By Dele Sobowale
“Failures are those who, despairing to rise into distinction by their virtues, are happy if others are depressed to a level with themselves. “ Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790, VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, VBQ, p 54.
By any measure known to observers of any government, this administration is a dismal failure. Let me once again apologise to Nigerians that in 2011 and 2015 I was a fanatical promoter of Mr. President. On both occasions, it was my belief that once elected, he will recognise his own limitations and will appoint people who will fill the gaps in his capacities. But, like many who overrated him, I was wrong. Even the vaunted virtues, namely, his anti-corruption credentials, have been put into the crucible of three years and six months of governance and we have discovered that he was not what we were told to believe he was.
“What does corrupting time not diminish?…” Horace, 65-8 BC. (VBQ p 247)
He might not be totally corrupt himself but he is apparently willing, or even eager to protect public safe burglars, as long as they are loyal to him. That has already diminished his status from near-saint to active collaborator. Only die-hard members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, now pretend to believe that Buhari is leading APC Saints against PDP Sinners. The rest of us know that we are asked to choose between two sets of people for whom the majority of Nigerians lack respect. Irrespective of who wins in 2019, Nigerians are bracing themselves for worse corruption to follow.
Buhari who once enjoyed the reputation of hating corrupt politicians like the plague is now embracing a Governor, not only caught on camera receiving filthy lucre, but going to court to stop the State’s lawmakers from investigating the matter. When did an innocent person ever stop inquiry into an allegation of corrupt practices levelled against him? Area Boys in my Lagos State have delivered a verdict on such matters. According to them “Ole lo nsa fun olopa.”(Translation: Only a thief runs from the police.) Obviously, Buhari’s friend and party leader must have something to hide. That is only part of the charges on the sheet against Buhari. Let’s look at the rest.
“In a sick country, every step to health is an insult to those who live on its sickness.” Bernard Malamud, in THE FIXER.
This administration has established a record of failures which probably no other would ever equal or erase. Failures are never embarrassed by the disasters they bring about, particularly when they are surrounded by hundreds of top party leaders who feed on the sickness they induce. Mrs Aishat Buhari was only partly right when she asserted that two people are preventing Buhari from doing the right thing. If the two don’t include her husband then she is not totally honest. The number one enemy of this government is the President himself.
Lacking any discernible paradigm for governance himself (except perhaps blaming his successors for everything and being less than thorough against corruption) he had cast the nation adrift without leadership in the modern sense of the word. It is doubtful if Buhari can undergo the sort of grilling Prime Minister May of Britain endures for one hour and provide credible answers to the myriad of questions she is asked. That sort of performance calls for excellent educational background, long years of recent experience in governance and hours of homework by the Chief Executive Officer of the country. Buhari lacks all these. So, he had resorted to repeating himself and boring us to death without solving our problems. Below are some of the disasters facing Nigeria for which the Buhari administration has failed to find solutions. Some have not even been acknowledged as serious issues by the FG. Read them and despair.
“Warri no dey carry last” Nigerian comedians.
What might or might not be true about Warri is certainly not true about our dear fatherland. Several global institutions, working in various fields of human endeavour to monitor governance have in 2018 pronounced Nigeria last or among the last in the area of their studies. Let me quickly summarise them.
Early in the year, the World Poverty Clock, WPC, announced what had been confirmed by other institutions and the British Prime Minister. “Nigeria has already overtaken India as the country with the largest number of extreme poor. By May our trajectories suggest that Nigeria had about 87 million living in poverty.” To which the World Bank added this: “the rates of unemployment and under-employment increased in 2017 and poverty is estimated to have increased slightly.” In 2017 the FG announced that the nation exited from recession. Yet poverty increased slightly. Readers can only imagine what happened during the 2016 recession.
A responsible government, if there is one, would have rolled out measures to reverse the trend. Instead Buhari’s government took the following steps. The Presidents spokesmen said the reports came from people not wishing Nigeria well. A know-nothing Minister commented that the WPC report relied on 2010 data. Professor Osinbajo went before the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, and told the lawyers that his government spent N500bn in 2016 and 2017. The unfortunate thing about all the utterances was the fact that they were either totally untrue or mostly false. The most important thing readers should bear in mind is the fact that Buhari’s government did everything but provide a solution to the problem. That is what good governments do.
