By Prof. Chiweyite Ejike
To heal these divisions, Nigeria needs a unifier as President
The sad state of the economy:
The economy of Nigeria has been on the decline since the inception of the President Muhamadu Buhari’s Administration. Considering the Exchange Rate of the Nigerian Currency, in 2015, before President Muhamadu Buhari came to power, one US Dollar exchanged for ₦197.00, but now, one needs ₦360.00 to purchase $1.00.
It was equally reported that 330 industries have folded up nationwide; 18 million of the working population remain un-employed under President Muhamadu Buhari’s watch.
The issue of a fair minimum wage has dragged on such that up till today, the average Nigerian worker, if he is lucky is still on a monthly wage ₦18,000.00 while some privileged sectors of the economy, members of the ruling and political class cart away monthly, millions of naira as salaries and allowances. This is bad.
Some reports have it that only favoured business men were allowed advantageous foreign exchange rates to enable them continue to procure offshore material for their businesses. Meanwhile, the economy continues to suffer from weak foundations and no working model has yet been developed by this Administration to take Nigeria to the desired level of a resourceful and productive modern State.
The “Change” promised by this Buhari Administration has become a mirage, a receding goal. Inflation is out of control, there is increase in hunger, in the land and a large segment of Nigerians are subjected to grinding poverty. No wonder Nigeria has earned for herself the miserable and scandalous rank of Poverty capital of the world!!
The health sector is in shambles, and the nation spends billions of naira which it can ill-afford in medical tourism enjoyed only by the privileged people in power. The majority of the populace cannot access basic primary health facilities let alone secondary and tertiary care!!
Despite the much vaunted attainment of “food security” by enhanced rice production in Nigeria, the true situation is revealed by the stark realities of unaffordable high prices of food products in all the markets in Nigeria. Ask the struggling house wives and the hardworking family heads striving to put one-square meal on the table day by day!!
Overall, the verdict of the experts in the economy is that the much advertised economic diversification and growth in Agriculture have not resulted in measurable lowering in poverty level – more than 62% of our people live in abject poverty. Nigerian economy remains bedeviled by epileptic and grossly inadequate power supply, huge infrastructural deficits, restrictive trade policies and many other challenges arising from poor governance structures and high level of general insecurity. Indeed the nation has regressed deeper into the woods.
Corruption has remained ever pervasive notwithstanding the “Fight” against it by Buhari’s Administration leading to insufficient investment to support higher and more efficient production in the oil and gas industries. It is known that those alleged to have looted the nation’s treasury acquire instant “sacred cow” status if and when they jump slip and join the ruling party. Those unable or unwilling to “negotiate” the terms of decamping from the opposition party are destined to face hard times in President Buhari’s fight against corruption.
Questions are also being seriously raised about the propriety of the use to which the funds recovered from looters are being put. The people yearn for transparency in the administration of the commonwealth of Nigeria. Regarding the success or failure of this cardinal part of Buhari’s promise, popular verdict remains ambiguous.
Insecurity in the nation:
It is a matter of public knowledge truly affirmed that life has become progressively, almost inexorably, insecure in Nigeria since the Buhari Administration came in May 2015. The evidence is there for all to see:
xiv. The Boko Haram Terrorism continues unabated in the North East.
xv. The killings, destruction of farm lands and whole sacking of villages by Fulani Herdsmen have become permanent scourges in the North Central and neighbouring States.
xvi. The freewheeling rural and urban bandits visiting deaths and desolation on the North-West geo-political zone and beyond, are now permanent dreaded realities of life.
xvii. Abductors, kidnappers, insurgents, agitators are having free sway in many parts of the South-West, South-East and South-South and other zones of the country.
xviii. The Buhari Administration has failed woefully in stopping the rising spate of insecurity in almost all the zones of the country. This is sad.
xix. The President rode to power on promises for positive transformational changes in the three main areas of Security of life and property of its citizens, Job creation, and installation of a buoyant economy and fight against corruption. In all these three areas, the expected changes have not come to be. In particular, his failure to secure the nation against the ravages of the Fulani herdsmen, the Boko Haram terrorists, the rural and urban bandits, has come at a very heavy cost to the stability of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and has resulted in unprecedented fear and distrust among the constituent ethnic groups of the Federation.
