By Chiedu Uche Okoye
AGAINST the background of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s lacklustre political leadership, the APC electioneering mantra of change found resonance among millions of Nigerians in the run-up to the 2015 presidential election. Then, millions of dispossessed, angry and hungry Nigerians were utterly disenchanted with Jonathan’s leadership. During that period, they desperately wanted the status quo ante in the country to change.
So, when Muhammadu Buhari, an abstemious Muslim teetotaler, defeated Dr. Jonathan in the 2015 presidential slugfest, we expected that he would clean the augean stable, enthrone egalitarianism in the country, and offer us qualitative and purposeful political leadership which would set Nigeria on the path of greatness.
But he dithered in forming his executive cabinet. His tardiness in forming his executive cabinet offered us a glimpse into how he would lead Nigeria. And, when he cobbled his cabinet, it was not an assemblage of our best political leaders.
Some of the people he gave ministerial posts in 2015 could be likened to square pegs in round holes. The immediate past minister of sports, for example, was stumbling in his speeches and committing unpardonable gaffes while doing his job.
President Buhari’s actions during his first term in office proved to us that he has not weaned himself off ethnic jingoism and religious bigotry. Our top security architecture was mostly occupied by Northern Muslims.
Their occupation of those top posts does not reflect the federal character principle, which is practised in Nigeria. This has, more than anything else, highlighted the president’s disdain and insensitivity to Nigeria’s heterogeneity and religious and ethnic diversities.
Based on his dispositions to religious bigotry and ethnic chauvinism, and intermittent absence from the country on the grounds of ill-health, not many people were surprised at his abysmal performance in his first term in office.
His hospitalisation in a London hospital in the early part of his first term in office raised questions and elicited comments about his suitability for the presidential job and capability to pilot the affairs of the country. The stark and indisputable fact is that the president didn’t live up to our billings and expectations in his first term in office.
So far, Nigeria, as a country, has fared badly in diverse areas under the present political leadership. This has led many to aver that the current political administration may turn out to become the worst in the Fourth Republic. The misdeeds of the APC-led Federal Government have continued to erode people’s trust and confidence in the government.
This government has divided Nigeria along ethnic and religious lines with its actions. For example, the IPOB group was proscribed and some of its members killed and physically-manhandled for agitating for self-determination.
It is within their right to fight for the actualisation of the sovereign state of Biafra in the same way as the Scots and Catalans are doing in Great Britain and Spain, respectively. Proscribing IPOB, whose guiding ideology is non-violence, is akin to muzzling the voice of dissenters in a country with iron-fist.
While President Buhari’s approach to the IPOB matter is very heavy-handed, he is cuddling the marauding murderous cattle herders. The cattle herders lead their heads of cattle across large expanse of land in the South, destroying farmlands and killing members of their host communities.
Today, their stock-in-trade is lying in ambush in the thick forests of the South-West of Nigeria waiting for rich people to kidnap for ransom.
It should be noted that the security problems besetting Nigeria, ranging from the banditry in the North West, to the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East, and to the blood-letting campaign of the cattle herders in Nigeria as a whole, can throw our country into anarchy. It is time the government tackled holistically and decisively these security challenges to prevent Nigeria from dismembering.
It was this sad situation that Omoyele Sowore was planning to draw attention to with his #revolution now# when the Department of State Security, DSS, arrested him. He’s charged with treasonable felony for planning a protest rally.
The APC-led government’s intolerance of activities of opposition groups and its use of iron-fist to crush dissenting voices are indications that the government is tending towards totalitarianism. President Buhari, who organised and participated in rallies and protests, which aided his ascent to the pinnacle of political power in Nigeria, should ask the DSS to drop the treasonous offence charge leveled against Sowore and free him unconditionally.
This APC-led government should speedily fix our problems of infrastructural rot and deficit, diversify our economy to create job opportunities for unemployed people in Nigeria, and urgently find solutions to Nigeria’s crippling security problems.
…Okoye, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Uruowulu-Obosi, Anambra State