What does the next four years hold for Nigeria? That the destiny of this nation is tied to a man that is so oblivious of its mounting challenges and possibility of civil revolt is confounding. If the state cannot protect us from ourselves, wouldn’t that be considered as a push towards self-help? With self-help comes anarchy and that leads me to the question: Is Buhari Nigeria’s undertaker?


Who is in charge in Nigeria? Who is responsible for us and to us? Responsibility is the biggest burden a leader can bear and must bear to be considered fit for leadership. Actually, one of the definitions of leadership is: taking responsibility for the outcome of any given situation. The buck stops with the leader. Harry S. Truman, former president of the United States kept a sign “the buck stops here” on his desk in the Oval Office. The phrase was a constant reminder that the president has to make decisions and accept the responsibility for those decisions. A true leader is incensed at times of crises and uncertainties. He picks himself up, determined to take control, and faces up to the challenges, while inspiring the led to equally confront the challenges.

President Buhari never seemed to have incubated any plan for the many years he sought to be the president of the most populous black country in the world. Even with mounting insecurity and economic despondency, he is “unaware”. Famous for delegation, he outsourced his presidency early to a band of power profiteers and hegemonists. Seeing the opportunity of Nigeria as a lawless space where everyone is on the take, criminal racketeers, extractive exploiters and ethnic chauvinists swooped in. It is very tempting for a leader to abdicate responsibility under the guise of delegating duties and empowering subordinates. It is rumored that some ministers in Buhari’s government did not meet him more than once, for a few minutes in four years. How does he share his vision of what Nigeria should be, if there is any vision at all? A leader must have a vision of what he wants, how to get this, where he seeks to take his people and how to get there. The ministers are supposed to be the sharers and executors of President Buhari’s vision of Nigeria. There ought to be conversations between him and his ministers, in which they respond and commit to the vision. For four good years, the president did not rejig his cabinet even in the face of glaring underperformance. How is the next four years going to be different?

We thought we were getting a good deal when we elected a retired General in 2015. We thought our security woes would go away after electing an army General from the North. Daily, Nigerians are getting killed, abducted from the highways, prevented from going to their farms, women are gang raped and not a word of assurance or succour is offered by their elected president.


What we have in Buhari is a ceremonious president who is interested in power for its own sake, who loves the appurtenances of power, the flying in and out of Nigeria, has no flair for tackling issues or having the difficult conversations and making the decisions needed to resolve them. Fulani terrorists, in tandem with elements within the state security apparatuses, are creating bonfires of chaos all over Nigeria for a malicious cause, yet the president is unconcerned. The Presidency and governors are allegedly paying ransom to kidnappers and no effort is being made to tackle the issue headlong. Miyetti Allah has become an arm of government, but the president does not seem concerned. A good leader does not tolerate any splinter of his authority, however Buhari splintered his own authority. He does not understand that gaining a bad reputation is easy for a leader who abdicates responsibility by sending or allowing subordinates to negotiate conflicts or break bad news, when he should do be doing these himself.

We thought we were getting a good deal when we elected a retired General in 2015. We thought our security woes would go away after electing an army General from the North. Daily, Nigerians are getting killed, abducted from the highways, prevented from going to their farms, women are gang raped and not a word of assurance or succour is offered by their elected president. It is a shame! It is tempting to run and take cover when things are bad or going wrong. It is precisely for such situations that we have leaders. Our president is not visible, and has not invited a single victim of kidnapping to Aso Rock. He has not met with families of those murdered. He has not demonstrated that he has a grip on the situation, that there is a plan, and that he is taking responsibility for resolving the problem. Nigeria has become an unfolding tragedy.

I hope President Buhari does not have an exaggerated opinion of his victory at the last election. If he does, his tepid inauguration and lack of excitement among Nigerians should be his barometer. With him and Atiku as options, it seems we are not done expiating for the curse of leadership.


I hope President Buhari does not have an exaggerated opinion of his victory at the last election. If he does, his tepid inauguration and lack of excitement among Nigerians should be his barometer. With him and Atiku as options, it seems we are not done expiating for the curse of leadership. Not once, during the last campaign, did he pitch to us a grand vision of where he wants to take Nigeria. Not once did he describe where he is heading and ask us to get on board. Throughout the campaign, he was propped up for his symbolic presence. His only duty was to raise the hand of his party’s candidates and wave to us. We elected him anyway. We elected him not because he is good and right for us but because the option of Atiku was more odious.

What does the next four years hold for Nigeria? That the destiny of this nation is tied to a man that is so oblivious of its mounting challenges and possibility of civil revolt is confounding. If the state cannot protect us from ourselves, wouldn’t that be considered as a push towards self-help? With self-help comes anarchy and that leads me to the question: Is Buhari Nigeria’s undertaker? If he is, maybe, this is a blessing. May be we should encourage him to continue in his abdication. Perhaps, something beautiful can rise from the ashes. If he is Nigeria’s undertaker, may it be quick and painless.

Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú a farmer, youth advocate and political analyst writes this weekly column, “Bamidele Upfront” for PREMIUM TIMES. Follow me on Twitter @olufunmilayo