The trap Buhari created
This president refuses to be a champion, needed to enhance the change mantra of his party. He missed a golden chance to speak to Nigerians on the state of the nation when he was given the opportunity by the Federal Parliament (House of Representatives). This president behaved like the proverbial blind leading the blind and denying that they are blind. And if they are blind, people must be responsible for their loss of sight. This president doesn’t believe in consensus building, if he did he would have walked on the golden highway to educate Nigerians and showcase his achievements at the National Assembly. The gods gifted him a golden opportunity but just like the ancient cavemen he fled (no disrespect intended). This president neither talks nor acts, he delegates responsibility and, accountability to his aides.
Survivalism for these aides has taken the place of heroism and loyalty to the president is better than to the country. The polity is a boiling cauldron, sixteen Kano bound travellers were killed by bandits on the now notorious Kaduna – Abuja highway as reported the other day and yet the president found it fitting to travel to Katsina State for a one-week break.
Nigeria is at war, not with outside forces but with internal unwashed dogs that no-one person has been able to tame and I wonder why these people, including the president are in politics. The president’s rigid, bureaucratic, and defensive routines inhibit growth and change. A retired general should take initiative to bring order to a troubled country. He should never be fatigued. The president should be a strategic leader and should not be goaded before he chooses to act. He should ask members of the international community for help and declare a state of emergency in many states where the administrators have proven to be total turkeys in politics. That other sleeping president, in office for six years, couldn’t tame the unwashed dogs when they were only a rag tag army, but this president has justified why people refer to him as a clueless president. I voted for him in 2015 because I assumed that he would display a genuine and enthusiastic commitment to the development of Nigeria but he obviously cares nothing.
Not surprisingly, his media handlers have taken a cue from the body language of their principal to insult anybody who dares to discount the achievement of the president. They forget that they are harming the already worsened reputation of the president. Truth is a prerequisite for real change. The security situation in Nigeria now is worse than at any time in Nigeria’s history. It needs strong will to handle and not defensive and self-reinforcing tactics that are out of sync with harsh realities. It is regrettable that a general cannot create a dialogue with members of a Federal Legislature, why then is he in politics? This president keeps his thoughts on many national issues hidden and I cannot reconcile that.
He let those of us who were his supporters before the 2015 general elections ashamed of our decisions to elect him as president, risking our reputation and lives, especially, for those of us who at the time lived near Goodluck Jonathan’s ardent supporters in Port Harcourt. Politics in the Niger Delta is war. His aides asked him to avoid an embarrassing situation at the National Assembly but didn’t counsel him to examine his own responsibility on the worsening security situation in Nigeria.
Nigeria cannot move forward when a president unilaterally wants to be in control, in a democracy, without consensus, information sharing, and the suppression of negative feelings about his administration. He has repeatedly asked soldiers to fight Boko Haram, tame malevolence. Give him report. Be open and transparent but he is not transparent. This president temporizes when it matters most and doesn’t have the courage of his convictions. Holy wars by misfits have held Nigeria by the jugular and it has become impossible to quench.
Misfits today decide the fate of Nigeria. How sad! How maddening! The process to return Nigeria to sanity will become activated when this president accepts personal responsibility in the failings of his administration on security issues. He cannot, like an average Joe, behave like a helpless person. The real enemies of Nigeria are these ill-bred political persons. Hope is not a business strategy and yet they ask citizens to keeping hoping and praying to God to intervene on security matters. Self-induced censorship doesn’t create conditions for dialogue. It polarizes people and the polity.
I expected this president to have a communication strategy, to know how to persuade and sell Nigeria to Nigerians but he seems to be comfortable in the role and not duties of office of president. Just like his predecessor, he went to office to make history, for its sake. A president must be an effective communicator and an influencer. He should able to think on his feet to present arguments of all shades in a positive manner I expected this president to touch base with Nigerians but the Nigeria of his dream it appears is for acquaintances, and kinsmen. Leaders today make integration possible. Nigeria is too big for one individual and for any tribe, including the big-for-chopping majority tribes (apologies Kenule Saro-Wiwa). Nigeria would grow and develop when this president and others after him are ready to share hardship with citizens, lead from the front and share directions with all and not some citizens of Nigeria, the Attorney General of Nigeria inclusive.
Abah, a teacher, speaker, campaigner and consultant wrote from Abuja.