Greetings my beloved friends all over the world. I trust each and every one of you is doing fine. I may have been incommunicado for sometime which is really unlike me. Trust me, the feeling is nothing personal. Its simply as a result of different interests competing for my time, but I’m highly optimistic sooner than later, everything will be fine.
Today, I decided to write about politics. For friends who know me very well, I am very big on humanity, and politics is one way to show my compassion and love for humanity. Yes, I am very passionate about anything relating to humanity. I’m glad am a lawyer in Nigeria and also a graduate from New York Law School and soon will be lawyer in United States of America God willingly, in that way I will be able to affect human lives in positive manner.
My take on one year of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressive Party (APC) is nothing personal, but my own personal assessment of the polity putting together all relevant factors. Today made it exactly one year, President Buhari assumed office as the President of the Federal of Nigeria. It’s always good for any rational thinking mind with an objective view to life issues to always access and evaluate his plan and direction to life and business in order to have an inventory stock of where he/she is headed. Likewise, it’s imperatively important and necessary for us to have as an insightful assessment of President Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the All Progressive Party.
Before we proceed proper, let’s be clear on one thing. I clearly I supported President Buhari wholeheartedly and that fact is undisputable, and the reason is simple: I looked at the situation of the country and where its is headed and thought deeply if the status quo remains same, the country might end up in the hand of vultures because with the rate of insecurity and death which Boko Haram the dreaded sect was inflicting on Nigerians daily was alarming, the rate impunity was growing was very disturbing, the rate corruption was growing in Nigeria was mind boggling:- the immigration scam, the pension scam, the mind boggling corruption in Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the strike in Nigerian universities which lasted for more than 6 months despite us having a president who has a “PhD”, a Vice President who is an architect, and a Minister for education who is a lawyer. I even reminisced his words of the the Minister Nyesom Wike, to the lecturers “Government would be justified in sacking lecturers if they do not return to the classrooms “. Am like, are you serious? Are you for real? Like seriously??? The last straw that broke the carmels back for me was the issue of the Chibok girls. Honestly, I couldn’t stand the scene. I was wondering what if those girls where my sisters? I was imaging the trauma going in the minds of the parents of those girls. I was wondering how the girls were faring. There were so many questions which were bothering for answers. And to add salt to injury, I watched President Goodluck’s speech concerning the missing Chibok girls and his statement really baffled me when asked about the Chibok girls.
Let me take you guys to memory lane for you to understand where I am coming from. See the message of Nigerian government official to CNN when asked about the Chibok girls: “
WE HAVE THE COMMITMENT AND CAPACITY TO GET THIS DONE. NO MATTER WHAT THIS TAKES, WE WILL GET THESE GIRLS”. But during the Presidential Media Chat, When asked about the location of the Boko Haram group who kidnapped the schoolgirls, President Jonathan said: “I don’t know where they are… there is no confirmation of the location of the schoolgirls, you are a journalist, you know more than me.”
I do know that, identification of a problem is 50% solved. So I’m wondering, how do you intend to solve the problem you don’t even know or have an understanding of? This sounds funny to me. Immediately after watching the interview, I blogged on Bring Back Our Girls
and later on I blogged on the #Bring Back Our Girls Part 2: A Message To Nigerian Youths – The Time to Act Is Now!
Friends, please don’t get me wrong, I really supported the Peoples Democratic Party, even at a point in time I was part of a seven man committee which was inaugurated in New York by the then Political adviser (Ahmed Gulak) to President Goodluck Jonathan, with other top government functionaries who were in attendance. I was later approached by the then People’s Democratic Party chairman in New York, a man who had the ears of the government of the day. According to him, “I was recommended to him to be the youths leader for the Peoples Democratic Party in the 50 states of USA”, while I was still thinking about the offer, he called after two weeks and said, If I don’t want to be they youth leader in 50 States of America, I can go for New York to the extent the workload is heavy. To be frank, I had a hard time accepting this offer which might lead to greater opportunities later in life. While still thinking about the issue, he invited me to be a conference call with some PDP leaders in Nigeria. To be frank, that was another humbling experience for me.
However, that being said, I am a man who doesn’t like lie to my conscience, I don’t put sentiments on some issues in life, and politics is one of them. I didn’t support President Buhari because of sentiments, opportunities or vested interest, when I already had close ties with People’s Democratic Party, no, I supported him because I felt he’s the kind of man that Nigerian needed at the said point in time because of his integrity, military experience, his body language and principle on corruption. Its one year today and the question we should be asking ourselves today is, has he been able to perform above board? Has he been able to work on the promises he promised Nigerians? Has the lifestyle of Nigerians improved better compared to the last one year or four years depending on how far you may want to go? Has the economy, insecurity, Chibok girls, electricity, infrastructural development, unemployment, education, health, and hunger improved? This are some of the rubrics we shall be using to assess the government. According to the score card of the Punch Newspaper, a pro APC party, President Buhari was graded poor on the following : Electricity, Oil and Gas, roads,aviation, health sector,education, sports, economy, manufacturing and telecoms, and he was graded fair on security, railway, and maritime and agriculture.
