There is a saying in Nigeria that when you have a behemoth ahead of you, you fight it; when the behemoth is behind you, you face it and fight it, too; but when you are alone, you must rethink your strategy.
For a country endowed with immense human and natural resources like Nigeria, fifty-eight years is too long a time to be plagued by lack of basic amenities and leaders who are primarily driven by self-greed than they are common good.
It is almost a commonplace assertion that when leaders fail to provide solutions, they are unworthy of their appellation. The trend of failure in leadership in Nigeria has been emblematic of betrayal, incompetence, and executive dereliction. The decades-long demonstration of goodwill and selflessness by we the people of Nigeria have brought us nothing but brutal betrayal of faith and trust by political leaders. By engaging in dereliction of political obligation, leaders in high and low chambers of power have remorselessly sabotaged our commonwealth. Now we are at the precipice of the Rubicon River and, we have the option to either return to the manacles of executive lawlessness and political slavery or press on to reclaim our collective wealth. For there is no better way to demonstrate patriotism than to pursue a cause in which the common man may derive fulfillment.
Suffice it to say, peace and development are mere words where injustice, tyranny, and anarchy reigns.
Since the beginning of the Fourth Republic on 29 May 1999, politics in Nigeria has been a one-sided affair. Rather than politics of inclusion, what has been in vogue is the politics of deception and oppression. And when deception goes on for too long, in a particular society, it becomes the norm. Whereas oppression is easily noticeable, deception is not. And when oppression goes on for too long, the people, out of fear or personal benefit, become mute and numb. The greater good, for which leaders are democratically elected, is often relegated for self-good when the people fail to hold leaders accountable.
Again, it is often deliberate, when leaders neglect their political obligation and democratically practice dictatorship, and sufficiently preoccupy the people with inanities and frustration, while they loot and plunder, as we have seen in recent times. This Machiavellian style of leadership has been more evident in Nigeria’s polity than not. The cycle is a vicious one that derails governance completely.
As heart-breaking as this may seem, what is perhaps more strikingly begging attention is the pervasive non-resistance from the most critical and most affected divide between the two parties in question – we the people. Suffice it to say, that there are two parties in Nigeria; we the people on the one hand, and the politicians on the other. While we the people are law-abiding, the politicians are not. While we the people are honest in our dealings, the politicians are not. While we the people are desirous of the greater good, the politicians are not. While we the people are patriots primarily concerned with the common good, the politicians are not. And when in a union, a party is dishonorable in its conduct, the purpose of such union is often defeated, easily. It is, however, the responsibility of the party which is more honorable in such union to visit upon the dishonorable other, a sanction for betrayal.
To be exact, the process through which a leader emerges in a democratic society is enabled by the collective will of the two parties earlier mentioned, to be so committed. But it is important to note, that we the people have all the aces at this initial stage of the union; to either vote for the politicians or not. For it is a great sacrifice and unparalleled display of courage, that we the people are yielding our natural right to govern, to a person or persons, who will represent and protect our collective interest, while we remain law-abiding, and perform our social and civic obligations.
It is also important to note, that a contract is born, at the point where both parties pledge their absolute commitments to the union. This contract is also called a social contract. For it is indeed a social contract when we the people commit ourselves to the process of democratically electing a leader or leaders, who in exchange for our votes, bring prosperity, development, and peace to our society, ensuring that not some, but all of us, are beneficiaries of good governance. However, I must emphasize that social contracts are born to protect the interest of the parties involved. When one party fails to honor the deed of the social contract, it is incumbent on the other party to the contract to visit consequences upon the one who first broke the contract. In our case, we the people of Nigeria have the supreme power in a social contract, at any point in a democratic space; whether before, during, or after an election, so long as we remain honest to our obligations in the contract.
To be clear, when for instance, a party seeking a contract before election promises to create three million jobs per year and generate, transmit and distribute at least 20, 000MW of electricity within four years; Ban all government officials from seeking medical care abroad; State and community policing, public declaration of assets and liabilities, among other vain promises, and fails to honor these promises after election into office, it behooves the other party to such contract, in this case – the people, to effectuate mass public disobedience throughout the tenure of such party in power until he either concedes to the people or, if he remains arrogantly defiant in power whilst his honor and integrity is shredding away, be punished by means of denial to cast a vote for him during a re-election bid.
