Boko HaramColumnistsMuhammadu Buhari‎NINOpinion

In Defence Of Buhari’s Change Agenda

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[FILES] Buhari. Photo: TWITTER/NIGERIAGOV


Predictably, every election year, politicians irrespective of party affiliation claim to be guided by the belief that power belongs to the people and get in the way of the masses to advance their political ambition. They do everything humanly possible to win the heart and vote of the masses by professing not only as true democrats but progressives or comrades. In continuation of their guises and disguises, politicians captivate the people with laudable promises that seek to change the masses living conditions. Behind these ‘Greek meekness’, is the politicians’ desire and concern to win elections into political leadership positions. Once in office, the advance to cause better life for the people no longer deserves greater attention until another electioneering period. Notwithstanding, politicians constant denials of democracy dividends to the people, let us take a moment to salute the wisdom of the Nigerian masses who voted President Muhammadu Buhari into office in 2015. For many, it was the best thing that happened to Nigeria by electing a priceless and resourceful man of honour who is incongruous to corruption. Ever since he assumed office, he has displayed an unerring instinct for doing the right thing at the right time and seemed to be incapable of doing wrong. However, given the numerous challenges facing the nation and people, it is saddening that President Buhari seldom talks about burning national issues just to bring relief and reassurance to a nation abused and traumatised by Boko Haram, insurgents and bandits. This is ominous as Buhari presidency and his body language has provided immunity for many to act above the law. Of course, this brings to bear the fear of the unknown and the continued interrogation of the national question with huge concern about the threat to our democracy and the corporate existence of a united Nigeria. In this context, many have asked the million dollar question: how can Nigeria recalibrate its existence, is it through restructuring or separation?

However, to judge by the push for reforms and the narratives about the change slogan that brought the ruling government to power, President Buhari administration must rank as one that took the project Nigeria seriously than its predecessors. Indeed, the Buhari administration is a promise kept even as the stark reality facing Nigerians provides a dramatic illustration of how a beautiful change agenda can be murdered by a gang of brutal facts. The ruling government challenged itself to provide basic human necessities like 24 hours electricity, halt the senseless killings across the country by Boko Haram and insurgents, stop the ‘fraud’ called subsidy and make fuel not only available but cheaper among others. To buttress the above, Nigerians were re-assured by former governor, Lagos state and the national leader of APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu during campaign in 2014 that the only way to have steady electricity and fuel supply is to remove the then President Goodluck Jonathan from office. His Excellency, Tinubu, noted: “I promise you in six months, Nigeria will be swimming in crude oil and fuel. Buhari will pay you all 5,000 naira monthly for being jobless. Our youth will be gainfully employed with 3,000 jobs a year…” But what are the facts today six years after?

Without any provocation, Nigerians are constantly reminded how the country was poorly administered economically by the previous government and the ruling government blamed it virtually for everything. Under President Buhari watch Nigerians were provided their first major lesson, tuition free, in the sociology of Nigeria that the livestock business of cattle rearing is much more valued than one can imagine. Several communities across the country were still being ravaged by herdsmen as farm produce are destroyed and lives lost for questioning herders’ right of passage in farmlands. To resolve the herders/farmers crisis, after the ruling government woke up from a protracted slumber, it tried to initiate several programmes to earn free lands for herdsmen across the country through grazing reserves, RUGA, cattle colony among others to no avail. Again, the change agenda exposed Nigerians to see the huge melting pot that the country has become in recent times as our borders were thrown open to allow ‘fellow citizens’ from across Africa come in to register in the National Identification Number (NIN) and become Nigerian just like that.

Of course, it made no difference to the ruling government that bandits and common criminals could use the opportunity to enter the country and cause mayhem. Beyond opening the border, the Buhari government is running a trans-Saharan gas pipeline to Niger Republic and other North African countries instead of first allowing charity begin at home to provide employment for our teeming youth. Indeed, many policy decisions of the ruling government seem to divide Nigerians and tear the people far apart along ethnic, religious and tribal lines. It would be recalled that justice Walter Onnoghen and Kemi Adeosun were relieved of their appointments without hesitation for their past mistakes. But, the minister of communication and digital economy, Isa Pantami’s ugly past views for supporting terrorist groups like Taliban and Al-Qaeda is to be over looked as the ruling government professed a theory that Pantami made those submissions as a young man and has apologised and recanted.

The current government seems to serve and treat a constituency who are supposedly the closest thing in capitalist society to an egalitarian structure, class or tribe distinctions were all too evident in the Buhari administration. As it were, the President’s inauguration speech in 2015 where he said: “… I belong to everybody and belong to nobody …” is now obvious as mere statement; certain people are much better treated than others. The other day, the governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom, maintained that the body language of the president shows that he is the president of the Fulani people. Despite the ringing of alarm bells by well meaning Nigerians who continue to call on the government to arrest the insecurity situation, not much has changed.

In the past six years or so, the president’s body language and tone deaf has funneled a remarkable increase in insurgency attacks across the country, in photographs and footage of carnage, the Nigerian people are mourning and distressed. So pathetic are some of the horrific sights that governors Babagana Umara Zulum of Borno state and Ortom of Benue state cannot hold back tears. It is high time the president match his words with action regarding the fight to end insurgency in the country. Many regard the government claim of degrading the insurgents as both nebulous and distant. In a weakly-managed administration, the blunt geopolitical reality confronting Nigerians today is that a combination of political incompetence and the ruling government intransigence has created an impossible problem.

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