Run, Buhari: Re­sign and run far away

Buhari has been found out. Not only has he been un­veiled as be­ing in­ca­pable of run­ning Nige­ria, his claims of per­sonal in­tegrity, and that he has the cre­den­tials to con­quer cor­rup­tion, have been shat­tered. The most im­por­tant thing that Nige­ria and the wor

Sunday Trust - - DAILY TRUST -

Fi­nally, Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari has con­firmed what has been known to many for nearly three years: he wants to re­main in power for four more years. Ac­cord­ing to Mr. Buhari, this de­ci­sion is owed not to his per­sonal de­sire, but to pop­u­lar clam­our.

It is al­ways amus­ing when peo­ple who seek of­fice, or want to cling to it, cite pop­u­lar pres­sure. The truth is that only Buhari’s cir­cle of loy­al­ists wants him back. No Nige­rian whose de­sire or in­ter­est is lead­er­ship rather than power, does.

I am not nec­es­sar­ily say­ing Buhari will not win the re-elec­tion con­test, but if he does, it will not be be­cause he de­serves it. To be­gin with, voter turnout was high for him when he won in 2015, hope in full bloom.

In 2019, be­trayed Nige­rian vot­ers may re­vert to in­dif­fer­ence. Al­ready, it is cu­ri­ous that moun­tains of vot­ers’ cards are be­ing ig­nored by their own­ers na­tion­wide.

Oth­er­wise, as a ref­er­en­dum on Buhari’s atro­cious per­for­mance, 2019 ought to see him suf­fer the same hu­mil­i­a­tion as the one he handed his pre­de­ces­sor in 2015.

Why do so many Nige­ri­ans who braved ev­ery chal­lenge on be­half of Buhari now re­sent the thought he wants an­other term?

Sim­ply put, Buhari has been found out. Not only has he been un­veiled as be­ing in­ca­pable of run­ning Nige­ria, his claims of per­sonal in­tegrity, and that he has the cre­den­tials to con­quer cor­rup­tion, have been shat­tered.

The most im­por­tant thing that Nige­ria and the world have learned in the past three years is that there isn’t much to Buhari be­yond words. And that, sadly, if he pre­vi­ously wasn’t, he has be­come a part of the cor­rup­tion he lam­basted for decades. No longer can he claim to be in­cor­rupt, or in­cor­rupt­ible.

He has ac­com­plished this in three re­lated ways. The first is his re­jec­tion of merit as a prin­ci­ple. Where he was ex­pected to as­sem­ble the best minds and hands, his ap­pointees have ranged from the ques­tion­able to the mis­er­able, with se­nior of­fi­cials of­ten work­ing at crosspur­poses.

The sec­ond is his com­fort with cor­rup­tion. Even Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan fired his friend and Min­is­ter, Stella Od­uah.

Buhari, to the sur­prise of the world, has ab­solved of blame and pro­tected all the se­nior of­fi­cials who have been stained by cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions. The only ex­cep­tion to this rule is Babachir Lawal, the for­mer sec­re­tary to the gov­ern­ment, and the en­tire world is wit­ness to how re­luc­tant Buhari was to let him go.

But his com­plic­ity is ex­posed the most by his un­will­ing­ness to com­bat cor­rup­tion by openly iden­ti­fy­ing with the na­tion’s most cor­rupt, even where de­manded by a court of law.

Since his elec­toral cam­paign in 2015, his most con­sis­tent fea­ture has been his vo­cif­er­ous and daily de­nun­ci­a­tion of the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP).

That has not been matched by ac­tion, and it is only lately that, fol­low­ing a chal­lenge by the PDP, the gov­ern­ment has named a few per­sons. But cor­rup­tion un­der Buhari be­ing an af­flic­tion he rec­og­nizes only in oth­ers, only per­sons cur­rently of the PDP fea­tured on it.

This fol­lows Buhari’s con­sis­tent fail­ure to hon­our his prom­ises since his first few months in of­fice to per­son­ally pub­lish a list of the loot­ers, no mat­ter whom they proved to be.

The irony is that when the Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion pub­lished its list two weeks ago, there were six names, al­though that was up­graded days later to about 30 per­sons. Of the hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars looted since 1999, the gov­ern­ment could only come up with 30 names.

Think about it: of thou­sands of peo­ple who have been Min­is­ters, Gover­nors, First Ladies, per­ma­nent sec­re­taries, party of­fi­cials, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tors, Di­rec­tors, am­bas­sadors, chair­men, con­trac­tors, com­mis­sion­ers, bankers, wives, hus­bands, money-man­agers and movers, mistresses, girl­friends, the gov­ern­ment iden­ti­fied 30 per­sons!