It is also important to note that a social contract between the people and politicians is a critical tool to dissuade and eradicate corruption and boost moral integrity in our electoral process. The politics of stomach-infrastructure is endemic in Nigeria’s electoral process, so much so that it permeates every nook and cranny of the polity. This ignoble tradition is harmful to our collective moral integrity. It threatens collective reasoning, stifles development, and empowers corruption on a mass scale. However, if we must demand a social contract, we must do so with absolute honesty and emulous morality. It is simply hypocritical, to demand a standard to which one stands aloof, from others.
It must be emphasized, however, that the primary importance of a social contract is to define mutual obligations between we the people and the politicians. It is to enhance the ideals of rationalism and criticism. For he is a dunce, he who enters a contract without the intention of demanding accountability when his counterpart defaults dishonorably. Again, when we the people demand a social contract before voting any politician, we create a room for accountable democracy in our polity. Nevertheless, it is not enough to demand a social contract before an election and return to sleep afterward. For slumber enables non-resistance, which ultimately encourages misrule in governance. For it is human nature, to be selfish and unaccountable when there are no checks and balances.
As recently seen with Park Geun-Hye of South Korea, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, and even Jacob Zuma of South Africa; corruption thrives easily in an environment where the people fail to ask questions. The collective will of the people is ultimate and unassailable.
In conclusion, therefore, I must emphasize that the responsibility of we the people is to act as the ultimate watchdog in a social contract. Politicians cannot be trusted. However, we stand a better chance at good governance when we demand a social contract than not. For there is a similitude between a social contract for the common man and a soccer team captain. In a common man contract, a politician is democratically elected through a collective will of the people to give up their right to govern, for the politician to deliver good and accountable governance for all. Likewise in a soccer team, a captain is chosen to represent the common interest of the team and demonstrate capacity by gingering the team to win. However, when a team captain is sluggish and dull, he gets replaced quickly. In the same vein, we the people of Nigeria must create a precedence to hold our leaders accountable by joining the OurMumuDonDo Movement to propagate the significance of demanding a social contract from politicians especially as the 2019 general election is fast upon us.
Our Mumu Don Do!
Adebayo Raphael is the National Secretary of OurMumuDonDo Movement. He writes from Abuja and can be reached via Twitter (@adebayoraph) or email (Raphaeladebayo@ymail.com).
Pendulum: Four Years After, We are Back to Square One
BY DELE MOMODU
Fellow Nigerians, how time flies indeed. About four years ago, we went through this very ritual, though the election was shifted by six weeks, for reasons we believed was an excuse to get the ruling government better prepared to consolidate its grip on power. Before long, the six weeks arrived, and there was no hiding place. Even as I write this, many doubting Thomases still believe the APC government is not sincerely ready for today’s Presidential election and that it may still spring a surprise on us. Thus, there have been unconfirmed stories of the elections being postponed for a matter of days because of logistic problems. For my own part, I doubt that the authorities will act in such a cavalier manner, particularly as there are numerous local and international observers and world media around. All eyes are on us.
As you know already, my people are never short of conspiracy theories. These have been fuelled by strange events and activities that are occurring very close to E-Day! For example, there have been reports of sporadic fire outbreaks in a few INEC centres, very strange indeed when one considers the proximity of such fires to the election date. However, I have not seen much coverage explaining the magnitude of the respective conflagrations. We have also read reports of some sample ballot papers being found inside many sacks in Kano. Again, no one has come out to explain what any sane human being could be doing with sample ballot papers. The main thing is that PDP is being treated to mind-games in this high-stakes plot, the end of which no one can predict.
Say what you will, I choose to trust two key people in the whole of this election saga. The first is the Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, who has already attained the peak of his academic career and would not want to taint and end his distinguished life as a fiendish villain despised by all and treated like a maggot. So far, Professor Yakubu and INEC have managed to acquit themselves well in the preparation and run up to these general elections. They may have blotted their copy book particularly with regard to INEC’s role in the Osun State governorship elections but as this is one of the election cases currently trundling through the courts, I will say no more. It would be the height of foolishness and foolhardiness on his part to lower the bar as set and measured by what his immediate predecessor, Professor Attahiru Jega, achieved with a resounding ovation, barely four years ago. I refuse to imagine that Professor Yakubu would sacrifice his personal reputation and remarkable life, for politicians whose lives have almost expired.
