The criticisms that are being hauled at the government of president Muhammadu Buhari by many Nigerians is not an abnormally. It is only a demonstration of a people with an awakening political culture.
To put it in a better context, the myriad of criticisms against President Muhammadu Buhari only point to one thing, Nigerians don't need him as the next president. But there also, are those Nigerians that need him as the next president. Hence, those ones are all out repelling the criticisms against the president. And much more, they are willing to cast their votes for him at the next general elections. And they would. But will those criticising President Muhammadu Buhari’s administrations for its abysmal performance even as much as come out to vote? Most likely not or only few will. This is one of the major challenges militating against the emergence of a people's leader in Nigeria.
There is every reason to believe that the observation of most Nigerians about the Muhammadu Buhari administration is true. The negative transformation in the socioeconomic and political landscape of the nation; from north to south, and east to west, and those who have made such observations are all a proof.
Just for the records, Tunde Bakare, the renowned cleric is one of the most respected Nigerians alive. He could be said to be the president friend or close associate. At least, he was the president former running mate at the 2011 presidential election under the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP. And Tunde Bakare is one of the most outspoken persons against this government poor performance since inception on May 29, 2015.
Eagle eye observations
As a keen observer and analyst of contemporary issues, Tunde Bakare made a chilling revelation that on three key performance indicators- KPI; corruption, security, and economic diversification with a view to creating more jobs that the government of Muhammadu Buhari anchored it's policy thrust, it has failed in all three.
By this cleric's observation, since 2015, all that could be seen of this government "are signs of retrogressions'. Unemployment for instance, rose from 8.2% in 2015 to 18.8% in 2017. With over 16 million Nigerians unemployed. This is corroborated by Saka Momodu who observed that this figure, 18.8% in the third quarter of 2017 rose to 23.1% for the same period in 2018. Meaning, 20.9 million Nigerians are without a job. And much more, over 85 million Nigerians are living in extreme poverty. This is close to 48% of the nation's estimated 190 million population.
The government fight against corruption is said to be merely a cosmetic one. As revealed by Tunde Bakare, all of the major corruption cases by the federal government had been lost. But worst of all, is that people who are known to have had corruption charges hanging over them, like Abdulrasheed Maina, the former pension board boss was recalled at a time and he was given a new post in the interior affairs ministry by the present government. This is a man that was involved in a N2 billion pension scam. The outcry of most Nigerians made President Muhammadu Buhari to relieve him of his job.
As further revealed by Dirisu Yakubu, at the Nigerian national petroleum corporation, NNPC, there are spurious allegations with proof of deeds that the group managing director, Maikantu Baru, haf awarded contracts of $25 billion without recourse to due process. Meaning, he was the sole person that approved the contracts without inputs from board members This alarm was raised by no other person but the minister of state for petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu. The GMD is still in office. Meaning the president sanctions or approves it.
The former secretary to the government of the federation, Engineer, David Babachir Lawal is said to had awarded a grass cutting contract of N317 million to a company he has substantial interest, Rholavison Engineering Nigeria Ltd.
Professor Usman Yusuf, the executive secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, is said to had paid N508 million to consultants without following due process. But more shocking is the payment of N567 million to his 7 police orderlies. This is a man who was in office for not more than or not up to two years.
Assuming he was in office for two years, and paid 7 police orderlies N567 million, it means each of the orderlies received a monthly income of N3375000. Could it mean these orderlies earned more than the inspector general of police, IGP? Because the IGP salary in a month may not be up to N2 million or more than that. This is what his supposed subordinates on delegated assignments by the office of the IGP earn, working for a fellow civil servant like them.
By this revelation, it is either the orderlies who are the IGP subordinates are of a higher rank above the Inspector general of police, or they handle a job of a much higher responsibility than the IG is doing.
Just for the records, there is the keystone bank buy fraud by one Isa Funtua, a close associate of President Muhammadu Buhari. As revealed, the transaction was done in the most bizarre manner that defied even common industry ethnics. A bank sold for N25 billion by AMCON, was bought by Isa Funtua group. No other bidders were considered as those with even higher offer were turned down.
This is not even the issue; it is the manner the payment was made. The Isa Funtua group as was reported, made an initial down payment of N5 billion. The balance of N20 billion was paid by AMCON through a very dubious manner. AMCON transferred its own money at GTB to Heritage bank which then paid AMCON on behalf of the Isa Funtua group. This illegality was perpetrated because the AMCON chief executive officer, Ahmed Kuru is Isa Funtua's son In-law.
