T oday is Tuesday the 24th day of January 2023, and President Muhammadu Buhari on record is officially Nigeria’s worst nemesis, the worst leader to be produced by the country.
This is not to say we have not had bad leaders in the past or that our problems started with President Buhari. The truth is that no matter where you stand, the records are clear; Buhari compounded our woes. He is confused and so are millions of us who are confused about the direction the country is headed. From the perspective of the world, Nigeria should be leading black Africa’s prosperity.
So much hope and expectations were placed on the country. Leaders like Buhari were to lead Nigeria to glory and build Africa, but they betrayed our hope. Their leadership failed us, failed Africa and failed the rest of the world. Buhari’s Nigeria is one of the un-safest places in the world to live in. It’s easier to die under his watch than to stay alive. Go to the airports and embassies and see the population of people making efforts to leave the country and you will shudder in disbelief. People are escaping the country because the regime has set new records on insecurity, violent crimes and banditry.
As a result of insecurity, the $4.7 billion invested in railway transport is now in jeopardy as the trains, rail tracks and passengers have become subjects of regular attacks by vandals, terrorists and bandits. Just a fortnight before now, gunmen unleashed terror on train passengers in Igueben, Edo State abducting 20 persons. Abductions and kidnapping is a booming industry in Nigeria. Payment of ransom is a common practice in the engagement between the citizens, government and terrorists. The Edo incident wasn’t the first time bandits had targeted train passengers.
The Abuja-Kaduna train attack, which occurred on the 28 of March 2022, is still fresh in our memories. Just like the Edo State attack, the government response was to halt train operations. No lesson learnt and no additional safety measures to guarantee the safety and security of lives put in place. The government and the confused citizens are yet to come to terms with the fact that we cannot give up our civilization and ways of life to the dictates of criminals. At the time of my writing this piece, a Catholic priest Rev Fr. Achi was burnt to death at his parish house in Niger State by terrorists.
A church in Katsina was bombed during mass baptism and 25 worshippers abducted. In Imo State heavily armed gunmen were reported to have attacked the home of the CUPP spokesman and PDP candidate for House of Representatives, Ikenga Ugochinyere. The attackers killed three persons and burnt vehicles including his country home. The only known crime of Ikenga Ugochinyere was his refusal to maintain a sealed lip in the face of official tyranny; hence people are pointing accusing fingers towards the direction of the government as orchestrating the violence. The South East, just like other parts of Nigeria, can best be described as a jungle.
Part of the reasons for the insecurity in the South East was the consequence of dysfunctional and unjust governance. No one wants to be part of a federation where he is treated as a second class citizen. I hate to say this, but the truth is that Buhari’s clannish leadership style obviously painted the Fulani tribe with a dark brush. Though a natural polarising figure, we were divided before he was elected president in 2015. But rather than unite us, he has now divided us more. His nepotist leadership style and one-sided patronage of members of his tribe and religion shouldn’t have had a place in a multi-ethnic and pluralistic nation like ours. The future after Buhari doesn’t look as good for Nigeria as some of those angling to succeed him do not believe in the rickety country they want to lead.
Where then lie the future of Nigeria if the people positioning for leadership have no confidence in the country? The economy is Buhari’s weakest point and not many expected him to do any magic. As a bad economist, he successfully set a new record of inflation, debt and uncontrolled spending. Currently, the government is owing N77 trillion in debt with no repayment plan in sight. I hope those campaigning to succeed this president well understand the economic mess we are in. I hope they well understood the unemployment rate, the infrastructural deficit, the collapsed public education system and the state of hopelessness in the country.
There is no gain saying that Buhari will not address any of the problems as highlighted before leaving office because he has no clue on how to address them. He never attempted to address them in the past seven years and some months since he was president, and will not address them in his remaining months. I guess as usual, he isn’t aware that his CBN governor whom he authorised to redesign the Naira notes and enforce cashless policy across board, including limits to cash withdrawal is now playing hide and seek with the secret police which by the way is a department directly under the president. Evidently, corruption fights back when you fight it.
However, the least Nigerians expected was the spectacle of Idi Amin’s Uganda. We never thought that the day would come in Nigeria where the CBN governor in the middle of a major monetary policy revolution would be hunted by the Department of State Services (DSS) for alleged terrorism financing.
Having taken over the CBN governor’s office as was reported by some media outlets, the DSS is officially running the Central Bank and monetary policy. Not even the military government attempted this absurdity but this is Buhari’s Nigeria where the rule of law is the rule of the thumb. I am getting confused about the president’s legacy and so is the country. Does he want to leave behind a Nigeria destroyed beyond recognition or a country that can still be salvaged by a visionary good leader? I guess the president is also unsure of his legacy.
However, I know Nigeria is not about to break up. Buhari’s poor leadership is too peripheral to cause the country to drift into collapse, but the question remains whether there will be calm after the storm? Post Buhari Presidency, Nigeria needs a bold leader with a clear head to calm the storm. A leader whose leadership style will inspire hope. A leader who will build back Nigeria and renew the trust of the citizens in the government and the country. The people are sick and tired of broken dreams and promises.
All they want is to return to the pre-Buhari era, not because that era was a bed of roses but because it’s a good starting point to refresh and rebuild Nigeria. I personally wish the opposition PDP would put their acts together. I wish the G5 will stop eating PDP. PDP cannot win the 2023 election without a strategy that will end their internal crisis. I wish Nigerians look beyond political parties, religion, tribe and other primordial sentiments in electing the next president. I wish we realise that Nigeria is bigger than any individual’s personal ambition.
I wish we put the country first. I wish we understand that elections have consequences and that 2023 is one of our most consequential elections. I wish Buhari’s Nigeria never happened upon us, but alas it happened and we are witnesses to it. All that we need to do now is to hope for the best and work for the future. Like I already stated, a new Nigeria is possible and we can make it happen.