In his recent meeting with service chiefs in Abuja, President Muhammadu Buhari reportedly vowed not to exit government as a failure. This is as surprising as it is laughable. Is the President not aware that many Nigerians are already the counting days and waiting for his exit from power to stamp his failures in the cheque book of history?
On assumption of office in 2015, the President promised three things: to tackle insecurity, improve the economy and fight corruption. Has he fulfilled any of these promises? The answer is a capital NO!
The President knows this himself. In his address to mark this year’s Democracy Day on June 12, he admitted that he has failed, especially in the area of security. According to him, the fight against insurgents in the North has spread violence to other areas. He said the past two years had seen “challenges that would have destroyed other nations, especially relating to our collective security.”
That is true. Militants, for instance, had overrun a number of military bases in some parts of the North since the beginning of the year. Take the recent audacious attack by bandits on the Nigerian Defence Academy in Kaduna as a typical example. The criminals invaded this elite institution without any challenge, killed two officers and abducted a Major.
The list of other security breaches in the country is quite long. Last July, bandits shot down a Nigerian Air Force jet in Zamfara State. The pilot was lucky to have escaped alive.
Nevertheless, 13 police officers were not that lucky. These officers were overpowered and killed in July when they went to repel an attack on some communities in Bungudu Local Government Area of Zamfara State. In 2018, Boko Haram terrorists attacked about nine military bases and overran the Multinational Joint Task Force base in Baga, Borno State. They also killed no fewer than 600 soldiers and captured some ammunition. If soldiers and policemen could easily be killed in this manner, one can then imagine what will happen to ordinary civilians and other soft targets.
It is common knowledge now that our students have become endangered species. From Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State, to Government Science School, Kagara, in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State, the story is the same. Bandits have abducted hundreds of schoolchildren and subjected them to unimaginable torture and humiliation. They have abducted over 1,000 students since December last year.
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) believes the North has paid the biggest price for Buhari’s failure. Spokesman of the group, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, was quoted to have said recently that “the people in the North have the wrong person in office because they are the first victims of the misgovernance of President Buhari.”
Even the governor of the President’s home state of Katsina, Aminu Bello Masari, would not have asked his people to take up arms and defend themselves against bandits, if the President had tackled insecurity as promised. Little wonder, the Defence Minister, Major-General Bashir Magashi (retd.), wondered why Nigerians had become cowards, not defending themselves against attacks by bandits.
As the Arewa Consultative Forum put it, “What else do we need to show that our national security system is running on reverse gear?”
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria captured the mood of the nation recently when it posited that Nigeria was one of the most terrorized countries in the world. In a communiqué issued at the end of its second plenary meeting in Enugu last week, the bishops lamented that “except for the civil war, our nation has never witnessed the kind of widespread evil, wanton destruction and murderous bloodletting.”
The Global Terrorism Index 2020 was magnanimous to rank Nigeria the third most terrorized nation in the world for the sixth consecutive year.
Many Nigerians are already afraid that the nation is on a serious march to Afghanistan. Recall that the Taliban took over the government of that troubled nation recently. People wondered how the Taliban whose numerical strength does not match that of the Afghan army were able to overrun Kabul and take over without resistance.
Boko Haram is our own Taliban. Now, some of them claim to have repented and have handed themselves over to security agents. Some have been rehabilitated and reintegrated into society. But whether they have repented or not is a question whose answer will unfold sooner than later.
In the area of the economy, it is also obvious that Buhari has failed. The greatest indicator of this fact is the level of poverty in the country today. It is no more news that Nigeria is the poverty capital of the world. It is also no longer news that prices of almost every commodity in the market today have doubled. Some have tripled. Only very few privileged citizens can afford two square meals in today’s Nigeria. The majority of others go to bed on many occasions on an empty stomach.
Unemployment has reached its peak, the cosmetic disbursement of cash palliatives by the Federal Government notwithstanding. As it is now, many people die these days for ailments that could have been easily treated due to lack of money for medical treatment.
Part of the reasons for this state of affairs is corruption, which the President has woefully failed to tackle. If he is serious about fighting corruption, those politicians who flew into Kano in over 50 private jets for the wedding of his son, Yusuf Buhari, should have been telling Nigerians the source of their income by now. If this government is serious about fighting corruption, Transparency International should not have been scoring us low in corruption perception index every year. And corrupt policemen would have stopped collecting tolls at every checkpoint across our highways. I drove down to the East last week and my experience was horrible. Every pole, there is security checkpoint. Those who are lenient will wave you to past. But some stubborn ones will ask you to park and ask for all manner of particulars. Once they discover any slight mistake somewhere, they put your particulars in their pocket and you begin to bargain to bail yourself out with a reasonable sum of money.
