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What exactly is Buhari saying?

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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (Photo by Kola SULAIMON / AFP)

This is not the best of time for politics and politicians with character and self-discipline. This is because politics around the world has become muddy and questionable, perhaps the reason behind its reference as a dirty business. In Nigeria for instance, one would not be crucified to say that politics is queer and forlorn especially with what is playing out in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) government. The party and its members will never stop amusing Nigerians with drama, controversies and daunting statements among others. The other day, a friend of mine spoke excellently in defence of President Muhammadu Buhari and painted a picture that exonerated him from the rest of political comedians. The gentleman swore with his life that President Buhari is a democrat to the core, a bridge builder and above all an incorruptible person.

Of course, Buhari’s pedigree is absolutely undisputable being a world class and Africa’s number one with no rival in sight at the moment. Never mind Dogara’s quibble about Buhari not being the only one that is corrupt free. However looking at president Buhari’s body language on certain issues with regards to national security, one would notice the biblical mother’s affection towards a particular child play out. On several occasions the federal government’s statements tend to sound like the voice of Isaac but the body of Esau. Over the years, the governments’ continued silence and unwillingness to call killer herdsmen terrorist to order and its sudden approach to resolve the herdsmen conflict with farmers with RUGA are questionable. There is also, the window of opportunity (six months) given to immigrants to flock the country in the name of registration. With regards to the above, does Buhari look like a true democrat or a bridge builder with such actions? No doubt, his immaculate and incorruptible robe earned him accolade internationally but it is not enough when back at home he cannot unite his people along ethnic and religious lines. If you are a careful observer and have been following President Buhari after the 2015 inauguration, one would notice that some of Buhari’s statements attract more questions than understanding what the president is trying to achieve or say. Not too long ago, the president’s tirade that Nigerian youth are lazy, a statement that brought the administration to its low ebb was greeted with serious condemnation across the country.

Again, quite recently, one is surprised at how Buhari has continued to put his party and administration in a tight corner with his not too refined statements. No doubt, the president has the free rein to bluntly speak his mind, but not without some kind of guide or management from his media aides and political advisers. While receiving elders and leaders of thought from Ogun State at the State House, the other day, President Buhari tried to count himself among the genuine praise singers of Moshood Abiola’s charisma and he unknowingly discredited his government with a slap of mud on the face when he said: “If chief Moshood Abiola was allowed to rule, the religious and tribal issues now in Nigeria would not have been strong, …because of his personality, he went across the country and was accepted. He used his resources and energy to convince Nigerians that all he wanted was a solid Nigeria.” Now, the big questions begging for answers are: Did Buhari not traverse the length and breath of the country during his elections campaigns just like Abiola did? Did the people not accept or receive him with open hands and ecstasy because of his personality just like Abiola? Why then is ethnic and religious bigotry so pronounced in his government and by extension the entire country? Is President Buhari therefore, admitting to Nigerians and the world in general that his government has woefully failed to unite the nation along ethnic and religious lines, hence the tension in the country today? It would be highly imprudent on the part of the president’s kitchen cabinet, political advisers and media and publicity aides especially to continue to expose Buhari in making such political blunders, which the opposition party may be documenting to shame the ruling party in the near future. At a point during Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016, his campaign managers and aides saw the need to disallow him from using his Twitter handle having discovered that its usage was giving the opposition an edge and to a large extent it contributed immensely to Trump’s election victory.

Aside President Buhari’s promises, if there is anything that voters and Nigerians in general wanted from Buhari’s government before they massively voted for him in 2015, it was to end corruption, unite the nation along ethnic and religious lines and conquer the Boko Haram menace that has held the nation to ransom, causing havoc and fear among the people. But instead of tackling the above, other ugly vices like herdsmen dilemma, kidnapping, and killings among others reared its head and engulfed the nation. Without employing the services of a soothsayer, the ruling government ought to know that the chief threat to security is lack of education and unemployment for the teeming young population. On this note, the president resounded strongly the other day while receiving a group which identified itself as the progressives in Academics (Pro-Acad) in Aso Rock and said that education remains his government’s priority with N1 trillion so far been injected into the sector in the last four years. However, the effect of such huge investment is questionable as education remains neglected and in tatters. Of course, the issue of affordable housing, constant electricity, and good road network among others remain as a dream waiting for its reality at dawn.

At the moment, President Buhari’s plan to keep his most important election promises is failing. This is so because his administration seems nearly as weak as the one he defeated at the polls. As it were, majority of the people no longer earn his trust, they see the administration as deceptive and pompous with an over-bearing indices of selfish interest. Therefore, it is unarguable that the ruling government may go down in history as one that came with a whirlwind of ‘change slogan’ and so it changed everything from usual to abnormal during its first term in office and currently on a second with another slogan that seems to take the nation to an uncertain next level.

However, to come out of the doldrum, President Buhari in clear conscience has to retrace his steps and refine his future statements. Also, political appointments that seem lopsided to a particular section of the country and religion should be balanced. Most important, something about Nigeria’s leadership style has to change for good forever and the nation’s interest must be paramount first. Those in government need to know that their job is to take the lead and show leadership by example. Then, the people’s responsibility is to make sure that such exemplary move will on their part yield results in more resilient and prosperous Nigeria. This is because, all over the world, everyone talks about Nigeria’s abundant resources as they make inferences that Nigerians ought not to suffer poor healthcare, unemployment, inadequate education among others but enjoy incredible sweet presence of basic human amenities, an enjoyment, almost too good or better that the American dream. Therefore, Nigeria’s political leaders should endeavour to eschew corruption and squarely face national development as a matter of priority.


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