These are the fundamental issues based on my own humble assessment which President Buahari and his party should be assessed on. To me, President Buhari has performed poorly. I say this because the economy of Nigeria is in a precarious situation, the electricity in the country has deteriorated into a comatose situation to the extent on Thursday, 26 May 2016 at 05:07 AM … Nigeria’s power generation collapsed completely at exactly 12.58pm to zero megawatt and this persisted for about three hours. There are no jobs despite the promise of APC saying, they will create three million jobs in one year, rather companies are retrenching their staffs, it’s on record just last week, United Airlines pulled out of Nigeria due to forex crisis, and also, the British Airways said, they may exist Nigeria “due to very difficult operating circumstances and dwindling passenger numbers.” The education, health, education and infrastructural sector is not looking any better. There’s fuel scarcity in the land. The only visible attempt of this government is on the issue of security, however, the promise of rescuing the Chibok girls is yet to be fulfilled. Infact, President Buhari, when answering questions concerning the extension of the general election by President Goodluck Jonathan in order to make sure we have security in the North Eastern part of the country , President Buhari said, “what is Boko Haram?“. He insisted he will crush Boko Haram in 3 months if elected the President of Nigeria. Today, he is the president and the question is, has the Chibok girls been rescued? Well, just two girls have been rescued which leaves one to wonder, what’s the fate of other girls?
The strongest attribute of President Buhari during the electioneering campaign was his integrity and his body language on corruption. However, it should be noted, integrity and body language don’t pay the bills. Great leaders are concerned in leaving lasting legacies in the minds of her citizens in addition to making the society better than they met it. Can President be said to have such attribute? My answer to this is a capital NO! This is because, based on the state of the economy, Nigerians are suffering, there’s massive hunger in the land. The citizens are even saying if corruption can give them fuel, light, and some means of livelihood, let it come back, because integrity which they voted will not pay bill, neither will put food on the table, rather the so called integrity is inflicting hardship and pain on them. According to Maya Angelou ‘I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. It should be noted, at the end of the day, President Buhari will only be remembered on how he was able to affect the lives of the people and not how many people he jailed or convicted.
His other strength is on the fight for corruption. Can the President be said to done a job in this area? Well, I will say no, because the fight for corruption is a selective one. President Buhari has succeeded in using the Economic Financial Crimes and Commission to attack perceived political opponents and members of the opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party forgetting that, he rode to power based on the money of the State Governors. Assuming he has been able to attack members of his party like he’s doing to the opposition party, that would have been fair deal. Isn’t it ironic to know that, the member of All Progressive Party which President rode to power were members of the People’s Democratic Party. So, why will he accuse the opposition of messing up the economy knowing fully, that his party members were members of the opposition party for 16 years before they decamped few months before the election. That’s been deceitful to me. As a leader, you should be able to acknowledge your shortfalls while making efforts to do better. With all due respect, President Buhari has not been able to live up to expectations. President Buhari and his party have failed in this area, because they are always busy apportioning blame to the opposition party.
Another failure of President Buhari and his party was their inability to structure a road map/plan for the country, all they were concerned was just to grab power which when they finally got it, they couldn’t articulate a roadmap/structure because they had no plan fr0m the beginning. Infact, in my own analysis, I will say, they were confused in their confusion on how to go about it. The only thing the All Progressive Party have succeeded in doing is to accuse the former president and his party as if like they are the reason for their inability to perform for the past one year. Yes, I will agree to a reasonable extent, the People’s Democratic party mismanaged most of natural resources in addition to having deficit issues both financially and otherwise. Better still, they citizens didn’t trust them to deliver. Well, that’s a story for another day. It should be noted, leaders don’t apportion blame, they fix the problems. A cursory look at the US economy before President Obama took over as the President of USA, the economy was in near shambles if not in shambles, many companies were laying of employees, the situation was terrible. On assumption of office, President Obama was able to fix the economy by making policies and using the National Assembly to enact laws that revamped the economy. Some of the reforms included, Wall Street reform (Dodd- Frank Act), health care Law, Provided freedom of Information Act, amongst other great policies and later we saw gradual job growth from the labor department. He was even able to kill Osama Bin Laden in a strategic manner. It’s worthy to note, he didn’t apportion blame or called the administration of his predecessor a total failure just like President Buhari and his party has succeeded in doing for the past one year. He owned the situation and responsibility because that was what he was elected to do, and he was able to fix it. I strongly believe, only failures or people who have no ideas or solutions to problems who will always apportion blame in addition to giving excuses.
