When will Buhari end uncertainty?
Barely two weeks ago, I looked again into the seed of our time and alerted the nation within the context of Buhariwatch that ‘our president is procrastinating again’. It is sad to note that the president of the most populous black nation on earth is still procrastinating. We can’t repeat this counsel enough: that the president should tell us the colour of his new deal with Nigeria this week. He should unveil his new Special Advisers and his new Cabinet members this week, lest his presidency will lose steam and relevance.
There is a time for everything. It is a time for the president to end uncertainty in the land. The fate of about 200 million Nigerians is hanging in the balance. The destiny of more than 1, 188, 800, 000 citizens of black African descent on earth will remain precarious with presidential procrastination in Nigeria. Mandela once said that Africa and the black people of the world need Nigeria to be great as their source of pride and confidence. Specifically, Madiba had then warned that the world would not respect Africa until Nigeria earned that respect. This is a redemption time. And the president of Nigeria’s job at this time requires some sense of urgency that we can’t see now. It is getting ‘curiouser and curiouser’.
Our leader should note that there are many sources of uncertainty in the land but the most critical one is rampaging insecurity that has curiously assumed a national embarrassment. And the headlines are not favourable as even there are rumbles from the North where the boisterous, cocky and confident Miyetti Allah chieftains are already insulting some unhelpful and confused elders in the region. The southwest leaders are still threatening fire and brimstone over the killing of one of their own, Mrs. Funke Olakunrin. The southeast leaders are warming up again as Ruga noise is already causing discomfort in their land. The ever-restless south-south leaders too are planning for peace by preparing for war over their land again. It will be naïve to claim that the middle-belters in the north are quiet. We can feel the sound in their silence there too.
So, Mr. President, there should be no room for procrastination again. That bad spirit called procrastination is a thief of your time. Mr. President, don’t give room for ‘fake news’ through rumour mills about a cabal that some ‘busy bodies’ have been saying is in charge of your presidency. What is delaying the formation of your Executive Council of the Federation and unveiling of your key advisers? There is so much uncertainty about your presidency. This was reinforced by even the senate president’s last week’s ‘scoop’ that the cabinet list would be at the Senate last week. That failure to keep a promise made to your new ally, the senate president would have somehow affected the integrity index that has been uncertain in recent time.
Mr. President, it is a time to share this ancient word with you and it is ever true that, ‘He who observes the wind, will not sow; and he who regards the clouds will not reap’. You should not allow any ignorant sycophant to distract you with what is happening at the Presidential Election Petition, Tribunal. You need to form your government now. Your South Africa’s counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa who was elected to his first full term on May 22, 2019, formed his cabinet within a week. The cabinet was appointed specifically on Wednesday May 29. You were sworn in on May 29, too and you have spent more than 50 days in office without a cabinet. You have been receiving guests who can’t help, who can’t tell you the truth you need to succeed in office. They come to you for meretricious photo opportunities. Now,Mr. President, you can now see why South Africa is a member of G-20 and we are not. You can now realise why Nigeria is not a member of the powerful club of emerging markets called BRICS, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. You can see why I had noted that procrastination is a robber of your time – to do the right thing (at the right time).
The procrastinating Nigeria’s leader should learn some lessons from General Yakubu Gowon, former Head of State, no doubt a good man, who has been pushing some narrative about his role in the politics and policies that shaped the creation of Nigeria’s most successful national project, Abuja, the nation’s capital. Here is the thing, no matter the potency of Gowon’s argument, this spirit called procrastination has robbed him of glory whenever the story of Abuja is told. There have been snippets of how Gowon’s men had used some helicopters to survey the current site and how some designs had been made about Abuja. We have been told that Murtala Muhammed, Olusegun Obasanjo, Shehu Shagari who were then members of Gowon’s cabinet were accessories after the organic design of Abuja. But Gowon and his men procrastinated. Then a trip to Kampala for an OAU (now AU) Summit in 1975 made the difference as a coup plot overthrew him on July 29, 1975 ending his nine-year rule. Gowon never returned to the office to implement the agenda on Abuja. We are now being told that Muhammed who succeeded Gowon stole the show when he made creation of Abuja a priority project. The Hurricane Muhammed, who assumed office on July30, 1975 proclaimed Abuja as Nigeria’s new capitalon February 3, 1976 and behold, 10 days after that he was assassinated.
But today, the authentic history of Abuja that the nation will always believe is that the dream maker, the creator of Abuja was Ramat Murtala Muhammed – who spent only six months in office. Gowon’s role remains an insignificant footnote, no thanks to gross procrastination. In the same vein, whenever the era of dynamic foreign policy thrust hits contextual points in Nigeria, the same Muhammed’s era has always been a case in point as a time Africa had to look the West in the face and tell them that, ‘…Africa has come of age. It is no longer under the orbit of any extra continental power. It should no longer take orders from any country, however powerful. The fortunes of Africa are in our hands to make or to mar. For too long we have been kicked around: for too long have we been treated like adolescents who cannot discern their interests and act accordingly…’
This memorable speech at an extraordinary meeting of OAU on July 11, 1976 was Nigeria’s Murtala Muhammed’s response to a letter from U.S President Gerald Ford opposing the Soviet backed M.P.L.A, which had assumed power in Angola. The South Africans were fighting with the opposition factions to M.P.L.A. General Muhammed, objected to Ford siding with the South Africans, and against African self-determination. It was said then that after this speech, the West wanted some allies in Africa to counter Nigeria’s position and there was a ‘chorus’ that ‘Nigeria has spoken and so Africa has spoken’ This was part of what happened within six months of Muhammed’s (military) government. The point is that procrastination robbed Gowon of some glorious moments including the Abuja project.
Therefore, Nigeria’s leader at this time should not allow observers to call him a procrastinator who is held down by a clique who will eventually prevent him from making history. President Buhari should step out today and drive away those who are already plotting #Project2023 politics without considering consequences of scant attention to insecurity and allegation of Fulanisation, Islamisation and Kanurisation agenda at the moment. He should pay attention to robust political projects including restructuring of the polity (true federalism), the civil service and electoral reforms. He should be concerned about legacy projects. President Buhari should also consider how to save the Fulani nation without him in office. The Fulani nation that Miyetti Allah is speaking for may not be able to stand the other people power when president Buhari leaves office. Now through some careless public policies in their (Fulani) favour, they have been demonised and seen as ‘unnecessary evil’. As a ticklish Ruga project has been added to the mix, should the Buhari administration not consider a public relations consultancy to help him and his government drain the swamp they have stepped into? Now moving the suspended Ruga project forward has become a great difficulty even as the brains behind it are saying a retreat too has become impossible with billions of naira worth of contracts already awarded.