Two. The other important man I choose to trust, almost blindly, although I know little or nothing about him, is the new Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, who recently took over from the querulous, cantankerous and rambunctious Ibrahim Idris who fought more battles against real and imaginary enemies than he tackled the horrendous security challenges in the land. I have taken time to watch and study Adamu, as meticulously as possible, in the short time since he has been appointed acting I-G. and I’m reasonably convinced that he is educated, intelligent, smart, charismatic and cosmopolitan. I am unsure about some of the decisions he has taken, one relating to the re-deployment of Commissioners of Police in Ogun State. It seems to me that this decision is in good faith and is made because of the disgraceful way in which street urchins and thugs were brought into the arena to hurl stones at the President and other APC leaders during the Presidential rally in Ogun State. This was a remarkable show of shame orchestrated to serve the interest of an opposition candidate and shows the real tragedy that has befallen APC, as the general elections loom. It is inconceivable that the Police would not take steps to ensure that the mayhem that occurred that day is not allowed to repeat itself during the elections. For me, it would be a calamity if it turns out later that I have wasted all these superlative adjectives on another recklessly irresponsible police officer. It is always a pity seeing some overzealous people throw decorum to the winds in order to please a god with feet of clay. Time will tell.
For whatever it means, and because I bear him no grudge, I have said it numerous times, and reiterate, that I personally like President Muhammadu Buhari. His personal attributes particularly his discipline and abstemiousness are worthy of emulation. He has demonstrated in the past that he is a credible person, although that has been put to question by some of the actions that his government has recently been taking. There is a hint of desperation to cling to power which does not augur well for our country or indeed the President himself. I therefore will wish, and pray, that President Buhari meant every word he uttered in his various promises to the nation that he’ll execute free, fair and credible elections starting from today. I have no reason to doubt him. He is acclaimed as a man of integrity. This is the time for him to prove that he is indeed a man who is passionate about Nigeria and means his word that the country will not be broken up and Balkanised. God has been very kind to President Buhari and his family. He practically returned from the dead less than two years ago and has somehow managed to steer the ship of State from then till today. Nigerians have not complained too much about the situation they found themselves. Rather, as is typical, they prayed for the restoration of good health to their President and their prayers were answered. Therefore, if Nigerians reject him at the polls, in a free and fair contest today, or whenever it pleases the almighty INEC, he should thank Allah for the uncommon opportunity and grace given to him for the second chance to serve Nigeria as it’s supreme ruler. He should go home in peace, to enjoy quality time with his gorgeous wife, beautiful children and adorable grandchildren. The Presidency is nobody’s personal property or fiefdom. He should take solace in joining the commendable and enviable company of other incumbent Presidents in Africa, like Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and John Dramani Mahama of Ghana, who made no fuss before accepting defeat in good faith, no matter the secret pains. President Buhari should remember to call his successful opponent, most likely, Atiku Abubakar, and offer his best wishes. I promise, this gesture will turn out to be an icing on Buhari’s cake for final retirement. His apotheosis would also have been guaranteed instantly.
On the other hand, if Atiku Abubakar, fails in a free and fair contest, he should accept his destiny with equanimity. I can understand that it would be a difficult time for him because it has been a long arduous journey for him to eventually land the presidential candidacy and ticket of a mainstream party. It is natural that he and his supporters will feel very disappointed having worked extremely hard to defeat and unseat President Buhari. Atiku should take solace in the fact that he has fought a good fight. His campaign has proceeded in a decent manner and he has concentrated mainly on the issues and not allowed himself to be dragged into the gutter politics that has sometimes been employed against him by some of his more overenthusiastic and fanatical opponents. Atiku must accept that in every contest, only one person can win. As long as the election is free and fair enough, the over-all interest of the country must be considered. Besides, there are remedies already embedded in the electoral act if there has been any unfairness. Justice may tarry, but it will come eventually, no matter how much people may try to manipulate the system and the judiciary.
My only worry is about President Buhari’s footsoldiers. From their utterances and body language, it is obvious that they are spoiling for war and are only ready to go down fighting. They do not seem to care about the outcome of free and fair elections as long as their candidate does not lose. They have boisterously announced to the world, and the President himself has echoed them, that no one can unseat him. That statement may be considered condescending and outrightly arrogant and capable of pouring petrol into the raging fire.
