Chiedu Uche Okoye
Were millions of Nigerians not exhilarated when Muhammadu Buhari defeated Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 Presidential election? Their joyous celebration of his electoral victory stemmed from the fact that Nigeria was tottering on the brink of collapse under the inept corrupt and visionless political leadership of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. So they believed that Muhammadu Buhari would offer us purposeful and qualitative political leadership that would set our country on the path of irreversible and sustainable economic progress and technological advancement.
Their reposing of confidence in his abilities should not be faulted or condemned as President Buhari was perceived as a man with Spartan and austere lifestyle, then. And he’s believed to have zero tolerance for corruption in all its ugly manifestations. It’s said that his abhorrence of corruption is legendary. But, regrettably and incredibly, President Buhari’s ascension to the loft of power in Aso Rock led to his demystification. His personality has unraveled; and, now, we’ve seen an ugly side to his personality.
Based on millions of Nigerians’ assessment of his first term in office, President Buhari performed abysmally. All Nigerians but APC faithful are agreed on this: President Buhari’s leadership scorecard on his first term in office was unimpressive and far below our expectations. Then, our economy dipped and went into recession, although it got out of it soon after. It should be noted that his leadership of Nigeria between 2015 and 2019 has revealed his true personality to us. He’s an ethnic jingoist and chauvinist, who is very enamored of his Fulani kinsmen, which accounts for his handling and treating of their infraction of the laws with kid gloves.
So, in the run-up to the 2019 Presidential election, political pundits predicted that he would lose the Presidential contest by wide margins owing to many factors. Then, millions of angry hungry and unemployed Nigerians were disillusioned and disenchanted with his uninspiring visionless clueless and lackluster leadership of Nigeria. However, against our expectations, President Buhari trounced Atiku Abubakar, the PDP’s standard bearer in the 2019 Presidential election.
However, Alhaji Abubakar has alleged that electoral malfeasance perpetrated by the ruling APC was behind his loss in the 2019 Presidential election. The election result is now a matter of litigation at the Presidential Election Tribunal. This election matter at the tribunal is a cause célèbre. At the commencement of proceedings at the Presidential Election Tribunal, President Buhari’s legal team alleged that Atiku Abubakar is a Cameroonian and not a Nigerian. Instead of providing answers to the posers stated in Atiku Abubakar’s election petition, Buhari’s legal team raised a red herring to distract Atiku Abubakar’s legal team and cause delays.
However, irrespective of the 2019 presidential election result matter pending in court, President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn for his second term in office on May 29, 2019. So, another great opportunity has been offered to him to make amends as to his lackluster performance in his first term in office and write his name in gold. Now, it’s time for President Buhari to provide us with good political leadership in order that he’ll pull Nigeria out of abyss of underdevelopment. And offering us good political leadership will cause him to join the pantheon of Nigeria’s past great political leaders when he leaves office.
Now, it is incumbent on President Buhari to speedily cobble an inclusive executive cabinet that should be made up of technocrats, who have probity, leadership qualities, and proven track records in political administration. These ministers should be drawn from all political parties in Nigeria. Those people will help him to entrench national unity in Nigeria, and drive our country’s development initiatives and set it on the path of irreversible and sustainable economic progress and technological advancement.
More so, President Buhari should treat the issues bedeviling our educational system holistically since education is the cornerstone of national development. The Federal government- ASUU impasse should be addressed, as ASUU’s incessant industrial actions cripple universities’ education and alter their academic calendars. And government should conceive and implement educational policies that will reduce the number of out-of-school school children in Nigeria, which is estimated to be over 2 million.
Since an idle mind is a devil’s workshop, the vagrant out-of-school children and other unemployed youths constitute the vast pool from which the Boko Haram group recruits its foot soldiers. Now, the North East has remained a hot-bed of Insurgent activities and theatre of blood-letting. The displaced people there, who are mainly farmers, have abandoned their homesteads and fled to other states and Cameroun for safety.
In addition to insurgency, banditry in the North West, kidnapping, and the Fulani cattle herders’ menace are ravaging the country. In Zamfara state, for example, life is short brutish and nasty, there. Death is common place there. Sadly, the sanguinary deeds of the lawless bandits have continued to decimate the population of that state.
And the Fulani cattle herders have become emboldened in their vile act of murdering people simply because one of their own is occupying the highest political post in Nigeria. President Buhari’s lenience on the Fulani cattle herders vis-a –vis his hard stance on the proscribed IPOB group has reinforced our belief that President Buhari is a sectional leader, ethnic jingoist, and religious bigot.
More so, he should reinvigorate and diversify the economy to create employment opportunities for the teeming millions of unemployed Nigerians. Anger may well up in their hearts and they’ll cause unintended revolution in Nigeria as it happened in Tunisia and elsewhere.
President Buhari ought to know that Nigeria is going to the dogs as evidenced by our stagnating economy, technological backwardness, disunity, and the insecurity challenges bedeviling our country. He should get his act together, eschew religious bigotry and ethnocentrism, and utilize Nigeria’s abundant human and material resources to re-make our battered country, and set it on the path of economic prosperity and technological advancement.
Okoye writes from Uruowulu-Obosi Anambra State