Chiedu Uche Okoye
Most Nigerians who are conversant with our political history know that our country’s problem is a failure of leadership. Our country’s stalled economic and technological growth is traceable to poor political leadership as well as military intervention in our politics.
Military interventions in our politics contributed in no small ways to our national woes. The Soldiers who deemed their regimes corrective ones plundered our economy and ruled us with iron-first. RTD General Babangida embarked on rigmarole of transition to civilian rule. His duplicity as to the 1993 presidential election nearly caused Nigeria to bowl over. And Sanni Abacha got his kick from perpetrating murder and fiddling with the book. He stole Nigeria blind, and stashed our money in foreign banks.
Since 1999, Nigeria has been enjoying democratic governance. But none of our national leaders have lived up to our expectations since then. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who believes he is infallible, squandered our collective goodwill and the opportunity given to him to lift Nigerian out of economic quagmire. He sunk millions of naira into the power sector without recording any success. Rather blanket of darkness was thrown over the country during his political reign. And he earned notoriety and infamy for himself by clandestinely trying to change the constitutional provisions for presidential tenure in order to rule for the third term.
Dr Goodluck Jonathan got into the most exalted political office in Nigeria by providential intervention and luck. His tardiness and visionless marred his administration. It’s obvious to us that he’s ill-suited and ill-prepared for the leadership of Nigeria. But he will be remembered for his uncommon act of patriotism: he accepted his defeat at the presidential polls. Then our polity was heated up, and the political situation was tense. His refusal to cling to power, as African leaders are wont to do, pulled Nigeria back from the brink of precipice.
Dr Goodluck Jonathan’s vanquisher at the polls and successor in office, Muhammadu Buhari, rode to victory on the coat tails of his famed zero tolerance for corruption and Spartan lifestyle. Before his emergence as our president, he had contested the presidential election many times without success. That is a testament to his resilience and tenacity. He is believed to be the political messiah that will right the wrong in our political polity, and take Nigeria to great economic and technological heights. He is with messianic complex, forthrightness, and hyperbolic moral uprightness. But is president Buhari’s leadership ability not hyped?
It should be noted that one’s eagerness and hunger for political power cannot confer leadership qualities on one. Is president Buhari’s personality and leadership capabilities not unraveling and unfolding? Soon, he will mark his first anniversary in office, but he has committed some grave missteps. It took him eon period to assembly his executive cabinet. Yet the pedigrees of members of his executive cabinet do not compensate for the long period he took to form it. His members are recycled politicians, who had held political offices in the past. In the face of fuel scarcity in the country, the minister of state for petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, threw his hands helplessly in the air, and said that he was not a magician. Does it take a magician to solve our national problems? And Dr Fashola, who was saddled with the responsibilities of three ministries, has not banished darkness from our country.
And since his assumption of office, President Buhari seems to be afflicted with wanderlust. He had traveled to several countries for diverse conferences and summits when common sense dictated that he should have sent his ministers to represent him at those global meetings. His penchant to travel to other countries for sundry reasons has reinforced the belief and perception that he is running away from his presidential duties. But is he overwhelmed by Nigeria’s seemingly intractable multifarious problems? He should scale down his foreign trips and stay at home to tackle our national problems head-on and frontally.
There is no gainsaying the fact that our President is obsessed with the fight against corruption. We are not unaware that corruption is the leukemia debilitating Nigeria. Now some key members of the opposition party are standing trial for allegedly committing financial crimes. But we would like their prosecution to follow due judicial processes and procedure. Otherwise, their trials will amount to with-hunt, which is aimed at decimating the ranks of the opposition party. At this critical juncture in our national odyssey, Nigeria can ill-afford our country’s descent to fascism or civilian dictatorship.
More so, his ability to rein in the centrifugal forces trying to tear the country apart will endear him to Nigerians. He has managed to stop the Boko Haram territorial expansionist moves. The frequency of the group’s bomb attacks has reduced drastically owing to our military’s re-invigorated offensive against the group. But a wave of ethnic-nationalist sentiments, which manifests in protests and violence, is sweeping across the South-east and South-south geo-political zones. Members of IPOB, whose leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is standing trial, want a sovereign state of Biafra. And there is a resurgence of militancy in the Marshy creeks of the oil-rich Niger-delta region. Their violent activities disrupt oil production in the region with its dire economic consequences.
But President Buhari’s resolve and utterance that he would crush the resurgent Niger-delta militants while turning a blind eye to the murderous activities of the Fulani herdsmen portrays him in a bad light. From Benue to Taraba, from Kogi to Enugu, the Fulani herdsmen have run amok and gone berserk, killing people in their host communities with impunity. Has the Nigeria police successfully arrested any Fulani herdsmen and arraigned them in court for murder? The fact is, the Fulani herdsmen have encircled a proprietary hand around the presidential seat as their kinsman is occupying the most exalted political office in Nigeria.
And his economic policy regarding fixing price for petroleum has irked almost the entire Nigerian populace. During the Jonathan political regime, some members of the APC vehemently kicked against the removal of fuel subsidy. But now they have bought into it. Is the removal of fuel subsidy a well-thought out economic policy that will better our lot in the long run? Our government should implement policies that will alleviate our sufferings. Now NLC has called out workers to embark on industrial action, which will paralyze economic activities in Nigeria. Industrial action costs countries a great deal in terms of financial loses.
It has now dawned on us that President Buhari is not our political Messiah. He possesses neither the mojo nor leadership qualities, which he can deploy to revolutionize Nigeria. Has he evolved policies that can diversify our economy? More worrisome is the fact that he has reneged on his promise that every unemployed graduate would start receiving N1,500 each month if he won the presidential election. The issue of unemployment should be tackled speedily. An unemployed person is vulnerable to being lured into a life of crime. And criminal activities have the potentialities of causing anarchic situation in a country.
Chiedu Uche Okoye wrote in from Uruowulu – Obosi, Anambra State Tel: 08062220654