Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Inertia Of President Buhari

By Charles Onunaiju
For more than a decade of his political odyssey in the struggle for Nigeria’s presidency, people of various political background stayed the course, not so much for his famed integrity but in the belief that President Muhammadu Buhari has the political will and grit to fundamentally shake up the country’s outlook, liberate it from conventional thinking and decisively transform the dominant mindset, which has sustained a precarious and unproductive trajectories of our post-colonial history. 
*Buhari 
However, given the inertia that has trapped the president Buhari government currently in near atrophy especially in the economic and social fronts, it is easy to forget his breakthrough in a core area of national emergency, especially in substantially degrading the nihilist and extremist insurgents that have for years ravaged the North East and existentially threatened the rest of the country. 

Critics claimed that president Buhari has only recalled his attack dogs, which he has used to undermine the regime of former president Goodluck Jonathan. However, if any one person or group of persons could orchestrate such deadly insurgency and then walk about freely, then, the government under whose watch, it happened does not deserve a day longer in office. However, while the end of Boko Haram insurgency or its considerable degradation cannot amount to the end of Nigeria’s security woes, curtailing the rebellion of the narcissistic insurgents is a bold step in ensuring national security. 

But relinquishing the lives saved from the atavistic Boko Haram and almost at the same time, surrendering it to the pangs and ravages of hunger, poverty and destitution through policy timidity on economic and social fronts by a government that seemed to be mortally afraid to rigorously exert itself on new ideas stands logic on its head. The ideological fudge and denials which has characterised successive  Nigerian governments have constantly denied them the grasp of the fundamental disconnect and the prospect of objectively and scientifically comprehending the contradictions in the country and arriving at the relevant policy instruments to address them. 

President Buhari who at earlier times appeared to have, had the political will and strength of character to break from the routine, is now boxed in, to the inertia engendered by the customary gridlock of elite trade-offs, wedded to the well travelled path of regimented neo-liberalism and the consequent unimaginative policy alternatives. While president Buhari personally indulge himself in the moral outrage of the failures, corruption and inadequacies of the previous governments, his patriotic vision of a resurgent nation is hampered by a compelling deficit of analytical insight to the objective condition of the Nigerian situation and the poverty of scientific and intellectual rigour to define alternative road map.

The president Buhari’s regime prospect to develop a redemptive paradigm is further marginalised by its own trappings to the symbols of state power. Having a soldier stand annoyingly behind him at every public forum, or a protocol personnel drawing a seat for him, seem an eternal obsession to the rituals of power instead of the purposes of power,  which drive home, the image of a political dinosaur, reclining in the comfort zone of power without responsibility. The political capital of president Buhari’s electoral revival seemed to have run its course and the perennial exhortations of a socio-economic new day that is in the offing by the regime operatives is sounding ever more, hollow. Because of its self-imposed parochialism, the president Buhari’s government has not lent itself adequately to the understanding of the international context of Nigeria’s socio-economic malady. 

The terminal crises of capitalism at its last stage, is producing lethal socio-economic lethargy in its periphery even as its centres are engulfed in paralysis that is producing the monster of right wing populist movements, whose latest reincarnation is the electoral triumph of  Mr. Donald Trump in the United States of America. The clear lack of comprehension of these key global dynamics and its impacts on policy choices means that policies are critically deficient of its fundamental aggregates and would therefore be unable to resolve issues of public goods and services which is government’s primary domain of responsibility. The most important challenge to reviving Nigerian economy is to produce an economic map, identifying resource-catchment areas, per region or state and developing the relevant physical and institutional infrastructure conducive to its maximum exploitation. 

Consequently, a road map of industrial clusters to be fed by the already identified resource zones would result in an unprecedented massive economic activities sucking in, an avalanche of manpower both skilled and unskilled. The corollary to these chatter-box of economic activities would be the emergence of dynamic internal market. These scenario will reduce the devastating impacts of imploding capitalism from its core centers of imperialist triad; United States of America, Western Europe and Japan. The challenge of developing a national industrial policy that would considerably inoculate Nigeria from the vagaries of imploding capitalism at its last stage requires the transformation of the existing mind-set derived from the ideological strangle-hood of neo-liberalism.

 It requires the philosophical freedom of the thought, beyond what we know and basically, a bold experimentation driven by a scientific interrogation of the current national condition and the prospective options to transcend it. But the government of president Buhari administration, seized by the fantasy of its moral righteousness, encumbered by its self-style Puritanism of been the chosen one and above all, possessed by the delusional dogma of its redemptive mandate, would hardly see the opportunity of injecting unconventional, radical views to break the gathering moss of the regime complacency. 

Meanwhile, the All Progressive Congress (APC), the historic frame work of political opportunism that brought the government to power is cracking up so quickly. The usual booty sharing formula, which is at the core of elite predatory politics in Nigeria, is tearing the party apart. With a party befuddled by gregarious hedonism and a government dogged by inertia and ineptitude, Nigerians are in for a long haul of socio-economic destitution. The political frame work of conventional liberal democracy has no more bright prospects to contain and accommodate the broad aspirations for popular political participation of Nigerians. 

The institutions of political representation over the years have become the hell-holes of elite corruption and have become neither representative, accountable nor responsible. The aspirations of the broad masses of the Nigerian people including workers, peasants, intellectuals and professional elites require prudent search for a framework of inclusive, consensual and consultative mechanism in which the people are the key driver of the process. As John Staurt Mill, argued that “a people may be unprepared for advanced institutions, but a discussion on it is a necessary part of the preparation” it is long overdue for us to challenge our collective imagination on the alternative frame work of political organization and participation beyond the regimented and corrupt liberal democracy whose origin is the toxic colonial domination. 

President Buhari’s government ramblings amidst policy inertia, in spite of an original huge political capital, means we must rethink our politics which turns hollow and sterile, in spite, of the most patriotic vision and noble intentions.
* Mr. Charles Onunaiju, is Research director, Centre for China Studies, CCS, Abuja.





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