President Buhari, Where is the Change?, By Martins Obono
It’s almost three weeks since President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in to deliver the change he promised during the 2015 elections campaign.
People have argued that it’s too early to start holding this government accountable, but the truth is that President Muhammadu Buhari ought to be the most prepared president in the history of Nigeria because of the number of times he has contested for the office of President.
The president ought to have a plan, he ought to have identified the women and men who will carry this out. He ought to get on the job of fixing Nigeria immediately. But so far, no single appointments has been made. No move has been made towards revamping our economy, as he and his party said he would during the election campaign.
Nigerians who are in dire need of change don’t seem to have experienced an atom of it. The people are running out of patience. Since ‘Baba’ has been there, the business of running government seems to be as usual.
First, it was on assets declaration. The president has still not made public his assets and or liabilities that were purportedly submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau, as he promised Nigerians he would. The history of our public servants show that it has been the tradition in Nigeria for people to get into and exit public office without declaring their assets. It is also on record that a majority of our public officials perform “half-done” assets declaration exercises. Mr. President seems to fall into this category. Nothing has changed.
Second, there have been two appointments made by the President and both are doing the same job – media. Shehu Garba was appointed Senior Special Assistant on media and Femi Adesina was appointed Special Adviser to the president on media. This is a duplication of responsibilities. It is an old way of creating jobs for the boys or a way of appeasing political benefactors. For a president who promised to cut down the cost of running government, to duplicate responsibilities in the only appointments he has made doesn’t signify a ray of change in a supposed dark tunnel of “continuity”.
Sadly, the appointees of the president have been busy promoting themselves on social media using their personal Twitter handles to tweet official information while the @NGRPresident, which is meant to be the official handle of the president only retweets. This is not change because people like us sought the heads of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s aides on social media for personalising the presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The implication of the act of tweeting from personal handles is that it becomes difficult for anyone to get information on the president or the presidency through social media and it also makes the job of archiving major decisions and statements of the president difficult. Lastly, we don’t know when the president is speaking through his aides or if the aides are speaking through the president. Can the President enforce some change here please? This is so because social media defined the elections that brought him to power and he must not underrate its potentials to put the proclaimed ‘change’ on auto reset.
Furthermore, the President’s first major outing was to hold talks with the Presidents of neighbouring countries to discuss ways of ending the Boko Haram terror. Was this not what former President Goodluck Jonathan was doing and many “change” supporters called him weak? Albert Einstein once said, “insanity is doing the same thing with the expectation of different results”.
The first move by the APC led government in Nigeria shows that it is truly a party of strange bedfellows. How does one explain what’s happening at the National Assembly? The desperation for power and control at all costs would be the party’s greatest undoing. How else do we want to debate the fact that the President has refused to congratulate the speaker of House of Representatives and president of the Senate for their victories. That’s despite saying he can work with anyone that emerges as leaders of both chambers.
The PDP was quite an indisciplined political party. It was when the party started embarking on reforms to instill some level of discipline under the leaderships of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and Adamu Muazu respectively that the party started having internal crises that brought about the emergence of a new PDP, which latter went into an alliance with the APC to give the opposition party victory in the 2015 polls.
APC must start showing signs of seriousness in the area of discipline. Since charity begins at home, so should discipline begin in the green and read chambers of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Beyond grabbing power and having control of the nation’s resources, APC must show seriousness in reforming Nigeria’s socio political system. Hence, Senator Bukola Saraki and Hon. Yakubu Dogara must be sanctioned for anti party activities for going against the wish of the party leadership.
APC must show that beyond the quest for power, the party has the interest of the entire country at heart. The party needs to set a good example by doing things differently and rightly, even when it hurts, just for the the good of our polity. If this is done, then change must truly be on the way.
In terms of the justice system, we have seen an associate of the President having his N19.2b corruption charge quashed in law courts. This has been the practice, right from the days of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. It is still business as usual. I don’t expect much or even anything to change.
President Buhari is being unfair to the little over fifteen million voters who believed he would do things differently.
Mbasekei Martin Obono is Executive Director of Cybercrimes and Fraud Prevention Foundation.