President Buhari’s gaffes, failures, and the 2019 Presidential election

May 13th, 2018

By Chiedu Uche Okoye

In the recent past, millions of well- meaning Nigerians from many diverse tribal groups in Nigeria believed, either rightly or wrongly, that Muhammad Buhari was the Messiah that would transform Nigeria, positively, and right the wrongs in our polity. Then, they reposed trust and confidence in him owing to his avuncular disposition, ascetic nature, zero tolerance for corruption, and zeal for political leadership.

He is so desirous of becoming our national leader that he contested for the Presidential seat three times without clinching it. And, whenever he lost a Presidential election, he would head to the court to challenge the victory of the winner.

However, good fortune smiled on him when he beat Dr Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 Presidential election. The resonance of his message of change among the people, and Dr Goodluck Jonathan’s lackluster and bumbling performance in office as our President are the factors that helped him to win the election. More so, the coalescing of some political parties to form APC, on the platform of which he contested the Presidential polls, contributed in no small way to his electoral success.

Soon, President Buhari would complete his first term in office. But has he lived up to the people’s expectations? Has his performance in office matched up to the people’s ratings and evaluation of his abilities and leadership qualities?

His stay in office has witnessed the Fulani herdsmen’s scaling up of their murderous activities in Nigeria. So, now, from Enugu to Kogi, from Benue to Taraba, they murder members of their host communities, unchecked. With their guns slung over their shoulders, they wander through farmers’ farmlands destroying food crops.

Now, it seems that they have embarked on ethnic decimation of the Tiv and Jukun populations in Benue, Taraba , and Nassarawa States given the frequency of their attacks on people living in villages in those states. Against the backdrop of those incessant bloody attacks, Theophilus Danjuma, a retired Nigerian top soldier, alleged that Nigerian soldiers are complicit in the murders being carried out by the itinerant Fulani herdsmen.

Again, the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast of Nigeria has not been completed obliterated. Members of this terrorist group, who want to impose Islamic theocracy in the north, have not given up their condemnable and sanguinary deeds. Recently, they abducted Dapchi school girls in a style reminiscent of the Chibok girls’ abduction. However, happily, this time, our security forces rallied round and rescued almost all the kidnapped girls. One school girl, Leah Racheal is still in captivity, however.

So, now, nobody can dispute the fact that the herdsmen’s incessant attacks on innocent people and the Boko Haram insurgency are not incapable of causing the dismemberment of Nigeria. Nigeria has never been as divided as it is now. And the government appears to be incapable of safeguarding life and properties in the country, and enthroning peace and unity in our political polity.

It is obvious to us that the government is incapable of protecting life and properties here. But, it has become customary for the government to release Clichy statement after every Boko Haram or Fulani Herdsmen’s attack about bringing the culprits to book to pacify and placate the relatives of victims of Boko Haram insurgency and herdsmen’s attacks. And the status quo ante will remain the same.

And, sometime in the recent past, while trying to exculpate his kinsmen from blame over the killings in Nigeria, President Buhari committed a verbal gaffe, which diminished his worth in the eyes of Nigerians and eroded our trust in him. He blamed the herdsmen’s menace in Nigeria on the dislodging of militant troops in Libya, instead of tackling the niggling problem with the seriousness it deserves. Consequently, he has gained notoriety and infamy for his verbal diarrhea, goofs, misspeaks, and un-presidential comments. Again, while in a foreign country, he de-marketed Nigeria by saying that many Nigerians are corrupt. More so, his comment that Nigerian youths are lazy has generated and elicited scathing responses from Nigerians from different walks of life.

The fact is this: Nigerian youths are anything but lazy; daily, they toil in the sun to eke out livelihoods by doing many different types of menial jobs that do not befit them given their educational attainments. It is the government that has failed to diversify the economy to create job opportunities for the teeming unemployed university graduates, who roam the streets daily in threadbare clothes and disintegrating shoes searching for the elusive white and blue collar jobs.

Our president has failed to grow our economy. In the early stage of this political administration, our economy slipped into recession. Happily, it is out of it now. But the value of the naira has not appreciated when placed alongside the dollar. He has failed to formulate and execute economic policies that will leapfrog our economy to the top.

However, instead of doing the needful, our President and his team have continued to blame our country’s woes, problems, economic stagnation, and technological backwardness on Dr. Jonathan’s maladministration of Nigeria. He is inflexibly fixated about the alleged massive corrupt deeds perpetrated by cronies of his predecessor in office. But a person looking backwards cannot make meaningful progress.

President Buhari should proffer solutions to our national problems, and tackle them frontally instead of trading blames with members of the opposition political party.

Although he has not posted stellar performance in his leadership of Nigeria so far, Buhari has thrown his hat into the ring as regards the 2019 Presidential election. But he has squandered our collective goodwill owing to his non-performance in office. His occupation of the highest political office in Nigeria has led to his demystification and unraveling. Now, that the wind has blown the ugly hind parts of the fowl are revealed.

So, President Buhari faces an uphill and daunting task in his bid to win re-election in 2019. Isn’t he aware that millions of angry and hungry Nigerians are disenchanted with this political administration?

Okoye writes from Uruowulu-Obosi, Anambra State

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