By Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN; OFR
Today, we draw curtains on the serious issues of governance (Part 3) that appear to have overwhelmed PMB in piloting the ship of State. They are not insurmountable, though.
He can deal with them and succeed, with the same stubborn determination with which, like Abraham Lincoln, he sought the Nigerian Presidency and got it after the 4th attempt. Meanwhile, follow me on the many challenges of governance facing PMB
Boko Haram Insurgency And Sundry Challenges
The Boko Haram insurgency has intensified geometrically, with power supply getting worse, and more epileptic. Internally, PMB appears to have no control over his APC party, which he ought to be leader of, perhaps because they regard Bola Tinubu as the national leader.
The party is imploding instalmentally. Impunity in all facets of life has increased. PMB is still running the government solo, in the manner of a military dictator, contrary to the provisions of the Constitution which compels him to have Ministers.
Refusal To Declare Assets Publicly
PMB has refused to make public, the declaration of his assets as he promised during electioneering campaigns, to the applause of Nigerians. Yes, he satisfied the mere constitutional requirement of doing so before the code of Conduct Bureau. But, like Yar’adua, he needs to do more by declaring them publicly, if only to oil the wheels of his change talisman.
He had promised to do so. Voluntarily. So, no one should tell Nigerians that he has satisfied the provisions of Section 140 of the 1999 Constitution, by declaring his assets as a precondition for taking the oath of office. That is the letter of the Law. What about its spirit, the morals?
There is despondency and hopelessness everywhere, with the government exhibiting no real sense of direction, mission or vision. The ship of state appears rudderless and directionless, with his ruling APC party still talking and behaving tough as if it is still in the opposition. It still shadow boxes, with imaginary enemies, forgetting it is now in power.
Corruption, which has become the 37th State of Nigeria and indeed, the wealthiest at that, is not climbing down from its imperious monstrous height. Rather, it is waxing stronger and becoming more and more endemic, ravishing the weak fibre of the Nigerian society with reckless abandon and impunity. Corruption now mocks all of us with utmost derision. It dares us. It spits in our faces. What is PMB doing about it?
Worsening Atmosphere Of Insecurity
Insecurity is becoming more frightening, with Boko Haram which had been massively degraded and nearly decapitated before PMB’s oath of office on May 29, waxing stronger and stronger, and indeed becoming more daring and defiant.
Over 600 people have been mindlessly killed in the last few weeks in the renewed upsurge of violence and attacks. Innocent Nigerians are murdered in cold blood. Kidnapping cases have since increased on a monumental scale, with Judges, Pastors, Rev. Fathers, Monarchs, Women, Children and Men, becoming daily victims in the nefarious activities of these marauders.
There is still no major national broadcast to Nigerians as to the direction of PMB’s govt. regarding his policies on education, infrastructural development, national ethos, anti-corruption war, or how to grow the economy, and give jobs to the teaming unemployed youths of Nigeria, the unemployed of whom he had promised Five Thousand Naira (N5,000.00), monthly stipends before they get employed.
What Is PMB’s Policy Direction?
There is no single statement about oil subsidy and emergency oil subsidy merchants, who are bleeding the Nigerian economy dry and threatening to asphyxiate and vanquish already hapless Nigerians.
The bi-camera National Assembly is in turmoil with no positive presidential intervention, to save Nigeria’s hard earned democracy, except threats to impose external leadership. Nigeria appears to be wobbly, groggy, fumbling and near prostrate. What is the policy direction of PMB regarding the above issues? I don’t know. I do not know if you know.
Frittering Away Nigeria’s Goodwill
PMB, in my humble opinion, is busy frittering away the groundswell of goodwill and affection Nigerians bestowed on him on March 28. Ex-President GEJ did it and paid dearly for it.
Although he was sworn in on May 29, the truth is that Buhari became aware he was the elected President of Nigeria since April 4, nearly 100 days ago, when GEJ called to concede defeat and congratulate him. Till now, he has not even appointed a Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), the clearing house and heartbeat of any government, Chief of Staff, Principal Secretary, etc.
