Time to Say Bye Baba, Bye Buhari

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Muhammadu Buhari

With his illegal suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, President Muhammadu Buhari has just played his last card, writes Adeola Akinremi

There’s nothing left in President Muhammadu Buhari that Nigerians cannot dispense with. His corrosive body with failing energy cannot provide the needed service that will justify his bogus payslip over the next four years, and in retirement.

Buhari has not answered what ailed him that made him choose London over Nigeria for his medical treatment, despite his promise to revamp medical infrastructure in the country.

And this, he has not also demonstrated that he’s a transparent leader since he has refused to tell us how much of the taxpayer’s money he spent for his treatment in a London hospital. It has been over a year since he has been asked those questions by reporters, but Buhari has turned deaf ears.

Tellingly, his intelligence level has dwindled. He lacks the stamina that the office of a president requires. He’s a pariah leader without global connection. But the more apparent of his defect is his lack of integrity and dictatorship.

The man, who has broken nearly all his promises, including the one to govern by the rule of law and fair electoral processes, is luciferous, a deceiver and nitwit who diverts attention from his maladministration.

The state of our nation today has made it essential for me to find the courage to return to my column in order to continue to unearth the cost and consequence of having an invalid as president of Nigeria.

There are many reasons Buhari should not be re-elected as the president of Nigeria. First, his disrespect for the rule of law is a mockery of democracy that Nigerians fought very hard for.

I remember when I joined the civil rights movement to chase the military out of power as a high school student in 1993, following the annulment of M.K.O Abiola’s election, during street protests, I threw teargas canisters back at the police with my bare hands.

With bottle of kerosene, handkerchief and used tires as the best ammunitions we had for wiping our faces and for bonfire to create barricades on the roads, a number of us would dash forward to pick up teargas canisters before they explode and throw it back at the police. They had the firepower, but we had the fighting spirit that ultimately enthroned democracy.

Thus, it is embarrassing and disrespecting to the memories of Nigerians who died in the struggle for the enthronement of democratic rule in Nigeria to have a despot like Buhari in power. Let’s agree that his election in 2015, was a mistake necessitated by the clueless government of Goodluck Jonathan and lack of option for Nigerians to elect a better person, shall we continue to have this despot in power? God forbid.

Now, nearly four years after he arrived in Abuja as president, Buhari has spurned several judgments delivered by courts of law, turning justice on its head.

For instance, in Ibrahim el-Zakzaky vs. federal government, a case seeking restoration of fundamental rights to the Shi’ite leader and his wife, following their arrest in December 2015, after a demonstration that was provoked, the government of Buhari has constantly disobeyed court orders for the release of the incarcerated leader of Islamic Movement in Nigeria.

Equally, former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, has been in prison for as long as Buhari assumed power without real trial, and the government has disobeyed several court rulings for his release on bail, even when he lost his father.

We have seen a clampdown on journalists and commentators who write and speak against Buhari’s government such as the recent invasion of Daily Trust newspaper and the arrest of some journalists working for the newspaper.
In short, the robotic, lackluster leader has been picking and choosing judgments that fit his agenda.

Second, in Nigeria, “vote-buying” has been an alien phrase until Buhari came to power. Indeed, the Buhari’s government made “vote-buying” a popular phrase. It is either an election is declared inconclusive or rigged outright as we have seen in Osun and Ekiti States recently.

While Buhari’s predecessor, former president Goodluck Jonathan, restored faith in Nigeria’s electoral process by hiring trusted men as umpire, Buhari has placed his interest above the country.
The unilateral decision to suspend the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mr. Walter Onnoghen, from office without constitutional basis and regard for legislative duties of Nigeria’s lawmakers makes Buhari a dictator and unqualified to continue in a democratic office.

Though, the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, has asked Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) to stay action on the weighty allegation of false asset declaration by Onnoghen, which is more political in my view, given its timing, Buhari will go ahead and remove a CJN he has no constitutional power to remove, thereby precipitating constitutional crisis on the eve of presidential election, for which his name is on the ballot.

In February last year, when the famous American newspaper, the Washington Post began using a slogan—Democracy Dies in Darkness— which it has not used in nearly 140 years of its existence, it apparently sought to keep a reputation for providing insightful news stories with its consumers, but I will borrow those four words for Nigerian situation and turn it around. I will say that Buhari has brought us to the end of democracy in Nigeria with the suspension of CJN Onnoghen and it’s time to send him out of Aso Rock.

For me, this moment is surreal, a man who claimed to be honest has been tightlipped about many corruption allegations leveled against members of his cabinet, except to go after those who opposed his ideas. So far he has let us down and I know he will continue in that path if given a chance for another four years.

Clearly, Buhari has demonstrated that he doesn’t have the character to be the president of Nigeria and he shouldn’t be given additional free ride during the February election.

Third, the record of deaths under Buhari has exposed his inability to secure our nation. The Boko Haram Islamists are still killing hapless Nigerians and the soldiers that are supposed to defend them are dying like chickens in the field without competitive firepower. The promise to end the insurgency is after all a broken promise.

And then, Buhari started using government money to buy vote ahead of the election with a pretence to support petty traders. Let’s do a little analysis of the Tradermoni. The government claimed that Tradermoni is a jumpstart for petty businesses to enable them “get to the next level.”

The website, tradermoni.ng, which doesn’t offer any transparency about its processes lists categories of qualified traders to include bread seller, mai shai, wheel barrow pusher, mobile tailor, keke rider, mobile cobbler, fruits seller and others in their ilk.

There are political and economic reasons why Tradermoni is a vote-buying scheme. For political analysis, the Tradermoni is being doled out a few weeks to the election and the government is collecting statistics that is suspicious of clandestine plan to influence voters.

Though the government has said to the contrary, there are evidence that voters are providing their Permanent Voters Card details before accessing the loan. And why is it necessary for the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, to be touring 36 states to launch Tradermoni scheme? I’m sure the professor will agree it goes with opportunity agenda rather than having a genuine intention behind it.

Now, this is my simple economic argument against the Tradermoni, small businesses are less productive, less innovative, and pay lower wages than larger businesses. In fact, petty traders output to the economy are insignificant and cannot jump to any “next level” as the government wants us to believe.

This means income will always be lower. So when you anchor your economic policy on this kind of scheme, per capita income will always be lower, the country will always be poor when GDP shows up. This scheme is different from helping startups which can be key drivers of growth, if they develop so fast and rapidly.

The important question then is what is the spillover effect of the scheme on the economy? And what is the cost of the intervention to the government? These two questions, if answered honestly by this government will expose the corruption behind the scheme.

I agree that transformation of monetary system in a way that makes credit available without hassle will be important to economic growth, but such credit must go into productive economic activities that can bring meaningful change to everyone.