All things considered in 28 months, President Muhammadu Buhari would leave Aso presidential villa having served his mandatory two terms in office.
Although a lot can happen to fundamentally alter the course of a nation within that time, we can on the basis of what has transpired so far, make a reasoned judgement on the Buhari administration weighing it on the scale of Nigeria’s abiding quest for progress and advancement.
- What bandits commanders told me in Zamfara forests Sheikh Gumi
- Top bandits commander, Buharin Daji, to lay down arms soon Matawalle
To use a well-worn cliché, in 2015 Buhari appeared our knight in shining armour to whom we turned when it was clear that 16 years of PDP rule had virtually ran the country aground. From the brief glimpse we had of him as a military ruler and from his doggedness and tenacity as an outsider in the often rough and tumble wilderness of Nigerian politics, we thought he was the perfect fit to lead the charge away from the abyss and reconstruct the new Nigeria we all desired.
Six years into his administration, one is reminded of the French saying that the more something changes, the more it stays the same. The debate is still raging on whether he has succeeded in carrying out the three main planks of his administration; war against corruption, diversification of the economy and battling insecurity under the ‘’change’’ mantra he rode to power. With the benefit of experience and objective factors on ground majority of Nigerians would agree that on each of these areas, the Buhari administration scored average marks at best.
In the early days of his administration, the excuse was that 16 years of the PDP had weighed the country down heavily and it would take quite a lot of painstaking measures to fix things right. Then the blame game shifted to some so-called ‘’wailers’’ who are consumed by hatred of the president such that they can hardly see anything good about the administration. Then again it was corruption fighting back against an administration that had blocked all avenues of easy illicit wealth.
If it were up to them President Buhari’s supporters would want us pause our brains and stop thinking objectively about the conditions of the country under his rule. They would instead want us to thank our stars that a selfless, God-sent person of integrity in the person of president Buhari had come to save us from ourselves.
But on whose shoulders then can we lay responsibility on the insecurity in the country manifesting in banditry, terrorism, kidnapping and other forms of criminality? Why should our people suffer excruciating poverty and want when a supposed God-anointed is on the throne? But above all why have Nigerians become so dangerously divided along ethnic and religious lines now more than ever in our history when someone who is thought to be imbued with the wisdom of God is ruling? Is his supposed divine link not as strong as we are made to believe?
From all indications, the remaining months of president Buhari’s tenure promises to be the most trying yet in the annals of Nigerian history. Ethnic tensions are rising to unmanageable levels. The political parties and institutions are staggering towards internal implosions. There is so much mutual acrimony in the land such that Nigerians hardly think positive of one another. There is deficit of trust among Nigerians and against the government.
Although all these issues predated the coming of the Buhari administration, they have however been exacerbated by its acts of omission and commission.
There are no clear indications that the Buhari administration possesses the capacity or even the inclination to come to grips with the many existential issues tearing at the fabric of the nation.
In as much as we may love president Buhari, our love for Nigeria should not however play second fiddle to him. From all indications the next couple of years are likely to be tense, chaotic and possibly combustible. The danger signs are that we may even not likely come to have a conclusive 2023 elections.
If our experience under president Buhari serves us well, it is that we are not likely fare well in the next couple of years leading to the 2023 elections and beyond.
That is why discerning Nigerians must begin to look ahead now and prepare for the shocks and chaos of the remaining years of president Buhari and beyond. We cannot afford the luxury and complacency of thinking that the president has it all covered when the signs are clear that he has not and will not.
We must snap out of the thinking that president Buhari is some kind of divine anointed figure who is all knowing and cannot make mistakes. In the course of his now six years in office we have instances where he appears clearly clueless and incompetent on issues. There are also instances where he deliberately chose to apply his own personal interest over and above that of the nation. He is after all human and prone to making mistakes just like everyone of us.
We have thus arrived at a situation where all the hopes and aspirations Nigerians placed on president Buhari to make the difference is now fast evaporating. The president is now as much a part of the problem as everyone else. There are indeed issues which have come up in the course of his rule that the president cannot be relied upon to stand above board and make a clean breast of as Nigerians expected of him.
In the remaining months of his tenure, Nigerians are coming to the realization that supporting the president as wholeheartedly as they did had not yielded the dividends they expected. We are not only far from achieving some of development aspirations of the country we thought president Buhari’s rule will help usher, we are increasingly a divided lot with many questioning the need for the continued existence of the country as presently constituted.
If there are discerning Nigerians who still believe the country can be rescued from its present inevitable course of self- destruction now is the time to start putting heads together. It is a collective danger to us all to continue put all our eggs in the Buhari basket when from all indications we are heading towards the abyss.