By Chika Otuchikere
“As you make your bed so you must lay on it”, so the saying goes. Hope is at its lowest ebb for most Nigerians, such as has never been seen in the country, not even during the bloody days of the Nigeria, Biafra civil war. It must, however, be conceded that President Muhammadu Buhari who presides over this despondency, did not force anybody to vote him into office. Neither did he foist himself on Nigerians as he did in the early 1980s through the barrel of the gun. In fact, it could be said that the man whose only experience in life was being a soldier and later went into cattle rearing, was himself, a victim of ‘conmen’ who lured him into thinking that he still had anything to offer Nigerians by way of leadership, thereby, into joining partisan politics, with lofty assurances that he would be helped to become the country’s democratic president.
The conmen, who lured him, gave him the impression that, as a no-nonsense soldier that many Nigerians perceived him, especially with his unenviable track record as Head of State between 1983 and 1985 when he backdated a decree and got some young men tied to the stakes and hails of bullet sent them to an early grave against public outcry. And how he gave bogus jail sentences to some politicians convicted of corruption (some received more than 500 year in prison), he would be able to return the country to the path of glory with an iron fist.
While the politicians who sold the dummy of indestructibility to him merely craved to occupy the corridors of power in order to partake in further plundering the proverbial National Cake, millions of unsuspecting Nigerians who voted him into power under the All Progressives Congress (APC), merely swallowed large doses of lies well packaged and administered to them. These men crafted their lies against the then president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and painted him and his government as clueless and corrupt.
Accepted that the Jonathan administration, like others before it, failed woefully, to address two among the plethora major problems of Nigeria; uninterrupted power supply and corruption, but the Buhari government which not only promised to put a definitive end to the country’s problems in one fell swoop assured that he would leave a near Eldorado as legacy when he leaves office. He came, compounded Nigeria’s problems and now many are worried that Nigeria may not survive before he leaves. Indeed, new and more complex problems have been added to the list of problems.
When Buhari would have hit the ground running, following his victory after three failed attempts at the polls, he comfortably settled on a blame game policy which literally consumed the whole of his first term in office. Then it was a situation where, when he was not blaming the Jonathan administration, he was in some foreign hospital treating some ailments unknown by Nigerians. Meanwhile, then too he did not waste any time to give Nigerians signs of things to come: He spent nearly six months before announcing his cabinet and when he eventually did, he practically assigned the headship of all the security apparatuses to persons from just one region of the country: He immediately increased both electricity tariff and the pump price of fuel. Those increments immediately triggered a spike in the cost of living.
Also, while his government was busy persecuting perceived enemies especially member of the former ruling party in the guise of fighting corruption, his government orchestrated debates on policies tending to polarize the country and sow the seed of hate and distrust in the minds of Nigerian. The needless debate on the ruga settlement and the reenergized invasion and onslaught by Fulani herdsmen distracted everyone from the more important issue of governance.
No sooner than Buhari’s second term commenced than the world was thrown into the deadly coronavirus pandemic. As if it was wish come true, the government did not waste a second to begin to blame the coronavirus for all the woes the country is facing presently. As the country continues on its free fall into a second recession under the present administration, Nigerians do not need any crystal ball to see that President Buhari will end two terms in office without recording any achievement in any of the promises he made to woo Nigerians’ votes. On the contrary, there is a present fear that Nigeria may not come out of the present administration in one piece.
A catalogue of a few of those spurious propaganda and promises which Nigerians swallowed hook, line and sinker before booting Jonathan out of office was shared on the social media and hereby reproduced:
“A serious government will fix power problem in six months.” – Babatunde Raji Fashola (November 12, 2014)
“Stone us [APC] if we do not perform after two years.” – Tony Momoh ( April 3, 2016, The Guardian)
“The only way to have stable electricity is to vote out PDP.” – Babatunde Raji Fashola (July 12, 2014, The Nation)
“It’s Time To Restructure Nigeria: The present situation of things where all component units get monthly allocation from the Federal Government only makes the states lazy and unproductive.” – Nasiru El-Rufai (August 2010)
“Jonathan should resign if he has no solution to the violence being unleashed on some parts of the country.” – Nasiru El-Rufai (August 2012)
“The only solution to the present political uncertainty in the country is for the National Assembly to set machineries in motion for the impeachment of ailing President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.” – Muhammadu Buhari (March 10, 2010, Sun Newspapers)
“Waste: Let me give an instance, presently, there are more than 6 aircraft in the presidential fleet. What do you call that? “Billions of naira is budgeted every year for the maintenance of these aircraft not to talk of operational cost and other expenses.” – Muhammadu Buhari (February 2015, Nigerians in UK)
“We intend for instance, to bring back our National carrier, the Nigerian Airways. We shall do this by bringing all the aircraft in the presidential fleet into the Nigerian airway and within a year increase the fleet into about 20.” -Muhammadu Buhari (February 2015, Nigerians in UK)
“Why do I need to embark on a foreign trip as a president with a huge crowd with public funds?
“Why do I need to go for foreign medical trip if we cannot make our hospital functional?” – Muhammadu Buhari (February 2015, Nigerians in UK)
“Why is the nation’s currency, the Naira, now trading for N180 per Dollar, while the South African Rand is trading at R11 to one United States Dollar?” – Babatunde Raji Fashola (Dec 26, 2014, The Nation)
“Give Nigerians a daily update on the health of President Umaru Yar’Adua to stem the growing rumours surrounding his state of health.” – Lai Mohammed (December 21, 2009, The Nation)
“Amaechi is not only clean but a tool to free Nigeria from the corruption imposed on us by those who hate our nation.” – APC (October 24, 2016, Vanguard)
“The recent proscription of Boko Haram and Ansaru violates the Constitution.” – Lai Mohammed (June 10, 2013, The Nation
Nigerians’ hopes have been dashed but it is always too late for the eye to cry when the head is cut off. Today all those who supported, campaigned and voted this government into power have seen what they have led the country into. The cost of living has risen far above imagination; suicide that used to be best imagined has become the order of the day for Nigerians; corruption has become a national culture to the point that the head of the nation’s anti-corruption agency is accused of gargantuan graft and Buhari retained him as acting chairman in spite of evidence and documents indicting him; Crimes and criminality have overwhelmed the security agencies and regions have had to intensify ethnic security agencies to complement what is left after politicians and the rich have shared security agents among themselves and so on.
Far more Nigerians have sunk into Poverty in the last six years than any time else since independence, the country now sits comfortably on the ignoble throne of the Poverty capital of the world even ahead of India which has a population far above Nigeria’s. Indeed Nigerians are enjoying the Buhari government because they asked for it.