This is very sad because only four years ago, we witnessed the public ignominy suffered by Elder Peter Godsday Orubebe who was busy throwing tantrums like a baby while results of the contest between Buhari and President Jonathan were being announced. It was such a show of shame. Why would the government that came in after that disastrous melodrama repeat the same nonsense? Indeed, on reflection, it seems to me that this Government has in recent times been following the same path to perdition that the PDP and Jonathan followed towards the end of that administration. It is like history repeating itself. There is a surreal element of déjà vu playing out. It is my hope that the same silly season and scenario does not repeat itself come the final collation and announcement of results. Nigeria cannot afford such shame and indignity again.
What is wrong with some of the young folks in APC who behave as if they can’t find other things to do expect government work? And because of their own personal avarice and self-aggrandizement, they are unconcerned about the greater good of the greater number of people and their country. No one should ever think of setting Nigeria on fire again. Nigeria has been too kind to these people, and they should, please, leave Nigeria in peace and not in pieces.
From where I stand, I can see very clearly that whatever happens, whenever this election is held, now or in the near future, the ruling government is clearly in trouble and the ruling party has virtually collapsed, with almost no hope of redemption in sight. A house divided against itself that still wishes to stand tall may be mere wishful thinking. APC has abdicated governance and its leadership has started behaving like Emperors and conquerors. The in-fighting is so much that we no longer know who is actually in charge. In all honesty, how can a party that can no longer direct its own affairs, and a President who seems to be clueless about how to maintain party unity, discipline and loyalty, and is apparently not in charge of virtually anything, ask for people’s votes in good conscience? Such a party cannot deliver good governance, much more the change that was promised four years ago. However, it is ultimately the people’s choice as to which road they want to traverse.
From Lagos to Ogun to Adamawa to Imo to Rivers to Zamfara to Kaduna to Delta, it has been one tale of woe or the other. And it all boils down to the refusal of party chieftains to act as true democrats. What is worse, the party has rubbished some of the key figures that brought it to power, many of who have since returned to where they came from, PDP. The major assets that brought Buhari to power have all collapsed and it mainly liabilities that can be seen all around.
The day of reckoning is here. The People will have their say. The contending gladiators must also ensure that the People must have their way. Their choice must prevail no matter whose ox is gored. Nobody is bigger than Nigeria.
Spectrum: Election, A New Beginning
Nationwide, we have seen motley crowds, when politicians throw hypocritical words to each other. Indeed it is still interesting when, political parties, begin to impose threat on each other on who will win the poll. So, everything is diffident, here; as we fail to understand that politics is surprisingly a practical. Even George Orwell, in his 1984, novel described a political system that is related to ours; because we fail to understand the truth than the prejudice.
With the reactions, I have seen from the APC and the PDP, I then wonder what is their different. What has made them the choice of an average Nigerian? Is it that they are telling us the truth or what American essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson identified as ‘’ words are signs of natural facts’’
They wear different colognes but they are still the same people. Their conveyances to mega rallies in the country have shown vividness to win with all sorts of tantrums. However, it was on the rostrum, when one of the presidential candidates was saying gibberish. Well, they all say what is vouchsafing from the monies they have given the crowds at the rallies. It is in Nigeria that I have seen politicians promising what can’t be done in four years. Though, it is politics.
The election is bringing different promising and un-futuristic agenda. During the 2015, we were of the drama, and such drama is still being played now like a classic novel title: Great Expectation. Our vote was crammed. Election should be based on maturity but we fail to keep the tenacity up right. We fail to vote for our credence. Unfortunately, as I saw one of the PDP rallies, I began to mock myself, that Nigerians are gullible— aptly, what came from me was this: ‘’ therefore, we become a dunce, to the lies of a party that has failed for 16 years’’ frankly, what was the achievement of the PDP?
Even the APC, is a party that has turned his rallies, to an avenue to forgive those who are backlists to become saint. The APC, in one of its rallies, the party chairman, had spoken in a croak voice, that anybody that joins the party will be forgiven. Hence, this kind of political crumpet should make Nigerians to vote for their choice.
As the 2019 election comes, Nigerians want a society where they can identify problems without a cumbersome lie then we need to vote wisely. The vestry of anguish in this society has made us to become cupidity; and for this, we have sold our vote for lies.
