President Muhammadu Buhari
The messiah drama
From our recent political history, few events have created more media buzz than when the 73-year old retired Army General, Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as President of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country.
As we gasp in shock and as the Buhari administration gasps for breath, Nigerians wonder what happened to the Chief-Agent-for-Change who toppled the Otuoke Corruption Czar, former President Goodluck Jonathan, 15 months ago in a rare democratic defeat of a ruling party that held power for 16 years.
To see clearly is prophecy. More so, trying to revive a failed state like Nigeria is like hiking in the wilderness. You need to see far into the future. You need survival skills before you start the journey. So far, it is evident that Mr. Buhari was never prepared for the journey. Didn’t see where he was headed.
Many writers and critics offered free help to Mr. Buhari to enable him realize and appreciate that leadership position is not a spectator position. Volumes have been written to intimate Mr Buhari with the complaints, concerns, and expectations of our people.
Complaints which focus on what we think the President is doing wrong, concerns aimed at finding solutions to the problems, and expectations from a government of “change” have sadly been rebuffed and resisted by Mr. Buhari.
Buhari settling like those before him
Mr Buhari has settled for the status quo just to fit in with the crowd of spectators at the National Assembly that run the affairs of Nigeria.
He swims around like a pawn on a chessboard moved around at their whim. Mr. Buhari forgets that harmful association with people like his Chief of Staff Abba Kyari and General Tukur Buratai the Chief of Army Staff, both of whom have been accused of financial improprieties, are like magnet that exert a pull that can distort his moral judgment and throw his moral sense off course!
Arguably, the first 100 Days of a new administration particularly a government of “change” are very crucial. It was the auspicious time for Mr. Buhari to build up momentum. It was when opinion about the new leader would crystallize.
It was very important for Mr. Buhari to get early wins that build personal credibility and political capital rather than dig himself into holes and have to clamber back out. The first 100 Days would have been Mr. Buhari’s best chance to reshape Nigeria according to his own agenda and vision.
In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt used his first 100 Days in office to lay the foundations of the New Deal. Indeed, his first 100 Days was a model of presidential accomplishment. Between March and June 1933, FDR successfully urged Congress to enact a series of laws creating a host of new federal programs.
He seized the opportunity of the worst economic depression in American history to unleash legislative onslaught. Fifteen million Americans were unemployed. The Gross National Product (GNP) – a measure of a nation’s total economic activity – had fallen for more than half since 1929. The Dow Jones Industrial Average of 386.10 on September 3, 1929 fell to 41.22 on July 8, 1932; a drop of nearly 90 per cent.
“The secret to getting ahead,” says Mark Twain, “is getting started.” A reformist presidency begins with the first 100 Days. Just like FDR, Mr Buhari would have taken the advantage of the Jonathan years of economic plundering and political tragedy to rewrite history of his presidency by flooding the National Assembly with progressive bills. Take a look at some examples of lasting revolutionary changes that Mr. Buhari squandered in his first 100 Days in office:
He failed to restructure Nigeria inside out and make it a true federal system. He missed the opportunity to jumpstart the economy with the largest stimulus package in the history of the world. He refused to fire corrupt judges. He failed to reform the judicial system and the criminal justice system.
He lost the chance to slash the bogus salaries and criminal perks of the highest paid legislators in the world and make it competitive with what other legislators in the world earn. He blew away the opportunity to reform education, agriculture, health, power, aviation, and other industrial sectors.
He failed to abolish the Lord Lugard relic known as Nigeria Police Force and replace it with state and local government police.
The failed messiah
Our history shows we’ve been ruled mostly by collection of bandits. Mr. Buhari failed to break protocols and distant himself from the past by surrounding himself with a collection of the same old bandits as members of his inner caucus. He missed the opportunity to do away with the same non performing individuals as ministers. As Buhari’s administration waffles and shuffles through its second year, the slides further and further into recession.
I know some incurable Buharists and political voodoo optimists will be quick to dismiss my view. They will come up with the same old, tired, worn out excuses and reasons. We’re familiar with such tunes.
We were bombarded with such