Mr President, This Your Best Is Disappointing!
With an eye on his legacy and hope that history will be kind to him, President Muhammadu Buhari has in recent weeks taken up the role of his own personal valedictorian, using every opportunity to utter farewell utterances. Quite uncharacteristic of him, he has been quite tenacious about laying the outlines of how his administration will be remembered. Unfortunately for him, smooth talk at twilight can’t compensate for nonchalance or indolence during the day. The President who has been mostly lethargic and laidback in his leadership style has suddenly taken over the role of his administration’s talking heads who should be impressing on Nigerians how Buhari will be sorely missed post-May 29, 2023.
The problem, however, is that the President while trying to lay the guideposts for his way out of power has made it clear that he had been living in an alternate universe all this while. Wouldn’t this always be the end of the leader who prefers to sequester himself from those he’s meant to be presiding over? It is indeed because Aso Villa has been a gilded cage for Buhari that he could tell Nigerians with a straight poker face that he has credibly discharged himself as President and has disappointed no one. Yet, the President couldn’t elaborate on how he has fulfilled his campaign promises. Against the run of play, he graded himself ‘A’ in an examination he set for himself.
Speaking during his courtesy call on the Emir of Bauchi, Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu on Monday, the President said, “I made a promise and pledge that I will serve Nigeria and Nigerians to the best of my ability. And so far, I have not disappointed anybody.” It would have been more tolerable if the President simply said he served to the best of his ability, even if it’s disappointing that this is the much he could do after running to be President for a record 4 times. For him to say he has disappointed no one is an insult to the sensibilities of Nigerians, even though there are those who from the get-go anticipated that Buhari’s Nigeria will be retrogressive.
The President had before making the wild claim romanticized the huge crowds he always pulled all the while he was running for the country’s top job. Hear him, “I like to mention that between 2003 and 2011, I visited all the local governments, and in 2019 when I was seeking my re-election for a second term, I visited all the states of the Federation, and the people that turned out to see me were more than what anyone could buy or force to be there”. If truly he has disappointed no one, then his approval rating and street credibility would have soared or remained intact. What obtains currently is a sharp contrast.
As if in a choreographed response, residents of the President’s home state of Katsina expressed their disappointment when they booed him yesterday. Buhari, who was on a two-day state visit, was meant to inaugurate some selected projects executed by the state government. Reports have it that some residents booed the President at the Kofar Kaura underpass and along Yahaya Madaki way, where they shouted: “We don’t need you”. “We no go do”. “We are not supporting APC”. For all the nepotistic disposition of his government, if this could happen in Katsina State, the feeling in other parts of the country can be better imagined.
Is it in growing the economy, tackling insecurity, or the fight against corruption that Buhari could say he has lived up to expectations? Even if forgiven for denying most of the campaign promises that made Nigerians vote for him, the above three have remained the agenda of his administration yet Nigeria is worse off in all of them. The current misery index indicates how the country has been poorly administered in the last seven and a half years. It is therefore not a wonder that instead of running his campaign on continuity or achievements of the incumbent government, the ruling party’s presidential candidate is campaigning on his achievements as Lagos governor some 16 years ago. This approximates a vote of no confidence in Buhari.
Before now, the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari admitted to the failures of her husband’s government. At the 62nd Independence Day Special Jumaat Prayer and Public Lecture held in Abuja last October, Mrs Buhari observed that the combined monster of insecurity and economic hardship across the land in the past seven years had made life unbearable for Nigerians. She went on to apologize to the citizenry for the excruciating hardship they were facing. Four months later, there has been more hardship, what with the current fuel scarcity which has seen petroleum being sold for N400 per liter in some parts of the country and the confusion surrounding the currency redesign policy of the CBN.
Unfortunately, the disappointment in Buhari has rubbed off on the country as more people are now renouncing their citizenship. Speaking at the 64th session of the State House Ministerial briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Interior, Dr. Shuaib Belgore, disclosed that while 150 Nigerians renounced their citizenship between 2006 and 2021, in 2022 alone 159 Nigerians rejected their citizenship. This despondency is also what is fuelling the “japa” wave among young Nigerians. In the face of these effects of maladministration, Naija News urges the President to desist from presenting his rather unflattering stewardship as the gold standard.
That Nigerians are known for having moderate expectations from the government does not mean they deserve the poor governance they’ve had to put up with in the current regime. How can citizens be okay with the huge debt burden that the Buhari government has yoked them with? How can Buhari be bequeathing an empty treasury to the incoming administration amid the dwindling value of the Naira and high inflation rate yet expect to be approved by the citizens? Nonetheless, this newspaper calls on Nigerians not to lose sight of Mr President’s assertion that he has served to the best of his ability. It’s therefore a matter of the capacity of those being elected as leaders.
With the 2023 general election less than a month away, Nigerians must start interrogating the abilities and competencies of those who are currently auditioning for political positions. The electorate must settle for candidates with the sort of abilities with which leaders of the developed world makes things work and leave their country better than they met it. Nigerians can’t keep voting in mediocre or those who have since passed their prime and expect progressive leadership. Thankfully, the 2022 Electoral Act and innovations in the electoral system have given the average voter the opportunity to do right by their country. Vote wisely!