The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is a very interesting one. Aided by a number of factors, the stone many builders rejected, suddenly became the chief cornerstone. Like a hurricane, a wave of “Buharism” swept through the land. Emergency “Buharists” were born. From Dele Momodu to Wole Soyinka, on the one hand, to Chude Jideonwo and Japhet Omojuwa on the other, Nigerians all over suddenly found themselves in love with this man. It was strange. It was like a charm. What made it the more strange was the fact that almost all the people who made selling the Buhari project a do or die task, were staunchly anti-Buhari not long before. There was always one ready excuse for those who were themselves surprised by their love for Buhari: PDP, or to put it more emotionally; Jonathan.
After 16 years of piloting the affairs of Nigeria, almost everyone wanted a Change. Nigerians were tired of politicians who would say one thing, and do another. Under PDP, politics became a means to wealth, public wealth, more than a means to any other thing, service included. Under PDP, our treasury was looted. People became poorer, while the ruling class became fatter. To make matters worse, they behaved as if they never cared. They arrogantly arrogated omnipotence unto themselves. Everyone wanted a saviour from this behemoth. That was a when Buhari walked our way. For the fourth time.
There was something different about Buhari this time. No one could pinpoint what it was. But he suddenly had appeal. Almost a romantic one. Forgetting his track record, we all suddenly saw in him a Messiah. And Messiahs come with popular revolutions. No one wanted to be left behind. Everyone quickly jumped on the Buhari bandwagon. APC helped package him sweetly. Decked in Igbo, Yoruba and South-South attires (attires he never once adorned thereafter), Buhari smiled for the cameras. When some more discerning folks chose to warn us of his very brutal and provincial past, they were roundly ignored. Or accused of working for Jonathan, a man who was sinking in self-inflicted waters of opposition. In any case, Jonathan was never an option for majority of Nigerians. The North, who don’t really care about corruption, simply wanted a Northerner as President. The South simply made corruption the issue. And the verdict was loud and clear: Jonathan’s body language encouraged corruption. I mean Jonathan was feeding on a billion naira a year, while Buhari made do with only N30 Sachet Milo! Add that to the Boko Haram insurgency and the brazen kidnap of over two hundred school girls, Jonathan was fighting a battle he was doomed to lose.
Buhari and his party capitalized, and they were catapulted into the State House, against the run of (usual) play. However it didn’t take long at all for Buhari to disappoint everyone. Apart from some clowns who work at the Villa, and there are many of them there; almost everyone has been disappointed by Buhari. Like burnt “dodo”, what was meant to be tasty, leaves a harsh taste in the mouth just halfway there.
Buhari didn’t suddenly disappoint us. He did it methodically. Almost as if he deliberately planned to. He made some blunders that made us wonder. At the end, his critics would still be wondering how he actually found a way of ruling this country twice!
Here are some of his errors.
1. RUNNING FOR OFFICE (Again)
Buhari was never meant to run for President. Not once. And obviously, not four times. After the 2011 polls, he vowed to retire. He should have kept to his word. He would have died a hero. We wouldn’t have known he wasn’t really up to the task. He ran for President four times, and when he eventually got it, ran FROM the presidency. He shouldn’t have bothered.
2. DISOWNING HIS OWN CAMPAIGN PROMISES
Buhari actually came out to deny almost all of his campaign promises. He almost claimed those fine billboards with fantastic pledges were the handiwork of detractors. What kind of leader ever denies the path that got him the throne? Shameful.
3. REFUSAL TO DEVELOP HIMSELF
Buhari got into the army with a contentious O’ Level. He became Head of State without a degree! Same as Yakubu Gowon. Except that Gowon went to school after leaving power. He got a degree, a Masters, and a doctorate. He’s better for it today. Buhari? Nothing. He wasn’t preparing for leadership. Because he never prepared himself for it.
