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Thursday blues for Buhari

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By Emmanuel Aziken

Buhari, if we remember, came to power in 2015, with a three-point agenda on security, anti-corruption, and economy.

However, as he returned last Thursday, the question as to the delivery of the agenda after nearly five years in power was an issue.
Particularly oozing as the president touched ground was the brouhaha that arose on Thursday morning after Transparency International released the 2019 report on the country.

The report saw Nigeria slide two places in the Corruption Perception Index, CPI, from 144 to 146.

It was a damming report that inevitably questioned the moral fiber of the regime, which came to power with the rectitude of the president as its most eloquent credential.

The report came against the background of an earlier report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes, UNODC, which claimed that more than N600 billion was expended on bribes in Nigeria in the year 2019.

The launch of the 2019 report of Transparency International was remarkably preceded by an interview in which Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo dammed the administration’s anti-corruption toga.

President Obasanjo, in an interview with BBC Yoruba that surfaced online on Thursday morning, was quoted as saying that “Those in government today, if we expose them, all of them will enter hell; they will not only go to jail. They will go to hell.”

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Not unexpectedly, the Transparency International report was immediately seized by the political class.
The opposition, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, swiftly said the report “has further exposed the Buhari administration and the APC as merely posturing as saints and hounding innocent Nigerians with fake anti-corruption war, while engaged in unprecedented looting of our national resources.

“It indeed, speaks volume that the Buhari administration and the APC that came into power in 2015, on an anti-corruption mantra, has ended up becoming the most corrupt in the history of our dear nation.”

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, was particularly livid, especially given what it claimed as the landmarks it achieved in 2019.

“Suffice to state that in 2019—the year under review by TI was particularly a remarkable one for the EFCC as the Commission secured unprecedented record of 1,268 convictions, including that of a former state governor and a serving senator who was convicted for defrauding his state to the tune of N7.65 billion.”

Other supporters of the government, including presidency officials, were dismissive of the report. Prof. Itse Sagay, chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee On Corruption, wondered who gave TI the powers to do what it was doing.

The Buhari Media Organisation, BMO, said it was not reflective of the reality on ground.

Willy-nilly, head of TI in Nigeria, Auwal Ibrahim (Rafsanjani), admitted that the report was a perception of Nigerians and the international community as reflected in our economic and political processes.

As some have said, President Buhari has not helped matters with some of his decisions. Among these is his dithering procrastination to put the Public Procurement law into effect.

Even the introduction of tatatatatata in our elections under this regime as was seen in Kogi State last year, and the president’s failure to push through electoral reforms also reference the failure of the administration to address corruption in the electoral process.

Besides the bad news from TI, Buhari also returned to the news of increasing distress in the land over the spate of insecurity in the land.

The feeling of insecurity was movingly communicated with the brutal murder of Rev. Lawan Andimi, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State by Boko Haram.

After turning down a N50-million ransom, Andimi was reportedly murdered by the “defeated” Boko Haram insurgents for his refusal to convert to Islam.

President of CAN, Rev. Ayokunle Olasupo who addressed a press conference last Thursday as Buhari was arriving lamented that “in the same state, just last Sunday, a clergyman, Rev. Denis Bagauri was murdered by gunmen in his residence at Mayo Belwa of Adamawa State, all because he was a Christian. “You are also aware of the beheading of 11 Christians by the Islamic State in West Africa on Christmas Day of 2019, in Maiduguri, including a bride-to-be.”

Against the background of Buhari’s once feared reputation as a no-nonsense general and the fact that security was one of the three agenda of the government, it is lamentable that security has continued to worsen. If his citizens are being slaughtered here and there, and kidnappers roaming free, it is a serious dent on his reputation.

Even more, with this continued attack on Christian populations and leaders; and the administration’s failure to bring the perpetrators to book, the fear of anarchy is easily palatable.

Of course, the president was quick to denounce the killing, but as Rev. Olasupo said, with the failure to apprehend the perpetrators or stop the killings, such presidential declarations mean nothing.

Even against the background of claims by the Buhari administration that Boko Haram has been technically defeated, the technical death of many Nigerians in the hand of the defeated insurgents is a painful lie that lacerates the Buhari legacy!

Vanguard

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