So, vote with woe. Take yourself with passion. To listen to the presiding officer or any of the assistant presiding officers to check your name from the voter register and listen to instructions. These are the voices we need to create that can make our vote count. Politics in this era is for you and I, to benefit what we are born to enjoy. We just need to grow; out plough, or faceless taut.
Election is for you to grow a seed of your pain in someone’s heart; maybe by wish or paucity. Meanwhile, let vote for our own future in a positive way. As I do think that we know that Buhari and Atiku are failures to our economy. One is sluggish and one is corrupt. This further bear me in mind, that we have not noticed that; our inequalities are possessed with debauchery.
Spokesman, El Rufai
He is a governor, but, last week, he acted in a new dimension to his profile. For instance, his scurrilous statement is prowess to this administration. He has definitely become a griot of politics. It is a kind of character in the novel of American novelist, Robert Penn Warren. Thus, what he said is presumably, the factor of our politics when political parties run for intervention with foreign envoys.
So, the presidency has seen the opposition parties to lobbying for help. I saw Kaduna state governor political temerity on a live programme that was aired on the Nigeria Television Authority, (NTA) and hear him: ‘’those that are calling for anyone to come and intervene in Nigeria, we are waiting for the person to come and intervene. They would go back in body bags because nobody would come to Nigeria and tell us how to run our country”
In 2015, Nigerians should recall that the APC had a rigorous meeting with the US and nobody knew maybe the American government helped in that election that brought Buhari to rule—with what, I would call a draconian rule, because since, he emerged the government has monopolised the institutions to work in its philosophy.
Well, as for me, I do not see anything wrong from what El-Rufai said. Since we all know that political parties are finding ways to win this forthcoming election that is dice. It is an election that we redefine the profligacy and mendacity of the country.
And, El Rufai’s statement is that Nigeria does not need any foreign intervention in her election. Indeed, we should hide above all sentiment, what he said, is not a political talk, but a reality. That it is bad for Nigerian politicians to seek foreign help when it comes to politics.
Yet, we have forgotten that Nigeria is a sovereign state that controls her own territory without external force or comment. Despite, the fact that El-Rufai and his party members are scared of an imminent defeat— however, that does not mean, Kaduna governor is corrigible; to what he had said.
We should know that, election in this part of our own claims, is filled of hocus-pocus. It is a system of lies and all sorts of espousal that is wrong to how democracy ought to be practiced. Therefore, whenever, I read story, that identifies Nigeria politics to be shamble, I laugh. Not that I laugh because of this irascibility of our political ideology, but because we don’t know how to practice politics that is beneficial to the populace.
That means that our so called politicians have forgotten that election will come and go, and the citizenry will stay to understand their tenacity. Not those kinds of politicians that come to rallies and begin to disparage themselves. Fine, it is sacrosanct here. But, El-Rufai’s statement is a warning to foreigners since our political parties have seen succour in interference.
Though, a society that is intervening with foreign envoy, such society will be in disarray. The society will be left with anguish and blames. Even those wounds will continue to linger forever. If Atiku or Buhari are the men to vote for then; their associate, need to understand that El-Rufai has spoken what supposes to be said in this political tension we are in.
We need to know election in this country is not a do or die affair. Politicians are acting like politicians but we citizens need to act like citizens because a politician is fighting for his/her own interest. They are fighting for impunity and hubris. Like what a British essayist wrote in one of his essay. And I deeply apologise for not remembering the title of the essay. But the lines go as follow: ‘’nobody is deterring to make choice than the populace who know how to determine their future without a magic wand of lies’’
We need to vote for our conscience not for a thousand naira that will be given to us by party agents at the polling station. We need to perform our civic responsibility as Nigerians not as cowards who do not know the true benefit of democracy. Are we enjoying the dividend of democracy in Nigerian? If you know the answer then vote for who you think won’t make you and your children not to be remorseful in the next four years. A stitch in time says nine. A future we want is for us to fight for a new society.
