APC: Go… going

APC: Go… going

Thursday, May 26, 2016 8:19 am


Buhari

Buhari

By Bolanle Bolawole



If you want to go quickly, go alone; if you want to go far, go together
– An African proverb.

There is no denying the fact that these are really trying times for the All Progressives Congress as a party. It is at its wits’ end defending its records as the party in power. In a period of just one year, it has witnessed a dramatic turn of events, crashing from a dizzying height of public acclamation and support to a horrible pit of public disaffection. Its rehashed excuses of the past are no longer holding water with the people. We told them; if only they had listened: Honeymoons are not forever! For the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, May, which ecclesiastics refer to as the month of grace, has turned into the month of rage. It did not just collapse on him; the tell-tale signs had always been there.

As they say, little drops of water – of disappointments, of angst, of dashed hopes, of renounced promises, of tardy performance, of careless and loose talks – have combined into the mighty ocean of discontent now threatening not only to submerge but also sweep Buhari off his feet. Remove “g” from “grace” and Buhari has a race to run – it is a race against time. To succeed, he needs two other “Ms” associated with the month of May – the “mercy” of the heavens to wrought “miracles” for him. Not the Ibe Kachikwus but vintage miracle workers, wonder kids with the Midas touch, are those needed for these times. For the times, actually, earnestly yearn for miracles, signs and wonders.
Truth be told, neither APC nor Buhari are the architect of the misfortune in which Nigerians have found themselves. Our problems have deeper roots but just like the ill-luck that trail many reformist governments, this government has come at the wrong time.

To make matters worse, it is tardy and unsure of its steps. Its ranks are broken and its strengths depleted so early in the journey that it is looking as if it has been in government for more than one year. The British laid the foundations for our misfortune as a nation. A faulty foundation carrying the gigantic edifice called Nigeria cannot but groan and croak; the edifice itself cannot sit pretty. A confederacy would have been best; if, by force, the various peoples making up be country must be cobbled together into “one nation”, to borrow the defunct National Party of Nigeria’s motto. The federation the British bequeathed to us is one that promotes motion but arrests development. And as Sciptures say, “If the foundation be destroyed, what can (even) the righteous do?” Faulty foundations on which edifices have already been constructed are a nightmare. Reluctance to do the needful, as is the case with Nigeria, is awful. The more you patch it up, the more the cracks and cleavages appear. The more time you waste propping it up, the more costly the eventual cost of facing reality.

Part of the fault also lay with our founding fathers. They were not forceful and push-full enough; selfish interests did not allow them. They acquiesced to the shenanigans of the British simply on the altar of power take-over. Sectional interests were far too strong for the nationalistic fervour of the Independence struggle to surmount and obliterate; further confirming the view that this is one nation that should not have been a nation at all. It is to the fathers’ eternal credit, however, that they took giant developmental strides; but the gulf that separated their various peoples soon knocked the engine of the new nation. The military that took over made matters worse. One: The tiny air-hole that the British left for our “federalism” to breathe was firmly shut by them, turning an already imperfect federalism into the most unitary federalism on planet Earth. Decades of military rule destroyed all vestiges and pretences at federal rule and, with it, the possibilities of meaningful development that was the hallmark of the First Republic.

Two: The military was an awful bunch of wanton troopers, wasting our resources and failing to make the required investments into our future. They flared our gas; abandoned agriculture; starved the education sector; trivialised healthcare; and wasted the billions of dollars they collected as rent from foreign oil companies. One of them gleefully declared that our problem was not money but how to spend it! And how did they spend it? They wasted it! Three: The military institutionalised corruption on a scale never before experienced in this country.


But as if jinxed or cursed or both, we had, in 1999, a leadership intent on playing God and enjoying life to the hilt. But because oil money was flowing “yanfu-yanfu”, we were not quick to note this. To make matters worse, an awful combination of an invalid and a novice was thereafter imposed on the nation. The rest, as they say, is history! The truth of the matter is that this country was already gasping for breath when Buhari came into office. The patient was then quickly rushed into the emergency unit of the National Hospital and placed on life support. The lead doctor, Muhammadu Buhari, and other supporting doctors and care-givers have been attending to it ever since.

