By Fredrick Adebayo
If anyone else had said that Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has failed the people of the country, his band of fanatical supporters would have let hell loose. We have seen them launch attacks on courageous critics of the President like Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom whose only ‘sin’ is pointing at the areas where the Buhari administration has failed and the measures that should be taken to address the worsening security situation among other challenges bedeviling the nation.
But this time, no critic spoke. The President became his own critic when he delivered an Eid-el-kabir message to the Muslim faithful a few days ago. Buhari admitted that his government has failed.
He accused civil servants of stealing public funds and crippling the economy, “they make life difficult for others; money becomes their god; leaders abandon their oaths of office by taking money meant for the welfare of the people and divert it to their private pockets”.
Shocking! Terribly shocking to hear the chief supervisor and chief accounting officer of the nation cry in helplessness as Buhari did! Whose duty is it to instill discipline in public service and curb corruption? When he was campaigning in 2015, Buhari made the fight against corruption one of the three campaign pillars? The other two cardinal points were security and fixing the economy.
Someone needs to tell Nigerians which of the three campaign promises above the President has fulfilled.
President Buhari was considered a messiah by many Nigerians before 2015. His promise to fight corruption to a standstill, drew applause home and abroad. But Nigerians are shocked at the level of corruption championed by the very government that pledged to end graft in public offices. There has been selective prosecution of corruption cases. A Governor or any other public office holder who joins APC becomes a ‘saint’ and his sins are forgiven. Today, this same President comes out to tell us that civil servants are the ones stealing public funds.
Recently, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, in connection with the diversion of funds and money laundering activities to the tune of N80 billion. Buhari has kept sealed lips over that heist till today. Who is the President fooling? There are several other cases of stinking corruption under his nose, yet, we do not get to hear what steps he has taken to rid his government of graft. No one has been asked to resign!
He admitted in the same Sallah message, the hardship his government has thrown Nigerians into, “I am quite aware of the difficulties people are facing and working to resolve them.” The next honourable thing a leader should do having accepted that he has woefully failed is to vacate his position. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned last week over far less issues. But here we are with a President under whose watch Nigerians have faced the lowest moments in the country’s history looking for who to blame.
Buhari also admitted in the Sallah message that his administration has failed to provide security of lives and property. He rather glorified terrorists for being daring and taking peole hostage.
Recall that security was top on the list of promises President Buhari made to Nigerians in 2015. Unfortunately, there is nothing much to smile about as the country continues to witness an upsurge in the invasion of communities and killing of innocent people in their sleep by herder militia and other terrorists. Activities of armed banditry, kidnappings as well as herders’ attacks on farming communities have continued to rise with no end in sight.
This is the reason why states across the country are devising ways of mobilizing the people to stand up and defend themselves in the face of brazen attacks by the invaders. Here again, the initiative of the likes of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom who introduced Community Volunteer Guards deserves commendation. That’s a bold move to help the people take their destiny in their own hands.
The presidential advance team was attacked in his home state Katsina but President Buhari carried on as though nothing had happened.
One wonders how Mr President goes to bed and sleeps soundly knowing that the majority of Nigerians can’t find sleep. How bad can the situation get for the President to realize that he will leave the country worse than he met it?
There will be no shame if President Buhari throws in the towel and leaves now.
* Adebayo writes from Lagos.