Pendulum: THE MESSAGE NIGERIANS MUST DELIVER TO BUHARI NEXT WEEK
Two. I did not choose Atiku for pecuniary or any other gain. I have not been paid by him or anybody acting on his behalf. I would not sell myself where the future of my country, Nigeria, is concerned. As I write, I’m already on my way to Oxford University to resume and engage in academic ventures for the next six months. I’m gainfully employed and happy and content to manage my modest income, so I’m not desperate for government appointment or patronage, as the social media trolls try to suggest about opposition figures. But I cannot watch my country disintegrate or watch an incompetent government drown our dear beloved country in an ocean of bigotry, backwardness, bitterness and bestiality. I owe it to myself, and fellow compatriots, to stand for truth, and nothing but the truth, as one of those it has pleased God to give some visibility and voice globally. What shall it profit a man who keeps silent in the face of unbridled tyranny and abysmal cluelessness. If I wished, I could have supported PDP in the 2015 elections. Every comfort was assured and guaranteed. But I chose to support a supposed poor man we believed would be a Mandela figure that would rescue us from the scourge of PDP. Little did I imagine we were in the process of inviting a worse pestilence on our nation.
Three. I bear no grudge or personal animosity against Buhari. I love him the way I love mankind and respect the office he occupies which I once attempted to enter when I contested in 2011. I believe President Muhammadu Buhari has not reciprocated the massive goodwill bestowed on him in 2015 and that he has treated us with great contempt and disdain. He has also not properly utilised his professional, competent and capable Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. Had he done so, maybe we would now be saying something else. This is not to cause any disaffection within their ranks, but every discerning Nigerian knows that this quintessential gentleman is the reason that there is any real noteworthy success for this administration. Otherwise, Buhari has embarrassed his supporters, endlessly, with his reckless, insensitive and uninformed decisions. What many of those supporting him in public today say behind him is unbelievable and unspeakable. I have friends who confess to private threats of business and physical annihilation and are thus forced to endorse a man they know can never take Nigeria to anywhere meaningful, even if given four terms.
Four. I have tried strenuously to be fair to Buhari and wrote copiously to advise him, from time to time, as I promised him when we met in his office, one on one, in 2015. I gave up hope, after some time, when I saw the direction he was headed and noticed the irredeemable obstinacy in his DNA. Four years ago, many of us were very excited about the hope this great General offered to our nation. Perhaps, we overrated his capabilities. It has become clear that we wittingly dressed him in borrowed robes and we were all hypnotised and brainwashed, somehow. Today, our eyes have cleared from that giddiness and I’m ready to add my voice to those of others who genuinely believe, Buhari must go. I do this with every sense of responsibility to God and to my country. I will give my reasons shortly.
I have had to apologise in the last couple of months to those who feel very aggrieved that a self-confessed democrat like me could ever support a blatant dictator like Buhari. You can never imagine the gale of verbal attacks I suffered and endured for what I considered my innocuous support. The last one that really hit me was in Ghana recently. I ran into the respected Legal luminary, Mr Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, at the lounge in Kotoka International Airport. There were two ladies seated with him, one of who I believe is his wife. I greeted them but the other lady snubbed me, and said, “Dele, I will never greet you.” I looked blank and wondered if we’ve ever met, and how I might have offended her. Madam soon threw a sucker punch. “Dele, you are one of those who brought that disaster called Buhari on us…” and she went into her tirade. I tried to explain that I’m indeed very sorry and it was not my fault that I fell for the charms and scam of APC. The woman was practically inconsolable.
I have encountered many people like her. A guy almost went physical with me on a flight to London, grumbling aloud about how some of Buhari’s ignorant decisions have messed up Nigeria, his business and family. All I could do was plead for understanding. Unfortunately, Buhari himself is totally oblivious to the way Nigerians feel or just couldn’t be bothered or is probably insulated from objective criticism by selfish advisers. The tragedy of it all is his Messianic complex. He and his cronies behave as if Nigerians owe them a load of gratitude for favours received. Such hocus-pocus and inanity.
I have no iota of doubt left in me that President Muhammadu Buhari has performed well below expectations and that he should be voted out, peacefully, on February 16, 2019. The message should be clear henceforth that there is no automatic second term for incompetence, irresponsibility, irreverence and impunity. It is a miracle that Nigeria has not exploded into a civil war with the manner Buhari has treated some parts as second-class citizens with no right to complain. Let me now give reasons why we cannot afford to donate a second term to Buhari when he has clearly not earned it.
One. At 76, and with a failing health, Buhari should go into permanent retirement at the expiration of his tenure on May 29, 2019. No man can cheat nature and Buhari isn’t an exception.
