Buhari: It’s Time to Change Tack
3 December 2016
By Chiedu Uche Okoye
Nigeria is not where it ought to be, technologically and economically given her abundant human and material resources. Is our country not blessed with immense human and material resources? Beneath our soil lie such material resources as tin ore, coal, bauxite, limestone, and crude oil. More so, thousands of Nigerians in the Diasporas are contributing to the growth of their host countries in diverse areas of human endeavors. Recently, a Nigerian-born medical doctor performed a laudable surgery on an unborn baby in America. His medical feat reverberated across the world. In addition to these, Nigeria has equable weather conditions, water resources, and arable land-these are incentives and forces for increased agricultural productivity in a country.
But why is Nigeria bringing up the rear on the leader of global national development? The reason for our national underdevelopment is simply the failure of national leadership. Our past successive civilian governments had failed to live up to our expectations. As they failed to place their ethnic and selfish considerations above national interests and cohesion, they could not entrench peace and unity in the country. Peace as well as unity is a sin qua non or prerequisite for national growth in a country. The presence of anarchic situation in a country stymies national growth. Ethnic hatred and suspicion, communal clashes, and bloody religious conflicts hinder national development. More so, since our attainment of political sovereignty in 1960, Nigeria hasn’t been led by it best and ablest politicians. Those politicians were without competence. It is sad that our recruitment of political leaders is based on the egregious factor of god-fatherism and imposition of leaders on the populace.
So, people who had no business being in leadership positions were thrown up and given important and exalted political posts in past successive civilian governments. And our country became worse for it as no country can grow beyond the dreams and visions of its leaders. Again, the soldiers that interrupted our democratic governance in the past presented their military regimes as corrective governments that would sanitize the country and rid it of corruption. They came with messianic complexes, however. Instead of effecting change in Nigeria as they vainly promised, they entrenched corruption in the country and violated our fundamental human rights as the constitution was put into abeyance by them. It’s RTD General Ibrahim Babangida that entrenched corruption in the country, and violated our fundamental human rights. And General Sanni Abacha, who was a mixture of sanguinary proclivities and inveterate thievery, stole Nigeria blind and murdered many members of the opposition group.
In the past, Muhammadu Buhari tried several times without success to become our democratic president. But, later, good luck smiled on him when he won the last presidential election, convincingly. Before his second coming as our national leader, he was our military head of state between December 31 1983 and August 27, 1985. He’s not unknown to us. We are fully aware of his leadership pedigree, austere nature, and Spartan life style.
He contested the 2015 presidential election on the platform of APC, a coalition of many political parties. Buhari’s aversion for corruption and Spartan life style and APC’s slogan of change swayed millions of Nigerians to his side. So, not unexpectedly, millions of disenchanted and disillusioned Nigerians that harbored deep resentment towards Dr Goodluck Jonathan for his bumbling performance as our president voted for him in the last presidential election.
Sadly, President Buhari hasn’t performed creditably well as our president so far. It took him eon period to select members of his executive cabinet. And they could be liken to placing square pegs in round holes. He failed to look beyond his party, APC, in forming his cabinet. More so, he is accused of northernizing his cabinet. This does not augur well for our national development. For example, the minister of sports has been committing verbal faux pas and misdeeds that should warrant his summary dismissal from office. But he is still our minister of sports to our utter consternation and surprise. The fact is this: many ministers in his executive cabinet are overwhelmed by their duties, responsibilities, and demands of their offices. Can’t he re-jig the executive cabinet and infuse new blood into it in order that his government can achieve its goals and take Nigeria to a great height, technologically and economically?
Sadly, instead of doing the needful, he has busied himself junketing around the global and whining about the hefty theft perpetrated by the immediate past political administration which, he believes, has grounded the economy. Is president Buhari aware that he is elected to fix our national problems, and not to wring his hands helplessly and whine endlessly about how ministers in Jonathan’s administration mindlessly looted our economy? Dire national circumstances ought to bring out the leadership qualities of a president. But not so with President Buhari. Is he aware that countries without natural resources like Singapore and Japan turned around their national economies by developing their manpower resources and utilizing them in the course of national development? That’s why developed nations do not treat the issues affecting their educational sectors in a cavalier manner. More so, what has he done with the moneys recovered from corrupt politicians? Did he inject the huge sums of money into our troubled, wobbling, fumbling, and tumbling national economy? Today, Nigeria is being buffeted by economic recession which is blamed on the dip in global oil prices and former President Jonathan’s mismanagement of the economy. But, are the economic policies being formulated and executed by his economic team not contributing to our national woes and predicament? It is obvious to us that those cockeyed and jejune economic policies are hampering our economic progress. Fortunately, Nigeria is not destitute of seasoned economists who made their marks in their profession at the global level. So why President Buhari has failed to shop for the best minds in the field of economics for the revitalization of our economy baffles me.
Again, contrary to the claims that Boko Haram insurgency has been completely stamped out in the northeast, the group still detonates bombs there. So, the fight against Boko Haram insurgency should be intensified. More so, the resurgence of militancy in the Niger-delta region following the exit of Dr. Jonathan from power should be handled tactfully as it is a delicate matter that has the potential of causing the dismembering of Nigeria. What cannot be disputed is the fact that our president has performed abysmally so far. So, it is high time he changed tack.
Okoye writes from Uruowulu –Obosi Anambra State. 08062220654