Government business has literally ground to a halt, with no money in circulation. All ministries are virtually dead, with permanent Secretaries afraid to take major decisions or sign any contract.
Nigeria, We Hail Thee
Nigeria appears to be in a state of suspended animation, dancing in uncomfortable limbo, like a yoyo, virtually on auto-pilot.
PMB, sir, don’t allow the usual bootlickers, grovelers and fawners deceive you by telling you that you are doing very well. It’s a complete lie.
You have so far performed dismally, with no spark to ignite national passion and enthusiasm. No endearing leadership traits have so far been exhibited, to key Nigerians into line.
Be informed that Nigerians are very interesting and impatient people, easy to govern, difficult to satisfy, and impossible to tyranise, intimidate or browbeat.
Vain Shuttle Diplomacy
Your missions to Niger Republic, Chad, G7 and AU in South Africa cannot help us. No slave masters like those western imperialists and neo-colonial slave drivers will want freedom for slaves or servants. Our neighbours who are jealous of our size and natural wealth have always loathed us.
These countries won’t help you sir, beyond mere tokenism, crumbs from the masters table. Don’t tell Nigerians you are not a miracle worker or magician. They won’t listen to you Sir. They want you to approximate the two at once, a merger of Pastor Chris Oyakhilomen and Prof. Peller rolled intone. They expect abracadabra from you.
I support you Sir. Nigerians support you greatly. But, so far, your performance has been below average. Certainly not what Nigerians are yearning for. Time is not on your side, whether in age or in performance. The clock is ticking away. Very fast. Inexorably. Seize the sliding tide before it is too late, sir.
Tell your media aids, to scrutinize the social media for you and see how the tide is turning frighteningly fast against you. Just within three months of your popular and populist emergence as President of 175 million Nigerians, after four gruesome attempts, of sweat, pains, pangs and hear blood. Come out of your shell and become the Abraham Lincoln of our time. Times like these need very strong men. PMB, you can do it. Nigerians want you to be used. I am one of them.
Now This: PMB’S State Visit To U.S.A
It was good that PMB seized the first available opportunity to visit U.S.A on President Obama’s invitation. Whilst we may be rolling out the drums to celebrate this diplomatic move, we must not over indulge ourselves as having scored any major breakthrough in the icy relationship between Nigeria and U.S.A.
The reason is simple. Whilst PMB was still in the U.S.A meeting with other groups during the State visit, Obama tripped to Africa, specifically to Kenya, his pedigree and to Ethopia. Don’t forget that Obama had visited Ghana, a neighbouring country to Nigeria, some years ago, while ignoring Nigeria maximally. All the same, congrats, PMB, even if not much was achieved during the state visit. The most outstanding of the minuses is that U.S.A still refuses to sell arms to Nigeria, to curb the malignant Boko Haram insurgency.
And This: The Amicable Resolution Of NASS Crisis
It is gratifying to note that NASS has finally resolved its crisis, which threatened to tear APC apart as snowball into a national calamity of monumental proportions. It took PMB only 20 minutes to give a hard talk to the warring factions. The meaning of this is twofold. First, PMB can assume leadership of APC and call short without necessarily interfering in the internal affairs of a separate arm of govt., the National Assembly.
In other words, he cannot act like chichidodo bird envisaged by Ayi Kwei Armah, the authoritative Ghanaian author, in his epic novel, “The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born”, which hates human excrements with passion, but feeds on maggots that wriggle out of human faeces. Lesson: Be in charge without interfering.
Second, whilst party supremacy should be encouraged and respected, it has its limit, which is that it must never dictate to any of the three arms of govt. under its governance. It must restrict itself to policy formulation and party path finding, but never to act as a tyrant that dictates to duly elected representatives of the people. PDP did it, and got its fingers badly burnt and its toes badly bruised.
Has PMB, his advisers, media men, kitchen Cabinet, friends and APC chieftains who are have ears, have been reading and digesting this three-part Sunday sermon on the Mount of the Nigerian project?