Two. Buhari has not been in charge or on top of government and governance since he assumed office on May 29, 2015. Some cronies, otherwise known and addressed as ‘the cabal’, have been ruling without being elected. This can only get worse if Buhari is awarded a second term through our collective stupidity.
Three. The human rights record of Buhari has never been anything to praise or applaud at any time. Nothing has changed since he was kicked out of power by President Ibrahim Babangida in 1985. He has refused to adhere to the rule of law and has continued to trample on the rights of Nigerian citizens despite several court orders. What makes matters worse is that he behaves like Constantin Demiris, a character in Sidney Sheldon’s Memories of Midnight, who never forgets a favour and never forgives an injury. He has kept his presumed enemies in prison, indefinitely and compensated a few of his benefactors with appointments. Buhari does not hold the Constitution of Nigeria dear to heart and as such behaves with maximum use of force. His goons have been harassing the Legislature and the Judiciary on the pretext that they are fighting corruption, but they deliberately target those they consider inimical to their hold on power. They have invaded homes of Judges in the middle of the night, breaking down doors, and swarmed on the National Assembly with thugs and later with hooded and gun-totting secret agents in broad daylight. He has suspended the Chief Justice of Nigeria when he has neither the authority nor the power to do so. Buhari and those who support this brigandage and total assault on recognised and reverent principles of law and established constitutional institutions choose to forget that the worst kind of corruption is the abuse of power itself. When it is for ulterior and base motives, as is now obviously the case, it becomes a menace that all well-meaning and true democrats must resist with all their might. There can be no excuse or justification. Otherwise we may as well embrace not just dictatorship, but anarchy.
Four. Buhari has been a divisive leader who appears not to believe in the unity of Nigeria. Under his government, Nigeria and Nigerians have been more divided. The lop-sidedness of his security appointments have been dangerously fixated on people of the same ethnic group and religious persuasion, and he does it with nonchalance and condescension. If you like, jump into the Atlantic Ocean, our President won’t blink an eye. He claims, with a straight face that he makes appointments on merit, but we’ve not seen the reflection and positive effects of this merit on the war against corruption, terrorists and insurgents.
Five. Buhari’s economic blueprint has been more involved in his stereotypical tightening up the noose on the economy, scaring investors away with ill-thought economic policies and reversal of contractual obligations without negotiations with parties involved, instead of opening up the economy. This has all happened because of his obsession with so-called corruption. Yet, under his watch, not much has been achieved because of his desperation to hold on to power. This has forced him to compromise, capitulate and led him to bring the biggest and possibly most corrupt chieftains of other parties closer to him. He turns the proverbial blind eye to the infamous activities of these nefarious characters because they are perceived as being able to achieve his unbridled ambition for a second term. He had lost elections on three previous occasions and only won when he got the so-called bad guys to help him attain power. Right now, he is heavily relying on them again to bail him out of imminent defeat next week. And this is the man who falsely claims to espouse anti-corruption credentials and touts himself as a man of integrity.
Six. Buhari has failed spectacularly on all his major campaign promises. Nigeria is far worse than he met it. I will be the first to congratulate the government on its achievements in the rail sector and also the success with the militant problem in the Niger Delta. Other than that, he could not even stabilise what he inherited talk less of improving on it. His government has been struggling to control the free-fall of the Naira against the Dollar. He has not been able to cancel and eliminate fuel subsidies which he once described as a big scam and on which the corruption fight has been largely hinged. In fact, payments have more than doubled and the NNPC now holds a monopoly on importation of petroleum products with attendant risk of corruption in high places. We are none the wiser about security spending by him. This was the second plank on which the anti-corruption war was predicated. Loans have ballooned astronomically, yet infrastructure development remains outlandishly backward. We only get to read about monumental achievements on paper.
Seven. The last but not the least in my view is the perpetual and puerile blame game. Four years after getting power from PDP, Buhari has not stopped blaming his predecessors, forgetting that this was precisely the reason PDP was sacked from power. Buhari won those elections not on his own accord, but because the general populace had become totally disenchanted with PDP, it’s profligacy, looting and mendacity. Sadly, It seems we have come full circle. Since Buhari has shown the inability to perform the magic he promised, it is time to send him back home, with the sure message that whosoever comes next will suffer the same fate. It is a democratic template we must put in place now and forever. Otherwise, we must accept whatever fate befalls our dear country.
The world is watching.
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