By Joe Iniodu
President Muhammadu Buhari’s chances to be reelected in 2019 have continued to shrink giving legitimate reasons to adduce that the upcoming election may not be free and fair as the APC government may recourse to the illegitimate use of Federal might and brute force. The odds against PMB are high-from those who helped him attain the office to his own people – the President seems ambushed from all fronts for the single purpose of removing him from office.
PMB came to office with a “change” mantra. He also brandished an anti-corruption banner which he deviously knitted to the “change” to give Nigerians hope for high expectations. Nigerians are actually averse to corruption. They want a corrupt free country. It is a fact that corruption is an bane to our collective development. When someone whose ascetic antecedent came flaunting the new order, some Nigerians were coaxed into the mendacity only to realize shortly after the elections that it was mere deceitful contraption to win election. Nigerians had fallen victim to a grand deception organized and executed by APC leveraging on Buhari’s unverifiable public profile as an incorruptible leader. But how wrong those who backed Buhari were and how credulous Nigerians were as his ascension brought Nigeria to a pitiable state.
Unfortunately those behind these shenanigans are not yet done with Nigeria. In their duplicitous manner, they have woven new yarns. One of them is that the Nation was buried in an Augean stable that has taken eternity to clear. But the same Nigeria was liveable until after May 2015 when panic statements and policies set off alarm tolls and everything went comatose. If Nigeria’s total collapse was as imminent post May 2015, why did GEJ, a Ph.D holder knowledgeable in global affairs seek reelection? Did he wish to come and preside over a country presumably tottering on the precipice of collapse or extinction? Why did a renown World Bank Economist, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala continue to serve in that administration as the Co-ordinator of the Nation’s economy? Could she have staked her hard earned reputation to co-ordinate the collapse of Nigeria’s economy? One could accuse Jonathan of everything but not the lack of knowledge. He could have been the coward to run rings around but certainly not a fool. He could have been spineless and not street smart but certainly not an idiot.
The real truth is that the APC government has failed Nigerians and are looking for a fall guy. It has turned itself into a government of excuses and blame game because the operators lack the management savvy and skill to manage an economy with the modern dynamics obtainable within the global space. This lack of capacity in the management of the economy has become more and more obvious as the living conditions of Nigerians daily take turns for the worst. Many who thought that the early days of the APC led government were the usual teething periods and that soon the administration would get its act together and return Nigeria again to the path of prosperity can no longer bear the apparent ineptitude of the government. They are tired of excuses as they do not put food on their table. Some have argued that the government was elected to solve problems and not to hide under any alibi to give excuses.
The state of the Nation which covers all gamuts has become a source of concern to many. Apart from the economy which is firmly in the woods with no light at the end of the tunnel, security as a critical concomitance of government has not fared better. Nigeria has become a theatre of horrors as gory pictures of slit throats, butchered and mutilated bodies daily assault over visual sensibilities. Of course, other forms of criminality ranging from kidnapping, robbery, arson and homicides have remained on the rise. It is indeed a season of anomie as hell seems to be let loose upon the Nation with the fear of anarchy as a consequence that segue times like these.
Recently, matters have reached a head that even professional camaraderie cannot restrain people from speaking up in what some of them claim to be the interest of the Nation. OBJ who is reputed to have helped PMB come to power has not hidden his discontent with the state of the Nation. In an 18 page missive to Mr. President, he advised him get ready to join them as an elderstatesman to play advisory role and not seek reelection in 2019. He, however, stated that the President is not bound to take his advice but made it clear that he would not support his candidature. Anybody who takes OBJ and his views lightly does so at his own peril. The old fox always knows what to do. General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), one time Head of State (1966-1975) on his part has taken a swipe at the present administration warning it to desist from making excuses and set to work to improve the wellbeing of Nigerians. From his comment, it is apparent that General Gowon cannot support PMB for 2019. General Theophilus Dajuma, a one time Chief of Army Staff and one time minister of defence could also not hide his displeasure with the Buhari administration. He enjoined Nigerians to rise up and defend themselves against Herdsmen alleging complicity on the part of the government and the military which he termed as ethnic cleansing. It is also clear that Danjuma is not with the government of PMB.
The above views are not far from clear appraisals of how the government has fared under PMB. It is the height of deceit for anyone to say that the country is doing well and extreme mendacity to argue or assume that PMB has led the country in any efficient manner. Recently, one of the richest men in the world, Bill Gates’ who claims that he has invested billions of dollars in Nigeria without corresponding yields had noted that the policies of the administration had put the economy on the sorry state it is today. But if Bill Gates assertion does not capture the mood of the Nation, recent outbursts, reactions and dispositions of ordinary Nigerians do. Recently the social media which has become a virtual world has been trending with videos that take swipes at the person of President Muhammadu Buhari. One of the videos is that of young Muslim girls apparently protesting about the government of PMB using swear-words like “shege” etc. There is also another one by a mammoth crowed alleged to have happened at a Mosque with the crowd chanting uncomplimentary songs that disparaging the name of Mr. President. But the most shocking sign of Buhari’s unpopularity was the mammoth crowd that thronged the PDP rally at Katsina, the home state of President Buhari.
The burgeoning crowd which also witnessed the defection of over 1 million people from APC to PDP in the home of the President whom about 3 years was viewed as a cult hero, is symptomatic of a drastic drop in his popularity rating. And the Buhari, the cult hero that once had die-hard followers is now an albatross to APC. The people are angry and discontented with his government. Hunger is a universal constant and reality. The fact is that Mr. President name does not put food on the table of the people of Katsina as compensation for their ownership of PMB. That State faces the same danger and vagaries of poor economic policies of the APC led administration. The sentiments attached to any entitlement of ownership have been eroded by the prevailing hunger that today rules the land. Other states who are facing the same peril are likely to take a cue from what Katsina, the home state of Mr. President has done knowing that the first instinct of existence is self preservation. Nigerians have a chance to decide whether to continue to tread the path of impending destitution or break free and choose the cause of prosperity.
Sadly, Mr. President during APC NEC meeting in Abuja has declared his intention to take Nigerians through another 4 year round of economic quagmire and woes. But thanks to democracy which enshrines the power of choice. No man can oppress another without his consent. Now is the time for Nigerians to rise to the challenge of self preservation by rejecting a government which devious policy is the promotion of mass poverty that is at variance with sustainable development goal; a key index of good governance.
Joe Iniodu is a public affairs analyst