Even if you’re ethnocentric, at least, pretend you’re not. Not Buhari. He could not even hide his narrow mindedness. He didnt know how to. His appointments were obviously skewed in favour of his clan. And everything also, including DSS recruitments. There’s a certain Mamman Daura that runs things. Buhari is from Daura.
5. INABILITY TO BUILD BRIDGES
During the 2011 campaign, Buhari never visited the South except Lagos. Heck! He wanted to be Nigerias President, and could only campaign in the North? That was why I was surprised there was post-election violence in the North after he lost. I knew he would lose. Or he thought he would win?
6. LACK OF SENSE OF URGENCY
Buhari spent SIX months before appointing ministers. Would you believe that. That you spend one-eigth of your time without a team? What an abject , prodigal profligacy? Global best practice is to name your team even before you’re sworn in. My confusion was that very few people raised any alarm at that time. I think we were charmed.
6. GAFFES GALORE
“I cannot treat the people who gave me 97% of the vote in the same way as those who gave me only 5%”. “My wife belongs in my living room, my kitchen, and the other room”. “Nigerians are criminals and corrupt”. Words on Marble. By a President. In 2017.
7. ASSEMBLING A MEDIOCRE TEAM
Apart from former governors, name ten of Buhari’s ministers. OK, seven. Hard? Then there are the obvious nincompoops, who make you wonder how they found their way to a President’s side. Buhari has an appalling team. Simple. And somehow incompetence thrives around there. Even Fashola looks bemused. What’s Fayemi’s ministry again? Malami? LOL. Dalung? Da-what?
8. REFUSAL TO PUBLISH HIS ASSETS
Buhari lowered the bar. Yar’Adua published his assets on national dailies. Good luck Jonathan was crucified for failing to do so. Buhari promised to. He has not. Most likely will not. Shame.
Corruption is a huge problem in Nigeria. But contrary to what Buhari would have us think , corruption is not our major problem. Leadership is. We can’t have the kind of system that operates in Nigeria and expect that there won’t be stealing. Policemen on the roads still openly demand bribes. Yet we’re fixated on past government officials. For lack of a clear vision, Buhari mentions anti-corruption war as the antidote for all our problems. Whereas, if you open your eyes wide enough, you’ll see corruption taking root, even under Buhari’s nose.
10. ECONOMIC ILLITERACY
Buhari drove Nigeria into recession in 1984. He blamed Shagari. He drove us into recession again in 2015. Of course he blamed Jonathan. And falling oil prices. And 16 years of PDP. And corruption. And corruption. And corruption. He blamed everyone except himself. He was asked to devalue. He refused. He chose to float the Naira suddenly. He stopped a corrupt oil subsidy, after claiming it never existed, drove inflation into double digits, enforced a blanket Treasury Single Account, weakening money flow, and crumbled many businesses. Buhari’s economic illetracy brought unnecessary hardship. In fact an acronym for BUHARI became Brought Unnecessary Hardship Among Reasonable Individuals. To make matters worse, he never acknowledged he was weak. So, he never assembled an economic team. He had scores of media aides, many of them useless (I won’t let Lauretta Onochie work for me for free); but never had an economic team. We suffered for nothing.
11. SHEER SECRECY OVER HIS HEALTH
The way and manner in which Buhari has handled his health is unfortunate. Nigerians don’t know what is wrong with him or where he’s being treated. Buhari has been incommunicado for well over four months in the year. He’s getting treated at government expense, and all we get is no information.
12. TACTICAL INEFFICIENCY
For a former Soldier, his lack of tact in dealing with Nnamdi KANU and the Shi’ites is strange. KANU was almost a nobody with just a pirate radio, but Buhari turned him into a cult hero. Buhari should have visited the Southeast, for familiarization. He should have shown them love. No. He offered them Operation Python Dance. His absence allowed Prof Yemi Osinbajo, his deputy to mend some of those cracks.
Buhari haa done fairly well for himself in the war against insurgency. He has largely decimated Book Haram. That would be his major achievement. But has Buhari made Nigeria, or Nigerians better? Answer with the Fear of God.