Thirty. Keep in mind that for­mer state gover­nor James Ibori, when he fell in a Lon­don court, went down with over 10 per­sons that in­cluded his wife, girl­friend, ac­coun­tants, lawyers and other aides.

In ad­di­tion, and as many have pointed out, the list pre­dictably did not in­clude PDP mem­bers who mi­grated into the APC, let alone “home­grown” APC-ers who are known for the car­nage they have com­mit­ted in of­fice.

Nor did it in­clude any for­mer pres­i­dent or vice-pres­i­dent, if not for loot­ing, then for other acts of cor­rup­tion. In the case of Mr. Jonathan, for in­stance, Buhari bi­og­ra­pher John Paden said Buhari told him he has doc­u­ments show­ing that as Pres­i­dent Mr. Jonathan re­quested and used il­le­gal “off-bud­get funds.”

But at a time that courts in Brazil, South Africa, Pak­istan and South Korea are try­ing or jail­ing for­mer lead­ers for cor­rup­tion, Buhari’s kill-cor­rup­tion-or-cor­rup­tion-will-kill-us brag­gado­cio does not in­clude the courage to cause the ju­di­cial ex­am­i­na­tion of Jonathan, let alone Oluse­gun Obasanjo.

Which brings us to the third means by which Buhari ripped up his own an­ti­cor­rup­tion Spi­der­man suit: his con­tempt for the ju­di­ciary.

On two oc­ca­sions in 2016 and 2017, the Fed­eral High Court or­dered the pub­li­ca­tion of a full re­port, on a ded­i­cated web­site, of the names of the of­fi­cials, the cir­cum­stances un­der which the funds were re­cov­ered, and the ex­act amount re­cov­ered from each pub­lic of­fi­cial re­cov­ered since 1999, and since Buhari’s as­sump­tion of of­fice. Buhari ig­nored both or­ders. That makes non­sense of the cur­rent name­drop­ping; names that ap­pear to have been hastily copied from news­pa­per re­ports. There is no cor­re­la­tion be­tween the names, the amounts as­cribed to them, and the amounts pre­vi­ously claimed to have been re­cov­ered.

How hap­haz­ard is the list? The ci­ta­tion for the for­mer Comptroller-Gen­eral of Cus­toms, Inde Dikko, for in­stance, ex­cludes the 17 lux­ury ve­hi­cles the EFCC re­cov­ered from him in Kaduna.

This mess, and Buhari’s cel­e­bra­tion of mi­nor achieve­ments, is not why he was elected. His ar­rival was sup­posed to be mon­u­men­tal, tran­scen­den­tal, trans­for­ma­tional.

What is the TSA if Nige­ri­ans do not know what has been re­cov­ered, and from whom? Why did Nige­ria spend so much on the BVN ex­er­cise if all the thieves it ex­posed are still be­ing pro­tected? Why has Buhari ig­nored all the NNPC and NEITI re­ports, de­spite the tens of bil­lions of dol­lars to which they hold the key?

Buhari’s gov­ern­ment and party have been de­stroyed by in­com­pe­tence, in­sin­cer­ity, tur­bu­lence and in­co­her­ence. It is a gov­ern­ment at war with, and per­pet­u­ally con­tra­dict­ing it­self, prov­ing in­ca­pable of prin­ci­ple, courage, pa­tri­o­tism or prob­lem-solv­ing. This is why there is no change in tone or tenor in the cor­rup­tion con­ver­sa­tion.

Does any­one re­mem­ber when now Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Bukola Saraki tweeted in July 2014 about the APC con­tract with Nige­ri­ans. “If we fail to tackle un­em­ploy­ment, in­se­cu­rity & im­prove stan­dard of liv­ing in 2015-2019 VOTE US OUT,” he wrote [cap­i­tals his].

And sim­i­larly, in April 2016, APC chief­tain Tony Mo­moh con­fi­dently in­vited Nige­ri­ans to “stone us” if the party failed to de­liver.

It has not, and why Buhari’s sec­ond term run is ill-ad­vised. I re­mind him of one Mr. Obasanjo, an­other for­mer “sav­ior” who found eight years in the ex­ec­u­tive jet to be far too few.

And I of­fer this ad­vice: Re­sign, Mr. Buhari, Run Home To Your Fam­ily. Blus­ter is not le­gal ten­der. • son­ala.olumhense@gmail.com • Twit­ter: @Son­alaOlumhense

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