And this is very ironic in that the first military coup had been justified by its arrow-heads on the need to uproot the “enemies… making the country look big for nothing in the eyes of the international community” whom they identified as the “ten-per centres”. Had the margin of loss under the military remained mercifully at 10%, we would have counted ourselves lucky; but bribery and corruption became so entrenched, in fact, was elevated into an art, that one of their leaders became known variously as “Maradona”, “evil genius” and “settlement master”. A whopping US $2.8 billion Gulf War oil windfall vanished into thin air under his watch.

A short period of civilian interregnum apart, the military-engineered and military-supervised merry-go-round continued many decades until the forced return to civil rule in 1999. By this time, the country was already in very bad shape. Had we the good fortunes of a leader with the fear of God and love of people at that point in time, the ship of state would have been rescued and Nigeria, today, could have arrived in the comity of industrialised nations. How many years, for instance, did it take Singapore or the other “Asian Tigers” to shrug off poverty and under-development and arrive as members of the Second, even First, World?

But as if jinxed or cursed or both, we had, in 1999, a leadership intent on playing God and enjoying life to the hilt. But because oil money was flowing “yanfu-yanfu”, we were not quick to note this. To make matters worse, an awful combination of an invalid and a novice was thereafter imposed on the nation. The rest, as they say, is history! The truth of the matter is that this country was already gasping for breath when Buhari came into office. The patient was then quickly rushed into the emergency unit of the National Hospital and placed on life support. The lead doctor, Muhammadu Buhari, and other supporting doctors and care-givers have been attending to it ever since.
Will the “patient” survive? Buhari\APC gave every assurance that it will. The only condition they gave the people, to wit, sack the previous care-givers and put us in charge, having been met by the people, the onus lies with Buhari\APC to deliver on their promise.

Unfortunately, they are having problems doing this – worse; they are not smart at explaining their situation to the people. We have heard different versions of why they are not measuring up. One: The situation of the patient was worse than they had imagined. Two: The recovery of the patient would take longer period than they had earlier promised. Three: Buhari himself had wished he were younger and had more energy to tackle the problems besetting the patient. Four: New issues had cropped up that were never before anticipated but which will have to be addressed all the same.

They may be right. Nigeria, truly, is broke; everyone knows it but the people are reluctant to act by it because government itself is not acting by it. With the National Assembly members buying themselves new exotic cars; with government not making any conscious effort to drastically reduce the cost of governance; with the bureaucracy still callously and mindlessly padding the budget to the tune of trillions of Naira, why should the people be the only one being asked to tighten their belts? Why should the people not be expected to take up arms, as it were, against a patiently corrupt and anti-people bureaucracy and antiquated and unjust system?

The other day, Gov. Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state accused Buhari of spending not less than one million US dollars on each of his foreign trips. The president denied that he spends that much on each trip but has not deemed it fit to open the books for all to see. And the foreign trips continue unabated! A Minister in this same CHANGE administration was reported to have gone to borrow\loan over N100million from a parastatal under his watch to fund a foreign trip. Just imagine that! Is this the new system of siphoning public funds – foreign trips under whatever guise?

I pity Buhari but he is the architect of his own misfortunes in some respect. One: He has not demonstrated that he is a good party leader. His party is in disarray. The troops that brought him to power are no longer united under his command. In other words, he has effectively lost his command. As a military leader he should know that you do not abandon the troops that won the battle for you on the battlefield because you will need them on your way back to base, or else you could suffer an ambush. Two: He should never have opened another warfront in the South-east and South-south. Sending armies to “crush” militants engaged in guerrilla warfare is, I dare to say, dumb.

This is not conventional warfare; it is not the Biafra civil war that Buhari fought in 1967\1970. It is hit-and-run. Now that the militants are destroying the economic life-line of the country, what can Buhari do about it? Deregulation or no deregulation; subsidy withdrawal or not, the militants will bring the entire nation on its knees in no time if Buhari does not review his analogue tactics. Three: Buhari has not effectively managed information on the fuel hike, which is the immediate cause of the anger in the land today. The aides speaking for him, and speaking at cross-purposes, could not have resonated with the people like Buhari himself would have done. The president should have addressed the people.

-turnpot@gmail.com 0705 263 1058

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