By Ezugwu Obinna
The fireworks that greeted President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the March 28, 2015 presidential polls and the high level of enthusiasm generated by his inaugural speech on May 29 are obviously waning, and fast too.
There is no doubt that Nigerians are beginning to nurse some doubts about the change they voted for translating into anticipated goodwill, and this is for no fault of none than the president himself; what he has done, the way he did them and what he has failed to do.
Buhari had hinged his campaign promises on fighting corruption, improving the standard of living of Nigerians and importantly, providing security of lives and property which of course, are the most fundamental duty of a leader and one which former president Goodluck Jonathan failed to do.
Since Buhari took over however, Nigerians have been waiting for the panacea of the country’s seemingly intractable problems to hit the ground running, but the wait is beginning to look like an exercise in futility…a wait in vain. First and most importantly, the president’s assurance that Boko Haram would be severely dealt with him at the helm has thus far turned out to be an empty promise. In the past one month, Boko Haram attacks have been on the rise, the number of deaths each week now counts in hundreds and the attacks have become daily occurrence.
More recent attacks in Jos and Zaria particularly constitutes a source of worry; these are in states that have been free of insurgents’ attacks for a relatively long time now, the recent incidents obviously suggest that the terror group’s reach is once again expanding, no thanks to the ill-informed decision of the president to order the withdrawal of military checkpoints in many parts of the country. This has undoubtedly given the group a bit of space to move, and they are indeed now moving.
Surprisingly, while it is obvious that terror attacks are on the rise, the spokesperson of the APC Lai Mohammed made bold to claim Buhari has achieved in three weeks what Jonathan could not achieve in six years in terms of providing security. Mr. Mohammed must realize that Nigerians are not particularly very patient people, much less when their intelligence is being insulted.
The economy was in a bad shape under Jonathan, we all agreed. And that’s one of the reasons he was voted out, and someone who promised to turn it around, Buhari, was voted in. but since coming on board, Buhari has concentrated more effort in telling Nigerians how bad the economy had been under Jonathan and how it is that Jonathan’s administration looted the national treasury dry. Apart from such claims being contestable, at least judging by the president’s expenditure, Buhari must realize that he was not voted in to complain, but to act and his time has since started counting. If the country was perfect under Jonathan, there wouldn’t have been a need for change.
The country, no doubt needs a lot of work and to adequately do these work, there has to be a good team of competent individuals. It is now over a month and Buhari is yet to constitute a team. Nigerians were recently told that the president will do so in the fullness of time; that can even be next year. When indeed is that time? The president certainly cannot do it alone and that fact is clear. Some of his supporters are inclined to arguing that his predecessor took six weeks to name his ministers and therefore he should be allowed more time. But wouldn’t that amount to taking a cue from a ‘failed’ regime? Certainly, no student who wishes to pass an exam would chose to learn from one who he has adjudged to have failed the same exam. The increasing delay and lack of action by the president in this regard is beginning to give him away as one who had not actually prepared for governance.
The president has, commendably made few appointments. But those appear to be a source of further controversies due to the fact they have been mainly Northerners. The president is now posturing as someone who is out to restore the old order of Northern oligarchy, which will deal a terrible blow to the whole essence of change. Of all the eleven appointments made so far, only one have come from the South. Admitted, there is no law specifying from where and how the president should make his appointments, but the diverse nature of the country makes it imperative for a president to adequately spread federal appointments so that no group would feel alienated. That is the whole essence of the principle of Federal Character. To argue that competent people exist only in one region will obviously be an attempt to pool wool over our faces.
Buhari must realize that his appointments so far are beginning to negate the expectations of Nigerians, no surprising that opinions are beginning to shift.
The APC since it took power, has failed to put its house in order, crisis in the National Assembly is beginning to spiral out of control with the continuing insistence of the party to enforce its decisions on an independent arm of government in the name of an un-interpretable doctrine of party supremacy. This, for a fact, cannot be in the interest of the masses. The APC and Buhari must realize that the common good of Nigerians counts above individual and party interests. The recent attempt to use the police to intimidate Senator Ike Ekweremadu has further given members of the ruling party away as those who are more concerned with their personal interests than the peaceful coexistence of the country.
All these are taking place under President Buhari’s watch and his lack of action betrays him as either a willing accomplice or a president who is not in control. Certainly, a president who is ready to imbibe the tenets of democratic governance cannot at the same time be insisting on the supremacy of the party over an important, independent arm of government such as the legislature in a presidential system of government. President Buhari in all honesty, needs to sit up and begin to act like a president.