BY BABATUNDE LONIMI OLUWASEUN
Former president Goodluck Jonathan certainly has to apologize to Nigerians for bringing us to this mess that the country currently is. If he and his team had done the right things while in government, Nigeria would not have been plaqued with the APC and General Mohammadu Buhari. I wonder if there has ever been a tenure as disheartening as this APC/Buhari own. Though I was a child during the Abacha regime, but I have heard a lot of people, especially older ones, say it that even Abacha was not this bad. The last three years in Nigeria have simply been unpleasant in every sense, Buhari and APC have shown that 2015 was a mistake that a country should not make. From failed promises, to denied ones, the presidency once said that some of the campaign promises of 2015 were made by the party, APC not by president Buhari and so Nigerians should not expect him to fulfil such. You wonder how to separate a president from the party he represented at the polls, especially when he is still a member of the party.
Two major things, honour and responsibility, that a president should display are just lacking in president Buhari. Honour for a president is given naturally while responsibility is expected of any president. A presidency, like other political offices, is not about the benefits involved alone, it requires one to be human, take responsibility and have empathy. Unfortunately president Buhari has shown in three years that he lacks all these attributes. As much as his followers try to paint him in beautiful colours, his actions and inactions have been unpresidential. He is the first president that I have seen that refuses to take responsibility for the events that take place under his watch, and in this shameful act of shifting responsibility, former president Goodluck Jonathan has been at the receiving end, rightly so because had he done the needful while in aso rock, Buhari/APC would not be there today. From corruption to security and economy, Buhari and APC have attributed all that is bad in Nigeria to GEJ. It is a fact that GEJ and his government did not give what Nigerians wanted, but Buhari and APC should know that is the reason they are in government today, and they are there to find solutions, not trading blames and shifting responsibility like they were still campaigning for the post. President Buhari has lost a significant portion of the honour/popularity he had when he just got to office, no thanks to the way he and his government have ruled the country.
From January till now, over hundred people have been killed in farmers-herdsmen clashes and by boko-haram, in Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Zamfara and other places. In his usual way, president Buhari never responded immediately to the tragedies, not until Nigerians started criticizing him. What president waits for public outcry before acting a role he was elected for? You would expect that a president will always try to show his people that he cares for them, but the reverse has been the case with our president. Thanks to the wedding of Bolaji Ajimobi(son of governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state) and Fatima Ganduje(daughter of governor Ganduje of Kano state) which president Buhari attended and for which he has been criticized by many, having refused to visit places where tragedy had happened to ordinary Nigerians. President Buhari, again after public outcry, decided it was time to visit places where his subjects had been killed. Now it has to be stated that president Buhari going to the wedding in Kano was not wrong in anyway, what was wrong was his refusal to visit his subjects whose loved ones were killed in avoidable circumstances. He indirectly told them that they were not worth his presidential visit and show of care. Obi Ezekwesili, former minister and coordinator of the BBOG group(the bring back our girls), a body that has been demanding for the rescue and return of the abducted school girls of chibok, made a brilliant reaction to the president’s newly planned visit to the affected areas. This she did in a tweet and I quote ‘’someone said better late than never. My response? You cannot fake EMPATHY. Empathy flows involuntarily not mechanically. Empathy is a spontaneous emotion. We have a deficit still’’.
You don’t need a better description of the president’s personality, at least from the way he has carried himself in the last three years. Now, the president’s visit to Taraba was reported in the news and his speech there did more damage than good to his image and government. Was it important that he explained why he chose Taraba first before other places? Now he was reported to have said that he chose Taraba first because more people were killed there than in other places. What sort of talk is that? What sort of comparison is that? Why make such comparison? Who writes the president’s speech? Does he read his written speech before coming out to address the public? Does he change what they write for him to his own words or he takes it as it is written? In the first place, you cannot go to all the places at the same time, so you must do it one after the other and you do not have to explain to anybody why you started somewhere. What matters is that you go to the other places too, simple. His unnecessary explanation was just so insensitive to the feelings of the victims in other places.
Again our president was said to have told the people (the locals) there to do all that is necessary to secure their community because security is not the business of government alone. He went on and said that he and the Taraba governor were only going to be there temporarily because their tenures would end someday, so in other words the people should take responsibility for the security of their lives and properties. Can we say it is old age that makes our president think this way or simply that he does not know what the basic role of government is? Has he never heard of Thomas Hobbs and his theory on the state of nature? A state in which men were in a perpetual and unhealthy struggle for resources, a state of the survival of the fittest, one in which life was brutish and short. Consequently, people realized that they could not continue like that, so they agreed to surrender their naturally given individual freedom and powers to a central body that will coordinate, manage and distribute available resources and try make life and living better than it was. This central body was invested with authority to carry out the duties entrusted to it, significant amongst such duties is SECURITY of lives and properties. Nigerians elected president Buhari to perform the roles stated above, not for him to be shifting responsibility first to GEJ and now to the helpless people who elected him. When you examine a Buhari presidency and then examine a Trump presidency, you begin to wonder why Americans should not like their president Trump(who at least has always been there to show care and support for his people during crisis) if Nigerians could put up with a president Buhari.
Finally it was reported that the president was telling the people about his government’s supposed, but unestablished successes. He was said to have mentioned that even their opponents could not deny the improvement I security and their fight against corruption. This is the height of insensitivity from our president. How could you go to people whose loved ones have been killed by evil and violent men whom your government has refused to bring to book, and you boast to them about improved security? What improvement please? It shows that the president did not recognize that these people were grieving, and possibly angry that he neglected them for so long before coming, then you go there and add salt to their wounds. Wow! We should not even talk of your claimed fight against corruption because events in your government are there for all to see and corruption has not only remained, but has grown to another level entirely. Some of the corrupt in your cabinet have been exposed, but you have shielded them from facing the consequences, the only ones that were supposedly removed by you were too much of mess to hold on to publicly and their removal was necessitated by public outcry. Even animals have taken up new roles, aiding and abetting the corrupt in different places, yet your government claims to be fighting corruption. The latest report of Transparency international, the body that monitors countries and their quest towards having less corrupt societies, said the direct opposite of your claims on corruption. It said corruption has become worse in Nigeria under your watch, so where is your fight against this monster? Did you go to Taraba to campaign or to visit the victims and find solutions to their problems? Now one cannot help wondering what the roles/interests of his aides are, whether general good or personal benefits. You even wonder if they are truly loyal to the president because if they are, many things would have been done differently. If Mr president had listened to his wife, Aisha, things probably would not have become what they are today.
In all this mess that the country has become, we can only hope that we do not repeat 2015 when we go to the polls next year, but while we hope, we must move away from the old way of indifference and resignation, pay more attention to the political phenomena and try make better choices next year
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