This is happening under the watch of a leader that is fighting corruption. Mike Ozekhome had aptly cried out that the fight against corruption by President Muhammadu Buhari administration is one that is against the opposition party, PDP members. That over 95% of the ongoing corruption cases are against the opposition party members or their associates.
Not just this, it’s against such groups perceived to be highly critical of the present government, or those whose line of duty or career either in the interim or near future could jeopardize the political fortunes of this administration.
The current chief judge of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen that had just been removed from office on a corruption case against him, is one of such among few others.
The reason is that he failed to accurately declare his assets. The question that could be asked at this juncture is; how long had he been on the bench that the authorities concerned did not know before now? Is this not aimed at making a way for this administration political victory at the 2019 general elections?
However true the allegations against the embattled chief judge of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen that has led to his removal from the judiciary, his case is not just one of a kind, but is both a function of the name he answers and the side belongs.
Because the man who replaced him, Justice Tanko Mohammed is said to be the richest Judge in Nigeria; with a bank balance of N2.7 billion as at January 25, 2019. In dollars terms, that's about $7.5 million. His entire service earnings as a judge without spending a dime out of it may never get to half of it.
Nepotism and ethnocentrism have become the qualification for appointment into any public office as against federal character; even though meritocracy has never been a barometer for public or political appointment by any Nigerian leader, past or present.
As revealed recently by Mike Ozekhome, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN,) appointment to strategic offices in the nation's public service with power of decision making at the highest level of public administration is in favor of those northerners that will ensure to do their benefactors biding.
These offices are interior affairs ministry, NNPC, DPR, with the president as head, and petroleum minister; Nigerian railway corporations, Nigerian security minting and printing company, national emergency management agency, Nigerian ports authority, Federal Radio Corporation, Nigerian communication commission.
The security apparatus of this nation have been filled with Nigerians from the north. Offices in this regard are; director general, DIA, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Prisons, Customs, and immigrations among others.
This development has made Mike Ozekhome cried out whether we are in the "Northern Republic of Nigeria" or Federal Republic of the North"?
The security situation in Nigeria is one of the worst in the world, likely after Syria, perhaps. Government watches its citizens, including members of the defense community- the army being killed in droves by insurgents, Boko Haram on the one hand, and armed militia Fulani herdsmen on the other hand are killing people and rapping women in different communities in Taraba, Benue, Plateau, Adamawa among others. The state of insecurity is this bad that the former president, Olusegun Obasajo expressed his fear on it and said, "This administration has reached the end of its width in handling all security situations".
It’s good to abridge this article and help those of us who do not have the luxury or patience of reading long articles. So it will be nice we let the above revelations suffice as proofs that the present government of Muhammadu Buhari is one of the worst and most atrocious our country Nigeria is ever having in its post-independence political history.
Be that as it may, the above expressions could just be the opinion and thinking of this writer as no one reading this article is under obligation to accept the writer's line of thinking above.
But every Nigerian alive, and of voting age, residing in the country and registered with the independent national electoral commission, INEC, and with a permanent voter's card, PVC as a proof, has a political and legal obligation to do a personal evaluation of our dear president, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, and decides whether the allegations leveled against his government in all ramifications - incompetence, corruption, nepotism and ethnocentrism, failing economy and high national insecurity are true or not.
How? By whom Nigerians willing to vote would vast their Votes for at the next general elections in February 2019. This is the essence of this article. The political intrigue in this regard is where this article shall come to a close which we now turn.
Is President Muhammadu Buhari really responsible for the parlous state of the Nigerian economy, with high level of social and political injustice, and uneven distribution of economic resources among the different ethnic nationalities that composed the present Nigerian federation, with sub macro identities of thirty six states, and seven hundred and seventy seven local governments?
If the answer or your answer is in the affirmative or not, to whatever degree this is, you have a responsibility to come out to vote in the February 2019 general elections.
The first challenge to our national leadership crisis, particularly how it will affect the 2019 general elections is that, Nigeria has about the highest apolitical culture in the world and in Africa. Nigerians are great observers and analysts of sociopolitical issues, and great critics of their political leaders. And it ends there... Not a few make real demand on the political leaders; none at least had once invoked some of their constitutional rights such as the right to recall non-performing elective political office holders after elections?
