Why Buhari Is Afraid Of Buhari’s Shadows

‘The beginning of a thing is not as interesting as its end. All things being equal, last week’s Christmas message would be the last from…’

By Tunde Asaju

The beginning of a thing is not as interesting as its end. All things being equal, last week’s Christmas message would be the last from Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s president. This last lap, as it should be, is stocktaking time and the president appeared to have found the meaning of change in the dictionary.

The president seems ready to engage with the nation on the eve of his departure. While he claims to have done his best, he admits that his best might not have been good enough. Rather than talk to Western media, he has granted an interview to a national newspaper, the first in a long while!

Obviously Buhari is afraid of the shadows of his legacy. He says he is committed to handing over to whomever Nigerians chose as their next leader as if he has a choice.

He is silent on the wanton arson targeting electoral offices nationwide. With seven deadly attacks in four months and over 40 so far, there would not be free, fair or credible elections if INEC is incapacitated. Under normal circumstances, INEC has had logistic trouble conducting elections. The problem is doubled with the current attacks.

Buhari wants to hand over to someone that would continue with his legacy. That assertion in itself is filled with double entendre. What legacy is Buhari talking about? A legacy of the Second Niger Bridge is worthy of continuation. It is a good one even when there is no logic in partially opening a completed bridge other than the Nigerian habit of commissioning projects. In commissioning projects, it so often happens that the ceremony costs enough to start a new one. A policy of once completed, start using would curb the gravy train.

The Abuja-Kaduna rail line has reopened for business. Nigerians deserve a judicial enquiry into how the project took off without the security aspect of the masterplan.

Did those who signed the final contract put personal pecuniary interest over the security of users? How could future projects avoid such lacuna? Nigerians deserve to know how its sovereignty was surrendered to bandits who killed several citizens, captured, imprisoned, and tortured others without repercussion. The Americans would have sworn that the culprits would never escape justice – what is Nigeria’s attitude?

A substantial part of the Buhari legacy is a plethora of policy somersaults. Its fiscal monetary policy is nothing to write home about. Like a child presiding over a game of thrones, Buhari closed borders without consultation and reopened them without giving account. What did Nigeria gain or lose from that policy?

As things stand, there are many legacies of the Buhari administration that Nigerians would not want to stay with him to his last day. Under Buhari, the Nigerian economy is in shambles. Anybody promising to continue the legacy as is, would be an enemy of the nation. Even for the locust years of his predecessor, the Nigerian currency has never suffered such depreciation as it suffered under Buhari. Yet, rather than look at the underlying reasons, the Buhari regime opted to redenominate, repaint and reprint the naira at a cost worth investing in reasonable ventures.

We should not go to the field of education, where the Buhari legacy is bound to keep Nigeria behind its peers for decades to come. Incessant ASUU strikes due to inconsideration by those in power would do a number on Nigeria’s education for decades.

Buhari claimed to have spent every loan or palliative on poverty eradication, but the country’s bureau of statistics says 133 million or 63 per cent of the population are in poverty with rates of poverty as high as 91 per cent in places like Sokoto State. If majority of Nigerians live in rural areas, 70 per cent of them are poor by the report.

In the field of agriculture, the Buhari regime has lived on lies and subterfuge. Since rice became the staple of most Nigerian families, Buhari has banned, unbanned and resorted to dropping the ball on rice importation. All the while, Buhari was commissioning fake granaries and bogus silos while citizens buy rice at insanely high prices.

If a nation incapable of defending itself against internal strife is a failed state, then Buhari has presided on one. From the technical defeat of Boko Haram to the nepotistic mismanagement of its war on terror, Buhari failed on his promise to rid the nation of insurgency within three months. Instead, he opted for a technical defeat that has left many guessing.

When Buhari was sworn in, IPOB was a paper threat to life and living in the south-eastern part of the country. Today it and its allies are the de jure authority there determining how many days make a workweek and shutting down business as they please sans challenge.

Elected governments in this area barely exert authority beyond their state capitals all these in spite of the capture of Nnamdi Kanu, the self-styled IPOB leader. In that part of the country, federal agents work in fear for their own lives. This is not a legacy worthy of being written on the political epitaph of a retired general.

Buhari could claim to have inherited the trouble in the East. His weakness in negotiating with terrorists rather than people with genuine grievances has emboldened the mushrooming of ethnic militia now extending authority and sphere of influence.

We might need someone who has the president’s right ears to inform him that there is a burgeoning group calling itself in the West agitating for a separate Yoruba Nation. These people have flags and anthems and are openly recruiting members.

At this rate, every village would need to stand-alone. These are the reasons why mathematical soothsayers are saying that if care is not taken, Buhari might be the last president of a nominal Nigeria.

This is a legacy of weakness not worth bequeathing to an inheritor of power. It is a legacy not worth pinning on the epaulet of a general with a master’s degree in strategy, except of course the strategy is to leave it to the successor to tackle.

Need we say that under Buhari, crimes hardly known have become common problems for Nigerians? Violence against women and the elderly has increased, same with ritual killings. Religious bigotry has taken roots and insecurity has made Nigeria a no-go-area for citizens as well as foreigners working or visiting.

Buhari campaigned on the legacy of an anti-corruption czar; he is leaving the space worse than he met it. Apart from the corruption of nepotism that has rendered the state barely functional, corruption has multiplied. Appointments not based on merit have weakened the anti-corruption organs that Buhari inherited.

His inability to discipline errant officers, his general lack of interest in governance has made corruption grow into an untamed monster under his watch. His anti-corruption war is only efficient where his interests are threatened.

There is so much to say about legacies for which most Nigerians would not wait to see this president go; not because they know that something radically different is in the offing, but just for the hope that whatever comes after this could be better.

Source: Daily Trust

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