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So, Buhari won’t make history, after all – Part 2

By Guardian Nigeria
13 February 2022   |   2:56 am
I have been writing on this same construct since 2017 under titles such as ‘How PMB can make history’, ‘Why Buhari may not make history’, ‘Buhari’s near-success syndrome’

[FILES] Muhammadu Buhari<br />PHOTO: Twitter/BashirAhmaad

I have been writing on this same construct since 2017 under titles such as ‘How PMB can make history’, ‘Why Buhari may not make history’, ‘Buhari’s near-success syndrome’ and more recently, ‘So, Buhari won’t make history, after all?’. It is becoming clear from my crystal ball as an oracle (a spiritual man) that our leader is losing more steam as he chases history. And so he can’t make history, after all as some forces of darkness even inside the seat of power in the nation’s capital have hijacked all voices of reason and wisdom that have threatened to enable our leader Malam Garba Shehu introduced to us in a blaze of glory in 2015 as a ‘New Sheriff in Town’. Whatever happened to the New Sheriff! 
You will recall that I have quoted the iconic Ronald Reagan several times here on this same theme: The former U.S President one noted: ‘The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things’.

It has been in the light of the above powerful words of Reagan that I have always joined good people who would like to encourage our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari to make history by getting good people around him to do one of the greatest things – signing the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law to begin a clean process of leadership recruitment in our failing country. I have always added that if the President could embrace restructuring too through return to federalism we lost since 1966, he would make history despite his apparently poor performance his reputation managers have always been disputing as they do what they are paid to do for our leader. Our leader failed again to sign the electoral amendment bill last December. He blamed it on some provisions some politicians, especially most governors didn’t like, notably the direct primary, which threatened to return power to the people. Our president missed a great point in pursuit of history. The same restructured bill is again on the president’s table. It is beginning to appear that another darkness will fall on the bill again despite the warning of the election management agency that failure to sign the bill into law in time might affect preparations for 2023.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice whose lips we have had to read on the bill has spoken again. The Kebbi-born politician, Abubakar Malami has become an oracle on the bill: Once our Malami says, it may not be signed, that is the last word. Malam Malami has become a ‘principality and power’ that prayer warriors have to face on the significant bill forces of darkness may curiously exploit to scuttle the 2023 elections. 

So, as I have been saying, in the next few days, our leader who vaunted the other day that he would not end his tenure as a failure, needs to renew his mind, rally his governing party and citizens behind him to restructure Nigeria without dividing it. And that should begin with calling the bluff of the retrogressive forces in APC, his party and signing the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law in the next few days before he slips into the dark side of history. This is possible only with a sincerity of purpose as the driving force. This is what drives me to think that at the moment, the President needs encouragement more than condemnation from any quarters: He is surrounded at the State House, Abuja by only his kinsmen most of whom would not like to tell him what he should do to finish well, even if he can’t finish strong.  

As I was saying, in the beginning, the kinsmen who helped him to make his cabinet did not assist him in making a great cabinet. It is quite obvious that the President was not told by those who helped him shape the presidential bureaucracy and the cabinet in 2015 that no leader can do well in office with a mediocre presidential bureaucracy and cabinet. After about six months of assuring the people that he was head hunting good and reliable thinkers, what he came up with was quite disappointing, after all. 

No insult is meant here, please. This is without prejudice to the few good ones who have been unequally yoked with mediocrities (not mediocres, please) that abound in the place. We are just discussing simple points in nation building within the context of the new world that social and digital technologies daily disrupt. Yes, only leaders who surround themselves with very smart managers can make history in the new world and even science of business and politics.  

What is more, our president has obviously compressed his own agenda to fighting corruption and insecurity. But there are no indications yet that our taciturn leader can still make history with fighting corruption and insecurity, despite his recent claims and pledges especially in the North East Zone and North West where the evil ones are still reigning. His reputation managers may not agree but truth matters, in this regard. Now the North is demonstrating against Buhari’s inability to provide security for even the North – his people and indeed the country. Even the news media organs in the North have become more radical than their southern competitors. Which confirms what I have been noting here that you can hide truth in a grave but it won’t stay there.

