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Is PMB insensitive, prejudiced or simply naive?

It’s difficult to fathom whether or not President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) really knows or cares about the signals he is sending to Nigerians. It’s trite…

It’s difficult to fathom whether or not President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) really knows or cares about the signals he is sending to Nigerians. It’s trite that Democratic governments which lose the trust of their people always fail. PMB didn’t defeat the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at the fourth attempt because his core constituency voted for him as usual. He won under the banner of the All Progressives Congress (APC) because for the first time many of us from the south backed him against our “brother”, thereby expanding his support base and enabling victory. We expected him to get the nation moving forward with military dispatch and deal mercilessly with those who threaten our lives and property with abandon. The lapses and snail pace of his administration were initially overlooked because of PMB’s reputation for personal integrity, and the assumption that the poor decision making was down to naivety rather than prejudice or insensitivity. Regrettably from the height of popularity at the time of his election victory, distrust, resentment and unpopularity have been triggered by negative appraisal of his actions since assuming office.     In a Wall Street Journal article entitled “Buhari is the problem not corruption”, a former chairman of the US House Intelligence Committee Pete Hoekstra, ridiculed APC’s “obsolete” economic policies which he claims caused unemployment and economic recession. He also lambasted the anti-corruption war for being selectively focused on senior opposition members while ignoring members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC). In a post-June 12th symposium, the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) concluded that things have only got worse under his regime.
The National Youth Leader of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) Yerima Shettima joined the bandwagon expressing disgust that government is asking people to tighten their belts while politicians feed fat. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu added to the barrage of negative assessments saying PMB’s lack of political will to implement fundamental changes contained in the National Conference report is a “historical error”        During inauguration PMB said “I belong to nobody, I belong to everybody”. However his subsequent support for cattle grazing and disproportionate number of major appointments from the North has generated accusations of prejudice. Cattle don’t belong to Nigeria but to private individuals who make profit from them.
A government that refuses to subsidize fuel or electricity which everyone benefits from has no business subsidizing cattle rearing especially when the plan is being vehemently rejected nationwide. Under APC the entire security apparatus of the nation is now in the hands of one region, and we are reduced to begging criminals in the Niger Delta. Common sense should have informed PMB’s advisors that lopsided appointments create suspicion and increase the level of distrust in an already fragile nation. To be fair to PMB he wasn’t elected because of a reputation for outstanding intellect or political savvy. It’s high time his highly paid Special Advisers do their job of ensuring he avoids the pitfalls of office.
Much of the criticism of PMB is based upon prejudice, untruths and political bias, but his media team must appreciate that in public affairs the “truth” is whatever people are made to believe. PMB’s detractors are finding it easy to convince people that he has a hidden agenda of “northernizing” if not “islamizing” Nigeria despite ethnicity and religion having nothing to do with a person’s ability to do a good job, and geo-political and religious zoning having failed woefully to solve issues of poverty, hardships and underdevelopment.     Tragically half a century after independence we are still struggling to build a nation. Nations don’t exist only on paper, but also in the hearts and minds of citizens. Only the most naïve can expect citizens to be patriotic in a situation of widespread suffering and daily death, robbery and maiming on our disgraceful highways. APC National Chairman Chief John Oyegun renowned as an astute politician must be lamenting the slipping fortunes of his party.
Having lost governorship elections in Bayelsa and Rivers State he can’t afford for PDP to win the upcoming Edo State elections with their “change the change” campaign slogan. Worse still the unrelenting pursuit of Senate President Bukola Saraki appears likely to hand control of the Senate over to the PDP. As if all this isn’t bad enough, with half the year gone its obvious APC’s first budget can’t be fully implemented. Whatever his shortcomings PMB undeniably did us all a big favour by ending the disastrous PDP rule and exposing treasury looting.
However unless there is drastic change, if the APC want to continue enjoying widespread national support in 2019 they would be well advised to put forward an open-minded, economically oriented, vibrant, middle-aged candidate. It remains to be seen whether PMB will follow the footsteps of the legendary Nelson Mandela and leave after one term, or remain past his expiry date like the disastrously senile Robert Mugabe.

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