By Yemi Adebowale; firstname.lastname@example.org
No doubt, the escalation of the numerous challenges facing the Nigerian nation in the last 12 months is a result of sentiment beclouding the sense of reality of many Nigerians. We are in a bigger mess today because many are too sentimental to tell the Buhari administration the bitter truth. For this set of people, President Muhammadu Buhari can do no evil. It is a shame that the truth has taken an indefinite flight from this country. These sentimental Nigerians have in the last 12 months contributed greatly to bringing down our dear nation, politically, socially and economically. With their sentiment, they have also contributed to the growing insecurity in our dear nation – Boko Haram, Biafra, Niger Delta militancy, kidnapping and armed robbery.
Our unity is being threatened; yet, these Nigerians are still sentimental about the so-called purity of President Buhari and are unwilling to tell him that this country has never been as divided as witnessed in the last 12 months. The agitations in the South-east and South-south are terrifying. We are matching towards the precipice. Rather than approach it politically, Buhari decided to send soldiers after the agitators. Surprisingly, some people are clapping for him. These people have been blinded by sentiment and posterity will never forgive them if this great country goes under.
It is also on record that this administration has been stoking our fault lines at the expense of our unity. Ethnicity and religious diversity have never been this much exploited for political reasons in the history of our country, thus hindering our progress. All political appointments made in the last 12 months have been lopsided in favour of a section of the North. So, what has happened to the federal character entrenched in our constitution? Those blinded by sentiment see nothing wrong with this assault on our fault lines. Patriots must take steps to pull this country back from the brink.
Just as the deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu remarked recently, “Ethnicity and other diversities within Nigeria are healthy realities that should actually make the nation tick. The poor management of such diversities and their exploitation for political and other selfish advantages have continued to polarise the nation, thereby constituting a major stumbling block to her progress.”
On security, I am struggling to comprehend how some people came about the conclusion that the Buhari administration is doing well in the war against Boko Haram when under his watch, these bloodthirsty terrorists slaughtered almost 3000 Nigerians. Many will not forget in a hurry the massacre at the Dalori IDP camp which claimed 86 lives; the 50 people killed in Sabon Gari market in Damboa; the 30 people killed in Yakshari and Kachifa villages in Damboa; the 27 people killed in Molai-Umarari Village and the 60 people killed in Maiduguri and Madagali last December. In all, almost 3000 people were killed by Boko Haram in the last 12 months. Just last week, the terrorists attacked five villages in Jere Local Government, just 10 kilometres from Maiduguri, killing 11 people. As at yesterday, two local government areas in Borno State (Abadam and Mobbar) are firmly under the control of Boko Haram.
Buhari has reneged on virtually all his campaign promises; yet, these people, blinded by sentiment, say he is doing very well. The hike in electricity tariffs and petrol prices are contrary to his campaign promises. Our badly battered Naira is contrary to his promise of making Naira equal to the USD. Already, our president has jettisoned the N5000 monthly stipend promised 25 million unemployed Nigerians.
Over a year after, we are still waiting for Buhari to start paying monthly stipend to senior citizens and the unemployed. We are still waiting for the three million jobs he promised to create yearly. We are waiting for our president to start upgrading our universities, polytechnics, colleges, hospitals and roads as promised. What about the free lunch for school children across the nation. Those blinded by sentiment are not waiting for all these. Darkness has taken over our nation contrary to the promise of stable electricity; yet, these people blinded by sentiment are clapping for Buhari. The 5500MW capacity inherited from his predecessor has slumped to less than 1400MW. Many homes and offices are now permanently being run on generators.
The truth that must be told is that our president needs to rejig himself and start thinking differently; he must also rejig his cabinet to ensure that the next one year does not end in a disaster. Our president must stop thinking and acting like an 18th century anti-corruption czar; he has to start thinking and acting like a 21st century finance manager. Buhari must concentrate on his main job of governance, pay more attention to the economy and allow agencies like the CBN, AMCON, EFCC and ICPC to function unhindered. This idea of spending the bulk of his time and state resources running after looters is unacceptable. Forward-looking Nigerians are tired of being bombarded daily with stories of loot recoveries that are not impacting on our lives. Again, there are too many dead woods in our president’s cabinet. People like Audu Ogbe, Kayode Fayemi, Adamu Adamu, Ibe Kachikwu, Solomon Dalung, Ogbonnaya Onu, Uguru Usani, Hadi Sirika, Abdulrahman Danbazau, Adebayo Shittu, Chris Ngige and our eaglet finance minister, Kemi Adeosun must give way to people with clout; people who can think out of the box. These ministers listed are too timorous and have virtually nothing to offer this country.