And at elections, many or almost every Nigerian of voting age - at least those with some political consciousness - register, many or a few collect their voters card for business and other official or bureaucratic purpose. And just few come out on elections day for accreditation. But those who cast their vote finally you could count them by your fingertips.
Just for the records, as revealed by one of the presidential aspirants, Oby Ezekwesili, that in Alimosho local government in Lagos state for instance, which had one of the highest registered voters at the 2015 elections of 650000 voters that collected their PVC, only 146000 voted at the presidential election. What about others who registered and collected their PVC?
Here is the second challenge. For the very first time, Nigeria is practicing a super multiparty system at any time in it’s democratic history, 91 political parties are registered by the electoral commission with 31 presidential aspirants. This make for a healthy competition, but democracy loses its essence. When it becomes critically difficult for the electorates to make a choice of choosing not more than one person for the office of the president, among 31 aspirants.
This situation creates for the electorates’ misrepresentation of political parries identities in names and images, differentiating pictures of different aspirants in the one hand, and emblems or parry symbols on the other hand. This Cacophony of names and images would only give the ruling parry, APC and perhaps it's close rival, the main opposition, PDP an unsolicited advantage over the others.
The third challenge is about the poor strategy of the 29 presidential aspirants, aside the ruling APC and main opposition, the PDP. The other twenty nine presidential aspirants have each, an overwhelming pedigree in economic management and perhaps, social intelligence. But where their intelligence could fail the. is in their inability to come together as one team and fight a supposed common enemy. This could be likely due to their poor knowledge of military strategy.
They are experts in management strategy I believe. But one thing that works so well in management which they all know and had preached or highly knowledgeable about in their personal career over the years but could not put to work or practice at the moment is TEAM. Together, each one or everyone achieve much.
A strategy in military operations is that when engaging a formidable enemy, you do not attack from all sides, even if the enemy were not that strong. And even if you have much more resources than the enemy is having, it is expected that just as in eating of an elephant, a bite at a time, a good general will concentrate a few of his forces, not even all, in attacking a strategic target of the enemy..
In the case of Nigeria's fourth coming elections in February and March 2019, the supposed enemy of the new political parties is the All Progressives Congress led government of Muhammadu Buhari. And to a significant extent, the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP by reason of certain perceptions that these two parties have no distinguished political ideology from each other.
The strategic target of the political war in 2019 is neither these two political parties, APC and the PDP nor their respective presidential aspirants, the incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubarkar. The two most experienced generals, leading their respective troops in battles to the war of all against all.
The strategic target of this war in which Nigeria is the battle ground is the Nigerian electorates. Each of the generals - presidential aspirants of the thirty one political parties running for the highest office is seeking for the attention of the voters.
For the two dominant political parties, APC and the PDP, they had taken position on the battle field for close to twenty years. At least, the members of these two political parties have a predominant spread across all the geopolitical divisions and geo-ethnic groupings in Nigeria.
As you know, or may not, taking vantage position in a battle field is a factor in military strategy that can work in a general's favor against a supposed enemy at the war front This advantage most members of the other twenty nine political parties and their respective presidential aspirants have in very relative measure.
The forth challenge which is a fall out of the preceding one is that, the twenty nine presidential aspirants are making their very first entry in politics, at least for some of them, running for the highest political office in the country. And they are all seeking for the attention of the voters, enticing them with the same message, but communicating it with slightly varying degree of perception.
That is, almost or all the 29 presidential aspirants aside, the APC's and PDP's, know that there is a leadership challenge in Nigeria, for as long as since the nation's political independence. And the concomitants of this leadership crisis or some of it are: insecurity, poor or dead infrastructure, poor human capital development, which is a fall out of a comatose education system, poor health delivery system, and a dead power sector
The concomitant of all the above social infrastructure deficit is an un-developing economy; whose managers represented by the political leadership always go cap in hand to even less economically positioned countries such as China and India among others, to beg for money.
Rather than coming together with one voice as a team, communicating their diagnosis of the Nigerian situation, politically and economically speaking, and their proffered solutions to it, every one of the aspirants sees himself or herself as the candidate with the right or best solution to the nation's challenges. This action of the 29 presidential aspirants is about the greatest leadership challenge that Nigeria as a country has.
There cannot be more than one captain in charge of a ship even if everyone sailing on board the ship - assuming is a qualified navigator, of a naval or merchant ship.
