President-Muhammadu-Buhari

These aforementioned issues are enough for Buhari to worry about. So, he should bother himself more with stepping up his game in running Nigeria, which presently has many citizens stranded in the grip of vicious hunger, joblessness and penury, as the economy keeps shrinking and hurting under his management. It is only when he has removed the log in his own eyes that he would be admired and taken more seriously for pointing out the fault of the other branches of government.


Last week Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari, while declaring open a Workshop for Nigerian Judges organised by the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption at the National Judicial Institute, Abuja, took a swipe at the Nigerian judiciary, claiming that the institution has not met the expectations of Nigerians in the ongoing fight against corruption.

This makes it the second time that the president would publicly accuse the judiciary of being a cog in the wheel of progress in the anti-corruption war, since he assumed office as the chief executive of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The first was in January 2016, in a town hall meeting with the Nigerians in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he said, “On the fight against corruption vis-à-vis the judiciary, Nigerians will be right to say that is my main headache for now”.

Similarly last Monday, PREMIUM TIMES reported him to have said, “I am worried that the expectation of the public is yet to be met by the judiciary with regard to the removal of delay and the toleration of delay tactics by lawyers.

“When cases are not concluded, the negative impression is given that crime pays. So far, the corruption cases filed by government are not progressing as speedily as they lshould in spite of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of 2015, essentially because the courts allow some lawyers to frustrate the reforms introduced by law.”

Most of us would agree that President Buhari only stated the obvious. Three years ago, a similar view was expressed by Mr. Femi Falana, a prominent Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), in an article titled, “The Rot In the Judiciary”. As such, there is no point arguing that President Buhari attacked the judiciary unjustly or violated the principle of its independence, because the institution would need to sanitise itself to earn its due respect, and hence forestall subsequent accusations.

However, that President Buhari who has always harped on the need for Nigerians to be “patient” and “hopeful” because “slow and steady” wins the race, now seems to be hiding behind “public expectation” to poke at the judiciary for not making “speedy progress” in the ongoing war against corruption, we ought to ask if he equally cares to know whether his performance so far has met “public expectations” likewise.

Factually, President Buhari came on board after Boko Haram had hoisted their flag within our territory, killing about 20,000 and displacing close to two million persons. Nevertheless, his administration has swiftly taken the fight to Boko Haram and degraded them, rescuing about 5,000 persons – Chibok girls not inclusive, while territories formerly under control of Boko Haram have been liberated.

However, the question on insecurity has now drifted away from Boko Haram to the spate of fatal attacks reportedly perpetuated by herdsmen. So, has the president’s response to this issue met “public expectation”? As things are presently, is the president not handling the herdsmen menace with kid gloves like his predecessor handled Boko Haram and allowed it to fester?

Last week, the minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun admitted that our economy is “technically in recession”, but we knew this even before her confession. Apart from the high cost of living and insolvency of states, the different cases of the theft of food while on fire across the country are pointers to the fact that things have really hit an all time low. Yet, has President Buhari’s leadership made “speedy progress” that meets public expectation with regard to alleviating the hunger and poverty of the masses?

Again, has the Buhari-led administration made “speedy progress” in terms of job creation? Let’s even agree that Buhari’s administration has created 610,000 jobs through the three segments of N-power: N-Power Teachers Corps; N-Power Knowledge; and N-Power Build – cum the police recruitment. Yet these are nothing significant when compared to the fact that 1.5 million Nigerians have become unemployed in 2016, while “youth unemployment also rose to 42.24 percent, as 15.2 million youths remain unemployed in the economy,” according to a report derived from the National Bureau of Statistics.

Besides, has President Buhari’s deafening silence met public expectation with regards to the three different recruitment scandals exposed so far under his watch? Even if the obviously lopsided appointments he’s made are justifiable by our constitution, are job racketeering, nepotism, favoritism and the flouting of due process in recruitment into public institutions as seen in the three different mentioned cases under this administration justifiable? In addition, is Buhari’s silence – just like that of his predecessor, former President, Goodluck Jonathan – on different explosive reports of some personalities in his government having soiled their hands in the past meeting the expectations of the public, given his public perception as a man of integrity?

These aforementioned issues are enough for Buhari to worry about. So, he should bother himself more with stepping up his game in running Nigeria, which presently has many citizens stranded in the grip of vicious hunger, joblessness and penury, as the economy keeps shrinking and hurting under his management. It is only when he has removed the log in his own eyes that he would be admired and taken more seriously for pointing out the fault of the other branches of government.

Above all, I will offer President Buhari the words of a journalist, Mr. Aniebo Nwamu, who wrote in a recent piece, “One year of Buhari”, “If another presidential election were to take place today, Buhari would still win my vote but not the election. And if the government ended today, most Nigerians would remember it not for (the) corruption fight or financial discipline but for job losses, high inflation, the hike in petrol price and electricity tariff, forex squeeze, famine and hopelessness. It would be an unfair judgement, but nothing in life is fair. Buhari has an opportunity to erase these impressions through flexibility and better communication”.

Ahmed Oluwasanjo writes from Abuja and can be reached through ahmedoluwasanjo@gmail.com; Twitter: @ahmedrazak3