I feel a sense of disillusionment each passing day as one is faced with grim realities of a failed state staring at us in a 21st century world, where leadership effectiveness and competence can make a whole lot of difference. While we are drifting apart on all fronts with increasing cases of criminalities, the leadership appears fixated on prayers as the handy solution to our deepening problems. But for those who are calling the shots in the corridors of power, and a sycophantic few, President Muhammadu Buhari, to them, can never go wrong.
They easily make reference to the past by saying it was the previous corruption that has led us on this path to Golgotha, where everyday presents a new set of rhythms with their incoherent percussions. The All Progressives Congress (APC), which ought to provide an alternative leadership incubation for a tactless presidency, is already embroiled in a battle of supremacy. Calls of resignation and 2023 presidency have occupied the centre-stage of discourse, even when the inauguration vibes of a disputed presidency are yet to settle.
The APC chieftains from different parts of the country are mouthing well-choreographed sentiments, asking for the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to resign over perceived failure to meet the cutoff points that would have granted him the opportunity to be enlisted in the party hall of fame. But the APC power conflict is certainly not an Oshiomhole’s problem. It is a problem of arbitrariness, imposition of candidates and outright refusal to conduct credible primaries in line with the provisions of the party constitution.
In trying to ensure the supremacy of the party at the national level, Comrade Oshiomhole had insisted that the national office which is vested with the responsibility of conducting primaries, must do so without dancing to the whims and caprices of the all-powerful governors, who have since become the political dictators in their respective states.
Taking such step no doubt, was bound to ruffle feathers. As much as I am bound to disagree with Comrade Oshiomhole on his approach to a number of issues, insisting on party supremacy on the basis of promoting internal party democracy is a welcome development.
This may hurt some chieftains who are used to exercising domineering control over party machinery, reason why there were series of bad blood and failed relationship in the build-up to the 2019 elections, but a healthy internal democracy has no substitute. My concern is primarily the failure of the APC in taking a deeper look at the failings of a government instead of concentrating energy on the politics of 2023 presidency when the president has not settled down to set up his cabinet for a second term.
The earlier signs came from the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El’ Rufai, a man known for controversy, who went to Lagos to lecture his audience on how to deal with political godfathers. It was like echoing the sentiments of some political spectators who have been murmuring and grumbling over the seamless control of Lagos political machinery by the “Lion of Bourdillon”. Tempers immediately rose and in the ensuing altercations, one could see the depravity of man at play, the vanity upon vanity of political ambition and the desire of man to want to play God, the seer of tomorrow.
Rather than for the APC to sit down and subject the problems of governance to serious interrogation with a view to proffering solutions, the APC chieftains are already plotting the graph of 2023 that they might not live to inherit. I expect to see their tempers rise on the problems confronting the country, especially those that incompetence and incapacity have escalated, but alas, they are more interested in their individual vaulting ambition. I expect to see them move from one political boardroom to another in search of time-tested solutions to our numerous problems and challenges.
I expect to see APC and its over-ambitious chieftains move from geopolitical zone to another, engaging with Nigerians, and provoking a national discourse that could ease off the general palpable tension in the country. Rather than devote its time and energy on calls for resignation of its national chairman, the call should actually be directed to the president and his circle of non-performing officers whose action and inaction have exposed this country to several verisimilitudes.
President Buhari may be pretending to be holier than thou, but his disdain for Nigerians is a million pounds away. At inauguration for a second term, President Buhari left an already befuddled populace unconscionably perplexed and refused bluntly to offer a word to cushion their expectations and ignite their hope.
An already hopeless citizenry, who has taken suicide as second nature, were glued to their television sets, and waited patiently to listen to their president deliver his inauguration speech to rekindle hope and set the tone for his “next level” engagement.
After the oath was administered on him, he staged a walk-out and left 200 million Nigerians in the centre of the deep blue sea. He cruised in his newly acquired phantom customised Mercedes Benz car back to the Villa to seal up the activities of a day that Nigerians yearned for new tonic. It was a hopeless situation on a hopeless citizenry, and the president who could have ignited a new passion in them, ended up with mum. He demoralised every onlooker. The invited guests were shell-shocked.
While they were waiting to hear the president speak to them about his next agenda, he simply zoomed off. He lost a golden opportunity to carry the people along. He lost his voice and lost the crowd. Days later, we heard from the grapevine that he would deliver his address on June 12 celebration.
Whatever he wanted to say has been punctured by the passage of time. He would have used the inauguration to score some political mileage amid a growing schism over insecurity and criminalities across the country, especially on a day that the world seemed to have abandoned us and our presidency.
Foreign leaders and our past leaders stayed away. The seats were vacant. The voices were absent. And the president’s monologue became the denouement. It was a kill joy scenario and a huge contempt for a people in dire need of leadership at a time when the psyche of an average Nigerian is badly affected by kidnappings, terrorism, herdsmen killings and communal killings. Nigerians left the Eagle Square, venue of the inauguration, wondering what could have angered the president to warrant such neglect. But the more questions they asked, the more questions surfaced. No one was ready with a response. No one was aware of the appropriate response. Nigeria is drifting away in blood and in pains. Nigeria is plagued with all manner of challenges; kidnapping, armed robbery, communal killings, terrorism and armed banditry. It is about time to tell the president pointedly that he should wake up from slumber.
This is no time to sleep. It is no time to pretend that all is well. It is no time to celebrate anything. It is a time to move and move faster. It is a time for action, decisive action that would yield positive outcome. It is a time to call for help, roll up the sleeves and take up the challenge.
Instead of flying a kite of a coup plot somewhere to distract our attention from interrogating the leadership further, President Buhari should form his cabinet and set a timeline for some drastic actions and predictable result. We cannot surrender our country to kidnappers and terrorists. If government methods are not working well, they should try others. The army and other security agencies should talk less. The citizens want to see action from our security agencies and not talk, talk and talk. Security engagement is not about accusations and counter-accusations.
It is a matter of setting your target and working towards achieving it. Nigeria is going down, not because we are not hard-working people or that we have become helpless in the face of numerous challenges, it is because our leadership is not driven by creativity and initiative. Our leadership is not reaching out enough. It is not a leadership that is constructively engaging. It is a leadership that believes in using old and dogmatic methods in solving modern problems with a different sophistication. Crimes are becoming more and more sophisticated in this modern times. Countries are devising new ways and techniques to fill the void, but Nigeria is still using old tools to contend with artificial intelligence, emotional intelligence, and cutting edge technology.
The president needs to commence this race with adequate speed and required gusto. Every day in Nigeria is one that wears gloom and anxiety. It is one of suspense and mutual suspicion. It is one that is pregnant and ready to unfurl. Nigeria is going down, there is hunger, pov-erty and deprivation. There is growing cynicism. There is growing apprehension. The earlier the president talks to us to ignite the required passion and elicit hope, the better for a citizenry that is presently amok.
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