Nigeria Is Bigger Than Buhari, By Majeed Dahiru
In realisation of his inability to provide effective leadership to Nigeria in the face of mounting socio-economic and security challenges, President Buhari will be saving whatever is left of his fabled personal integrity by towing the path of honour to voluntarily relinquish power under constitutional democratic conditions in the overall interest of the nation… Nigeria is bigger than any individual, including President Buhari…
Arising from the acute governance inertia of President Muhammadu Buhari, the ship of the Nigerian state appears rudderless, even as it sails backwards. Attributable to his lack knowledge of basic economics, President Buhari in his first four years presided over the slide of Nigeria into the abyss of socio-economic doldrums, which reduced Africa’s most populous country to the poverty capital of the world, with the largest population of miserably hungry people. When he elevated such corrupt practices as nepotism, cronyism, favouritism and sectionalism to a near policy of state, President Buhari effectively deepened the roots and broadened the branches of entrenched systemic corruption in public service through influence peddling and state capture. With the Boko Haram insurgency still raging in the North-East, cross border banditry ravaging the North-West and marauding killer herdsmen pillaging farming communities in central and southern Nigeria, leaving a trail of human and inanimate destruction, Nigeria easily assumed the designation of the third most terrorised country in the world, under President Buhari’s watch.
Having failed to fulfil any of his three key campaigns promises of fixing the economy, tackling corruption and taming insecurity on the eve of the 2019 presidential election, President Buhari was burdened by a heavy baggage that portended imminent loss for him. To escape the people’s democratic wrath on the polling day, after he left them worse than he met them, President Buhari deployed a combination of electoral banditry and judicial perfidy that allowed him to steal and keep a people’s mandate for another four years. Consequently, President Buhari’s electoral banditry has equally birthed administrative banditry in the highest level of government, as his cabinet is mostly comprised of the dealers of the 2019 electoral heist or their protégés, whose primary interest is self-service at the detriment of public interest.
A few months intoPresident Buhari’s second term of four years, Nigeria is doomed to a future of agonising gloom. As presently constituted, the government of President Buhari is fundamentally detached from the everyday realities of the Nigerian people and appears hopelessly helpless in the face of mounting socio-economic and security challenges currently confronting the Nigerian state. Nigeria’s economic problems have become increasingly compounded by rising debt, falling revenues resulting in high inflation, mounting unemployment and mass poverty, with the Buhari administration appearing absolutely clueless on how to solve these problems. In Buhari’s Nigeria, corruption has been normalised, as nepotism, cronyism, favouritism and sectionalism have been given an official stamp of authority at all levels of government, resulting in the massive public treasury heist.
The heightened state of insecurity in Buhari’s Nigeria has raised genuine concerns among critical stakeholders across partisan lines and ethno-geographic divides, with Nigerians demanding strong action from the government. Unfortunately, President Buhari cannot be the solution to a problem that he is part of.
However, President Buhari’s biggest failure so far has been his inability to contain and defeat the hydra-headed monster of insecurity that is currently tearing the Nigerian state apart. The resurgence of the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East has once again put a lie to the claim of “technically” defeating one of the world’s most deadliest terror groups by the Buhari administration. In addition to the raging Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East, the deadly activities of cross border bandits in the North-West and the continuous pillaging of farming communities in its central and southern parts by marauding killer herdsmen, depicts Nigeria is a country in full blown war with itself. The deadly cycle of violence by non-state actors seems complete with the conversion of the entire Nigerian space into a thoroughfare of criminal economic opportunities by cross border bandits, through armed robbery and the kidnapping of defenceless Nigerians for ransom.
Nigeria is currently in a state of siege by armed criminal gangs operating out of the forests of its vast ungoverned territories along the major network of motor highways, who are robbing, killing and kidnapping millions of Nigerians. While Nigeria is currently scourged by a complex web of complicated security challenges that portends an existential threat to its continuous survival, President Buhari is in a state of “shock” and is watching helplessly. President Buhari has failed in his capacity as the commander-in-chief that should make things happen and has now become an inactive spectator, who while watching helplessly is wondering why things are happening the way they are.
The heightened state of insecurity in Buhari’s Nigeria has raised genuine concerns among critical stakeholders across partisan lines and ethno-geographic divides, with Nigerians demanding strong action from the government. Unfortunately, President Buhari cannot be the solution to a problem that he is part of. President Buhari’s elevation of sectionalism to a near state policy and overt partisanship in five years of his presidency has sharply polarised Nigeria along its numerous fault lines, leaving it most divided in its entire history, while also politicising government to the detriment of actual governance. A country as divided as Nigeria is, wherein the war on corruption and terror is overtly politicised, cannot defeat common enemies such as the Boko Haram and cross border bandits. The refusal of President Buhari to rejig the headship of his security architecture to reflect inclusivity of spread, away from its current domination by his northern section of the country and specifically to sack his service chiefs, who have exceeded their mandatory retirement after 35 years in service, is indicative of his prioritisation of sectional interests over national interests and more concern for his regime protection than the security of the lives of citizens.
President Buhari, a man of unapologetic provincial proclivities, who manifestly lacks the much required nationalist credentials to rise above the pettiness of sectional interests in overall national interests, is not the kind of leader Nigeria needs in this troubled times. In his five years in power, President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to learn the important lesson of the futility of sectionalism…
To solve the current heightened state of insecurity in Nigeria and pull the brakes on the slide towards national destabilisation and consequent disintegration, a strong leadership that is rich in nationalist credentials, with the capacity to unite the Nigerian people around a pan-Nigerian agenda for socio-economic development and national security is urgently required. President Buhari, a man of unapologetic provincial proclivities, who manifestly lacks the much required nationalist credentials to rise above the pettiness of sectional interests in overall national interests, is not the kind of leader Nigeria needs in this troubled times. In his five years in power, President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to learn the important lesson of the futility of sectionalism, which benefits only a privileged few family members and friends to the detriment of the overwhelming majority of the people. Despite the concentration of government appointments and heads of security agencies in northern Nigeria, the region is still the epicentre of the unravelling security earthquake and the dungeon of socio-economic dislocation in Nigeria. And the rest of Nigeria may not be willing to continue to share in its unbearable burden of socio-economic and security self-immolation.
To stir the ship of the Nigerian state from its current rudderless backward sail onto a channel of purposeful forward sailing, which inspires of safely reaching a destination of abundance and plenty for the people, a new captain is needed. In realisation of his inability to provide effective leadership to Nigeria in the face of mounting socio-economic and security challenges, President Buhari will be saving whatever is left of his fabled personal integrity by towing the path of honour to voluntarily relinquish power under constitutional democratic conditions in the overall interest of the nation. This will afford the ruling APC the opportunity to re-invent itself by guiding President Buhari’s successor with its robust manifesto and programme of action towards reviving the Nigerian project. Nigeria is bigger than any individual, including President Buhari, and should no longer be rendered incapacitated by his lack of capacity to lead effectively.