Setting out to address a subject of this nature appears a huge task for me with reasons. I am neither in government nor any party’s card carrying member. But as one of those who campaigned seriously for the current president just before March 28th, 2015 elections, the onus lies on me to access its successes, criticized its failures while setting clearer agenda for its progress. Needleless to mention that inability of sycophants of disposed GEJ administration to throng this path of honour was his undoing. Some of them are lamenting today for not having enough courage to cane the government they served when it missed the road. Posterity judges those who embrace silence in the face of absurdity.
Almost four decades as a Nigerian, I am a concerned citizen about governance in Africa and policies. In Nigeria particularly, when such policies have direct or indirect impacts on living. Right from when I knew A from B, power supply in Nigeria has always been in comatose. It is so up till today. However, the focus of this opinion today is neither lamenting the failures of the past nor predicting blink future but objective assessment of president Buhari’s one year presidency and wailing wailers (Opposition party members & pessimistic Nigerians) achievements.
To the wailing wailers, there is no perfection in humanity. Human imperfections should not be excuses for failures. To Buhari and his team, you should always take cue from the wailers wail and not throw the baby away with the bath water. Some questions for the wailers. Should you just wail because you need to? Shouldn’t your wailing have foundation and genuine reasons? Should criticism just become a job while throwing away common sense? Can a house destroyed for 16 years suddenly be fixed in one year? Shouldn’t a proper foundation be laid to avoid sudden collapse? Truly, opposition is a core bone of vibrant democracy. But when criticisms become tools for feeding, as the case with some of you, then there is an urgent need to retool and rethink. Clearly, the only feat your wailing has achieved in the last one year is NOTHING. It has revealed the emptiness of your brain and its valueless.
Buhari’s Stand Against Corruption.
As we mark democracy day today as well as one year administration of Buhari’s presidency, one cannot but remind Nigerians that what President Buhari and his team promised us before last elections is CHANGE! Change means clear departure from the normal. It is a definite step from away from the usual. The usual before March 28th, 2015 election was impunity, poor leadership and directionless nation.
Change is an act or process through which something becomes different. We all agreed our nation has been on a wrong direction for long. From military era to the immediate past government, Nigeria was enmeshed in corruption. Everyone, including the deaf, heard clearly Buhari’s promise of change. In my view, president Buhari has kept faith with this promise in the last one year. Pains and some hardship tag along this change, but we as a people must learn to defer pleasure with little pains today.
His stands on corruption fight, which we all taunt as our major enemy leaves no one in doubt. What I feel the concerns of Nigeria enemies are the tenacity and brutality on how the corruption war is being fought. Before you conclude Buhari is fighting opposition party members alone, please take an objective question on who were those in the helms of Nigeria affairs in the last 16 years of retrogression? The revelations on how money meant to fight Boko Haram war was shared among heartless people in power should be a thing of concern to you. The callousness, unpatriotic and perfidy of minds these people have are beyond imaginations.
President Buhari’s corruption fight in the last one year has been steadily focus with results. Just few weeks ago, we had the first corruption victim, Ex – NIMASA boss, Raymond Omatseye jailed for 5 years over 1.5bn contract scam. National Publicity Secretary, PDP, Olisha Metuh is having his days in court over corruption as well as Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who incidentally is a top member of APC. We have never heard such heart leaping news in the last 7 years, particularly under our immediate past president, Goodluck Jonathan. It never happened. Such is one change Nigerians voted for last elections.
2016 Budget Issues & Subsidy Removal.
In the history of Nigeria, its citizens had never been aware of budget process like it is this year. Citizens’ consciousness was geared up to the process of budget passage because of the openness of Buhari’s administration and his determination for change. Though some deadly politicians tried to scuttle the process through national assembly, but thank goodness the president has since signed the budget and citizens would begin to reap the fruits.
Petroleum subsidy in itself is not bad, but the Nigeria case leaves the subsidized citizens at the mercy of the powerful and rich. Just last week, an international blogger, JJ Omojuwa outlined clearly the difference between the 2012 and 2016 fuel hikes. What made Nigerians refuted it 2012 was corruption. Today, Nigerians are not on the street because the global oil realities do not exempt us. Also with the current disposition of Buhari’s administration, Nigerians, though painful, accepted the increase knowing fully well integrity is the hallmark of the government being led by Buhari. Integrity, focus and transparency were not found in the dictionary of Goodluck Jonathan’s team.
APC DEVELOPMENTAL AGENDA
If All Progressive Congress (APC) has any agenda for overall development of Nigeria and Nigerians, there is no best time to roll out than now. We have tolerated the excuses enough and our patience for blaming the immediate past government has dropped to zero level. Now there is a budget to run with, take the fast lane and deliver.
APC led federal government must get to work immediately as its time enters the second year today. It does not appear to all that APC has proper coordination of its information machinery. A situation where the presidency issues a statement contradicting ministry of Information on same issue lacks tact. Mr President, you cannot move into second year of your administration with this incoherent approach. It takes so much away from you.
Recently, the opinion of Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Dr. Caleb Aborisade captures the views of those in the education sector. “I have not seen any meaningful thing done by this administration in the education sector. The only thing I know Buhari government is doing is fighting corruption and he is doing that well.” As much as it good to fight corruption, leaving education out of a national development is the worst type of corruption ever exists.
Buhari needs to, at this point, take an objective assessment of his ministers with a view of changing the change agents where necessary. Nigerians and international community expectations are high. He cannot continue test run of ministers going forward. While commending performing ones, he should press reset button on less performing ministers.
Happy Democracy Day, Nigerians!
Sunday Osanyintuyi, media consultant & PR strategist writes from Lagos.