An ailing country in a season of political defections

August 6th, 2018

By Chiedu Uche Okoye

It’s divine providence that thrust Dr Goodluck Jonathan into the loft of power following the death of his predecessor in office, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua. However, Dr Jonathan’s poor leadership performance in office is a proof that he was not prepared for the arduous task of leading Nigeria. During his stay in office as the president of Nigeria, he was tardy, visionless, and clueless. So, he couldn’t transform Nigeria and take it to unprecedented economic and technological heights.

So, in order to prevent Nigeria from drifting into an anarchical state, leaders of some political parties, including the rump of APGA, reached an agreement, which culminated into the coalescing of the political parties to form APC. It’s believed that APC has progressive orientation and philosophy.

It is the political party on the platform of which Muhammadu Buhari contested the 2015 Presidential election. In the run-up to the 2015 Presidential election, the APC’s slogan of change resonated with us given the fact that Muhammadu Buhari is reputed to possess probity, ascetic nature, and avuncular disposition. And we believed the top members of APC such as Bola Tinubu, Dr. Fayemi, and others to be truly progressive-minded politicians owing to their glittering political antecedents and activism. Didn’t Tinubu fight for the revalidation of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election?

President Buhari won the 2015 Presidential election on the coat tail of his ascetic nature, perceived integrity, APC’s formidable media propaganda, and Dr Goodluck Jonathan’s bumbling political leadership of Nigeria. Before clinching the Presidential diadem in 2015, Buhari had contested the Presidential election three times without winning it. His tenacity and zeal for political leadership cannot be disputed.

But a man’s zeal for political leadership cannot imbue him with leadership qualities and transform him to a great political leader. It is sad and incredible that Buhari’s ascension to the summit of political power in Nigeria has led to his demystification, considering the great hurdles he surmounted to win the presidential election. Now, the mystique of incorruptibility and messianic capabilities woven around him has unraveled. And, so far, his bumbling and inept leadership of Nigeria is a testament to the fact that he is not a great and visionary leader.

When he assumed duties as our President, it took him a great deal of time to cobble together his executive cabinet, unlike what obtains in Europe and American. And some of the ministerial appointments he made could be likened to putting square pegs in round holes. After Buhari had become our President, our economy went into recession; and luckily it has slipped out of it. And, this civilian regime has not executed pragmatic measures to tackle holistically the niggling issue of graduate unemployment in Nigeria occasioned by our stagnant economy. Our economy is solely based on crude oil. It has not been diversified.

Now, not a few Nigerians believe, and rightly so, that Buhari’s fight against corruption is designed to persecute members of the PDP in order to weaken and cow them ahead of the 2019 Presidential election. Again, the government’s disobedience of courts’ judgments, especially regarding Dasuki’s case, weakens our democracy, which is founded on the principle of separation of power. So, against this backdrop of government’s recalcitrance on the issue of obeying courts’ judgment, can we describe President Buhari as a true democrat; and, this civilian regime as a model of representative government?

Not only is President Buhari not a true democrat, but also he has not shed his toga of ethnic jingoism and chauvinism as well as religious bigotry. Today, Nigeria’s security architecture is occupied by northern Muslims. That is a violation of the federal character principle and a display of utter and brazen contempt for the heterogeneity of Nigeria. The northernization of the security apparatchik deepens and breeds ethnic mistrust and animosity amongst the peoples of Nigeria. And he has not treated the issue of herdsmen’s attacks on farmers with the seriousness it deserves owing to the filial consanguinity, which has existed between him and the murderous herders.

Consequently, now, the Boko Haram insurgency and the Fulani herdsmen’s attacks are decimating the populations of the middle-belt region and the north-east of Nigeria. More so, it seems that the Fulani herdsmen have embarked on an expansionist move with the tacit support of the Presidency. Haven’t they sacked many communities in the middle-belt and took possession of their farmlands?

Now, this is not the best of times for Nigerians. And, Nigerians have agreed on this: The APC led government cannot transform Nigeria positively and rapidly. Worst still, APC, which is a mish mash of political strange bedfellows, is unraveling. Many top members of APC had defected to PDP, not based on ideological grounds, but in order to achieve their selfish political ends.

Okoye writes from Uruowulu- Obosi Anambra State

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