While 2015 might have appeared to present a ray of hope for very many of us who were at that point simply anti everything Ebele Jonathan and his total administration, it appears like once again, just like previous years and administrations, our hopes have been dashed and disillusionment is now, the common denominator in the polity.
Sometime last week, I took up the unenviable exercise of scouring through APC’s 2015 promises and all I could make of it was that, it is/was the biggest joke ever told in the history of Nigeria’s nascent democracy. It is needless to say however, that most of these promises, if not all has been denied anyway.
As it was with me, very many other Nigerians wanted the many years of obvious waste and official corruption characterized by the Goodluck Jonathan administration out. And we did all that we could by showing him the way out of Aso rock through the instrument of our ballot at the polls two years ago.
In one of my public interventions last year vide an article entitled, “Dear Mr President; Before your time runs out”, I had called Mr. president’s attention to the fact that Nigerians are highly expectant of the good governance model he promised them at the campaign stands and that he does not have too much time on his side to fulfil these drowning expectations. It was to my consternation however that this article which I authored in good faith was received with quite an amount of backlash. The rhetoric “wailing wailer” had then been coined at the time and was on the rise, and so it wasn’t surprising to get my own share of being tagged a wailer quite unfortunately by a reading mass who had imputed so much sentiments to my honest intervention.
However, three years on after the jubilations that characterized this government’s victory, our case can only be described with the popular idiomatic expression; “from frying pan to fire” and the case of a people running from pillar to post in search of the dividends of governance. There is at a matter of fact no gain saying the fact that we have obviously descended into a worse state than before and yet muddled up in a quicksand. The past three years can at best be described as a colossal disaster characterised by a high inflationary rate and surge in the price of absolutely everything in the country with the exception of the minimum as usual. Life has been much harder for those in the middle class, talk less of the lower class and out rightly poor Nigerians. One could say that life in the country could be captured aptly in the Hobbesian context of being nasty, brutish and short. A spate of events that has left too many a citizen worried and languishing in utter hopelessness.
There are three categories of people who have been obviously represented in the post -2015 dialectics of the current government and its administration: The first set are those who think criticising PMB and his administration simply and directly means hatred for PMB, love for PDP or total blindness. These set of people have unfortunately been the most unhelpful in accessing our growth as a nation and in further setting of agenda for the government at the centre. These lot also seem to be the ones surrounding the presidency hence blocking them from seeing the current and actual realities on ground. It is even more painful and shameful that a huge chunk of those that fall into this category are actually intellectuals and members of an elite class who have seen things work even better in other places. Some are in short, direct beneficiaries of a working system.
A sub-branch of those in this category are those who think criticizing the president is a direct hatred for the North. Unfortunately, unlike their counterpart in the parent-branch, many of those in this sub-branch are actually uneducated, which on its own isn’t only a disaster but a ticking time bomb. Members of those in this category are arguably influential in the rumours being driven across the corridors of Aso rock and boldly sold on the streets of Abuja to the effect that “the President was Poisoned”. The set of people in this entire class are obviously the most dangerous ones.
The other category of people is those who think criticizing the president is simply hate for APC or being stuck in the past i.e. pained for the previous administrations’ loss. These are also another set of highly unintelligent people who have refused to look beyond their myopic way of thinking. To them, the national discourse and reactions flowing from it must be limited within the PDP vs APC narrative. The difference however, is that unlike the first category of persons, these ones can only troll and mock; and do not directly pose any threat to our democratic experiment except that obviously they refuse to paint the current realities exactly how they are.
That President Buhari has been absent from the country for the past 85 days and we as citizens having absolutely no idea what kind of illness he is suffering from is now a matter of common knowledge and public disaffection. And one would be right if they draw the conclusion that we have not been holding president Buhari to the same standards we held of his predecessor, president Goodluck Jonathan. And this leads me into asking: What happened to all the critical articles that flew around pre-2015 and the various calls from different quarters for a better society? The big question perhaps is: what if it was Goodluck Jonathan who decided to take a 85 day leave without telling us what was wrong with him? Would the reaction be the same? Is it okay to then assume that the extreme criticism that Goodluck Jonathan faced wasn’t totally as a result of his incompetence? `is it safe to assume that many of the pre June 12, 2015 activists were simply driven by ethnic solidarity and not personal principles? What is wrong with our president? How much of state resources has he spent on himself in the last 85 days? At least we know for sure that the presidential fleet has been parked in England and that isn’t free.
Out of about six months this year, president Buhari has been out for about four. When will he be back? As much as I liked President Buhari pre-2015, Nigeria doesn’t currently have a commander-in-chief. The missing military flag was rather obvious during Vice President Democracy Day address. That we need a president amidst these terrorist attacks happening in the North and the various numerous security challenges spreading like wide fire in the south is a fact of incontestable truism.
And since it has come to this, I must associate myself with the sentiments of Seun Onigbinde to the effect that “since we know the FEC wont bulge, I will state NASS should write him a letter for his return or simply commence impeachment if he doesn’t reply”. However, if asked, I would suggest that president Buhari should gracefully resign and return back to his country home in Daura, to take care of himself and if possible, attend to his orchard. He has been president twice anyway.
There is no way I am rounding this article up without stating the obvious that there is hunger in the land and that this administration has been nothing less than a colossal disaster. Nothing has worked so far! The best thing that president Buhari can do for us is to put Nigeria and Nigerians first and resign, go home and take care of himself. Democracy and governance must continue by all means. Nigeria should be greater than anyone or any group’s personal interest. And just before the Buhari crowd call for our head, may we point out that our position is not birthed from the hatred for Buhari, it is simply from the love of Nigeria.
By all means necessary, this burgeoning democracy must work. May it not be truncated by the short-sighted arrogance of one man or ruling cabal.
Originally written for publication on The Punch Newspaper.