Ever since he happened presidentially on the national stage five odd years ago President Muhammadu Buhari and his handlers and aides had not ceased bemoaning the past, blaming the national woes on the past (PDP) administrations. While the blame-game goes on the nation slides further into anarchy and chaos, something unprecedented in the democratic evolution of our nation.
Receiving recentlythe Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission, Rev. Yakubu Pam at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, President Buhari reached for his pastime of blaming others for what we are collectively living hellishly. Hitherto impervious to widespread criticisms that had trailed his dictatorial methods and tactics the President had asked those who had been criticising his regime, particularly the nation’s elite, to be fair in their criticisms.
He urged his critics to be objective and fair while remembering where and how Nigeria was prior to his ascension to power. Hear him: “Those criticising the administration should be fair in terms of reflecting on where we were before we came, where we are now and what resources are available to us and what we have done with the limited resources….We had to struggle paying debts, investing in road repairs and rebuilding, to revamp the rail and try to get power….This is what I hope the elite when they want to criticise will use to compare notes”.
But the issue or question here is: how was Nigeria before Buhari took the oath of office replacing ex-President Goodluck Jonathan (GEJ)? Was Nigeria a failed state then like now as many observers and critics say now? Was insecurity in general terms as ubiquitous and intractable as now? Was Nigeria then the poverty capital of the world?
Was recession as recurrent as now? Was nepotism, sectionalism and mediocrity the order of the day? Were the national land borders ever closed for more than one year due to the inability of the concerned authorities to do their paid jobs?
While it is true that during the GEJ presidential era corruption was uncontrollable, insecurity was rife and presidential inertia was visible but there were good things Jonathan did in the interest of the nation for which he would forever be remembered. He was even accused of developing the north more than he did the south-south region!
Besides, no one ever accused GEJ of nepotism or playing ethnic or religious or regional politics.
While GEJ’s administration was indeed overwhelmed by the Boko Haram terrorists up north today the bloody islamic group have become more desperate and daring. And more frontal in their deadly conquests and attacks (including mass abduction for hefty ransom).
Jonathan must have lost the presidential poll of 2015 more because insecurity was besetting the nation. Buhari campaigned against the rising security challenges promising to defeat Boko Haram. But today, five years down the line, Boko Haram are still here with us. And we have more security challenges like the armed and dangerous Fulani herdsmen terrorizing land-owners and committing arson. Today kidnappers are on the rise and armed robberies and banditry are becoming a daily occurrence.
During the GEJ giddy era demonstrations took place across the federation (including importantly those that happened following the unilateral hike in the pump price of the Premium Motor Spirit) yet no one was ever killed or maimed or even harrassed. Freedom of movement, of association and of expression were taken for granted.
Last year, in contrast, during the popular #EndSARS nationwide (nay, southwide) protests denouncing the gory brutality of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad scores were killed and hundreds more wounded at the Lekki Toll-Plaza in Lagos as the military ended abruptly the revolution-like week-long event with mindless brutality.
Despite probe panels and investigations in different states no justice had been served those mown down youthfully at their prime. And the rest is likely to be history!
The problem with the Buhari regime is that it thrives on divisive politics, propaganda and criminal executice aloofness. The President appears disconnected with the popular sentiment on the streets. And to cover up its failures it has resorted to brutality and intolerance of dissent.
The three promised cardinal programmes of the administration to wit: revamping the economy, securing lives and properties and fighting corruption are far from being realised. Insecurity remains a major threat to our daily lives, the economy suffers from regular bouts of recession and unemployment is skyrocketing. And corruption is being fought more on the pages of newspapers and national TV screens.
Where was Nigeria prior to the democratic emergence of Buharism in 2015? Or better still, in which state was Nigeria before Buhari took over the mantle of leadership? During the GEJ presidency Nigeria could be said to be in a terrible bad shape but today the nation is in a worse horrific shape!
With President Buhari muddling up social, political, economic and social issues of the day ex-President Jonathan could very well afford risibly to argue that he was a better manager of men and resources in his mediocre years in Aso Rock. However, between GEJ and PMB none could ever convince us that they are good at the job.
We need a better hand come 2023, if not sooner.