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30 Days After: Nigerians Flay Buhari

Francis Moses

30 days after President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office, Nigerians from all part of the country are not amused that the man they voted into office to solve problems is busy identifying the problems as obstacles to his inability to begin the great task of governance.

In radio and TV debates the general nickname for the President is now ‘’Baba Go Slow”, a description that tagged the botched third republic Governor Of Lagos State, Sir Michael Otedola, who on account of his age was considered too slow in formulating and implementing policies and programmes in the state. But unlike Otedola, President Buhari had promised to executes some programmes in the traditional 100 timeline in office, but 30 days down the line, it has been motion without movement, making Nigerians wonder whether the President would ever get to do the work for which he was elected, while things are going from bad to worse in the economy, civic and social life.

The Buhari campaign, which ran on a ‘CHANGE’ mantra, made numerous promises to Nigerians during the campaign Between the election campaign period when Buhari frequently assured Nigerians that he would stop the insurgency, fight corruption, reduce unemployment, begin a road map to addressing power, the foreign exchange and many other such promises, the promises appear to have gone up in smoke as what Nigerians hear every now and then are not what the government want to do but what are creating obstacles for it to deliver democracy dividend, namely empty treasury, huge debt profile, unpaid wages and appeal for patience. Only last weekend, the President begged the press to explain to Nigerians the difficulties it is experiencing so that, according to him “Nigerians do not march on us” : Yet this was a man who said a few months ago that “Our government will bring to an end the menace of Boko Haram terror that is plaguing the society. Nigerians are turning into refugees in their country,” he said during a rally in Adamawa.

“What we save from the fight against corruption and leakages, we will invest heavily in education, infrastructure, equipment, and teachers. The best we can do for our generation and future generation is to give them qualitative and quantitative education. An APC government throughout the country definitely will do that.” Thus he said “We will establish a well trained, adequately equipped and goals driven Serious   Crime Squad to combat insurgencies, kidnapping, armed robbery, ethno-religious and communal clashes, nationwide.

Meanwhile some Nigerians are lamenting that the recent Boko Haram attacks and communal crisis seem to becoming worst on daily basis. The frequency and ferocity of the attacks, particularly in Borno State where the military command was relocated on the orders of the President, is giving Nigerians the jitters. So far it is only statements of condemnation and commiseration with the victims that the Presidency has done, apart from ordering the setting up of the Military Headquarters in Borno, on the Boko Haram issue.

In a statement issued by his senior special assistant on media and publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, the president “condemned in the strongest language” the latest terrorist attacks. He said Buhari extended his sympathy to the families of the victims and reassured all Nigerians that his government “would never tolerate the terrorists’ blackmail, and our security forces would confront the Boko Haram bandits to the last man. “Make no mistake about it: this government is ever determined to discharge its fundamental duty of protecting the life of its citizens from physical threats from any groups bent on creating chaos, confusion, and on destroying social and economic life of the people.” Buhari said he was deeply touched by these mindless incidents of violence on innocent people during the month of Ramadan and declared the terrorists enemies of humanity everywhere.

“No sane people who believes in any god would be destroying the lives of innocent people in cold blood,” he said, adding that terrorists do not represent any religion. “The president said the pattern of their indiscriminate violence against innocent people shows that they represent nothing else but anarchy and devilry. “The terrorists are enemies of religion and humanity. No true believers in any God would target worshipers, holy places, or people who   are fasting and other innocent Nigerians,” he declared. The president, however, advised Nigerian to show more vigilance and be alert to the presence of suspicious people around them.

There was also a promise to initiate action to amend the Nigerian Constitution with a view to devolving powers, duties, and responsibilities to states in order to entrench true Federalism and the Federal spirit; Others were to strengthen INEC to reduce, if possible, eliminate electoral malpractices in Nigerian’s political life; Attract the best and brightest of our sons and daughters into our politics and public service by aggressive recruitment of private sector people, academics, and professionals within; Nigeria and in the Diaspora through internships, fellowships, executive appointments, and special nomination to contest elective offices: Others are to prevent the abuse and misuse of Executive, Legislative and Public offices, through greater accountability, transparency, strict, and implementable anti-corruption laws, through strengthening and sanitising the EFCC and ICPC as independent entities; Amend the Constitution to remove immunity from prosecution for elected officers in criminal cases; Restructure governance for a leaner, more efficient, and adequately compensated public service sector, while promoting effective participation of the private sector for more robust job creation programmes to employ the teaming youth; Reform and Strengthen the Justice System for efficient administration and dispensation of justice with the creation of special courts for accelerated hearing of corruption, drug trafficking, terrorism and similar cases of national importance.

