In past weeks, some political activities have indicated the possibility of President Muhammadu Buhari seeking a fresh mandate of four years at the 2019 presidential polls. Some long standing associates and loyalists of the President under the leadership of the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs and Excise, Hameed Ali have converged under the aegis of the Buhari Support Organisation, BSO to drive his anticipated re-election bid. This group share the same goal with a select number of APC state governors, apparently led Nasir El -Rufai of Kaduna and includes others like, Bello Masari of Katsina, Yahya Bello of Kogi, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano, Abdullah Muhammed of Bauchi and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo. His well-fed in the midst of misery ministers, head of departments and agencies are also not left out of the Buhari must run agenda. These groups have one thing in common; they belong to the Buharists School of Political and Economic Thoughtlessness.
The Buharist movement is hollow, shallow and empty in thought and form. It is without a coherent and detailed socio-economic philosophy that is associated with the Muhammadu Buhari presidency with a concurrent positive impact on governance. The Buharist movement is largely hinged on the cult of personality of President Buhari as a result of ethno-geographic and religious sentiments. In the place of absence of solid achievements and simple tasks of completing infrastural projects, Buharists celebrates the President’s routine basic functions such as attendance of federal executive council meetings, reception for visiting local and foreign guests and going to Friday Jumat service in company of close aides and political associates as commendable achievements. Buharists even celebrated the President for delivering his annual budget speech for over an hour standing!
The tragedy in Buhari’s anticipated attempt at a second term of four more years is not even on the weakness of a government that failed to achieve any of its set goals of anti-corruption, economic rejuvenation and security of lives and properties. The tragedy of it all is the President and his ‘’Buharists’’ groups of supporters appear not to realize why they failed. The President often blames the former ruling party for the failures of his own government. Hameed Ali, a leading Buharists and the convener of BSO, while acknowledging the under achievement of the Buhari administration however took the blame game to a ridiculous extent when he blamed former members of the PDP who decamped to APC and got rewarded with appointments. The way and manner the ‘’blame the PDP’’ rhetoric of the ruling APC is being propagated with fascist precision leaves many convinced that PDP is one corrupt DNA traceable to all individuals who are members of the former ruling party. It is precisely this simplistic approach to issues of governance that is largely responsible for the under achievements of the Buhari administration.
The anticipated second term bid of President Buhari is also blighted by the support of some group of very poor performing, bail out squandering governors whose only escape route out of the massive discontent they are facing in their home states, is the sheer political opportunism of running under the cover of Buhari’s mass following. The political thoughtlessness of this group of governors is evident in their unawareness of Buhari’s waning popularity to which they contributed the most as result of their inability to meet up the most basic responsibility of wages and salaries of civil servants in their states. The support of arguably the most corrupt and incompetent governors in the history of the fourth republic is a political liability and not an asset.
As 2019 approaches, Nigeria deserves a better deal than a self-preservation agenda weaved around a failed leader by a combination of non performing political appointees, corrupt and poor performing governors riding on the crest of the uninformed mob of devote Buhari worshippers. The President appears not left out of this agenda. His recent body language, pronouncements and actions suggest a dramatic shift in approach to political engagement. The first of these was an attempt at rapprochement with his party the APC. In order to placate members who are aggrieved, Buhari has promised to expand his federal executive council and constitute boards of agencies and parastatals. By this pledge, Buhari has adorned his administration with the last of the PDP garbs it has been dressed with. Having failed to improve the economy sufficiently, the only source livelihood remains the government. The public purse will come under more pressure as political appointees are expected to reap abundantly and replenish their material contribution to the election of President Buhari.
Furthermore, these new appointments will swell the rank of political appointees whose only basis for appointments were their partisan activities in support of the emergence of the Buhari presidency but not their tried expertise and trusted competence. Consequences of this mode of appointment are that sensitive and strategic national economic as well as security establishments have more often than not converted to personal fiefdoms serving partisan interests. For example the headship of an establishment like customs and excise is too important to play partisan politics. Hameed Ali’s renewed role as chief campaign organizer for the re-election of President Buhari will surely be prejudicial to his already not too impressive performance CG Customs. The appointment of Dakuku Peterside as the head of a sensitive agency such as NIMASSA is an apparent invitation for him to recover his material loss after his failed attempt at Rivers state governorship. No new giant stride has been recorded by NIMASSA under Peterside, because his gaze fixed backward on Rivers state politics than on the economics of NIMASSA. Another prominent Buharists, Osita Okechukwu, who was rewarded with the headship of VON for his very robust support for President Buhari, have similarly not recorded any new feat in his establishment. He has remained in opposition mode, spending most of his time and energy castigating the opposition PDP without telling much about his exploits at elevating VON to the next level. The same goes for Bayo Onanuga of NAN. With these kinds of appointments and appointees, little wonder there is so much work left undone to the collective detriment of Nigerians.
Beyond blaming PDP past administrations for the failure of his administration, a Buhari second term presidency does not hold prospects of a better Nigeria. The chaliced mix of the promoters of Buhari continuity agenda indicates a predictable sustaining of the current poor state of governance in Nigeria. Nigerians may have to contend with steady decline in their standard of living largely as result of lack of ideas that is compounded by the corrupt conversion of public funds to private pockets by the political class. The most notorious group among the political class, the governors, will continuously extract one form of financial assistance or the other, under different guise (Bailout, Paris Club Refund), which they are certain to fritter away on personal affairs from their friend and associate, President Buhari. Post 2019, with Buhari they may even ask for refund from the numerous loots recovered from Abacha, Diezani and Dasuki etc.
It is most likely that if President Buhari is given a second chance of a second term, Nigerians will be treated to the stale tune of ‘’blame it on PDP’’ for his inability to deliver on good governance in the next four years. Ironically, while this is happening, the President Buhari’s administration and his ruling APC party are dominated at all arms and tiers of government by members of the much maligned former ruling PDP. The much desired Change will be as elusive as ever because the narrow minded Buharists in government who chose to view important national issues through the prism partisan politics will always fail to understand that Nigeria’s problems of corruption, economic woes and insecurity is not the making of any political party and the solution also does not lay in any political party. The problems are Nigerian in nature and only a pan-Nigerian solution can solve them.