Friday, December 9, 2016

Tragedies Of Buhari Presidency

By Ominabo Wealth Dickson
Nigeria is a nation of many ills: recession, impending famine, dearth of justice, political betrayals and humanitarian crisis.  President Muhammadu Buhari, the man of hope and great expectation, is undoubtedly betraying hope. Morning by morning, he leads Nigeria to economic hardship, he beams to the nation light of no rays, he feeds the citizens with meal of lacks, sings to them daily from the songs of lamentations and narrates to Nigerians tall tales of unseen achievements. His sweetest rhetoric is perhaps his ability to deploy many fallacies in attempting to justify his inability to meet with public expectation.
With inflation hitting 18 percent, economic analysts suggest that the nation’s economic woes are intrinsically linked to the lack of economic direction by the government of the day. Worse still, is the administration’s confusion on economic measures to address the financial hardship in the nation. It is a government of many mouths. In the night, the government tells you it wants to sell the country’s assets but in the morning, it will tell you again that it wants to borrow from agencies to address the country’s economic crisis; the same government comes up again in the afternoon to inform the masses that through its financial prudence, it has been able to save enough money by blocking leakages and recovering looted funds that will meet the social needs of the populace. Which voice would the masses believe?
It has been tales of confusions, contradictions and tragedies of errors since President Buhari came to power.  At one point it was the tragedy of the other room, at some other time it was the error of double speaking, and in many instances it is a tale of confusion and contradiction coming from the President and his team. If Nigerians would permit the ignorance of the President in not knowing the difference between Western Germany and Germany, Nigerians find it insulting that their leader would err in spelling his own name.  In his correspondence to the Nigerian Senate on October 7, 2016,  praying the Senate to confirm  two supreme court justices, the President mistakenly spelt his name as Muhammdu ( instead of Muhammadu) Buhari.  Nigeria also has had reasons to question the President in time past when the President wrote a letter to the National Assembly last year and it was wrongly dated as October, 2016 instead of 2015.
There is hardly anything that the President does that is not characterized with some measures of errors and mediocrity. His public speeches have been subject of many errors and embarrassment, the reality is that the President started with errors and will likely to end his administration with errors. These traces of mediocrity have continued to manifest in all actions of the President. It is on record that President Buhari presided over the most controversial national budget in the history of Nigeria. The 2015 national budget was so erroneous, that it was reported that most ministries just photocopied the budget of the previous year. Yes, no one is attempting to envisage a state of perfection by the President and his team but avoidable errors should as the name suggests be avoided.

It could be recalled that during the Edel Fitri celebration of this year, President Buhari promised Nigerians that they should expect a bumper harvest at the end of the year but by November this year, the same government is now forecasting food famine.  What does one expect from a government whose only agenda is to fight corruption, ignoring the fact that corruption multiplies in a society of poverty. It was President Buhari who declared that Boko Haram has been technically defeated last year but the same degraded and 'defeated' Boko Haram has continued to soar in criminality. Recently, we were greeted with how Boko Haram killed some senior officers of the Military. On October 21, 2016 Premium Times reported that “at least 83 Nigerian soldiers including a commanding officer are still missing days after they came under a Boko Haram attack”… The report also revealed that “the missing Commanding Officer of 223 Tank Battalion in Gashigar, was identified as K. Yusuf, a lieutenant colonel. Military sources said the troop could not withstand the Boko Haram because they had only two light armour tanks to work with.” 
It has been revealed that the waning strength of the Nigerian soldiers is as a result of the lack of strategy by the Commander-in-Chief. Premium Times on November 7, 2016 also published an interview it had with a top military source on why Boko Haram has been gaining momentum in the past months.  Below are few excerpts of the Premium Times interview: “It is sad that the Nigerian Army is announcing that the attacks are being carried out by remnants of Boko Haram terrorists when all reasonable persons can see that Boko Haram is still a formidable force. The Nigerian Army is more concerned with pleasing the political class while the grassroots people are still suffering… But the impression being created is that troops are better off now in terms of equipment than under Jonathan... Unfortunately, for every battle we engage in, the equipment keeps wearing, and to worsen issues, this equipment were not procured with their fast-moving spare parts. The big question is, how many equipment has the present government procured and to where are they deployed for use?
“So how did we lose the plot? Recall that there were mercenaries that fought with Nigerian Army troops in the first and second quarters of 2015. Yes. Boko Haram seems to have good strategist who study our modus operandi and cause them to adjust accordingly. The Nigerian military may need to reappraise its approach to counter insurgency operations.
“Those mercenaries really assisted us and their withdrawal signaled the gradual regrouping of Boko Haram terrorists. This is because their withdrawal was sudden and not in phases.” 
One of the tragedies of the Buhari Presidency is the over politicization of issues of national importance. The administration is always quick to rubbish steps taken by the last government, forgetting that government is a continuum.  It could be recalled that last year, Buhari as then President-elect was quoted as saying: “What is more worrisome is the fact that Nigeria’s military has to rely on South African mercenaries before it could gain recent success in the war against Boko Haram. This situation is shameful and unacceptable.”
Humanitarian crisis in Nigeria has worsened under the Buhari Presidency.  Today, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are protesting on the state of hunger and starvation in their camps. Peter Lundberg, the acting United Nations Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator, was recently quoted as saying that “Nigeria is facing the worst humanitarian crisis on the African continent..." According to him, “Needs are currently higher than the response capacity and we must ensure that we have both access and resources to scale up our humanitarian support in the months to come.” 
All spheres of our nationhood are characterized with glaring realities of retrogression. These hardship and sorrow in the land are neither the acts of devil nor the making of God as some eschatologists would suggest, rather, it is an indication of the many missing links that exist in the leadership of our nation.
As a way of conclusion, I would like to say that every great leader is usually appraised by the number of battles he won, the challenges he overcame, the promises he kept and above all the social and economic impacts that were witnessed during his time. President Buhari must begin to make conscious effort to put smiles on the faces of the Nigerian masses. At this point, he must realize that every decision counts; now is not the time govern with philosophies of party pettiness and trivialities, it is time to put Nigerians first in every decision he takes, especially in appointing people into positions of authority. There is still hope that Buhari can still turn things around for the general good of Nigerians if he is willing to act right and be obedient to his conscience and the laws of the land.
*Ominabo Wealth Dickson is a commentator on public issues 

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