Prince Kassim Afegbua
President Muhammadu Buhari would have become an eponymous hero in a 21st century Nigeria of some sort if he was able to rise to the ovation that heralded his victory in 2015.
He has succeeded in creating new normal, contradicted himself immensely, ridiculed his earlier promises, reduced his persona by incompetence, rubbished his integrity by sheer hypocrisy, undermined his capacity by being unaware, negativised his trajectory and philosophy of governance by over delegation of duty, laughably creates a caricature of his incompetence, and gradually enlisted in the hall of infamy by breaking a world record of unemployment.
He has just made Nigeria the number one country in unemployment figures, with damning statistics of 33.3%, that is almost 70 million people by our population figure. That is more than the population of the United Kingdom.
That figure should scare us, but the president is not aware. With the new petrol pump price that would soon be introduced through the corridors of subsidy removal, we are going to see a geometrical increase in that figure.
In fact, we seem doomed for now. Whoever that will succeed president Buhari would need more than the grace of God to be able to make any reasonable impact in the Nigerian narrative, a chequered narrative that gives a pride of place to poverty, suffering, insecurity and blood-letting.
The damning report of Bloomberg is no enabler either. Each day that President Buhari wakes, I am still contemplating what truly runs through his mind with the ugly realities that dot our collective consciousness. His policy summersault has become footnotes of a regime whose economic team cannot arrest the economic drift staring us in the face.
The president, from the grapevine, resumes in the morning say 11am and closes around 4pm, just a mere 5 hours in a country that has been described as the “sickest” in the world.
Once the president closes, his lieutenants take full charge of the “other government”; the cabal and keep the Villa lights ashine until the curtain falls. This “other government” has become so powerful that whatever they do resonates around the Villa, with the usual refrain, “the president said”.
When it boomerangs, the usual escape route is travelled; the “president is unaware”. I am still wondering how a president that reportedly cannibalised fuel subsidy regime of previous administration could not find an exit door, almost six years into his administration, and still paying bogus subsidy claims, figures that fly in the face of reason and logic.
I am wondering each time I see the picture of President Buhari and the reputational crisis that is now associated with it. I often asked myself, is it that same Buhari that we were told has the magic wand to rebuild Nigeria, the Buhari they told us chased bandits beyond the borders of Nigeria or could this be another Buhari?
What has happened to the name Muhammadu Buhari in terms of reputational crisis finds similar expression in Nigeria’s. We are now headquarters to so many abnormalities in the society. We are now poverty capital of the world, no thanks to President Buhari’s ingenuity.
We are now the headquarters of joblessness, never mind Senator Rochas Okoroacha’s Ministry of Enjoyment and Jappiness. We are now headquarters of unemployment, no thanks to the debilitating impact of poor policy generation and implementation that has promoted adhocism.
Nepotism flourishes as the central kernel of the government. Hypocrisy resides in the minds of those defenders of the bile that the government has piled up. Talk of unemployment,
Buhari’s handlers would accuse others of being contributors to the menace. Talk of insecurity, they would say it didn’t start today, even when it has become worse. Talk of economic dislocations and increasing suffering, they would say Nigerians should be patient, after all, the government has promised to lift 100 millions out of poverty.
Is it a government that has not lifted 1000 people out of poverty, that is talking about lifting 100 million? Could that be hallucination? Tell them the cost of living is becoming alarmingly prohibitive, they will say Nigerians should endure.
Defenders of President Buhari’s monstrousity are completely blind to his incompetence, or maybe they are pretending. Listen to Governor of Jigawa State, Badaru, you are tempted to ask if he doesn’t deserve some mental health physician.
When President Buhari was campaigning for election, he made a lot of mouth-watering promises, from reduction of petrol pump price to that of kerosene, improved electricity supply and better living standards amid a couple of other stimulating promises like restructuring and security.
Today, as a function of incompetence, he has driven the country on the roughest roads of infrastructural decay, kidnapping, armed banditry, and general insecurity. His sychophants boast of his intervention in infrastructural development in their warped dreams, yet our roads have become endangered passage.
Kidnapping has become the fastest growing industry, banditry flourishes with relish, and Nigerians are being rustled like cattle into the forest with grandeur.
Sheikhs and mallams have abandoned the threshold of the mosques and now to the forest, preaching that amnesty be given to common criminals that have held us hostage.
President Buhari promised to fight Boko Haram insurgents and end insurgency once and for all. Till date, Nigeria Army depend largely on arms procured during Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
We are still waiting for President Buhari’s Tucano jets on the high sea or have they been trapped in the Suez Canal? Criminality has become a “heroic exploit” under president Buhari. Bandits walk around our forests with AK-47s, send out amateurish videos to show their class and fortress.
They kill at the slightest provocation. When former Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Kpotun Idris talked about “transmission commission”, and “transmission confusion”, we all laughed at his folly, but the man actually spoke in tongues about the vision he saw, some kind of prophesy about the confusion that would envelop Nigeria. We are now in Idris Kpotun’s world, a world of transmission confusion, confusion transmission, where the falcon cannot hear the falconer.
A world of confusion from the Aso Presidential Villa to the nooks and crannies of the country, everyone getting more and more impoverished, life becoming brutish and desolate.
President Buhari would have remained a hero kind of, if he didn’t seek to govern Nigeria at his old age. His adherents and followers would still have had a piece of him at that heroic pantheon.
Today, as president that he so desperately sought, to the point of threatening baboons would be soaked in blood, he has been demystified and become a collosal failure.
His name is now associated with failure in so many areas: failure to secure the citizens, failure to improve on our economy, failure to improve on our road infrastructure thus making kidnapping a flourish abnormality, failure to lead from the front and hiding in the Villa, failure to unite the country and build cohesion, failure to heal the wounds of nepotism, hypocrisy, ethnicity and religious bigotry.
He has elevated mediocrity to an art, easily charted without qualms. Those who often say “manage what you are getting from President Buhari” because of their support for Goodluck Jonathan, are not being patriotic.
Under President Jonathan, we ran a regime of many “governments” in one. President Jonathan, a much younger president with certificated education, prepared the way for a Buhari presidency.
He was timid to act in a presidential fashion. He allowed some appointees to dictate the flow of governance even when those appointees were doing damage to his administration. But for the failures of President Jonathan, we won’t have a Buhari.
Nigerians yearned for change, and change they got, except that they never bargained for this. Former President Jonathan, as an individual, is a likeable fellow, full of humility and patience, but in a country that should be on the speed lane, he was too taciturn to be effective.
That was why a greater majority opted for “anything but Jonathan”.
But that “anything” has become a body of failed promises, failed competence, empty rhetorics, motion-withoutmovement presidency, that has left us askance.
That adventure has now become an accident of history, one that we will never pray for again in the history of this great nation. President Buhari should please retool his cabinet.
He should take some problem solving measures to reinvigorate an ailing system.
The refineries he promised to fix or rebuild are smiling away in rots.
Dumping USD1.5bn into the Port Harcourt refinery is like throwing away our treasure in the ocean. As we fasten our seat belts to welcome the new pump price of petrol, Nigerians should await tougher days ahead.
At the end of the day, the president would be remembered for suffering, poverty, kidnapping, economic dislocations and insecurity.
Those are his new normal in a world of “transmission confusion”.