Also he said he would fully enforce the Freedom of Information Act l so that government held data sets can be requested and used by the public and then such data sets be publish on regular basis. And then amend the Constitution to require Local governments to publish their meeting minutes, service performance data, and items of spending over N10M. But on daily radio and TV phone-in contributions from Nigerians from all works of life, the mood is generally gloomy and one of disbelief, particularly with the recent APC ignited leadership crisis in the National Assembly, ending with the show of shame by House of Representatives members who fought their way into a month recess following disagreement on the election of principal officers. Many Nigerians generally express the view that the CHANGE they voted for is a far cry from what the party and President Buhari has so far offered. Statements like “We though APC was different from the PDP.

They are even worse going by the way they have conducted themselves so far”; “The President said recently that he is old and may not be able to do much. So when people like Governor Fayose said so, they almost abused him and would killed him if they could’’ and “Our leaders are not serious, how long are we going to wait and be patient?’’ However against the crisis going on in the country, the second Republic governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa over the weekend said that with the lingering crisis in the National Assembly, President Buhari and his ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, cannot offer Nigerians the desired change.

He said the leadership scuffle in the federal legislature had plant Buhari and the APC apart, and likened the president to a leader presiding over a house and country on fire. The renowned politician is scared that if Buhari and the APC failed to unite and end the confusion in the National Assembly, it would lead to a constitutional crisis because the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which is the minority party, would take over the leadership of the legislature. Musa noted that if the PDP takes over the National Assembly leadership, there would be a constitutional crisis because it was illegal for a minority party to be in charge of the legislature. He said: His words “I think the president should intervene if the party cannot get the loyalty of the senators in this matter.

And that is difficult because these senators are PDP lawmakers. The PDP senators fully supported and elected Senate President Bukola Saraki and not the APC, who were having a meeting somewhere else when the National Assembly was being proclaimed”. Then, the president will have no alternative but to stay neutral but he cannot afford that luxury because his house the whole country will be   on fire. He would have to intervene and if he does and it fails, then it is a more serious matter because who else will intervene and solve the problem? “If the party and the president intervene and does not succeed, then it means the PDP has taken over. Musa noted that the APC, after defeating the PDP in the last election, underrated or underestimated the party, adding that “this is responsible for the tight corner it has found itself.” He declared that the APC made a big mistake for thinking that after defeating the PDP the opposition party would go to sleep. According to him, “Anybody who before or even after the election thinks he can underrate and underestimate the PDP is making a serious mistake.

This PDP is made up of the most experienced politicians in the c forget about the moral aspect. It consists of the most experienced politicians who have been in the Northern People’s Congress, NPC, National Party of Nigeria, NPN, National Republican Convention, NRC and PDP. They are the same class of people. They have been in power longer than anybody. They are the richest group of Nigerians.

Balarabe Musa also expressed doubt over the possibility of the government of President Buhari bringing about the qualitative change Nigerians look forward in the country. His words “Nigerians shouldn’t expect any change from Buhari if the NASS crisis lingers on. The crises is not only rocking the National Assembly but also giving doubt about the change we are expecting. It is giving doubt about the quality of the change we are beginning to experience. “Well, you see there were strong aspirations for things better. For a qualitative change but the situation arising from the NASS is not a good thing for the party, the image of the National Assembly and even for the country” If there is no good working relationship among the NASS, the party in power and the Executive arm of government, we should not expect any change.

“These three have to work together under the leadership of the party. But this is threatened. The APC members of NASS could not accept any guidance from their party which nominated them to contest the election in the first place. And eventually, this lack of coercion between the NASS and party will translate into lack of synergy between the Executive and the NASS and eventually will afect the country,” He stated. According to Obinna F. Nwachukwu, a columnist, the President said this is exactly one month ago ( May 29, to be precise) President Buhari was sworn-in as President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces at an elaborate ceremony held at the Eagle Square Abuja and attended by over 40 Heads of State. At the event, Buhari made several promises, riding on the popular APC, slogan “Change”.