Very recently, the World Bank, in a wide-ranging report again had this to say about Nigeria. “Nigeria to overtake India as world capital for under-5 deaths.” We are already the world champion for maternal deaths. Obviously, we will soon receive the medal as the nation that kills its young mothers and its youngest kids as well. Have you heard anybody – Buhari, Osinbajo, Professor Adewole – acknowledging we have a problem? Have you read anywhere the plan of action to stop the burial of our young people by the millions? That is Buhari government for you.
“Nigeria, world’s third most terrorised country for the 4th year running.”
Before you go away, please read this and despair about this government’s total disregard for Nigerians and our lives. That report was issued by another global study group called Global Terrorism Index, GTI. Until about four years ago, this country did not make the top twenty in terrorism. In four years, three under Buhari, we have shoved aside Syria, Yemen and other disreputable nations to claim third position. Thank God, it is only a bronze medal, you are probably saying. But, your joy will be short-lived if you wait to find the reason we are challenging for gold.
According to GTI, “increase in violence involving herdsmen, even as deaths committed by Boko Haram are falling” account for our current standing on the terrorism chart. Even a dunce in Nigeria knows one of the Life Patrons of the Mayetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN – the herdsmen’s leaders who are now untouchable. They became untouchable in May 29, 2015. The repercussions are what we are experiencing today.
“Oh! What a tangled web we weave/ When first we practise to deceive”
Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1832. VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, p 35.
Who can easily forget the web of lies that were released by officialdom in an attempt to protect the herdsmen and to avoid doing nothing? First host communities were accused of not welcoming them. Then states were blamed for passing anti-grazing laws. The genocide at Agatu, Benue state exposed the official lies. The herdsmen who led the attack on Agatu have been living in the community for decades. But, once “their man” became Ogapatapata they became unruly and confrontational with the indigenes. The sack of Agatu occurred in May 2016 – long before Benue state enacted its anti-grazing law. Yet, people we thought were responsible officers of our Federal Republic in Abuja kept on repeating the falsehoods. Why?
The consequences came soon enough. Plateau State which had no anti-grazing law and whose Governor foolishly accepted the Federal story felt the hands of herdsmen terrorists. So, the story changed twice. First, the herdsmen were said to be from Libya. That was stupid. Why should Nigerian communities welcome Libyan invaders of their farms and homes? Then, we were told that Lake Chad shrinking in size drove the terrorists crazy. But, herdsmen were not the only people adversely affected by the lake drying up. Are we then to allow fishermen, boat operators, tourists guides etc to pick up guns and kill people who are far away from the lake? Is any group of people suffering the impact of climate change resort to violence?
Till today, no excuses made for the herdsmen had made sense, because it is all senseless genocide which Abuja refuses to admit. Even the “Academic-In-Residence” inside the rock has stopped being academic. He now suffers from Aso Rock disease. One thing is certain. There is no solution for herdsmen terrorism. So, we will remain top three in global terrorism as long as Life Patrons are in charge of our fates.
“Your land or your life”
Make no mistake about it. The only solution they have was announced earlier this year by their amplifier – “Your land or your life.” The only way to stop the carnage is to ensure that Life Patrons no longer control our destiny. They don’t care about 198 million Nigerians; they care only about the less than 500,000 terrorists. Worse still, they cannot see the correlation between slow economic growth resulting in increasing poverty and terrorism on a global scale. Call it incompetence or atrocious sense of priorities, a government which sacrifices the interests of the vast majority for a tiny minority is one that should not exist in a democracy. Nigeria is still a democracy – despite its imperfections.
“A fool, if offered eternity will not know what to do with it.”
Epicurus, 341-270 BC. VBQ p 62
Competence, intelligence, ability don’t need a long time to manifest themselves. Similarly, the unfit very soon reveal themselves. We have had instances of leaders who took us by storm in a few months. Murtala Mohammed spent less than a year and left us with positive legacies which still impact on our lives beneficially. Buhari in 1984-5 spent longer time than Murtala and passed few decrees. Most of them were to take away our fundamental rights and to enslave us. That was the best he could do as a young man. He had no economic policy thrust which is still in use today. Babangida came after him and in the same period on twenty months passed over seventy decrees – many of which form the basis of governance today. Buhari always wants to build prisons; others want to build our economy and create jobs – not for prison warders alone.