Buhari’s Govt Still At Embryonic Stage, Says Ugbodaga
President Buhari’s campaign was premised on three main issues – corruption, economy and security. The expectations from Nigerians are quite high and most people feel that Boko Haram still kill and maim scores of Nigerians, power supply has not improved, our infrastructures remain decrepit, the poorest 25 million Nigerians are yet to start drawing their monthly five thousand Naira, our school children are yet to even perceive the aroma of food let alone being feed daily at school, the health sector has not witnessed any change, same for the educational, transport and other sectors.
My honest opinion is that President Buhari’s government is still at embryonic stage and is not fully established which makes it difficult to objectively assess his performance so far. However, the first 100 days in office by a president is usually used to measure the successes and accomplishments that will signpost what is to be expected during his first term in office.
The period is considered a benchmark to measure the early success of a president. It is a period a president uses to quickly begin to foster support for his socio-economic package, his policy thrust, and his overall plans for a successful tenure.
Most presidents really do not wish to be judged by their first 100 days in office for this period may be too short for any tangible impact on governance. So far there has been some attempt by the President and his men at enunciating a coherent agenda that appears systematic, organised and comprehensive. People however want to see action and not tantalising political words since elections are long over.
Buhari’s government has been described as “Baba Go Slow” by some Nigerians, do you agree with them?
I feel some sense of anger when our president who is the custodian of the mandate, yearning and aspirations of our country is referred to as “Baba Go Slow”. It is the same way I felt when former President Goodluck Jonathan was referred to as a clueless and kindergarten president.
It is wrong to denigrate the high office of the president of our country. I know that the expectations are very high. The President has accepted he has been slow in doing certain things especially the appointment of key officers of his administration but insists that he is going slow and steady to put some sense into governance and deal with corruption. His approach appears different, but every day that we go without a federal cabinet increases the anxiety of Nigerians who expect him to hit the ground running as soon as he was sworn into office especially the fact the he had about two months before inauguration to put a team together. It is quite difficult to explain why the government has not taken proper shape.
He has started systematic probe of past governments, staring with his predecessor, what is your view on the probe?
During the campaigns, the APC had revealed that Buhari will not probe Jonathan because he will be bogged down by endless probes. I considered the statement ludicrous at the time. It is gratifying that the president has decided to institute a systematic probe of the Jonathan’s administration. If we do not know where we are coming from, we will have no way of determining a suitable destination.
It is an incontrovertible fact that corruption has been the bane of Nigeria’s development. The cankerworm and mitotic phenomenon has ravaged the country and destroyed most of what is held as cherished national values. Any effort therefore to clean it up and establish a national ethos of transparency, accountability and selfless service in government must be supported by all Nigerians. It is a paradox that Nigeria, a very rich country and the world’s eighth largest exporter of crude oil with a political leadership that is also stupendously rich still has more than 70 percent of its population living below the poverty line as a result of corruption and economic mismanagement.
This rape must end and there must be a fresh beginning. I however think that the probe should not be limited to the Jonathan administration. While instituting a probe from 1912 when the Northern and Southern protectorates were amalgamated or from 1960 when we achieved sel rule may not be practicable, I think instituting a probe from 1999 may appear a middle way and more acceptable period that a genuine probe should cover.
How will you assess Buhari anti-corruption drive?
It very laughable to see the anti-corruption bodies like the EFCC, ICPC and other agencies saddled with investigating and prosecuting corruption cases falling over themselves in a vicious attempt to impress president Buhari. These agencies have demonstrated pathological inertia these past years in the fight against corruption.
Although Buhari’s government has not commenced any prosecution of corruption cases, there is already a general attempt by the people to begin to do things the right way as far as financial matters are concerned. One of the greatest threats to the economic and political development of Nigeria is corruption and it’s solution rests in our hands and cannot be put off to another day. I salute the doggedness of the president so far. His body language, his disposition, and his actions so far show a president who is prepared to wage a relentless war against corruption. He must do this without let or hindrance.