10 good things, 5 bad ones Buhari has done
So far, I have recorded ten good things and five bad ones that Buhari has done in his five-month old presidency. But first, the good. One, his active support for the emergence of Nigeria’s Adewunmi Adesina as the African Development Bank President. This has shown him to be a broad-minded patriot as opposed to his former image as military head of state in which he was seen as a narrow-minded religious and regional bigot.
Two, his toleration,so far, of a constant personal and political irritant called Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti state. Three, his courage and ability in restraining his wife from becoming a public nuisance in the way wives of most of our recent presidents have tended to become since the late Maryam Babangida made the position of First Lady glamourous. I do not know whether it is too early in the day to commend him for this ‘feat’. But if later in the day the president becomes less vigilant and his wife bolts out of his restraint and begins to carry herself as an alternate president, dabbling into serious affairs of state in the name of gender mainstreaming or such other frivolous posturing, I will remove this from the commendation list and put it in the condemnatory one. Trust me. We paid with our votes for one president and not for two or for one and a half.
Four, his war against the Boko Haram terrorists. It seems focused and determined, which is why it is reaping great results. Five, his war in favour of financial accountability and prudence in the management of the nation’s funds. His striving for cutting down on the cost of governance is a part of that noble war. Why Nigeria has witnessed slow rate of development is attributable in large part to the way our governments spend money like drunkards. Six, his carriage and composure has been very presidential. He shows himself as a high minded man who is above the fray and who seems focused on the larger issue of making Nigeria great again. He is not meddling too much into party politicking trying to portray himself as national leader of party as well as head of government. This has allowed him time and energy to concentrate on the serious business of finding solutions to Nigeria’s numerous problems.
Seven, the kudos he has been giving to his immediate predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, for conceding defeat and sparring Nigeria avoidable bloodshed and other calamities.
He did so in his inaugural address and once again, in his Independence Day broadcast.
This has again shown him not to be a churlish man who lacks a generous heart.
Eight, his Independence Day broadcast which was brief but broad in covering what he had to say at that period in his young presidency. Although he is not a talented communicator, the good sense imbued in that speech has made him look very good. The people of Nigeria do not need long, boring and often dishonest speeches from their leaders. Just say something that covers your modest achievements; that answers the anxiety and criticism of your countrymen; that re-assures your people and which gives them hope about a better future. Presidential speeches should not try to borrow anything from Honourable Patrick Obaghaigbon, the man from the land of Igodomingodo, who blows your head with big grammar. Save your breath and invest it in something that can add meaningful value to Nigeria.
Nine, some critics have accused him of lopsided appointments, but so far no one has accused him of appointing incompetent people. I am a man in favour of merit and compatibility. Given how low Nigeria has sunken in many respects, I expect a president who wants to restore Nigeria back to her promising glory to go for the best men and women and ones with whom he will be compatible in working for national salvation. So far, Buhari has tried to do just that.
Ten, his making his deputy, Prof. Osinbajo, an active partner and not a spare tyre. This will help to take the load off his 72-year old shoulders and re-assure the South West that they are not deceived. Now, the bad ones. One, his obvious hand in the judicial persecution of Saraki in the name of fighting corruption and to me, even more unfortunately, his denial that he had a hand in it. One of the things Buhari has to his credit is that we think he is above this sort of things and that he cannot lie. A senior friend of mine once rebuked me for saying that a former president of this country lied on an issue I will not mention now. You can say he made a mistake or an error of fact in his statement but to say a president lied is insufferable, he admonished me. So let me just say that PMB made an error of fact or a slip of the tongue in saying he had no hand in Saraki’s travails!
Two, his stay in the USA for the UN General Assembly for seven days and seven nights.
Nigeria, I believe, is an emergency case and I do not think any Nigerian president has a right to stay away from this ‘patient’ for a continuous three days and three nights, not to talk of 7 straight days. By the way, what serious thing do they do in that yearly UNGA apart from talk and more talk, which achieves pretty little? Way back in 2003, Buhari made a devastating jibe at then President Obasanjo for gallivanting. Now it seems he has been bitten, not by Obasanjo’s gallivanting bug but by a honeymoon proclivity! My dear PMB, the solution to Nigeria’s problems lies right here at home and not anywhere else, be it New York, Tokyo, Berlin or London.
Stay put here and mobilise your people to find and apply home-grown remedies.
Three, the impression he created that bribery and corruption and other ills began with and have ended with the Jonathan administration. This is what raised the anxiety in some quarters that he was out to persecute or witch hunt Jonathan and key members of his government.
Four, his repudiation of two key campaign documents My Covenant with Nigerians and 100 Things Buhari will do in His First One Hundred Days. Again, some of us think Buhari is Mr. Integrity personified and that he will not have a hand in anything that will portray him as dishonourable or a ‘normal’ Nigerian politician. It is true that Buhari has been unable to accomplish even one tenth of his promises contained in those two documents. But because of the way we see him, he ought to have sat down and fashioned out an HONEST and sensible explanation of his failure and Nigerians would have believed him rather than adopt that dishonourable option of repudiating his promises.
Five, the unnecessary delay inthe formation of his cabinet which has cost the country dear and which also did his image some harm.