All of a sudden it doesn’t matter anymore; it doesn’t matter if Buhari declares his assets publicly or not. It doesn’t matter if a dollar is N230. It doesn’t matter if long queues in fuel stations becomes permanent and fuel sells at N150 per litre. It doesn’t matter if Chibok girls never return. It doesn’t matter if Boko Haram kills multitudes daily and detonates bombs like knockout. It doesn’t matter if government is grounded with no functional executive council. It doesn’t matter if law makers turn their chambers into a boxing ring. It doesn’t matter if Nigerians never have electricity. It doesn’t matter if nothing works in the country provided Jonathan is not the president and provided Buhari and the APC are in power. Nigeria I hail thee. By Chidi Arinze
The lamentations above by Chidi Arinze captures in precise terms the dilemma Nigeria faces with a Buhari presidency that made so much promises, raised expectations to high heavens with a change campaign only for Buhari to end up literarily retiring into Aso rock and folding up the levers of government. But the greatest tragedy is the unfolding acquiescence to the state of paralysis the nation is stuck in when all of a sudden as Chidi rightly observed nothing matters anymore, not even if the nation is sinking, or if the nation is in a state of anomie without a functional government or if the president and his team cannot keep simple campaign promises. Buhari’s supporters even now see his inaction and the absence of a functional government as progress in itself. They now regale us with stories that claim the inaction and absence of a cabinet is to clean the rot left by the former administration. How they intend to clean the so called rot without a functional government is what none of them have bothered to explain.
They abuse those who question the state of paralysis and label them PDP members or sympathisers yet they have not bothered to explain how over 50 per cent of their party members happen to be from the same PDP they routinely castigate. They say the PDP left an Augean stable that needs time and Buhari’s inaction to clean but fail to acknowledge the Augean stable left by debtor states most of which are APC states, some of which are owing workers salaries in excess of eleven months. If the APC and Buhari knew their government would be bedridden and Aso rock would be a retirement home why didn’t they say so during the campaign? Why did Buhari promise to publicly declare his assets during the campaign if he knew he wasn’t going to do so? Why did he promise to hit the ground running with the immediate constitution of a cabinet if he knew as his supporters now claim that not having a cabinet or federal executive council is a sign of progress? Didn’t Buhari and the APC know there was rot in the government when they were campaigning? Wasn’t that what they campaigned on? So why didn’t they inform Nigerians during the campaign that they would need some months or years to clean the rot before they constitute a functional government?
And if I may ask, how exactly is Buhari cleaning the so called rot without a functional cabinet? Who is doing the clean up? Is Buhari now doubling as a minister in the 43 ministries and countless federal boards and parastatals where he is now single handedly cleaning the so called rot? Or is he doing the clean up with the same corrupt permanent secretaries who were themselves partakers in the rot he is claiming to clean? Is it not by having honest, effective and competent ministers and members of the federal executive council quickly appointed to specific ministries that the rot can be realistically cleaned and reforms introduced? When Barack Obama won elections in the aftermath of the worst recession in American history, he didn’t solve the problem by going to bed and making excuses of needing to clean the rot that led to the historic recession before appointing a cabinet. Obama practically hit the ground running and had his ministerial list and cabinet members ready long before he was sworn in on the 20th of January 2009. Once sworn in, his cabinet swung into action from day one and delivered the reforms that rescued America from the historic recession through key policy initiatives.
Buhari had two months after winning the elections before he was sworn in. After the change propaganda, Nigerians rightly expected that by the time he was sworn in, he would have a ready -made cabinet that would swing into action from day one as he himself had promised and begin to deliver key policy initiatives in all sectors. This was the least expected and not the inaction and shameful justifications and apathy that now marks the Buhari administration to the extent that many have quietly given up on the change they now consider a scam. If Buhari cannot keep a simple promise to publicly declare his assets where then is the change? If Buhari does not trust anyone enough from amongst his party to make ministers as some now suggest who then will drive the change? Would that not suggest that the APC is just as guilty or even worse than the PDP they routinely castigate? APC supporters must begin to publicly accept the hard truth that there is simply no justification for failing to keep a campaign promise just as there is no rational justification for the failure to quickly compose a strong team of cabinet members that will drive key policies and deliver on their many campaign promises. All the excuses are hogwash and I suspect that even the Buhari supporters know this to be true.
Finally, Buhari’s absent presidency is also worryingly littered with inconsistencies, confusion and illogicalities in the few areas where it has taken some decisions. First, Buhari ordered the withdrawal of military checkpoints in a country where Boko Haram, which has since last year been crowned the deadliest terrorist group in the world is on the rampage with daily bombings and killings, making it easier for them to move around and carry out their deadly attacks. This policy was later reversed after some governors in the affected states raised their concerns with the obvious illogicality of the decision. Secondly, Buhari curiously ordered the release of 183 Boko Haram prisoners. Thirdly he bypassed all senior cadres in the State Security Services (DSS) and appointed a retired Lawal Daura as a substantive director of DSS only to modify the appointment to acting capacity after concerns were raised with the appointment. Fourthly, Boko Haram prisoners that should be held in heavily fortified maximum security prisons as is done with terrorists elsewhere in the world (American government holds terrorists in Guantanamo Bay Island) were transferred to a minimum security prison in Anambra state. This illogical decision also carries with it the risk of widening the scope of Boko Haram attacks to Anambra state and thus the southern part of the country.
With these mistakes, inconsistencies, confusion and incompetence are we witnessing the beginning of an absent and shockingly clueless government? Some already suggest Buhari has simply converted Aso rock to his retirement home and cannot be bothered with Nigerian wahala. Time will tell!
Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu
Saturday, 11 July 2015