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The spirit of a Buhari government – 1

All indications lead to this. The support, for the first time, of the international community, from Asia, Europe to the Americas, of the business community,…

All indications lead to this. The support, for the first time, of the international community, from Asia, Europe to the Americas, of the business community, of intellectuals, and most importantly, of the hoi polloi; the poor people on the street, is secured.  Polls currently show that 75% of Nigerian voters cast their lot with the General and his team, while the balance is shared by the other parties, with PDP taking the chunk of about 20%.  This is despite untold amounts (someone said trillions) being spent on online, newspaper and other media campaigns by the incumbent. Really, it seems no one in the current administration thinks anything about emptying the treasury.Austerity on the street, endless amount for campaigning… hmmm.
As I have observed elsewhere, something fundamental has broken, in the relationship between the leaders and the led in Nigeria.  That thing is called the Principal/Agent relationship.  This is critical. The Nigerian people are the Principal. Those we elect, select, nominate or appoint into governmental positions are merely our Agents. This means that the interest of the people should be paramount in their hearts.  But somehow, they became the Lords of the Manor, and the rest of Nigerians became the serfs, worshipping those who are meant to work for, and serve them, and eating the crumbs that fall from the feet of those who are meant to be their ‘servants’.A great anomaly that must be reversed.
The way things work presently is that those close to where the money is, first help themselves generously, while the entire country hopes that the entire commonwealth will not have been totally usurped before they get a little for survival.  I had explored some of the avenues for the disappearance of trillions of Naira last week and will have to go back and explain some more next week. This is a most important issue. Those closest to the till have not only been pilfering from it, they actually stuff their pockets, bring “Ghana-must-go to” work, figuratively speaking, and load every bag in sight with as much as they can carry.  It has become so bad that some of these people – politicians, civil/public ‘servants’ (especially those high up in ‘juicy’ MDAs), and their private sector cohorts, are now tired and understand that this cannot go on forever. Suffice to say that these guys are sitting on billions of Naira each. Some trillions!
It is in this context that a Buhari presidency becomes a blessing.  Just yesterday, I listened to the interview on CNN granted by General Buhari, and the extensive media chat granted by the president.  Whereas the president looked comfortable in his domain, he avoided many questions, especially the ones that had to do with the breach of the “issues-based campaign” that he signed up for. We have never seen such atrocious, acrimony-based campaign as the one he is currently using the commonwealth to pay for, directly or indirectly (for even private-sector donors know what they will extract back from the system).  Neither Obasanjo nor Yar’adua, nor their supporters were this vicious, this careless, this bloodthirsty. But when it got to the question of corruption, the president lost everyone listening in the rigmarole of defining stealing as different from corruption.  He has a way of calling it “ordinary” or “mere” stealing.
For me, I couldn’t understand what the gentleman was talking about.  If people living in the village don’t understand the word “corruption”, maybe because their local vocabulary has no provision for such, does that preclude those who are in the position to do so, to come down with the full weight of the law on those who steal billions of Naira of public funds on a daily basis? Why are we stuck in ‘analysis paralysis’, choosing instead to ‘blow grammar’ about the subject of corruption and stealing rather than do something cogent about the loss of money in the system on a daily basis.  Why haven’t we since come to the conclusion that ‘corruption is stealing’, and that ‘thief na thief’, since God-knows-when and forged ahead to actually name, shame and actively prosecute, in addition to enabling whistle-blowers and installing electronic deterrents to corruption/stealing? What does it matter to a dying pensioner whose hard-earned life savings have disappeared whether the thief who took is money ‘stole’ it or ‘corruptly embezzled’ it?  Who is defending the vulnerable in Nigeria? Just what have we been waiting for, until right under our eyes, those near the public till got greedier and greedier, got more and more tempted, and later became so brazen and uncaring of whatever happened to the entire society, so long as they have money to relocate abroad; they and their entire families?
Could the problem of separating the meanings of corruption and stealing be the reason why the ‘Governor General’ Alamieyeseigha was pardoned from his ‘corruption’/stealing conviction and remains the most respected person to our president today?  Is that the reason why the Nigerian Finance Ministry watched as the treasury emptied only to now declare austerity on the most vulnerable? Is that the reason why most Ministries and Departments are unable to pay staff, pay contractors yet we hear all of them contributed to the ongoing campaign of the incumbent?
I leave these to President Jonathan and his team to answer.  The fact on ground is that Nigerians are suffering and things have never been this bad. Not since the mismanagement of the 1980s. Many businesses currently face ruin, as they have been squeezed into a tight corner by these same government officials who take the cream out of their earnings.  Nobody cares whether you lay off all your staff. The policies of the present government, is not designed to keep employees employed, save for its own flights of fancy, bearing different flowery names like YOUWIN, YEAP and so on. Why can they not see that their policies are strangulating existing businesses? Why sit on your high horse, in the comfort of air-conditioned offices paid for by the Nigerian people, in the knowledge of how much you have stashed in different places, and pronounce Armageddon on the rest of us?
But this is where a Buhari presidency takes on a necessity of its own. Nigeria will be lucky to have it, irrespective of the negative tantrums being thrown by beneficiaries of the current morass.  Buhari’s interview on CNN showed him up for two things. Old he may be, but a no-nonsense man he is, especially when it comes to the emasculation of our Armed Forces, which had been denied of leadership and materials while Generals became emergency billionaires. The Armed Forces, as well as Intelligence Services seem bent on ensuring a Buhari presidency does not see the light of day, hence the hoax that led to the postponement of the elections by a whole six weeks – enough time to cook up something more sinister!  Even the president said he wasn’t carried along by them. Who is leading Nigeria really?
How an incumbent hopes to owe salaries and contractors, sometimes puny amounts, spend trillions on elections, condone corruption, surround himself with extremists, approve the airing of the most divisive and distasteful of campaign videos, have no cogent plan about reforming the future of our economics, declare austerity on the people, take on the international community who put him there, expect Nigeria to keep operating as a zoo, and win elections, remains to be seen. The odds are totally against him and six weeks of divisiveness will be nothing. For we shall resist. See me next week!

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