Buhari, Grand Commander of Frustrated Republic

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Hometruths By Adeola Akinremi: Email: adeola.akinremi@thisdaylive.com

Nigerians are hurting. Perpetual presidential blunders have increased distress in homes across Nigeria. Sadly, Nigerians cannot make a distress call to President Muhammadu Buhari. He is a distant leader.

After throwing Nigeria into recession with poor economic policies that forced citizens into depression, Buhari spent taxpayers’ money to overcome his affliction in London.

The adulation he received from those coaxing him into antediluvian idea of optimus inter pares makes him see no reason to offer apology for his own broken promise.

Did Buhari not promise to fix medicare? “We have to look at the whole field of medicare,” he said in his inaugural speech.

But it had been more than two years since he came to power, even the clinic near his own residence lacks paracetamol. Thanks to his own daughter, Zahra, for blowing the whistle.

I once learned of principalities and powers, but now I know Buhari is a principal of chaos. This Abdulrasheed Maina’s reinstatement and promotion under his watch makes me feel those still trusting Buhari are men and women in perilous times—deceiving and being deceived.

Did Buhari not tell us on May 29, 2015, at the beginning of his regime that “we shall rebuild and reform the public service to become more effective and more serviceable. We shall charge them to apply themselves with integrity to stabilise the system. For I will not have kept my own trust with the Nigerian people if I allow others abuse theirs under my watch?”

Buhari is not governing with a vision, his governance is vaporous. His government once nominated people facing query for corruption as fraud investigators. He had wanted Maimuna Aliyu and Sa’ad Alanamu to serve on the board of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), one of the agencies that has prepared corruption charges against them. The duo simply bypassed security screening to emerge as nominees on the board of an anti-graft agency, despite the allegations of corruption against them.

And while internal insecurity is like a festering sore with kidnapping rate rising and becoming common, Buhari will do well to go back to the book to review his vow with Nigeria. “Boko Haram is not only the security issue bedeviling our country. The spate of kidnappings, armed robberies, herdsmen/farmers clashes, cattle rustlings all help to add to the general air of insecurity in our land,” he said as elated president taking the oath office.

What more, Nigeria does not have a substantive ambassador in the United States since Buhari came to power—nothing can be less visionary. After removing one of Nigeria’s top-notch diplomats, Ambassador Adebowale Adefuye, who died of heart attack shortly after his recall, Buhari is seeking to replace him with an 82-year-old man, a decision that questions vision.

A man with the knowledge of diplomatic circle in Washington, Mathew Page, has now confirmed what the United States thinks of Buhari’s presidency: vacuous.

Page, in a recent interview published by TheCable, said, “the U.S. Government is very uneasy about agreeing to have this ambassador posted to Washington because that is an extremely arduous drop. You have a growing schedule and its one of Nigeria’s largest overseas embassies to manage. This is something that needs a very dynamic and energetic person with an enormous constitution.”

Anyone waiting for Buhari to offer change is going to wait for a very long time, but he has changed his own fortune.

From a man without money in his bank account to buy nomination form for his candidacy, Buhari will spend the rest of his lifetime feeding on bogus pension and other assortments due to a former president, even if he were to leave office tomorrow.

His flailing presidency has recently swept under the carpet a cabinet crisis that projects him as a divide-and-rule leader. After signing documents for award of contracts while on a sick bed in London at a time he pretended to have handed power to his veepee, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Buhari upended institution relying on arbitrary law governing the NNPC.

He left the technocrat, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr..Ibe Kachikwu—a man he brought to government to help him change the system—rudderless and exposed him to ridicule by a junior officer.

The bitter rivalry between Buhari’s Attorney General, Abubakar Malami and the acting chair of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, was raised to a threat level recently with the duo deriding their offices with blistering media and verbal attacks within the same government. But Buhari is looking the other way showing indifference where decision matters.

Did Buhari ever repeat this line to himself after May 29, 2015, that “I will try to ensure that there is responsible and accountable governance at all levels of government in the country?”

Buhari likes to ask for a probe but with nothing serious coming out of it. Since the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal crossed the red line of corruption, President Buhari just went dump.
The story of Ayo Oke, who was suspended for hiding $43 million in a private apartment in Lagos for “covert operation” has not been told. There’s no regard for Freedom of Information Act under Buhari. The official secrecy has ballooned in a free and open society promised by Buhari. “Nothing so diminishes democracy as secrecy,” according to Ramsey Clark, but this is Buhari’s legacy for Nigeria.

“What’s going on in this government?” isn’t the only question swirling around the debate today. There are dozens of other big ones!

No one is certain of a prospect of free and fair elections in 2019 under this Independent National Electoral Commission based on its previous non-conclusive elections and other lack of infrastructure, and Buhari has not thought of any reform

The promise of true federalism by his own party has failed to the extent that Southern governors are coming together after 12 years of such meeting to ask for devolution of power. Is that not a sign that Nigeria is not one under Buhari?

I can almost predict how Buhari will end this government based on what we have seen in the last two and half years, but I will leave that for Fiery Catholic priest and the Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministry Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka.

When his town criers came to town recently to ask us to do clap, clap, clap for their boss for increasing pump price to N145, I knew he was messing with the minds of Nigerians without a thought for consequence.
But the joke is not really on Buhari, it is on those Nigerians who applaud his failures and successes without distinction.

Elated with flattery and conceit he carries on with air of arrogance declaring citizens terrorists with no serious evidence. What is left for Nigeria to become a country of terrorists in the eyes of other countries?
Buhari has violated the very definition of leadership to such an extent that a change of leadership is desirable in Nigeria.

The same people beating the drum of praise will blow the trumpet of disgrace when the time comes.
As Elvis Presley said, “If you let your head get too big, it’ll break your neck.”
Riding the powerful upwelling of public support is good way to come to power, but when you take that goodwill for granted, you are on your way out. This frustration is what Buhari governs today as GCFR.
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