Most of the promises were similar to those he made during the campaign. One month after, what can we say are Buhari’s achievements? It is on record that our president is yet to make key appointments, is yet to form his cabinet; has in one month traveled outside Nigeria ( and spent more time outside than in his office) more than any of his predecessors; has devoted greater part of his energy saying what he would do to fight corruption than actually fighting the scourge; and has made cleansing of the NNPC and Ministry of Petroleum Resources his major reform agenda than finding solution to challenges facing the country including huge debts, unpaid staff salaries, insurgency and other criminal activities. “It remains doubtful what he has to show for the 30 days he has spent in office.

Even the few appointments so far made are in favour of people of his ethnic block and faith. At the same time, his party APC is embroiled in turmoil over choice of national assembly leaders with the president refusing to stem the tide. However, I will not give judgement since he is still learning the ropes, but leave you the reader to make your decision and score the marks. Have a fun filled new week and month.” However the enraged by the latest attacks on Borno and Yobe communities by Boko Haram, President Buhari over the weekend vowed to crush members of the terrorists to the last man. In what appears to be his toughest expressions of outrage, President Buhari reminded the terrorists of his uncompromising resolve to tackle them with all the resources at the disposal of his government.

His words “They are cowards who lack any moral inhibition and any iota of humanity to reason compassionately,” Buhari insisted, adding that they would not find a safe haven in Nigeria because “they would be “hunted down without mercy and compromise.” As usual, the opposition PDP and the ruling APC engaged in hot exchange of words over the government’s perceived “go slow style” in office.

President Muhammadu Buhari has defended his performance in the last 30 days, dismissing an assessment by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party that the president failed in his first month in office. However, the peoples Democratic Party on Sunday said the President’s one month in office has been a disaster for the country. The party alleged that the APC-led Federal Government is too slow for the country. It therefore urged Nigerians to pray for success as it appears the country is not making any progress. In a statement by PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Olisah Metuh, the party said, “After a careful evaluation of the first 30 days of President Muhammadu Buhari and All Progressives Congress (APC)’s administration, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) notes that it has become obvious that Nigerians need to join hands in prayers to save the government from further inaction and dithering”.

However, the Presidency, which responded through the Special Adviser Media, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the PDP government left behind loads of filth which the APC led government must first clear in order to run an efficient administration. The Presidency said PDP did not have to call for Nigerians’ prayers as they were already united in prayers long ago which made it possible to dislodge the PDP government. In a statement, the presidential spokesman said: “It is amusing to read what the National Publicity Secretary of the defeated Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, considers a 30 days appraisal of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

“He wants Nigerians to join hands in prayers for the government, so that things would begin to move. What he does not know is that Nigerians had long formed such coalition. “They are hands in hands, and that was what gave victory to President Buhari in the March 28, 2015 poll. They had teamed up to uproot an administration that had brought the country to her knees, and was about to tip her off the precipice. “And Nigerians have resolved that never would they allow any government to divide them along regional, religious and ethnic fault lines again. “The Buhari administration is naturally contemplative because there was absolutely no rhyme or reason to the way PDP ran the country, particularly in the immediate past dispensation.

“Meanwhile, Metuh and his masters can only rue the missed opportunities to make salutary impact on the lives of Nigerians. They have a long road of regrets to travel,” the statement sai.d But Speaker Yakubu Dogara appears to agree with the PDP position. Durimng the week the country’s number four citizen said that without prayers, it would be miracle if the government achieved anything meaningful considering the challenges on the ground. He said, “I want to plead that the problems we have in the country now are not conventional and so conventional wisdom cannot solve them. We need divine wisdom.”

He added that “Without prayers, there is no way we can succeed. “So, I urge that we offer prayers and supplication for all the leaders, beginning from the President to the least person in authority.” Well that may be so but elders of the party are doubtful if the current NASS induced crisis in the party would not hamper the party’ chances to deliver unless the president intervenes to restore order. Former Interim Chairman of the party, Bisi Akande, in a statement, on Sunday, warned that the ongoing crisis afflicting the party was capable of jeopardising the chances of the APC in 2019.

He said, “Now that the whole conspiracy has blown open, it i s doubtful if the present institutions of party leadership can muster the required capacity to arrest the drift. “It is my opinion that President Buhari, and the APC governors should now see the APC as a rocking platform that may not be strong enough again to carry them to political victory in 2019 and they should quickly begin a joint damage control effort to reconstruct the party in its claim to bring about the promised change before the party’s shortcomings begin to aggravate the challenges of governance in their hands.” That for an insider should be the real cause for concern.

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