Precisely seven years ago, the APC came into power amid pomp, pageantry and great expectations. Nigerians believed that at last, we have gotten a crop of leaders that would take us to the next level. Many jubilated in the firm belief that the ‘change’ which Buhari and his party, the APC promised Nigerians was certainly going to transform the country.
Nigerians had every cause to dare hope that their teething challenges would be contained with dispatch – after all, had the APC not promised a new dawn?
Expectations were huge after Buhari’s inauguration, which followed a hard-fought election victory over former President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari, a tough-talking ex-general with a reputation for incorruptibility, was viewed by many Nigerians as an almost messianic figure who would restore the country’s lost glory.
Is it not worrisome that in seven years, President Muhammadu Buhari has spent less time to attend to urgent national issues but has been busy globetrotting; spending the little resources that Nigeria is left with abroad and returning home with little or no results from his missions abroad?
Is it not curious that in just 12 months into his tenure, Muhammadu Buhari visited 27 countries within and outside Africa – an average of 2.25 foreign trips per month? Is it not ridiculous that in seven years, contradictory social forces in Nigeria have become irredeemably sharpened more than ever before?
As a matter of fact, President Buhari’s campaign promises were hinged on three cardinal points: fighting corruption, tackling insecurity and creation of jobs. It is indeed shameful that almost eight years in office, not one of these promises has been fulfilled.
What really baffles me are Buhari’s pontifications on fighting corruption. It is nauseating because corruption does not fight corruption. The fact that APC consists of former PDP members who actually served in the 16 years of “failure and corruption” APC has accused her political rival of shows that Buhari and his administration reeks of corruption, and you cannot fraternize with corruption and expect to win the battle against corruption.
In the run-on to the 2015 general election, I followed painstakingly the campaigns especially that of General Muhammadu Buhari and the APC change mantra. Like many discerning Nigerians, I had come to the inevitable conclusion that both the APC and Muhammadu Buhari displayed galling emptiness and hollowness.
I also came to the conclusion that those promoting Buhari’s candidacy had other reasons for backing him, essentially because Buhari lacks the requisite credentials to launch Nigeria on the path of genuine rebirth. Events in the past seven years have proven me right.
That Buhari has failed is not surprising to me. That with less than 18 months to the end of his tenure in office, he is still blaming the PDP for his lethargy and incapacity to proffer solutions to the country’s many problems is indicative of a government short on ideas and also short on implementation; full of sound but lacking in rhythm; and full of motion yet lacks movement.
Nigeria has been indeed caught in the miry clay of leadership ineptitude. 80 months on in the life of this government, we are yet to make a scratch in addressing insecurity challenges in Nigeria; we are yet to make a go at resolving the country’s epileptic power supply, dealing with acute fuel shortage, unemployment, poverty etc.
None of this began under Buhari’s leadership but things have gotten worse under his leadership. Little wonder in June 2020, the US Council on Foreign Relations declared that Nigeria was on verge of state collapse. It has dawned on Nigerians that the promised ‘change’ actually meant ‘chains’.
Change, to the common man, is being employed, having three square meals, shelter, electricity, clean water supply and other basic social amenities. Any government that fails to provide these basic needs will keep Nigerians dreaming of their Egypt – land of captivity.
Muhammadu Buhari has demonstrated nauseating lack of vision on how to move Nigeria forward. His seven years of leadership has proven that he does not have the capacity or ability to carry the burden foisted upon by a coalition of political wheeler dealers.
Nigeria requires a national leadership with the understanding and capability to set the tone and direction for national growth and development. This must incorporate all citizens, irrespective of ethnic or geopolitical affiliation in a grand vision of collective dynamic growth. A lack of such political leadership denies the country of the possibility of meaningful growth.
What Nigeria needs now is a reconstructive surgeon who must perform a painful operation in order to extricate a painful ailment. Buhari is not a reconstructive surgeon and therefore lacks the requisite credentials to perform Nigeria’s surgical operation. I hope the 2023 general elections will produce that needed surgeon.
Ezinwanne Onwuka writes from Abuja and may be reached at email@example.com.