This unsatisfactory state of the nation is highly traceable to President Muhamadu Buhari’s flawed style of Administration which is anchored on ethnicity, nepotism, favouritsm, religious bigotry and misplaced order of priorities exemplified by lopsided appointments into most sensitive and strategic positions and many other acts of bad governance.
The Nigerian Police force remains an inefficient and corrupt security organization. The out-gone Inspector General of Police, who had remained on the seat despite his poor performance during his tenure, was said to have been promoted over 27 (twenty-seven) police officers senior to him to take over as the Inspector General of police when he did.
The Mace snatch from the Senate in broad daylight by some hoodlums and the ignoble DSS masked operatives invasion of the National Assembly grounds were visible indicators of a broken State Security Organization.
Other monumental examples of bad administration of the Nigerian State Security under President Muhamadu Buhari’s government abound:
i. Chief Ortom, the Governor of Benue State some time ago had his rice farm gutted by fire and lost over (One hundred million naira) in an act linked to organized banditry.
ii. In Yobe and Benue States, secondary school girls were abducted. On one occasion, only a fraction of the over 200 abducted were returned as reported after payment of ransom. Lear Shuaibu, one of the girls in the second kidnap is yet to be released because she refused to convert to Islam and this is after over a year in detention.
iii. Boko Haram terrorists had reportedly captured many of Borno State villages and over ran military bases and for years have held sway. Insecurity despite the claims by the President Buhari’s Administration that the Boko Haram has been “decimated and degraded” is a ruse. The reality is that our fighting men and women facing the terrorists have continued to suffer massive casualties and the number of internally displaced people is showing no signs of decline. So, despite all the self-serving assertions of “mission accomplished” in the campaign trails of President Buhari, the truth can be gleaned from the recent grieving and pathetic shedding of tears for help before President Buhari by Governor Shettima of Borno State on national television!! It has been a classic case of “the more you look, the less you see”. The terrorists are still very much around and general insecurity strives.
iv. Only a few States have not been directly invaded or threatened by armed marauders. Many have died in Niger, Nassarawa, Zamfara States as well as the South-East and the South-South Geo-Political Zones.
v. As you are aware, the Nigerian Police regularly parades youths allegedly caught with illegal arms and/or accused of acts in rural and urban banditry, armed robbery and kidnapping of innocent citizens of Nigeria in different States of the Federation. All these amount to grave insecurity in the nation which must be vehemently rejected and prevented.
Still on insecurity, the “National Livestock Transformation Plan” sponsored for the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association is, predictably a disaster waiting to happen – a mine-field destined to blow project Nigeria into unimaginable confrontation of unending ethnic conflicts. For the sake of the survival of Nigeria, that plan must be made to end in the dust-bin.
In closing our presentation at this crucial moment in the history of Nigeria, it must be reiterated that:
Nigerian unity has taken a nose dive under President Buhari’s current Administration because he has failed to act with even-handedness as he stood unapologetically for Northernisation/Islamisation Agenda.
This is manifested in what amounts to a policy of the North and Northerners first and translates to undisguised antagonism towards Southerners and paying scant attention to core interests of the nation as a whole on such burning issues as:
xx. The need to restructure the Nigerian federation
xxi.The scourge of Fulani herdsmen militia
xxii.The necessity to apply the principle of Federal Character in making strategic appointments, more so in the security agencies.
xxiii. Imbalance in the membership of the National Security Council
xxiv. The imperative to uphold the principle of separation of powers among the three arms of the Federal Government
The Administration of government by President Buhari, particularly in the matter of appointments in the security agencies is in clear violation of the federal character provisions of the constitution and stands as a gross misconduct under section 143 of the constitution.
(Culled from chapters written by him in the referenced book)