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The nightmare of a sleeping presidency

presidency

By Rotimi Fasan

THE chaotic threat to life and property under the presidency of Muhammadu Buhari continues to trouble Nigerians in different parts of the country. Apart from the much-lamented climate of insecurity that has been generated by scattered cells of terrorists masquerading as cattle herders, emboldened and in fact enabled by the indolence or a do-nothing presidency, the very laidback indifference of the president, poses existential threat to Nigeria as a country.

Buhari, PDM, poverty, people, Presidency
President Muhammadu Buhari

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No day passes without report of another major (in)security outrage in different parts of the country. This is without counting the many cases that pass under the radar of press reports. To every reported instance of security violation, be it of the insurgent variety of Boko Haram or so-called herdsmen banditry, it is almost certain there must be between five to ten such cases that go unreported. The focus is, however, mostly on incidents involving prominent persons or those connected to them.

Last week the country was awash with news of the abduction of five Nigerians. The initial report with all the undertones of religious acrimony gained traction largely because the abducted persons were identified as pastors of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG. The general overseer of the church, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, has recently come under attack for what some Nigerians see as his failure to openly condemn the Buhari administration for its incompetent handling of the country’s security challenge. The abduction of pastors of his church was, therefore, on the one hand seen by some as just reward for the GO’s complicit silence in the face of Buhari’s inability to handle the nation’s insecurity concerns and on the other hand a possible turning point in his alleged acquiescence.

Has the heat of abduction, it might be imagined, not been brought home to him? It turned out, however, that only one of the abducted people was a pastor of the RCCG. Before this clarification came, the whole country had been overtaken by the report of the abduction and both the presidency and the Ogun State Police Command had, as expected when matters turn to prominent persons and their ilk, promised and in fact swung into immediate action to rescue the abductees.

Contesting the front page spot with reports of the abducted travellers on the Sagamu-Ore Expressway was the murder in Enugu of a Catholic priest, Rev Fr Paul Offu.  As was the case with the RCCG pastor and her co-travellers, both the presidency and the Enugu State Police Command promised immediate action. While the abduction victims attributed their abduction to the ubiquitous “Fulani herdsmen” the Enugu incident bears a different criminal imprint. In both cases, the authorities in Abuja and Enugu have been as good as their words.

The five abducted persons either escaped or were rescued within hours of when reports of their abduction made the newsstands. The suspected killers of Rev Fr Offu have been arrested. These are the kinds of prominent emergencies that the Buhari presidency now responds to while leaving the rest of us Nigerians to our fate. Amid all of this, Boko Haram and its Islamic State of West Africa faction continue to ravage the North-East section of the country. Soldiers are being killed as barracks and military forts are sacked and reports pour in of serial defeats at the fronts.

Yet Abuja never stops its claims of victories and chest-thumping about bringing the good life to Nigerians. Just days ago, President Buhari made the self-aggrandising boast that his administration has lifted five million Nigerians out of poverty. In a country where periodic employment statistics are neither systemically collated nor available, it is easy for one man to stay in the cosy ambience of the presidential villa, now turned retirement home, and release phoney, unverified and unverifiable new job figures.

These wild claims of new jobs can only be as credible as the many phoney ministerial nominees lists that preceded the actual list Buhari was all but forced to send to the Senate before it went on recess. Or the equally fake lists of ministers and their allotted portfolios circulated on social media and which the presidency was forced to repudiate days ago. Nigerians are simply tired of Buhari’s deadbeat pace of work, his frustrating shiftlessness and are resorting to desperate measures to force Buhari to be the president he is supposed to be and live up to his responsibilities.

And why would Nigerians not be forced to act when the man in Aso Villa offers promises in place of action? Why would they not draw up a list of ministers and their portfolios when it took Baba Buhari all of five months to draw up a list of ministerial nominees and is now asking Nigerians to wait until August 21, almost one full month after his nominees received Senate confirmation, before the nominees are given proper orientation at a pre-swearing in retreat? Only after all this destructive rigmarole during which more Nigerian lives would have been lost to terror bandits and the economy, now incrementally comatose, again goes into recession would the names of ministers and their portfolios, in all their holiness, be unveiled!  We know he never wanted ministers, who he labelled noisemakers, but why must Buhari take Nigeria through the punishing and destructive Israelite journey of ministerial appointments? Why should he spend one-half of a year to process the appointment of ministers?

Which Nigerians except those surrounding Buhari have time for this time-wasting nonsense? How can a man who offered himself four times to serve Nigerians before he was successful now behave as if we should all be grateful for his lacklustre, life threatening presidency? This president is literally sleeping on duty given his pace of work. There is no ‘Next Level’ here or anywhere else.

Buhari is simply dragging Nigeria down to the supine level of his arthritic presidency. He is threatening the social and political fabric of Nigeria and taking everyone to the brink of desperation with his refusal to bestir himself. Aso Villa is neither a presidential resort nor a retirement home. It is the seat of Nigeria’s presidency in case Baba Buhari needs a reminder. He just cannot continue to sleep on duty. Otherwise, he should return to Daura and Nigerians would be thankful for his years of service.

Muhammadu Buhari is the reason some Nigerians are loudly calling for a “Revolution now”. He came into office faced with just one disease of insecurity and he promised reprieve as a former army general. Today that one disease, Boko Haram, has malformed into a monstrous syndrome of chaotic manifestations under the overall superintendence of herdsmen. All he sees in the desperate call for revolution is an invitation to arms not a wake-up call. Please, wake up Baba Buhari!

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