By Arc Kabir Ibrahim
The first big mistake we made was back in 1999 when Nigeria began the journey of self-destruction through the misuse of the ballot box by some people who arrogated to themselves the ownership of the country by imposing General Olusegun Obasanjo to lead as a democratically elected President.
Apparently, there was some half-hearted effort at allowing people to exercise their franchise through the ballot box but deep in the process, it was very clear that it was actually fraught with inequity.
The Military leaders choreographed the process to suit their anointed or desired candidates.
The emerging elected leaders in most cases did not view their new positions as a call to service to the people but as avenues to make money and perpetuate themselves in the office working in cahoots with their trusted allies and relations.
It was celebrations galore without any consideration for the generality of the people who put them into the office and the campaign promises they made prior to taking the oath of office.
President Obasanjo glaringly toyed with the idea of crudely elongating his term in office but in so doing compromised many people and actually succeeded in creating more awareness in the power of the electorates to prevent the elected people from loading it over the “We the People”!
To protect himself and cover up his lapses he thought to anoint an heir was the best thing to do since he could not perpetuate himself in office.
He picked the late Umaru Musa Yar’adua,the then performing Governor of Katsina State and the younger brother of his close friend and former deputy as a Military Head-of-State, who had a deceptive simplicity that President Obasanjo misunderstood to be a weakness he could exploit to continue to rule Nigeria indirectly.
It soon became very clear that he had made a mistake and so began to work against him by criticizing him and encouraging the creation of an administration out of the doctrine of necessity when Umaru was gravely ill well before his eventual demise.
Yar’dua did not live long, unfortunately.
When President Jonathan took over and with the support of Obasanjo sought to reverse all the little gains made by the short reign of Yar’dua it was the onset of inequity that led us to where we are today.
This period under Jonathan saw a lot of nepotism, skewed execution of projects, brazen corruption, or outright looting of the treasury and marked the beginning of the insecurity dealing a terrible blow on the nation today.
President Buhari took over the reign of leadership with all the problems of insecurity, the collapsing economy, and entrenched corruption in 2015.
The President, unfortunately, delayed and slowed down the governance machinery by taking an unnecessarily long time to make critical appointments to help his administration to fully take off.
When he eventually made the appointments it was obvious that there were many square balls in round holes so this led to very disappointing progress in the eyes of most people generally.
We have to give the Buhari Administration credit, however, in the fight against corruption, the creation of strong institutions, and the diversification of the economy from oil to Agriculture.
These may not be appreciated immediately until well after the administration is gone, unfortunately.
Due to the prevailing economic hardship and insecurity in the nation, there is already developed an inarticulate discontent among party stalwarts and the opposition which is largely responsible for the problems of the administration.
There is also a general and articulate discontent in the entire polity because the expectations of the people are not in any way anywhere near the expected level.
As a matter of fact, the people generally feel that nearly all the government appointees are busy serving themselves to the detriment of the people and the crushing insecurity is not being properly tackled.
There is now a serious division between the North and South as well as Islam and Christianity.
To restore Nigeria to a workable entity there is the absolute need to do disruptive innovation:
- Tackle insecurity as a national emergency by decisively dealing with the Boko Haram, Kidnappers, and bandits as well as some criminal elements among the pastoralists.
- Defoliate and Sectorially bulldoze the forests which provide a safe heaven for the bandits and Boko Haram in Sambisa and other regions such the North West.
- Rejig the Cabinet and appoint people on merit regardless of religious persuasion.
- Suspend some capital projects until security is restored in the whole nation.
- Ensure Food sufficiency by appointing a Special Adviser on Food Security.
- Swiftly punish and reward poor performance and good performance respectively.
- Rule this entire country with a firm hand similar to what Lee Kuan Yee did in “democratic Singapore”!
Arc Kabir Ibrahim is the National President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) wrote in from Katsina, Katsina State.