Moreover, in a ship with a captain in charge, there are some crew members with close to the captain's knowledge in navigation or less who indirectly give instructions the captain diplomatically. This they do in the form of suggestions with strong conviction on the right course to take when there is a crisis while on the sea, or in a battle - for a naval ship. The only difference between instructions coming from the captain to the crew and those of the crew to the captain is, the captain gives his with a tone of order of a superior while the crew give their with a tone of conviction but with the word, "Sir" and the end.
In a situation where there are orders and counter orders from twenty nine experienced navigators on the same ship on the high sea, and each claiming to have superior knowledge or sailing experience, either of two things will happen; the ship becomes vulnerable to enemy attack if it is a naval, or it sinks as a result of the disorder.
The fifth challenge arising from the above is, it’s going to be difficult for the electorates to make a clear choice of which party or candidate has what it takes to make the required desired leadership change in Nigeria. And rather than have a concentration of votes by just few candidates, there is going to be a high polarisation of votes among the thirty one political parties. The outcome of which will be in favor of the the two dominant parties; the ruling APC and its close rival, the PDP that are likely to capture more of the votes.
The only area where the other political parties could make some significant progress against the two dominant parties are in other elective offices aside the presidency and giver ship; like the different legislative assemblies from the states to the federal house of representatives, and the Senate.
If Nigeria were practicing a parliamentary democracy, where parties at post elections could come together to form a government of unity, then, the 29 political parties or some of the entire 91 could have some post-election advantage in this regard.
The other option open to our presidential system is that in case a simple majority did not apply because no party including the two leading parties do not win by the constitutional provision of winning or securing certain percentage of votes from across the six geopolitical zones of the country, then a rerun could become an advantage to these other parties aside the ruling APC and its close rival, the PDP.
Somehow too, some or most of the 91 political parties could have been registered by either of the two dominant parties or their top members as a convert strategy to pull votes to their advantage, at least for key strategic offices such as she presidency, senate, house of representatives, and governor. The outcome of which is to make a rerun easier to win or decamp at post elections.
Be that as it may, my conclusion is, there are three things that could make either the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari retain power or lose to his close rival.
The first is, if Nigerians go to sleep and do not come out to vote on elections day with the erroneous thinking that their votes would not or do not count.. The second is the challenge posed by the multiplicity of political parties, the highest, likely in the world of 91. This on it's own creates parry identity crisis for many Nigerians who genuinely want a change and would want to vote but may be confused - especially the very aged among us - as to which party or candidate to cast their votes for. This over polarization of votes rather than concentration of votes on few candidates or parties may still be in favor of the two dominant parties.
The third is, the inevitable at every elections; manipulation of votes by any and every means, covertly and overtly. This is because politics is the cousin of war. There is no middle ground. The only objective is to win by any means political.
However, some of the underdogs in the 2019 Nigeria general elections could become the heroes at the end.. Because there is no doubt or gainsaying about the fact that the present government of Muhammadu Buhari has one of the lowest ratings among Nigerians - north to south, east to west - just like it's immediate predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan.
The other political parties and their candidates could reach a deal just close to elections day to swap votes for certain strategic offices and look for ways to share the spoils. At least, some of the presidential aspirants are not only some of the great minds in Nigeria but in the world, may eventually agree to work together to build a formidable force against the seeming threats posed by the two dominant political parties, the incumbent APC government, and the main opposition party, the PDP.
If this happened, which is not unlikely, Nigeria will go down in history in not just having a president with the best mind in office, but a cabinet of presidents with great minds, working together to take Nigeria to the next phase of human civilization. This is not impossible. Already, at the time of ending this article, news had come of one of the presidential aspirants, a great mind and a world acclaimed technocrat, Oby Ezekwesili of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, ACPN of having thrown in the towel to support other much younger candidates. This could just be the beginning of the new thinking.
Whatever your thoughts on this elections in 2019, and on any of the candidates or political parties, particularly, the criticisms against the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC or it's close rival Atiku Abubarkar of the PDP, and every one of them cleared by the elections commission - the independent national electoral commission, INEC, this is the message. Each of politicians so cleared to run, has the political and legal right to run for the various offices they have been cleared. And as citizens, you have also, the same right as they to vote for a candidate or party of your choice.
But for any unpardonable reason, as a citizen of this country in this country, yet do not vote at this elections, beginning on February 16 and ending on March 2, 2019, you have no rights, whatsoever, to criticize the government that the elections produce.
This is because a student that had the same opportunity as others to write an examination but did not cannot demand for a grade from the authority of the status quo.