If president Buhari and his party were serious from the word go, they would have been able to hit the ground moving from day one. But that wasn’t the case for a country that was in dire need of salvation from albatross. The expectation from President Buhari and his party were huge. Infact Nigerians expected President Buhari to perform miracle, but that wasn’t the case. It took the president six months to nominate his cabinet members with the excuse that he wasn’t given proper handover notes in due time from the past administration. Even when he appointed his Ministers, it took the National Assembly sometime to screen them. It is expected within a year, we should have seen some of dividends of democracy from the government, but we are yet to see the tangible promises, rather all we hear and see is motion and no movement. It’s quite unfortunate the change we expected seems to be a chain!
Some notable Nigerians have aired their voice on the State of the economy. According to Ben Murray Bruce, a Senator from Bayelsa, “For the past year PMB and his ministers mistook the Federal Executive Council for the Federal Excuses Council. This must stop going forward!”; “Six months is one-eighth of a four-year tenure. If you are still blaming your predecessor after six months, when are you going to ever deliver the goods?”; “Blaming others is a sign of helplessness. A numero uno should not blame. He must take responsibility for leading us out of troubled waters.
According to my mentor Dele Momodu, one of the big supporters of President Buhari, who a former Presidential candidate and the publisher of Ovation International Magazine and founder of Ovation Tv and Boss Newspapers “By far the greatest albatross of the Buhari is the comatose economy. Many are wondering what suddenly happened to the robust and rambunctious economy that was celebrated globally less than three years ago. Our economy under the government of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was supposed to have overtaken that of South Africa to become the front leader. It has nosedived to an all-time low in just one year”.
He further stated “Unemployment has become dangerously massive. In fact, we are now rated as the country with the largest army of unemployed youths in the world. And the list of our woes is full and unending”.
He further advised President Buhari “We can investigate and prosecute corruption without employing gestapo style operations. The President must insist on respect for the rule of law. One must never fight illegality with illegality. We must avoid anything that would suggest that enemies are being hounded. No crime could be worse than apartheid yet Dr Nelson Mandela chose peace over crisis. I recommend that corruption can be fought without making it appear like grandstanding. The looted funds will be recovered when a thorough but fair investigation has been carried out. No Nigerian should be detained on experimental basis at this time and age. We should always embrace dialogue as means to conflict resolution. Great Britain, USA, and other European countries sometimes even negotiate with terrorists. Those asking for blood today will sing a different song and tune when tomorrow comes.We must do everything possible to secure the cooperation of every Nigerian no matter our ethnic, religious and political differences. In this regard, I implore President Buhari to hold steadfast to the notion that nothing should be done to humiliate a man who voluntarily gave up power when he could have opted for bloodshed. I will always admire and appreciate the sacrifice of President Goodluck Jonathan. We should remember that he was the first man from South South to govern Nigeria by divine intervention. He paid dearly for fumbling in power and that is enough punishment. Other leaders who wasted our resources since Independence are roaming around freely. If they cannot be subjected to a similar treatment, then Jonathan should be left to his conscience and should be allowed to enjoy his retirement without harassment. No man is perfect and we should not sow permanent seeds of discord that may eventually ruin our nation. That does not mean looted funds must not be substantially retrieved from all public office holders without fear or favour. Many in all the Political Parties and civil service fall into this category. The pursuit of one man as is now being advocated by some can only be an unwarranted provocation and unnecessary distraction”.
I will summarise this article with the opinion of an incisive prolific blogger in Nigeria Rai Chaibani “In simple terms are Nigerians better off or worse off in the last 365 days under PMB administration? Can we be bold to say that government policies in the last one year are truly reflection of positive change in the standard of living of the common man? We all know that president Buhari and the APC won the 2015 election with the promise of restoring security and restructuring the economy, but my Agatu brothers in Benue state are not safe as we speak, all thanks to the activities of the herdsmen in that part of the country. Niger delta how far? Pipeline vandalism is the order of the day. Bomb going off and oil facilities been destroy week in, week out like little kids playing with knock-out and fireworks. Is our economy restructured? Is inflation on the rise? What are the current prices of goods and services in the Nigerian market as at today? Are we heading to a great recession”?
I can go on and on to list the litany of weakness and failures of this government within the past on past one year, but then, I will end with a note of advice, A WORD IS ENOUGH FOR THE WISE.