What is worse, the military establishment that we used to be proud of appears to have lost its mojo in Buhari’s Nigeria. Even the presidency doesn’t believe in operational efficiency of the police force anymore. We see the spirit of errors everywhere, especially in the North East and North West where the Air Force once erroneously bombed an IDP camp. We have lost so many officers of the Nigerian armed forces to the war in the North. We are beginning to lose some officers to the tentacles of the war in the South East. The other day, there was a supplementary budget of about one trillion naira to fight insecurity at the time university lecturers were gearing up for yet another industrial action. In other words, education, which is generally recognised as a weapon of country and global competitiveness has suffered some reverses in Buhari’s Nigeria. That is what happens when the illiterate of the 21st century are allowed to take charge as major state actors. That is the view of a writer on leadership and management, Alvin Toffler, who always muses on “rethinking the future”.

According to him, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”. This is why most modern leaders always strengthen their governments with strong men and women, who can learn, relearn and unlearn even in office.

As I was also saying, let’s look at the machinery for fighting corruption. There are three agencies comprising the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB). The arrowhead here has always been the EFCC. But the President’s ruling party was once so disorganised that the first EFCC acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, nominated since November 2015, was not confirmed by the Senate dominated by the president’s party men before he was removed in 2021. How else does one understand the politics in the presidency where the secret service chief executive twice wrote to the Senate that Magu should not be confirmed? Magu was somehow stranded for six years and even the influential Attorney General and Minister of Justice appeared to be at war with him throughout his turbulent tenure. Curiously, Buhari’s presidency didn’t settle their rift.  How can the president make history through his war against corruption when Magu too was once quoted as saying that he was losing the war? Even the ICPC chairmanship was once in a hibernation mode: a board member once acted as Chairman from July 2017 when the tenure of the Chairman expired in December 2018. Acting Chairman of EFCC since 2015. There was once an Acting SGF from May 2015; There were once so many ‘actors’ in office in Buhari’s presidency of anything is possible. 

How can the president make history with this kind of executive inertia and ad-hocism? Can there be history making in fighting official graft without reforming the NNPC according to the new Petroleum Industry Act? What has changed apart from the name as a company limited by shares?  That is why I feel we should begin to encourage the President to pay due attention to the Committee his party, the APC set up to prepare a blueprint on the hurricane called ‘restructuring’. There is some sense in that critical national assignment. 

Despite the fact that some president’s men may not like Malam Nasir el-Rufai’s face and politics, the Kaduna State Governor and chairman of the APC Panel definitely has enough cognitive resources to handle the critical assignment. He gave the Party and the President a good document on restructuring since 2018. 

The only trouble with the APC Committee may be a vicious cabal around the President who might have been obsessed at that defining moment about politics of a second term without thinking about the implications of absence of major achievements in the first term. Now there is no fear of a second term. The president should restructure Nigeria and begin this by signing that electoral bill into law today. He should call the bluff of Malam Malami and his band of ignorant patriots who do not understand that Buhari is going to end up as a failure if he doesn’t reform Nigeria’s leadership recruitment process through the electoral amendment bill now on his table.  

But the president should note that if he continues to adopt I-don’t- care attitude to clamour for restructuring of the federation as most hawks around may advise, the consequences of the verdict of history may be harsh on him. He will go down in history as a military leader and politician who just wasted our time in office without any significant achievement. 

Verily, verily I believe that the President can make history if he can restructure Nigeria to run as a federation where the present states can leverage on the endowments in their areas to create wealth. To set the tone for that, our leader should sign the electoral bill that will assure Nigerians that we can elect our leaders peacefully without recourse to the courts that seem to be the dominant electoral factor now. Our President should listen to Dolly Parton who once noted that, “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are an excellent leader”. 

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