By James Ogunjimi
Two years into the Buhari administration, there are certain persons still living in denial as to the mistakes made in the 2015 Presidential election. When you ask these persons why the nation is not working, why every promise broken has been flung out, why the nation seems to be going in reverse, they’ll tell you that 2019 is not yet here. They are like the football fan whose team is 3 goals down and is being outplayed at 80 minutes but is still insisting that the 90 minutes allocated to each football match is not yet up.
Some of these people cannot afford to face the truth no matter how much suffering they’ve had to endure under this administration. To admit that the nation is not working is to admit that they voted in error in the 2015 Presidential election, a admittance they are not ready to make. Some of them have lost jobs, relatives and businesses but will never admit that the nation is not working. Instead, they’ll cry in secret and chant “I stand with Buhari” in public.
Most notable among those who are not prepared to face facts is the Spokesperson for the President, Garba Shehu. Two years into the administration and he is still throwing jabs at the last administration. Instead of facing facts, he will still fling insults at the past administration.
Some of these people living in denial base their defence on hearsay and market noises. When you ask them what is going on with the nation, they’ll tell you that at least the current President is better than the last one. But is this true? I dare say NO. But it’s not just me. The facts say no too.
Why did Nigerians vote out Goodluck Jonathan? Because he couldn’t secure the country. Under his administration, Boko haram captured local governments in the north and erected their flags. Boko haram became unstoppable. And while bombs went off in the north, the President will travel to campaign. In one of those cases, he even flew to South Africa to celebrate with Jacob Zuma without addressing the issue at home.
What other reason? Because he tried to stiffle the press. Daily trust and Leadership newspaper correspondents suffered in this regard. Despite the fact that the former President signed the Freedom of Information Act into law, it was a mere signature, nobody really benefitted from it. Documents were witheld, access to information was denied and nobody could so anything about it. Citizens who tried to use social media to question the activities of the administration were attacked by the then spokesperson, Dr. Reuben Abati and labelled “children of anger”.
Again, Nigerians voted out the former President because of the corruption that lived and breathed under the administration. There were lots of issues that were unaddressed. There was the NIS scam that led to the death of young Nigerians nationwide. Despite the calls for the removal of the then Minister of Interior, he kept his job. There was the Stella Oduah case of bullet-proof vehicles which the President tried to shield but which to his credit, he later acted removed her as Minister of Aviation. But again, after removing her as Minister, he compensated her by making her part of his campaign team for reelection. And there’s the election rigging case that involved Musiliu Obanikoro and Ekiti state Governor, Ayodele Fayose. In spite of the proof, he still went ahead to make Obanikoro a Minister.
Now, when you come down to President Buhari’s administration, a man who rode in on the wheels of anti-corruption, chanting “I never stole a kobo” and promising “I will fight” whenever he was asked any question, you should expect better. Right? No.
Corruption in the Buhari administration started from the start. Despite his promise not to appoint people with questionable characters into power, he still did.
There was former Lagos state Governor Babatunde Fashola who, according to documents released by the administration that succeeded him in Lagos, spent N78 million on website and over N300 million to fix two boreholes. The contractors who built the website denied being paid N78 million. They said they received N12 million. When he was questioned about this in the senate during his ministerial confirmation hearing, he responded by saying: “I don’t sign cheques” and “may your loyalty never be tested” but that was not enough to convince the President that he was a shady character. He was confirmed.
There’s the former Rivers state governor, Rotimi Amaechi’s case. He was indicted by at least three probe panels across the country. He was alleged to have spent N500 million to host Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka. Prof. Soyinka denied this. The senate postponed his confirmation hearing while it set up a committee to investigate him. But the President was determined. In spite of all the allegations, he eas confirmed.
There’s General Dambazzau. A man who was indicted in the arms scandal supervised by Former National Security Adviser, Dasuki. When the military report was submitted, Premium Times reported that his name was struck out.
There’s Babachir Lawal, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, who allocated N250 million to his company to clear grass in an IDP camp. The President gas written to clear him of wrongdoing.
What about General Buratai? The man who claimed to has three expensive properties in Dubai and claimed he made that from his earnings as a soldier. He was cleared. The list goes on.
What of security? Is the nation secure? When President Buhari first came on board, it appeared as if progress was being made in the war against boko haram. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed announced that Boko haram had been technically defeated. But boko haram responded again. In all sincerity, the current administration achieved more success against boko haram than the last. But with the defeat of boko haram has come a new force to contend with: the Fulani herdsmen. These people have been killing Nigerians narionwide without consequences.
Under GEJ, the insecurity was limited to a large extent to the north. Today, nowhere is safe. Number of IDPs are increasing. People are being slaughtered. Bombs are still going off. Herdsmen are on rampage.
Look at Shiites and IPOB protesters. It has become a crime punishable by death to carry placard and protest in a democracy. People are getting buried in mass graves. Court rulings are ignored. Investors are running away. No sector works. The sports sector is a mess. Entertainment is a joke. Quality service delivery has become a myth.
On the media, Sahara reporters and Premium Times publishers were arrested and stopped from living the country.
Failure is failure but when you compare the failure of the current administration with that of the last, you realize that the current outweighs the last.
It is time for Nigerians of every tribe and religion to face the facts and stop living in denial. This government has failed and the earlier we faced that truth, the earlier we can begin to figure a way out. Nigerians must admit that the nation is not working so that work can begin in earnest to make it work. Until then, the hardship, insensitivity and directionlessness will continue.