Monday, May 23, 2016

Can Buhari Get It Right?

By Chiedu Uche Okoye 
Most Nigerians who are conversant with our po­litical history know that our country’s problem is a fail­ure of leadership. Our country’s stalled economic and technological growth is traceable to poor political leadership as well as military inter­ventions in our politics.
Military interventions in our politics contributed in no small ways to our national woes. The Soldiers who deemed their regimes corrective ones plundered our economy and ruled us with iron-first. General Babangida (Rtd) em­barked on rigmarole of transition to civilian rule. Since 1999, Nigeria has been enjoying democratic gov­ernance. But none of our national leaders has lived up to our expec­tations since then. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who believes he is in­fallible, squandered our collective goodwill and the opportunity given to him to lift Nigerian out of eco­nomic quagmire. He sunk millions of naira into the power sector with­out recording any success. Rather blanket of darkness was thrown over the country during his politi­cal reign.

Dr Goodluck Jonathan got into the most exalted political office in Nigeria by providential interven­tion and luck. His tardiness and vi­sionless marred his administration. It’s obvious to us that he’s ill-suited and ill-prepared for the leadership of Nigeria. But he will be remem­bered for his uncommon act of pat­riotism: he accepted his defeat at the presidential polls. Dr Jonathan’s vanquisher at the polls and succes­sor in office, Muhammadu Buhari, rode to victory on the coat tails of his famed zero tolerance for cor­ruption and Spartan lifestyle. He is with messianic complex, forth­rightness, and hyperbolic moral uprightness. But is president Bu­hari’s leadership ability not hyped?

It should be noted that one’s eagerness and hunger for political power cannot confer leadership qualities on one. Is president Bu­hari’s personality and leadership capabilities not unraveling and un­folding? Soon, he will mark his first anniversary in office, but he has committed some grave missteps. It took him long period to assembly his executive cabinet. Yet the pedi­grees of members of his cabinet do not compensate for the long period he took to form it. His members are recycled politicians, who had held political offices in the past. And Dr Fashola, who was saddled with the responsibilities of three ministries, has not banished darkness from our country.

And since his assumption of of­fice, President Buhari seems to be afflicted with wanderlust. He had travelled to several countries for diverse conferences and summits when common sense dictated that he should have sent his ministers to represent him at some of those global meetings. His penchant to travel to other countries for sundry reasons has reinforced the belief and perception that he is running away from his presidential duties. But is he overwhelmed by Nigeria’s seemingly intractable multifarious problems?

There is no gainsaying the fact that our President is obsessed with the fight against corruption. We are not unaware that corruption is the leukaemia debilitating Nigeria. Now some key members of the opposition party are standing trial for allegedly committing financial crimes. But we would like their prosecution to follow due judicial processes and procedure. Other­wise, their trials will amount to with-hunt, which is aimed at deci­mating the ranks of the opposition party.
More so, his ability to rein in the centrifugal forces trying to tear the country apart will endear him to Nigerians.

He has man­aged to stop the Boko Haram ter­ritorial expansionist moves. The frequency of the group’s bomb at­tacks has reduced drastically ow­ing to our military’s re-invigorated offensive against the group. But a wave of ethnic-nationalist senti­ments, which manifests in protests and violence, is sweeping across the South-east and South-south geo-political zones. Members of IPOB, whose leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is standing trial, want a sov­ereign state of Biafra. And there is a resurgence of militancy in the Marshy creeks of the oil-rich Niger-delta region. Their violent activities disrupt oil production in the region with its dire economic consequences.

But President Buhari’s resolve and utterance that he would crush the resurgent Niger-delta militants while turning a blind eye to the murderous activities of the Fulani herdsmen portrays him in a bad light. From Benue to Taraba, from Kogi to Enugu, the Fulani herds­men have run amok and gone ber­serk, killing people in their host communities with impunity. Has the Nigeria police successfully ar­rested any Fulani herdsmen and arraigned them in court for mur­der? The fact is, the Fulani herds­men have encircled a proprietary hand around the presidential seat as their kinsman is occupying the most exalted political office in Ni­geria.

And his economic policy re­garding fixing price for petro­leum has irked almost the entire Nigerian populace. During the Jonathan political regime, some members of the APC vehemently kicked against the removal of fuel subsidy. But now they have bought into it.
It has now dawned on us that President Buhari is not our politi­cal Messiah. He possesses neither the mojo nor leadership qualities, which he can deploy to revolu­tionize Nigeria.
* Okoye is a public affairs analyst

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