A joke making the rounds currently postulates that Muhammadu Buhari’s promise was to put Nigeria in “chains”, and never to bring about “change”. The joke explains that the confusion emanated from Buhari’s crude pronunciation, which makes the word chains to sound like change.
Certainly, all the economic indices point to a country in chains. The pain is everywhere. In the first quarter of 2016, the stock market dropped 17.6%, losing N1.2 trillion in capitalisation. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is down by about 50%. Direct Foreign Investment dropped from $8.9 billion in 2014 to $4.9 billion in 2015, and the Naira’s fall from 150 to 1 dollar in 2014 to 300 to 1 dollar today is the weakest the Nigerian currency has been in living memory. There is a shortage of electricity supply. The consistency of petrol supply is still in question. There is shortage of water, and the price of essential commodities has doubled. Not only are Nigerians not living well; they are losing their lives.
In a real democracy, Buhari’s statement that his concern is for the constituency that voted 97% for him and not that which gave him 5% support would be enough to start impeachment proceedings against him. This statement that is on record, has nullified the laudable claim he made in his inaugural speech. By words and actions, he has shown that he belongs to northern Nigeria, the constituency that gave him 97% support. Moreover, 27 out of president Buhari’s first 34 key appointments including the secretary to the government, the chief of staff, the head of department of security services and the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission are from the north. Meanwhile, Fulani herdsmen continue to terrorise farmers and landowners across the south. Rather than prosecuting the herdsmen, Buhari is proposing to reward them by establishing ranches across the country with federal government funds.
President Buhari demonstrated a blatant disregard for the law when he refused to release Dasuki from detention even after the courts had granted him bail on health grounds. A similar fate befell Kanu, accused of promoting seccession under the umbrella of IPOB
Buhari’s illegal methods of pursuing alleged illegality has not gone unnoticed by the international community. Amnesty international has pointed out several cases of human rights abuses, and the United States and the UK, one-time staunch supporters of the president have both expressed their dismay at his disdain for the rule of law. In Washington Times of 18 November 2015, Bruce Fein argued that by flouting Justice Ademola’s order to release Dasuki, the president has fatally compromised judicial independence, and is threatening to destroy the growth of democracy in Nigeria. On their part, the British are upset that Buhari’s government has diverted hundreds of millions of British foreign aid funds to tackle his political opponents. Writing in the Telegraph of 12 April 2016, the Newspapers Defence Editor, Con Coughlin, charged that as a result of Buhari’s failure to properly address the Boko Haram issue, the terrorist group continues to ravage the north East of Nigeria, and has now become the world’s deadliest terror organisation.
Shortly after election as president, Buhari had referred to ministers of the Federal Republic as ‘noise makers.’ For nearly six months, all areas of the economy from education to health and agriculture were at a standstill
When ministers were eventually appointed, he would proceed to treat them as outcasts. Without ministers to report to the ministry, directors took liberties. They demonstrated their penchant for corrupt practices when they padded the budget with fictitious figures, and complicated the budgetary process that the problem is still unresolved today; one year later. Virtually none of the promises made by Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015 has been addressed. Some of those promises were so outlandish that the President began to sound like a clown. How else would one describe a president who boasted that he would stabilize the international price of crude oil, or that he would, so strengthen the naira that it would become as strong as the American dollar. While the president has no direct influence over the price of oil, and the strength of the naira however, he could if he had the intellect fulfill some of his promises such as providing free school meals and paying five thousand naira monthly welfare benefit to unemployed youth. Then the president has divorced himself from these promises. According to him, those notions came from the APC, and not from him. If the president did not promise to bring about an egalitarian society, what did he promise?
Dr. Adetokunbo Pearse is the Editor-in-Chief/Publisher of PDP MATTERS.