The afflictions of Buhari and APC, by Ugo Onuoha - BeVibez Media

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The afflictions of Buhari and APC, by Ugo Onuoha

The one-year-old federal government of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by President Muhammadu Buhari is headed for failure. And its failure if it happens (and it is looking more like when it happens, that is, if it has not happened already) will be catastrophic because it will threaten the very foundation of the Nigerian nation. Many of us knew even in 2015 during the campaigns and the subsequent elections that the then opposition presidential candidate was not equipped intellectually, emotionally, psychologically and otherwise to govern an increasingly complex nation that we have become as a people.

The Nigeria of today is a lot different from the Nigeria of 1983-85 when Buhari held sway as military head of state. The mode of government, democracy, is different from the then military rule. A few people amongst us kept harping on that fact in spite of the threateningly loud voices of the vast majority which was determined to muffle the voices of the sane minority.

Even with the benefit of hindsight it will still be difficult to blame the mob-majority of 2015 for its irrational behaviour in refusing, most times violently, to listen to the voices that were raising the danger in electing Buhari as president. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that was in government since the return of democracy in 1999 had woefully failed the people. There was no doubt about that. The President Goodluck Jonathan administration which got a pan-Nigeria mandate in the 2011 election had incredibly frittered away the massive goodwill of Nigerians in a space of just two years. It must be added that some of its failings were contrived and orchestrated by some of the people in power today. So for the mob-majority anybody and any political party but Jonathan and the PDP would do. So Buhari won the presidential contest in spite of the obvious danger in his win.

From the onset President Buhari set the tone for his regime. Two months after he swore by the Constitution of Nigeria to protect and to promote the interest of all Nigerians, the president said while visiting the United States of America (USA) that he would disregard his oath of office and oath of allegiance. He said he intended to be the president of those who voted massively for him. Buhari told an interviewer in America that he should not be expected to treat those who voted 5 percent for him as he would treat those who voted 97 per cent for him. Effectively the president, of his own volition, had divided the country and its peoples. At the point of the president’s initial and critical appointments including constituting his so-called kitchen cabinet he gave effect, in clear and unmistakable term, to his 97 per cent versus 5 percent philosophy of governance. He has not departed from that road which is now inevitably leading his regime to a crushing failure.

It is shocking, to say the least, that Buhari in spite of seeking the office of the president in three previous election cycles (2003, 2007, 2011), failed to prepare for the requirements and demands of that office. In the intervening period between 1985 when Gen. Buhari was sacked from office as military head of state and May 29, 2015 when he assumed office as a civilian president, there is no record in the public domain of any attempt at self improvement through public speeches, personal training programmes, giving keynote address at public functions, periodic interventions in burning national issues, occasionally offering opinion in public on the road the nation should take in the quest for development. On the few occasions the now president intervened they were on less ennobling subjects. There was the reported case of Buhari leading a team of Fulani leaders to confront and threaten the former governor of Oyo state, the late Lam Adesina over the matter of clashes between Yoruba farmers and Fulani herdsmen.

The takeaway from Buhari on that encounter was his saying that: ‘your people (Yoruba) are killing my people (Fulani) and there will be consequences’. He then left in a huff, ignoring the hospitality offered by his host. The next intervention on a crucial national issue was during the Oputa Panel sitting. The panel was set up by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to engender national forgiveness and forge national unity. Buhari pointedly ignored the invitation from that panel to make a contribution to build a national consensus. Then there was the vexed issue of the looting of the public treasury by the former Head of State, the late Gen. Sani Abacha. Buhari, who by the way served under Abacha as the executive chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), was categorical in declaring that the murderous Abacha regime was not corrupt and that the former Head of State did not steal any money from the public till. It was interesting seeing Buhari recently receiving assurances from a Swiss government official that Switzerland was ready to return to Nigeria another installment of about $300 million (Three hundred million dollars) of Abacha loot. I had expected that Buhari would reject the offer and the money since he had since declared that Abacha did not steal and that his (Abacha’s) regime was not corrupt. Seeing Buhari keep a straight face during the encounter with the Swiss diplomat was amusing and disgusting.

For Buhari, it has been serial bungling since he assumed office. And it has not been a surprise. It took him forever to appoint ministers and he only did so because it was a constitutional requirement. Ahead of the appointments he made sure that the would be ministers were sufficiently intimidated including calling them noise makers. Like in the preceding appointments, the composition of the federal cabinet betrayed Buhari’s lack of relationships that cut across Nigeria. Then came the 2016 budget. It was sent late to the National Assembly. That was expected given the tardiness of Buhari who by then Nigerians had tagged Baba go slow. It turned out to be a document of national shame. I will go no further because Nigerians are already suffering from budget conversation fatigue. Last week Buhari increased the pump price of petrol by about 60 per cent from N86.5/litre to N145/l. Since then there had been a cacophony of voices from government. Some claimed that subsidy had been removed, others said it was a deregulation of the downstream sector of the industry. But the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, a lawyer, who is the head of the economic team said it was none of those claims. He said the price of petrol was hiked because of crisis in the foreign exchange market. Simple!

An administration that came into being through propaganda can only sustain itself by subterfuge, deceit and outright lies. Not too long ago the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu had told us that this government had saved a combined $2billion through its efficient management of the oil sector and the removal of subsidy. How come this same government has dropped the winning formula. Or could it be that it deceived Nigerians yet again? The $2billion saving has translated into inflicting more pains on Nigerians. How could $2billion turn into ashes in our mouth?

Inflation is galloping away. When we say inflation we speak in abstract terms. Let us bring it home. When Buhari took office one year ago a 50kg bag of rice costs between N8,000-N10,000. Today the same goes for between N18,000-N20,000. Meat, fish, vegetable, red oil, bread, transportation, pure water, haircut/styling in saloon including the basic washing and setting for women are going out of reach. The cost of electricity has since gone up, yet the country is in darkness. Of course the list of afflictions on Nigerians is endless. The greater tragedy is that the APC and Buhari are thoroughly confused. Twenty-three years ago the late Moshood Abiola campaigned to be elected president on the slogan of Hope ‘93. Twenty-three years later we are faced with virtual hopelessness. Which way Nigeria!

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