To be fair to Buhari, he has improved defence budget since he came on board. In 2020 and 2021, the military got N878.4 billion and N840.56 billion, respectively. But this has not translated into effective security due partly to corruption and recurrent expenditure. Allegations of diversion of public funds meant to fight insecurity are rife.
This corruption permeates all through the agencies and departments of government. We convict a few people, make some noise about it but the majority of others continue to wallow in their corrupt practices. Even the wastage in government, which we thought Buhari would curb, has continued. The President leads the pack in this profligacy with a fleet of presidential aircraft. His medical trip abroad is at a huge cost, which could have been avoided if our hospitals had ceased to be mere consulting clinics.
Going forward, the President should concentrate on searching for ways to salvage the dwindling fortunes of his government. In a society with efficient electoral process, the ruling All Progressives Congress will not get near the corridors of power after the next general election. Unfortunately, the leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is not better. What Nigeria needs now is a third force that will put an end to the shenanigans of the two major parties in Nigeria. Nigerians desperately desire an end to leadership failures, especially those of the incumbent occupant of the seat of power.
Re: Buhari’s wedding, private-jet politicians and Zuma’s treatment
Your piece is an unimpeachable chronicle of the very shameful and annoying oddities that bedevil the Nigerian Animal Farm. If the corruption fight starts with former Nigerian heads of state/presidents and the ones found guilty are made to face the Jacob Zuma indignity, great meaning and fear would have since been injected into the system, and by extension non-past leaders and other lesser Nigerians would call themselves to order. Corruption truly walks on all fours in Nigeria because the fight itself is tainted with corrupt practices.
The EFCC in their inner mind are aware that they are not independent and are mere tools used mostly to whip the opposition into submission, and to harass courageous insiders for daring to call a spade a spade. Jacob Zuma would not touch the prison bars, and Donald Trump would have upturned the voters’ will if it was in Nigeria because Nigeria is ‘not a civilized and organized society’ where the institutions prevail over powerful individuals. And the same Danladi Umar who was used to harass Onnoghen out of his hallowed chambers now tramples upon the poor guard and is being treated with kid gloves.
– Edet Essien Esq., Cal South, 08037952470
Casmir, Nigeria is a society that admires class consciousness. This class distinction ensures that people aggregate to their own class which may be political, social, cultural, religion etc. Every class has its own basic requirements and people do all sorts of things to belong to such class. Among such class is the political one. In Nigeria, most of the members of this class are hypocrites, pretenders, angelic in day and devils at night. They can easily fit into Fela’s ‘Authority robbers’. Their pens are mightier than AK47. Unfortunately, these crop of looters lord it over the majority. They will always pretend to associate with their leaders, to avoid harassment over their misdeeds.
– Pharm. Okwuchukwu Njike, +234 803 885 4922
Dear Casmir, in practical terms, South Africa has proved to be the giant of Africa. Any country that is still parading itself as the giant of Africa and shying away from embracing Zuma’s treatment is making itself a laughing stock.
– Judah Pasha, +2348064036486
Dear Casy, the Kano wedding, and its aristocratic dimension, exposed the deficiency in leadership in a given reality. Reasonably, the much-touted puritanical and Spartan disposition of the groom’s dad, as president, ought to have rubbed off on the wedding in consideration of the nation’s sorry economy where external borrowing is now the cardinal principles of State Policy with its attendant valedictory greetings to Nigerians on their ways to death owing to hunger and untold lack. But inaaa!
– Steve Okoye, Awka, 08036630731
Dear Casy, Buhari Yusuf’s wedding in Kano which attracted the men of affluence in Nigeria represents the level of corruption in the country since Obasanjo’s military government. When Nigeria lost N2.8 billion through petroleum ministry under Buhari’s table at the exchange rate of 70 kobo per dollar, that government sowed the seed of financial sleaze for the subsequent govt.
– Eze Chima C., Lagos, +2347036225495
Nigeria is a complex nation where looters are celebrated. This is the only nation where corrupt leaders will be taken to court, but some people will carry placards to call for their release because he is their own person.
– Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535
Dear Casmir, to end the belief in sacred cows, the independence of the judiciary has to be assured. The post of Chief justices and attorneys general of federal and states should be elective.
– Cletus Frenchman Enugu, +234 909 538 5215