By ABBA MAHMOOD –
Tomorrow, June 8, 2018, it will be exactly 20 years since General Sani Abacha left this world to the great beyond. I had wanted to write on that. Yours sincerely also thought of writing on the three years of the Buhari administration which has been covered by so many worthy commentators such that it may be only repetitions which will bore my good readers. After all, it is three years of missed opportunity and squandering of goodwill. Indeed, it is a serious disappointment to many of us, and it is better forgotten.
No Nigerian leader, dead or alive, military or civilian, has ever had the enormous goodwill, both domestic and international, that President Buhari enjoyed when he came to power on May 29, 2015. He had the golden opportunity and indeed the moral authority to change things for the better. Many thieves and treasury looters were shivering and ready to return their loot and face the law. As soon as Buhari announced his first appointments all of them heaved a sigh of relief. They knew that there was no change, most unfortunately.
After four attempts by Buhari, everyone thought that he not only had a plan for the country but indeed a ready-made team to help him actualize it. We thought he was going to declare a state of emergency in education, galvanize all the three tiers of government to put all school-age children to school, outlaw almajiri system and equip our next generation with necessary knowledge and skills to fit into the modern world. And the youth are not only the future of our nation but indeed constitute the largest voters.
So it makes both economic and political sense to give priority to the youth. Instead, under President Buhari, only 23 pupils got registered for common entrance examination in Zamfara State! What a shame! In many cases, armed bandits have taken over Zamfara, so how can Zamfara fill its quota in the federal institutions? Under President Buhari, Nigeria has never been more divided. Under President Buhari Nigeria is the 13th most fragile country in the world. And for all the killings, wanton destruction of life and property, no one has been effectively arrested and prosecuted. That is why many have concluded that Buhari is not aware, not in charge or not concerned, any of which is dangerous to the nation.
The constitution allows for checks and balances between the three arms of government so that if the executive is not performing the legislature can call it to order or even impeach the president in case of gross negligence. Unfortunately, the current legislators are hardly alive to their responsibilities. Here I will quote one of our respected elders and a former senator in the Third Republic, Venmak Kurnap Dangin of Plateau, who said in a recent interviewed thus: “I see the present legislators as people who are not concerned about Nigeria. Sometimes, they even behave in a manner that is quite confusing. Based on some of the things we see them investigate, one naturally assumes they are people who want the best for the country. But, again, when any of them is involved in a problem, rather than allow such person to clear his name, they will all join to defend his wrongdoing. Directly or indirectly, they are displaying their contempt for Nigerians.
“For instance, how will they approve the nation’s budget in May? And that of last year in June? Such things often lead to unemployment because contractors will have to lay off their workers since they can’t maintain them due to lack of money, occasioned by the non-approval of the budget. They just prefer to do things at their pace, regardless of the consequences…
“Again, some of their constant summoning of government officials is not healthy. In the light of the nation’s current difficulties, they will summon a minister and insist that he must personally appear before them over an issue which any officer in the ministry or the minister’s secretary can explain or clarify. Again, the way they call ministers and address them, you would think it is one primary school headmaster with his pupils. They take delight in humiliating ministers and government functionaries. That’s what I call display of arrogance…
“But now, a polished way of humiliating the country through the legislative arm is very prominent; you can see it from how they talk and how they are throwing their weight all around the nation; you will notice that if the police are investigating an issue, the EFCC or DSS could be investigating it, then the Senate too will start investigating the same issue.”
No one can take full responsibility for the current political morass other than President Buhari because a fish starts to get rotten from the head. Buhari said he did not care who headed the legislative arm of government and ended up with a Senate that is more or less an opposition to whatever his government stands for. Buhari did not care about the party that gave him a platform and today there is a crisis in at least 24 state branches of the ruling party and it is set to implode on or before the national convention. One implication of this implosion will be that the APC ruling party will lose control of both houses of the National Assembly soon, if the body language of the new PDP faction is anything to go by.
In short, there is nothing to celebrate about this government. It has neither brought peace nor progress. Instead of being a father-figure to soothe frayed nerves, the president seems to have lost focus. There is no clear direction where we are heading as a nation. North, south, east and west, no one is satisfied and everyone is disappointed with what is happening. The excitement has gone and disappointment has set in.
History is on the side of the oppressed.