Tuesday, May 31, 2016

One Year Of ‘Change’: Buhari’s Top Sevens Failings So Far

By Saheed Animashaun
For my criticism to be fair let me cut Baba some slack. This is perhaps the worst possible time to be Nigeria’s President. Nigeria is an oil economy. As a mono-economy therefore, our economy is in normal circumstances bound to move in the direction of oil income. The nation’s income from crude oil sales is at an all time low. The demand for the dollar at the moment far outweighs the supply due to i) Fall in the proceeds from sales of crude which is our primary source of forex, ii) Our non-oil exports being quite too insignificant to fetch reasonable amount of forex iii) the fact that we import majority of the oil we consume thereby having to part with our scarce dollar reserves.
*Buhari 
Also, change is a gradual process. One year is too small to rate an administration that took over from a party that had milked Nigeria dry for a good part of 16 years! Kwarapshun is our ONLY hindrance to development and Baba is ardently tackling it!
Enough of sounding like one of this administration’s many spokespersons! Enough of these excuses!
This administration don fall my hand in many areas. Below is a countdown from seven to one of the most disappointing aspects of the Buhari administration in my opinion!
CAVEAT: Whatever has happened after Buhari got elected doesn’t negate the fact that there was only one right choice between Buhari and GEJ. Nigeria was nose-diving into a seemingly bottomless chasm as a result of the ineptitude of the previous governments. May be with that government still in power, Nigeria would have been auctioned to China by now! Recent revelations have shown that it was that bad! The looting was unprecedented as it has been for several years though.
7. Many pending appointments –
The defence line that it takes time to find the right people is balderdash! You have been trying to be president for more than ten years! Until recently, many appointees of the previous government that were supposedly inept were still running the show in various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of the Federal government! Till now, many appointments have still not been made. This has definitely affected administrative duties because these individuals already know they would definitely be replaced. They are only not sure of when!
6. The nefarious activities of “Fulani Herdsmen”
While I agree that there are some narratives to this imbroglio that are unknown to many and hardly publicized by the press, the seemingly innocuous posture of the C-in-C has been embarrassing. This dangerous phenomenon has the potential to deteriorate into a huge scale war if not nipped in the bud. I still find it hard to fathom out the reason little to no mention of it was made in the long democracy day speech of the President! This is a disaster waiting to happen that needs to be decisively tackled on a huge scale.

5. Electricity
“Minister of darkness”! No be me tok am ooo. Na wetin some dudes dey call Uncle Tunde these days. Make I no lie I pity am no be small! I can’t recollect any length of time in my twenty something years on earth that it was this bad. Some say there was a period under Abacha electricity was this bad! History! Let me talk about happenings I consciously witnessed! I am not sure of which adjective to use to aptly describe the current power shortage. I was going to defend Uncle Tunde until I heard him tell us how his kids are affected by the poor power supply! Yinmu in 3D!
I agree that the destruction of pipelines by various militant groups especially the Niger Delta Avengers (what a name!) has greatly worsened matters, especially because they have an almost perfect knowledge of the pipelines as they were in charge of securing it under Uncle Hero’s administration. But hey! I’m definitely not buying that! Whose primary duty is it to secure these pipelines? The relevant authorities should do the needful (In Stella Oduah’s voice). Also, why make Nigerians pay more for poorer electricity. Even if the Discos are suffering due to low revenue, there are many more pertinent issues! How many homes have prepaid meters? How many prepaid meters users circumvent this device by paying much less than they consume? How many government agencies owe these Discos (The Nigerian Army being a prime example)? Solving these challenges is much more important than making the already impoverished citizens pay more for less power!
4. Fuel scarcity
Just a few words! Several write-ups are available on this!
I hope the partial deregulation of the downstream sector would put a final end to the economy-killing long queues we have witnessed over the past months. I really feel the Minister of Petroleum resources; oh! I mean the Minister of state for Petroleum resources (Baba himself is the minister!), could and should have done more. Many of his frustration-guided comments also didn’t help matters too.
3. The Missing budget brouhaha
This was unbelievably annoying and embarrassing! Odidin budget sonu! I wrote on this some months ago, so a few sentences would do.
The unprofessional manner in which many aspects of the budget preparation and submission were carried out leaves much to be desired. From budget padding to different budget versions; the whole process was needlessly dramatic and comical.
I hope Baba and his team have learned from these. With the presence of Mr. Ben Akabueze and co. in the team, I believe that next year’s would be much better.
2. That distasteful ministerial list
I am sure many of you are surprised that this didn’t make number 1.
First, the aspect that pained me most! After waiting forever for the list, and expecting super humans to feature, I was startled to see that many were same-of-the-same. I learnt that, the oldest of them all, was a federal minister even before Buhari’s first stint as President. I even realized that he was the Chairman of a major political in Nigeria while I was in Primary school! Shuo! That one no mean na
Some analysts opine that the wind of change provided by the brooms of APC has successfully transformed (Transformation ke!) some of these ministers and as a result, they are now Born-again! I really hope so!
On a more serious note, I hope we can get the needed fresh ideas and commitment from them to take Nigeria out of its several problems.
1. Poor PR
Baba’s media team and spokespersons have been terrible. Their performances have been awful, distasteful, horrendous, appalling, horrid and dreadful!
The majority of them portray Buhari as Nigeria’s only possible Messiah who out of his own magnanimity decided to sacrifice his old age (resting period) so as to rescue Nigeria. In short, they expect Nigerians to be grateful to Buhari for doing them a favour by being their President!
I am not too surprised though! What else was I expecting when a chief propagandist and specialist in the art of ‘twisting information’ is made the Minister of Misinformation (some say “Information” is the correct portfolio). He would say something today, and then give another interpretation tomorrow. The media aides are no better! One would give an account today, another or Baba himself, would give another almost differing account tomorrow.
If you were ask all the media aides, why was the downstream sector deregulated (aka why was subsidy removed), you would definitely hear very different and differing explanations.
There are many promises Buhari has failed to fulfill. Instead of apologizing before the deadline or letting Nigerians know that he has changed his plans, his aides would be saying stuffs like “He has a right to change his mind” or in some cases denying that such promise was ever made! Many major disastrous incidents have passed by without a direct and timely statement from the president.
Communication is essential to the success of every government. The sooner the Buhari admin realized this, the better!
My jury is still out. Time will tell whether this administration would bring the change we desire.
Ultimately, the change that we seek is not going to emanate from any government house. It begins with everyone us acting as change agents in our micro-environments.
God bless Nigeria!

*Saheed Animashaun is an accountant and social commentator (saheed.animash@gmail.com)

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