Bola Tinubu

TWO weeks ago, some senators gave President Muhammadu Buhari six weeks to tackle the worsening insecurity in the country or face impeachment. Speaking after a closed-door session, the Senate minority leader, Phillip Aduda, said: “So, we agreed that we will give the President an ultimatum failing for which we will move to give an impeachment notice.”

Of course, the threat to impeach President Buhari is not a credible one, and the presidency wasted no time in poopooing it. In a statement, the presidency dismissed the threat as “performative and babyish antics”. Femi Adesina, President Buhari’s senior media adviser, later described those behind the impeachment threat as “the minority of minorities” and accused them of giving “flippant ultimatums”, saying “it’s bravado”!

In his characteristic condescension, Adesina was making the point that, with both Houses of the National Assembly controlled by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, the dissident legislators lacked the numbers, two-thirds majority of all members of each House, to impeach the President. True. But that would change if APC members in the National Assembly put country before party, as British Conservative Members of Parliament did recently when they removed their own errant leader and prime minister, Boris Johnson,from power. 

Truth be told, President Buhari, who faced up to four previous impeachment threats, should have long been impeached. He has long met the threshold for impeaching the president, which is “gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office”, under section 143(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution.

Think about it. The Constitution explicitly states, in section 14(2)(b), that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”. So, what misconduct can be more gross than a president “sleeping on duty” or twiddling his thumbs while acute insecurity and extreme poverty ravage his country and its people? Yet, that’s what President Buhari stands accused of. In his nearly eight years in office, Buhari has largely been missing in action, either globetrotting or holed up in Aso Rock utterly insouciant about the deteriorating security and welfare of Nigerians.

Sadly, it’s déjà vu all over again. In August 1985, when General Buhari was overthrown as military head of state, Lt. Gen Joshua Dogonyaro said in his coup speech that “government has distanced itself from the people and the yearnings and aspirations of the people have been ignored”.

In 2019, the famous Chatham House in London said something similar in a damning report, describing Buhari as “an aloof and disengaged leader, ‘walled’ off from his own government and from Nigerians themselves”. What could constitute a greater ground for impeachment?

Well, here’s the point. Buhari may not be impeached for gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office or for failure to make the security and welfare of Nigerians the primary purpose of his government. But he cannot escape the verdict of history for running the most incompetent civilian administration in Nigeria, for presiding over debilitating insecurity, a collapsing economy, monumental debt, massive unemployment and the steepest decline in living standards on record.

But history’s verdict will be harsher because Buhari himself and Bola Tinubu, who enabled him, knew that he was not up to the job. Yet, Buhari doggedly sought power seemingly for its sake, while Tinubu, who now unashamedly dissociates himself from Buhari’s abysmal performance, foisted him on Nigeria to advance his lifelong presidential ambition. Yet, it was clear that Buhari would fail as president even from his own words.

In 2015, shortly after assuming office, Buhari said he wished he was younger, saying: “Now at 72, there’s a limit to what I can do”. But why did he seek the presidency knowing the limitations of his age? Of course, coupled with his age was his mysterious illness, which, as the Financial Times put it, “sapped his presidency of strength and direction”. Was an old, sick person right to seek the presidency? Then, there’s Buhari’s work ethic. In 2016, at an event in Abeokuta, he thanked former President Obasanjo for “tolerating” him as petroleum minister in his military regime, saying: “God knows that I’m not used to working as hard as he used to.” But why would a lazy person who can’t work hard seek to be president? 

Let’s be clear. General Buhari served Nigeria gallantly and meritoriously as an army officer. But he was utterly unfit to govern Nigeria. Yet, aided by a self-serving Svengali, he became president. Nigeria has been the loser. Well, Buhari may have survived many impeachment threats, but history’s verdict will be less kind!

Tribute to my father-in-law

Dear readers, in the spirit of service to country, please allow me to pay tribute to my father-in-law, Sir John Oluwole Ogundipe, who died last week, aged 93.

He belonged to a generation that served Nigeria with total dedication, loyalty and patriotism. After obtaining his BSc in Mechanical Engineering from Glasgow University in 1963, he joined the then Electricity Corporation of Nigeria, ECN, as an Engineer, retiring several years later, in 1985,as Director of Generation Services in the then NEPA.

He also belonged to a distinguished familylinked with epochal moments in the history of this country. He was a junior brother of Brigadier-General Babafemi Olatunde Ogundipe, the first Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, and former High Commissioner to the UK. So proud of his brother, he named his last  child, Oladeinde Olatunde, currently chief lecturer atYabatech, after him.

My condolences go to his wife, my remarkable mother-in-law, Lady Oluremi Ogundipe, a retired head teacher and school proprietress. Of course, also to my wife – their eldest child – Adedoyin, a UK-based educationist and teacher, and her other siblings: Dr Oluwole Ogundipe, an IT specialist, and Dr FolakeAbikoye, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon.

My father-in-law was one of my biggest cheerleaders. He believed I was contributing to the development of Nigeria through my newspaper columns. He lived a purposeful and fulfilling life. May his soul rest in peace. 

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