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Opinion: Those who want Buhari to succeed

I was shocked last week to hear the President, Major General Muhamadu Buhari (retd) criticising those who “want me to fail.”  He described them as sponsors and orchestrators of insecurity in Nigeria.

How on earth, I questioned, is it that Buhari pretends not to know that his failure is not opinion but fact; that when he says “Insecurity in Nigeria is now mentioned all over the world,” he provides evidence of his futility in the past six years?

Buhari’s lament was on Tuesday, spokesman Femi Adesina said, after he had been briefed by senior officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), led by its chairman, Mahmood Yakubu.

I share Mr Buhari’s concern, if concern it really is, about recent attacks on offices and facilities of the electoral commission, notably in the South-East and the South-South areas.

But it is notable that as he referred to the “daily security reports on the attacks” which he receives, the president was only concerned that the perpetrators want him to “fail,” as though he has at any point invested differently.

The open secret, which is evident to the entire world, including the Buhari government, is that the Buhari government has not only failed, but it has also collapsed.  As far back as February 2017, one and a half years into his administration, I profiled that sad fact.  The notion of his future-dated failure is therefore pretentious.

In trying to post-date his story, perhaps to make it palatable to his inner circle, Buhari said some curious things: “Insecurity in Nigeria is now mentioned all over the world. All the people who want power, whoever they are, you wonder what they really want.

“Whoever wants the destruction of the system will soon have the shock of their lives. We’ve given them enough time.”

Read those four sentences again, and see how they range from provocative to meaningless:

One: “Insecurity in Nigeria is now mentioned all over the world.”

It is not simply “mentioned,” but reported.  Demonstrated in photos and videos, including on social media.  It was being reported before Buhari came to power, during which he presented himself as the answer, and was so voted in, but the insecurity became worse, propelled by Buhari’s incompetence.  And his incompetence made a bad situation infinitely worse.

Two: “All the people who want power, whoever they are, you wonder what they really want.”

First, he answers the question, according to his own prism, and then questions his own answer.   He wonders what those who “want power,” want.

Three: “Whoever wants the destruction of the system will soon have the shock of their lives.”

Buhari was voted into office principally to end the insecurity.  Security is the first order of business in the constitution to which he swore, and also the first commitment he made when he campaigned for the job.

As he met with INEC last week, he was doing so at the beginning of his seventh year in office during which he has provided no “shock” to any of the national problems about which he travelled and bragged.  Seven years during which he babysat all the mice that have now mutated into mountain lions.

Four: “We’ve given them enough time.” This is perhaps the most telling of those claims, suggesting that in his first six years—SIX YEARS—he had deliberately allowed insecurity to fester…that in all of the years he claimed he was working, including the months he sat in luxury foreign hospitals taking care of himself, he was deliberately allotting time to the criminals to do as they pleased.

And who are:“We”?  To what or who does that code refer?  Could he have been referring to the security and anti-corruption agencies, meaning that in the six years in which he held “security” meetings with them they were dubiously “giving enough time” to the criminals?

Given that most of the destruction of INEC facilities has taken place in the South-East and the South-South, it is not difficult to decipher Buhari’s mindset on who the perpetrators are, in the same way as it is easy to see, in his top-level appointments, whom he perceives as the undesirables.

The Nigerian leader then went on Twitter the same day to declare as follows: “Many of those misbehaving in certain parts of the country were obviously too young to know the travails and loss of lives that attended the Nigerian civil war.  Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.  We are going to be very hard sooner than later.”

After Twitter deleted the tweet for violating its rules, the government on Friday suspended Twitter operations in Nigeria, claiming that the platform was being used for activities capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.  It also directed the National Broadcasting Commission to commence the process of “licensing” all social media operations in Nigeria.

Strangely, until the platform deleted Buhari’s offensive tweet, he had used it relentlessly for easy propaganda purposes, unconcerned about Nigeria’s corporate existence.  His government has hungered for control of social media over supposedly “hate speech.”

By suspending Twitter, Buhari has again underlined the same inflexibility and absence of political guile for which he was known as Head of State.  It also throws new light on his inability to stay on message or on mission.

Remember: it was only four days earlier that he claimed that he visited all the 36 states of the country ahead of the 2019 election “and majority of the people believed me, and the election proved it.”

That may have been true of 2015, but not 2019 when his election was controversial after he ignored those who wanted him to succeed.  Not only has every aspect of Nigerian life deteriorated since Buhari took office, but he has also been resentful of the fact that social media has not fallen under the same compromise as much of the mainstream press.

How remarkably has Buhari failed?  This is a man who forgot where he was going as soon as he started the car.  He forgot the mission of C-H-A-N-G-E and the necessity of leading by example.  He would not declare his assets publicly perhaps because he did not want people to find out he was not as poor as he had claimed.  This is a man who decided that having become president, he and his inner circle would keep the jet fleet he had so widely criticised.

Buhari forgot that he was going to fight corruption: instead, he made nepotism, cronyism and kakistocracy his prime weapons.  The man who said he would fight poverty, deepened poverty.  The man who demanded that Goodluck Jonathan resign on account of insecurity,engineered greater insecurity.  That is how we got here.

Six years later, what Buhari needed to do is what confronts him: govern Nigeria according to his oath, the constitution, and his campaign.

 Banning social media is like saying to a people who never had electricity that you will turn off the air-conditioning.  Who will monitor the darkness?[This column welcomes rebuttals from interested government officials.]


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Posted by on Jun 6 2021. Filed under Headlines, Muhammadu Buhari (1983-85), Presidency. 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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