opinion

Yemi Kolapo: Are Nigerians really stuck with Buhari?

A lot of laughable things have happened under the current administration that one begins to wonder if the man at the centre of affairs is actually our own President Muhammadu Buhari; a no-nonsense man, who some of us were so sure would take governance to another level in terms of integrity, rule of law, global acceptance, sound policies aimed at an enhanced Human Development Index, and zero tolerance for good old corruption.

In the last 32 months, the kind of dramas that have been produced by amateur filmmakers at the Aso Rock House of Thrillers have been blockbusters that have made the rib-cracking comedies credited to former President Goodluck Jonathan’s Patience appear like plain washouts. From the ‘Other Room’ series, to the medical vacation follow-up short movie called Rat Invasion; the political appointment slapstick titled Land of the Dead; the Seasons 1,2,3 of the unpopular Maina, Yusuf recall shows; the unexplained EFCC/DSS Magu-induced altercation called Siddon Look; and the NNPC’s October 2017 scandal named ‘Muted’, among other scintillating dramas, the recurrent message has been unapologetic leadership inexperience.

I FIND IT SIMPLY BEYOND IMAGINATION THAT IN A COUNTRY WITH WORLD-ACCLAIMED PROFESSIONALS ACROSS ALL SECTORS, SUCCESSIVE GOVERNMENTS HAVE CONTINUED TO PUBLICISE KEY ACHIEVEMENTS AS SOLID FOUNDATIONS FOR RE-ELECTION WITHOUT ANYONE IDENTIFYING THE FACT THAT WE MIGHT PROBABLY BE GOING AROUND IN CIRCLES WITH REGARD TO SOCIO-ECONOMIC ADVANCEMENT

Now, one may be forced to ask the questions: who is after PMB? Why all these anomalies almost three years into a Government of Change? Did the current administration not employ the services of professional cleaners to flush out the spirits of non-performance that have resided in their own duplex within the Aso Rock Villa for more than two decades? Why is this meaningful catchphrase of the All Progressives Congress – Change – suddenly being made to appear like the nightmare Nigerians must avoid?

If we must answer these questions, without queueing behind any of the political figures whose names are currently being circulated as likely presidential candidates for the two major parties, it is appropriate to analyse the cards on the table and refuse to resign to a timid fate that we are stuck with an incumbent government simply because there seems to be no credible opposition. First, any rational Nigerian must, as a matter of urgency, break away from the blind followership disorder that has impoverished over 70 per cent of the masses and kept the Nigerian economy behind global lightweights for far too long.

If at this stage, in the history of Nigeria’s democracy, the victory theory for major elections is “The Better Devil”, I’m afraid, we have a very long journey ahead to the Promised Land. It is high time we began the search for those who will be the Lee Kuan Yews of Nigeria rather than sticking to non-performers all in the name of loyalty to geo-political zones.

For me, I don’t mind being a Buhari loyalist, despite concerns of age disadvantage and, perhaps, the widely peddled story of health uncertainty. But I must be able to analyse what another four years of Buhari portends for the nation, in social, economic and political terms.

To come to a near-conclusion on this, however, I should be able to go back to the beginning of the administration and assess the tall promises that culminated in PMB winning a keenly contested election to become the first man, in Nigeria’s political history, to unseat an incumbent government through popular votes.

The following questions would help my analysis greatly: How have Nigerians fared almost three years after? What are the main loopholes that are being ignored, under this government, all in the name of politics? What are those three real economic achievements that qualify PMB for another tenure? How exactly has this government benefitted Nigerians better than the Jonathan government? Can Nigeria, at this point in time, downplay political parties in favour of capable individuals in the pursuit of genuine and sustainable development? What concrete foundation has the government laid to secure the future of the next generation rather than secure a win in the next election? Sincere answers to these questions would, really, prepare the country for the urgently needed mass liberalisation from poverty, political slavery and economic kwashiokor.

In this part of the world, however, information rolled out by the same government that is being assessed has been prioritised over painstaking, objective research, aimed at either making the incumbent government sit up, or preparing the incoming one for success.

I find it simply beyond imagination that in a country with world-acclaimed professionals across all sectors, successive governments have continued to publicise key achievements as solid foundations for re-election without anyone identifying the fact that we might probably be going around in circles with regard to socio-economic advancement.

In the current scenario, I may not be able to say, categorically, that the country’s security challenges have been surmounted, to a large extent, especially with the latest avoidable, meaningless herdsmen killings that have claimed thousands of lives amid government’s seeming helplessness. So, I would restrict myself to a few instances relating to the economy.

On Nigeria’s ranking in the Global Ease of Doing Business Index that has been touted as one of the major achievements of this administration, the country’s ranking improved by 24 places, from 169 out of 190 countries in 2016, to 145 in 2017. This, ordinarily, is cheery news, but we had been there before in 2013, under a previous administration, and had even been ranked 120, a record low, in 2008, under another administration.

Again, I was surprised that the investor-friendly policy of granting genuine, high net-worth investors Visas at the point of entry, which was one of the achievements publicised by the Jonathan government to mark its 100 days in office, found its way into the present administration’s list of achievements last year.

Inconsequential as these instances may seem to some, they are pointers to the fact that politicians have, over the years, only been insulting the intelligence of otherwise smart Nigerians to garner support for their growing egocentric interests.

Desk officers in the ministries, under successive administrations, often recycle many of these recurring so-called achievements because no one is taking more than a passing look and challenging claims that can’t be substantiated as real improvements in the life of a 57-year-old ‘mother’.

It would be tough for anyone, even key players of the former administration to say that corruption, whether it is called “stealing” like a former President once declared, or thievery in the opinion of some others, was not deep-rooted in the previous government. However, with the level of global hype of the anti-corruption stance of the present administration, why would we find ourselves in a situation where certain sacred cows would be walking freely, or recalled into government with golden seats when heavy allegations of corruption are hanging around their necks?

Strange answers to some of these questions, which were offered by first-rate Nigerian and foreign technocrats, as well as top politicians, across the political parties, revealed that Nigerians cannot afford to leave their destinies in the hands of any group called a political party in Nigeria.

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