how to run a government

By Dele Sobowale

“What does corrupting time not diminish?” – Horace, 65-8BC.

I was conducting a Sales Training Course at Ikeja; and the Chief Executive, Arthur, who might be reading this article, made a startling remark: “We should be grateful that Buhari became President. Otherwise, we would have spent the rest of our lives thinking that he was a man of integrity who could save Nigeria instead of a hypocrite.” My response, after a few minutes, was: “At what cost? Look at all the man has destroyed; and he is still proud of his achievements.”

Just before that conversation, I had gone through a summary of current economic situations as of October; and projections for 2023 with the participants representing different sectors. Everything was dreadful. During tea break, one man asked me: “How would you characterize the Buhari/APC government?” My answer was simple. “Wait; I will write a column in answer to your question.” I said that because it was an important question – which needs a lot of thought. I didn’t have an immediate answer; but, it was too important to dodge. I decided to give myself time to think about it; let my mind work on it for a while.


“Out of the mouth of babies shall come wisdom…”

The most adorable girl on earth lives in my house. Enitan is my grand-daughter, two and a half years old, born by my late daughter who died after delivery on account of a doctor’s negligence. The doctor, fearing a harsh reprisal from me, embarked on blackmail. He brought his old parents, wife and four kids to the house and they said: “Oga journalist, we know you can get his licence withdrawn because you have the power. But, see how many of us will suffer as a result. It is not fair sir.” My reply to them was: “Go and leave us alone.” Obviously, there was no remorse. But there was no point punishing a conscienceless person.

“Two heads are better than one.” If you totally believe that, then you must be a fool. From my small bundle of joy, I am re-learning what it means to have such a young person living with you full-time all over again. And, on the few occasions when my grandson, four-plus, comes visiting, I soon discover that whoever said that too heads are better than one has not met Enitan and Segun. Each one of them can enter a room quietly and demolish everything in it in a short time. Together, they need only one quarter of the time to leave the place as if Putin had bombed it. And, when the damages are discovered, they expect you to clap for them. No remorse.

After days of thinking about how to capture the Buhari/APC in one essay, Segun and his mother arrived. The same wahala started. The house was turned upside down. Beating them is useless; they cry because they don’t see anything wrong in what they do. Now I know how to characterize Buhari/APC government.


“Second childishness, sans teeth, sans everything…” – Shakespeare, 1564-1616.

It is a pity that Nigerian schools no longer include Shakespeare in the list of literature books to read. Those of my generation, who attended better schools, would remember the seven stages of man as rendered by the genius. Like small kids, many very old people seldom can distinguish between right or wrong. Whatever they do or caused to be done must be applauded – irrespective of the obvious consequences for others. Permit me to mention four problems savaging our lives – which were made much worse by Buhari/APC since 2015. I know these are repeated; but then, the old man continues to ask for standing ovation for ruining our lives now and well into the future.

“A lot of foreign countries have commiserated with us. Some have made donations. Some pledges. Many individuals from the Diaspora have shown concern. But, the ‘chief mourner’, our President has not, to the best of my knowledge, visited any of the more ravaged areas (by flood)” – Muyiwa Adetiba, MY WORLD, SATURDAY VANGUARD, October 29, 2022.

Adetiba, a must-read columnist for me every weekend, was right on the mark. President Buhari has not visited any of the devastated areas. At least 30 states and millions of Nigerians were directly or indirectly adversely affected. Estimates of destruction would run into trillions of naira. Without as much as a glance in their direction, Buhari jetted off to South Korea, ostensibly in order to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU. But, possibly because, no to go, would mean returning the estacodes paid to the entourage. The value of the MoU would be regarded as chicken feed compared to the monumental losses needing attention immediately.

What can demonstrate last stage of man than inability to determine priorities?


“I have created a better Nigeria”. That was the declaration by Buhari on October 1, 2022. Like Enitan, he expected us to give a standing ovation. But, reading his address, one discovers that he did not mention at least horrors which can never be described as creating a better Nigeria. First, Buhari inherited six million out-of-school children in 2015. The latest report by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, just announced to the world that Nigeria’s out-of-school population is now 20 million. That is 330% of what he inherited. To our old Father of the Nation, that is progress worthy of several rounds of applause; while people globally shake their heads to be sure that we are all sane – including Buhari’s subordinates; professors, SANs etc. 

“In order to address insecurity, we worked methodically in reducing insurgency in the North-East…religious tensions in some sections of Nigeria along with other problems threatening our country” – President Buhari, October 1, 2022.

Nothing destroys the reputation of a leading politician more than to be caught repeatedly dissembling. Those wanting to be extremely generous attribute the falsehood to failed memory. Old people tend to forget things easily. But, Buhari’s speechwriters are not geriatric. One should expect they still have their “marbles” intact. They must have written what they expect their boss would like to read – which is fiction or bedtime stories for kids. Here is the truth.

“North-East leads as terrorists, others kill 53,418 under Buhari” – Report, October 23, 2022.

In the North-East, where Buhari told us that insurgency was reduced, 23,106 or 43 per cent of all victims were in that area. Borno State, where Shettima comes from, 18,213 or 34 per cent of the national and 79 per cent of the zonal deaths occurred there. The All Progressives Congress, APC, VP candidate, who announced what he will do if elected, should tell Nigerians why he is not sharing the secrets of success with Buhari – who is obviously a dismal failure.

Interestingly, the second most unsafe zone in the nation is the North-West – where Buhari comes from; and where 13,350 lost their lives. Until Buhari took over in 2015, there were no terrorist attacks in Katsina. He slept with two eyes closed. The last time he went home in 2022 for Sallah, his advance team was attacked on the way to Daura. Only my Enitan would call that an improvement.

Just as I was finishing this section, news reports came in. The US and UK were withdrawing their people from Nigeria; other nations, like Australia, had quietly taken the same measures. Abuja lives in fear; American soldiers are assisting in arresting ISWAP terrorists and nobody is sure the threat in over.

“Exchange rate hits N785/US$1” – October 29, 2022 Report.

Please don’t cry yet. By the time Buhari leaves, an exchange rate of N1000/US$1 will result from divine benevolence. Buhari met parallel market rates at N220-250/US$1. Now it is nearing N800/US$1. Surely, he deserves that we should bring the roof down in applause. One day Enitan went into her aunt’s room, saw a jar of new and very expensive body lotion. She opened it; covered herself from head to toe with the contents. Then she came out and announced: “Grandma, grandpa, auntie, clap for me!” Those ruining our lives have no more idea about what they are doing to us than my most adorable grandchild; that is why there is no remorse.

There is no need to go further to prove that we have a government whose major leaders lack the maturity required of those in high positions in democratic societies. They actually expect to be commended for all the destructions they deliberately or inadvertently bring about. With the Buhari government and APC, it is no longer a matter of separating the wheat from the chaff. There is no wheat; only chaff. I cannot help wondering how many of these people will be able to look their old friends and associates in the face after they leave office.


“Standing on the foundation emplaced by the current [Buhari] administration, we shall…” – RENEWED HOPE 2023: ACTION PLAN FOR BETTER NIGERIA

I obtained a copy of the APC manifesto released by presidential candidate Bola Tinubu and I have read it twice. It is now being analyzed. The teaser above is on page 3 of that document. I strongly believe that somebody is standing in a swamp…

To be continued..

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