Today, I want our dear president to consistently reflect on the views of Nigerians that have refused to be blinded by sentiment. One of them is the Archbishop Emeritus of Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okogie who wants Buhari to return to actualise his campaign promises to Nigerians or risk a revolution: “One year after inauguration, the Buhari-led government has derailed from its promises to the people; the poor masses now roam about without proper guidance while the majority are left in penury in the midst of plenty. Thousands of workers are being laid off every day, the value of the Naira is falling drastically, while many states are owing their workers many months of unpaid salaries.”
On the Niger Delta crisis, Okogie remarked: “The Federal Government must tread softly with the Biafra agitators and the Niger Delta Avengers. There is a popular saying that to jaw jaw is better than to war war. I am aware that the Niger Delta Avengers have reeled out a number of conditions to be met before seizing further attacks on oil installations. I am equally aware that President Buhari has vowed to deal decisively with the militants. While condemning the disruption of our oil facilities under any guise, I equally want to stress that the use of military force is not a solution. Military option will only aggravate the situation.” These are indeed words of wisdom. I hope the hawks in this government will allow our president to read this.
The Astuteness of Atiku Abubakar
If there is any living Nigerian capable of effectively and efficiently running the Nigerian nation, that man is Atiku Abubakar. This, I have said over and over again. This man is prepared for leadership; his perspicacity about the Nigerian problem is legendary. The only problem I have with him now is that by 2019, Atiku will be 72; the stamina for this critical job may no longer be there. Be that as it may, this week, Atiku again showed that he has what it takes to move the Nigerian nation forward. Speaking at a launch in Abuja, he threw a big punch at the policies and programmes of the Buhari administration on power and the Niger Delta crisis, saying, there was little or no lesson learnt from the past.
He declared: “We are still not there with power relying on gas, and we will never get there unless you solve the problem of the Niger Delta. We will not be able to solve our power generation problem relying on the use of gas turbines without peace in the Niger Delta. If my boss, Obasanjo had agreed with me in 2003 by establishing captive power stations, we would have been self-sufficient in power generation by now. I did not agree with that government’s policy in the power sector and there is nothing that happened to make me change my position”.
On the herdsmen/farmers’ clashes and its attendant disharmony across the land, Atiku said: “Again, here we come back to the same economic challenges facing the country. We also have a leadership that is not prepared to learn from the past, and is not prepared to lead.”
Atiku also reiterated the need to start the process of restructuring Nigeria in order to reduce agitations across the nation. These are some of the issues properly treated by the National Conference organised by the Jonathan administration. There was also a draft constitution from the conference. If the resolutions are implemented, Nigeria will be on the path to greatness. No nation can attain greatness without rectitude. This is the only way we can shape lives and lay the foundation for the future. Today, I urge Buhari to put aside his ego and embrace this document. For now, this is the only way forward for Nigeria.
A Word for Ayodele Fayose
It is a shame that Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has joined the league of governors pummelling civil servants. He did very well at the inception of his administration on welfare of civil servants that I had to write, commending his government. At a point, Fayose even paid one of the two months’ salaries left behind by his predecessor. Suddenly, my dear Fayose degenerated. I can’t understand how he got to this level with workers’ well-being. As at press time, Ekiti civil servants were still on strike over five months’ unpaid salaries. The pain is becoming unbearable across this state dominated by civil servants. There is hunger in the land of Ekiti. Rather than engaging the traumatised workers, Fayose has been behaving badly. My dear Fayose, please note that this is not the time for showmanship and brinkmanship. It is time to show compassion, otherwise, all that is left of the goodwill you have been enjoying in the state will be squandered. You must also stop telling civil servants stories about dwindling revenue from the Federation Account. How you run the state and pay civil servants is your business. You told the people that you were capable of effectively running the state; that was why they voted for you; if you are no longer capable, please resign. Governors who are incapable of ensuring financial sovereignty for their states have no business remaining in government houses a day longer.