personal affair by me. Under my watch, there wouldn’t be governmental funding of pilgrimages and no religious coverage of my activities would be broadcast on government telecommunication network.

When people elsewhere are busy making plans to launch satellites into space, to venture to the moon, we worry over religion without solving man’s problems. I find it hard to believe that we can subscribe to the moral Pharisaism and to Manichaean views about what is good and bad. I wonder if the numerous religious sects in our country have advanced civilization or taken us backwards? I still have not found anything on a religion that focuses on love and not buildings and sects. In Nigeria, ours are about religious competition, and there is no relationship between religion and society.‬

As president and especially in this recession, Nigerians would observe less public holidays, even gazetted ones. Why rest when the whole country is in desperate straits?
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• Abah, is teacher, writer and consultant, writes from Port Harcourt.
See the remaining part of this article on for further reading.

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EFCCMuhammadu Buhari
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