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Enough of Buhari-styled Change – By Tochukwu Ezukanma

By Tochukwu Ezukanma| Lagos, Nigeria | May 20, 2018 – 

Despite its magnificence, democracy has its limits. One of its major drawbacks is that it does not guarantee the election of good leaders; it only makes possible the removal of bad leaders. President Mohammadu Buhari is a bad president. His administration is wobbling under its own weight of ineptitude, corruption, ethnic chauvinism and religious zealotry. His presidency has brought untold social and economic disruption to the country. It left Nigerians reeling from hitherto unknown levels of poverty, economic hardship, insecurity and ethnic violence. Refreshingly, the problems the Buhari presidency is visiting on Nigeria will hopefully not continue beyond 2019, because Nigerians are constitutionally empowered to put an end to his presidency.

In spite of his bungled leadership, Mohammed Buhari recently declared his intention to seek re-election to another four year term. In his response to this, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State was lyrical. He called it “a patriotic response to the clarion call of Nigerians of goodwill for him to lead the country for another four years”. Governor Shettima of Borno State also enthused, “he has done the right thing; he is going to contest and we are solidly behind him” The effusive approval of Buhari’s re-election bid by Governors Okorocha and Shettima is not, in any way, in line with the prevailing sentiments amongst Nigerians. Sheltered in their cocoons of opulence, self-indulgence and profligacy, they refuse to acknowledge an incontrovertible reality: the Buhari presidency is terrible for Nigeria.

Buhari was swept into power by a groundswell of electoral support almost unparalleled in Nigerian history. Buhari promised the Nigerian electorate change, and they believed him because they thought that he embodied the essential qualities that will bring about the desperately needed change: the indomitable will of a military commander, incorruptible uprightness of a moral crusader and the puritanical candor of a devout Moslem. Therefore, with his election, Nigerians understandably, expected change – positive, progressive and palpable change. Lamentably, Buhari-styled change is negative and retrogressive.

Nigeria remains a lawless country: a chaotic country that is probably one of the most unlivable places on earth. The cost of governance remains outrageously high, with billons of naira still budgeted for trivialities and frivolities that gratify the greed and fantasies of a privileged few. Official corruption is still repulsively rife. At the economic strangulation of the masses, the elite continue to steal, share and salt away billions of dollars. Debilitated by nepotism and cronyism, his war on corruption lost its earlier dynamism. It degenerated into something of a witch-hunt, targeting mostly those in the opposition, “while anyone, who joins APC (the president’s political party) automatically, becomes a saint and is protected to enjoy his loot”. The price of oil has more than doubled in the last three years; increasing from $28 to about $75 and Nigeria is ostensibly out of a recession. Still, the economy has not improved; it continues to totter, with inflation spiraling out of control, businesses collapsing, unemployment dangerously high, and the masses increasingly burdened with crushing poverty.

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The ability of the federal government to protect lives and property keeps eroding; the Fulani herdsmen mass-murder of the innocent and hapless in the Middle Belt is scrapping to genocide.  The conflict between farmers and herdsmen is inherent, and, as a result, the fight between them has persisted from time immemorial. But this ordinarily commonplace quarrel took a ghoulish  twist since Buhari became the president of Nigeria. The clashes between then went beyond the usually struggle over farm land and grazing routes to “low intensity genocide”. In the past, the rival groups fought with machetes and bludgeons. But these days Fulani herdsmen attack farming communities with assault rifles. They kill off and raze entire villages. They rampage through these communities, mostly at night, maiming and killing defenseless men, women and children, raping women, torching homes and destroying villages. The herdsmen’s murderous lunacy is not just about securing grazing routes and space for their cattle; it belies an ulterior agenda.

Fulani herdsmen are the foot soldiers of wealthy and powerful cattle owners, whose umbrella association is Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria. The average Fulani herdsman lacks the resources to acquire sophisticated assault rifles. He is invariably armed and assigned on his gruesome mission by his masters in the Miyetti Allah. Buhari is Fulani and a member of the Miyetti Allah. In his unremitting nepotism, he is sentimentally attachment to his Fulani kinsmen, the Miyetti Allah, its armed terrorists, and their macabre agendas in the Middle Belt. Not surprisingly, his administration has turned a blind eye to the atrocities of Fulani terrorists. It refuses to rein-in the bloodthirsty herdsmen, protect the farming communities, and prosecute culpable herdsmen and their suspected sponsors. As the number of the dead, maimed and raped; burnt-down villages; and displaced persons from the herdsmen’s murderous binges continue to mount; President Buhari and his security chiefs vacillate and equivocate.

Like irredeemably bad rulers, Buhari has a penchant for blaming others for his blunders.  After three years in office, his administration still blames the Jonathan administration for the country’s economic miseries. As for his failure to contain the brutal menace of Fulani herdsmen, he blamed armed terrorists from Libya. For the mediocre achievements of his war on corruption, he blames the judiciary and the constitutional guarantees of citizens’ immunity from dictatorial acts of governing officials. After three years of Buhari presidency, Nigerians are disappointed, dispirited and disenchanted. In response to Buhari’s declaration for re-election, the Coalition of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) stated, “The president’s declaration of intension to run is the height of insensitivity to the plight of Nigerians who are suffering under his administration”. It is a statement wholly in consonant with the popular sentiment in Nigerian.

Encouragingly, Nigerians reserve the constitutional right to remove President Buhari. We must exercise this constitutional prerogative in 2019, and vote him out because the re-election of Buhari would, in the words of the Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma, “perpetuate suffering and evil”.

Tochukwu Ezukanma writes from Lagos, Nigeria.

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Posted by on May 19 2018. Filed under Articles, Columnists, Muhammadu Buhari (1983-85), NNP Columnists, Presidency, Tochukwu Ezukanma. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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