Democracy Day Celebration and the Future of Nigeria
It will be a disservice to motherland if I didn’t share my thoughts on the second democracy day anniversary celebration of Nigeria since President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in two years ago. This will be a very short treatise in honour of all Nigerians as we celebrate freedom and democratic rule. I’m especially glad that we are not subjugated by the dark forces of men in uniform although some sinister forces have succeeded in bringing Nigeria to ruins and have taken us 18 years backward. Some weeks ago I had the premonition that we are at the threshold of the end of Buhari’s presidency. I dropped a few thoughts in a few places and it was clear the president was not going to be in the country for the democracy day celebration. Today, the Ag President who took over as Buhari traveled to United Kingdom on medical tourism has called on Nigerians to be ready to make sacrifices. This rhetoric has been characteristic of this administration. They have only offered Nigerians a life of austerity. The PDP scored this administration low on performance while Senate Oluremi Tinubu, the wife of Bola Tinubu, the National Leader of APC said that we need to be sober and reflect on the country. Former President Obasanjo also hinted that “we need to identify where we got it wrong”. Many Buhari’s supporters like Chude Jideonwo and some agile young people are lamenting, that Buhari has broken their hearts. How did we get here?
Today I needed to get myself a new Nokia phone mainly for making calls. The Nokia 105 which once sold for less than N3000 now sells for N7800 at Slot. That gives you an idea of how things have deteriorated in the past two years. Inflation has peaked sending general prices into the roofs. The economy is growing at a negative rate and the most popular word in Nigeria nowadays is recession. A country that was once beaming with hope and resilience three years ago is riling in the mud. We are back to the point where we were in 2007 after Obasanjo ran the country recklessly leaving a wounded country for the Yardua administration. Virtually everyone knows how we got here. Nigerians handed over their destiny to a man who railroaded his way Aso Rock with a goal of becoming president to complete his truncated dream in 1985. Aided by the destruction of Boko Haram, he campaigned on three mantras: Security, Corruption and the economy. Definitely Boko Haram was a foregone issue when Buhari won; many of us knew like the Niger Delta militants, it will fizzle out. What is remaining of the sect is the ideological Boko Haram which seeks to annex territories of which the brave men and women of the Nigerian army, God bless them will root out over time. I have often asserted that corruption is not the major problem Nigeria has, instead, our greatest undoing is leadership. To minimise the incidents of corruption, you need a leadership that will tackle it head on. When we are sick, we need doctors to attend to us, now without the doctors we can take self medication but a doctor provides the best advice to cure the illness.
Relating this analogy to Nigeria, it now obvious that we need the best doctor (leader) we can find to root out corruption. A leader that has no dent or at least is not involved in high profile corruption sagas in the past. Buhari was a henchman in the administration of Sani Abacha and is even reported to have given Abacha a clean bill of health as not corrupt. Now the same Abacha looted this country in billions of dollars and we are still taking delivering of returned loots in hundreds of millions of dollars. Now Buhari headed the money bag and treasury of that administration, the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) and was involved in a missing N25 billion. Now N25 billion over 20 years ago is close to N500 billion today if not more. Moreover Buhari was involved in truncating Nigeria’s democracy in 1983 and has been inimical to national unity. He refused to honour an invitation to the Oputa Panel in the 1990s showing his disgust and disdain to matters of national unity. He only apologised for the civil war and the 1983 coup shortly before the elections. This is a short profile of the man that was expected to continue the progress made under former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. I remember what Obasanjo said to Nigerians, when he informed us that he knows Buhari and he isn’t good at economic management. However, the APC, Buharideens, northerners, shenanigans, opportunists and many South Westerners saw in Buhari, a man that lacked the requisite leadership capabilities and qualities to govern Nigeria, a messiah and gave him the platform to run the country down. It has been a downward spiral since Buhari was sworn in, unnecessary delays, vindictive politics, nepotism, ethnocentrism, marginalization, sectionalism and all negative aspect of development has been the plight of Nigerians in the past two years. There were no premises upon which a Buhari’s presidency would have made progress. This is a government that has made his corruption war lopsided and only targeted at those politicians of the opposition that have not yet joined its ranks. This government has blamed virtually everything from the past government, to fall in oil price, and even God for its ineptitude.
Let’s consider Trump’s United States, although he’s not loved, he is a president that has great chances of succeeding. One of his plans is to repeal and replace Obamacare and this proposal was debated, discussed and disserted by the citizens before the elections. After swearing in, he went straight to fulfill this promise and after some hiccups, he succeeded. What do we have in Nigeria, there was no plan for the economy, and there were no plans to replace what PDP put in place, even I as a novice knew that oil prices were going to nosedive after a research I did early 2014, but a presidential candidate then didn’t have any plan for the economy in the face of such eventuality and Nigeria was left to dilly dial for almost one year after Buhari was sworn in. A severe forex crisis which has made the naira worthless with no cogent backup plan to forestall its effects was nonexistent. To add salt to injury, Buhari knowing his history of terminal sicknesses, insisted on running for president. That is wickedness. This sole act of his is threatening to tear the country in pieces and plunge us into strife. Posterity will not forgive Buhari should this democracy derail. Nigeria isn’t amongst the most difficult countries to govern in Africa. We are naturally endowed to the extent that with innovative management and expertise, we can fund our budget without foreign loans, any loans taken should be extra budgetary projects aside the ones funded from our revenues.
As I write, President Buhari is not in the country, just like his government ended two years after his first stint in the 80s, seems history is about to repeat itself. Ag President Osinbajo has taken over the mantle of leadership and as we have witnessed twice in the past 8 years, we are about to have another accidental president. This is not good for democracy but I believe that given the academic pedigree and clean past of Osinbajo, he can write his name in gold, hold the mantle till 2019 and take a walk for marginalized regions to partake in Nigeria’s top leadership. However, as we speak, salvation is not insight. For Nigeria to make progress, a radical shift from the way the country was run in the last two years need to be made else we might continue heading down the hill without any wedge to stop the drift and that movement might even be truncated along the way.God forbid. I pray that our democracy will be sustained and those planning to become a clog in the wheel of progress will have a rethink; the greatest gift Buhari can gift Nigeria is to send in his resignation letter as it is obvious he lacks good health to continue as president. Let us choose peace and heed the voice of reason.
May our democracy endure and God bless Nigeria.