Before You Re-elect Buhari For President!



Let no one be deceived that the presidential poll slated for Saturday February 16, 2019 is not life-and- death matter; it’s more than that. The future of our nation and our dream of building a just nation are founded on the outcome of this poll. It’s less than 48 hours before Nigerian electorates thronged their polling units to elect a president that will superintend over the country’s affairs in the next four years. Considering the footprints of President Muhammadu Buhari since May 29, 2015 when he assumed power, his then blazing popularity and cult-like followership has diminished considerably, with some Nigerians questioning his competence to lead the nation for the next four years.

Even when President Buhari warned his supporters in 2015 that they should not expect much from him due to the fact that age was not on his side, not a few thought of better years under his administration. Hope of his supporters soon took a crushing turn, when it took him about six months to appoint his cabinet. Against all expectations, instead of Buhari hitting the ground running, he simply went lame. His provincial disposition in key appointments of top aides attracted rage as he was accused of plotting a dubious agenda that runs against the principles of Federal Character. Before the midterm of his tenure, it had become so glaring that a president who is only comfortable with only his people around him in the corridors of power had finally been enthroned. When an unknown ailment took him away from the seat of governance for several months on medical leave, Nigerians never ceased praying for his earnest recovery.

Then came the news that the President would seek re-election. The news was then taken for a joke, but soon got an official confirmation when he disclosed to his party that he would definitely throw his hat in the ring for the 2019 presidential contest. Throughout the campaign trails, we have seen our president failed woefully in telling his fellow citizens of his achievements and why electorates should re-elect him for a second term in office. Apart from committing several embarrassing gaffes at rallies that have become the butts of jokes, the energy-sapping campaign trail has shown that the two-man cabal, as alleged by his wife, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, are irrevocably committed to unleashing a frightening political scenario. With the exposure of the underbellies of greed as the major preoccupation of politicians, new recruits for the comeback bid project of Buhari had gathered momentum, with strange birds in bed to form a wobbling political machinery yet to find its rhythm.

Before Nigerians cast their votes for Buhari, they must in all honestly assess whether the president has performed creditably to warrant a renewal of term. Nigerians are aware that the APC-led Government came to power on issues of security, corruption and the economy that were then confronting the nation. The big question is: Has Buhari delivered on these electoral promises? If he has failed in the past nearly four years, what prospects are there that he would rise up to the challenge and take us to the ‘Next Level’?

Despite claims by the Federal Government that Boko Haram has been technically defeated and all forms of insecurity combated by the military, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), recently debunked such an assertion, saying 15 states are presently battling insecurity as against three states in 2015. Kidnappings, armed robbery and herdsmen’s attacks on ethnic minorities of the North and other criminal acts have remained unresolved. In 2018, no fewer than 5,113 Nigerians were killed from insurgency, herdsmen’s attacks, armed robbery, abductions and cattle rustling, among other crimes. Less than three days to the polls, Boko Haram militants on February 13, 2019 attacked Governor Kashim Shettima’s convoy in Borno, leading to the killings of unspecified number of person, with dozens missing. Nigerians have witnessed the macabre kidnap and eventual release of Dapchi school girls in Yobe State without Miss Sharibu who was left behind for refusing to convert to Islam. The agents of terror operating as insurgents, kidnappers, suspected herdsmen, among other, have not left vulnerable residents of many towns and villages to experience peace. Killings of soldiers in the fight against insurgency have made headlines, with conflicting figures of military casualty unresolved. High profile killings of military officers in the country, including that of the former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshall Alex Badeh, in December 2018, have clearly proven that insecurity is far from being tackled.

On corruption, the Buhari’s administration has completely failed to fight the monster that has become a systemic ailment militating against development. Apart from the financial corruption, made worse by greed, not much has been done to evolve a system to fight the venality. The Single Treasury Account (TSA), may be curbing financial leakages of public funds, but new ways have equally been put in place by politicians, assisted by technocrats, to continue fleecing the state. Large sums of money retrieved from suspected looters are still a subject of controversy as these whopping sums are yet to be properly accounted for. The distribution of the Abacha’s loot of over $300 million in the name of TraderMoni has attracted condemnation from both local critics and the Transparency International that have accused the APC-led government of vote buying. Despite the claim of fighting rot and corruption by the Buhari’s government, the corruption index has worsened under Buhari. We have seen corruption being defined from financial perspective, without any efforts deployed to fight the corrupt orientations that promote nepotism, ethnicity and religious affiliations to access public office.

Under Buhari’s watch, the economy has come under heavy devastations, with job losses causing consternations among the populace. Over 8,000 businesses have closed shops, while the promised infrastructural development is largely a promise on paper. The banking sector has suffered nightmares, as thousands of workers have been sacked to pull through the recession. Cost of living has left many desolate, just as the light at the end of the tunnel has become a phantasm. The seeming feat attained by the government in the area of agriculture, especially in rice production, has been shown a mere illusion, as the country’s northern borders have become unfettered routes for smuggling of rice and other food products into the country. With close to 20 million out of jobs since APC came to power, Nigeria recently became the world’s poverty capital in 2018. Poverty now stalks the land and the vibrant hope by the citizenry has been replaced with despair.

It is clear that APC as a party and President Buhari as a president have failed to improve the welfare of the people. Out of the ashes of the failures that the APC has become, the need for a regime change has become irreversible. Nigerians are faced with the choice of either going for the PDP that was thrown out of power in 2015 or mobilise to break away from the old political status. Let no Nigerian be deceived that the PDP is a group of saints whose sins have been washed away by the obvious failings of the APC. Compared with the contraption the ruling party has turned into, the PDP has far more capacity for inclusiveness and rallying consciousness towards the emancipation of the citizens from the shackles of a cabal that is committed to an ill-defined agenda capable of throwing the country down the slope of threatening conflagration. Considering the peculiar challenges we face at the present, structures and not ideologies win polls in Nigeria. To wrest power from an incumbent government, the possession of an almost bottomless financial war chest is required. Apart from the PDP, dozens of the presidential candidates are mannequins for Saturday’s race.

The competence of President Buhari in continuing in office is becoming increasingly doubtful. To hand over our nation to a man who is battling health challenges associated to old age is to place Nigeria on a life-support machine. I am convinced beyond all doubts that re-electing Buhari in next Saturday’s presidential polls will amount to unleashing a responsibility on a man whose fragile state of health and competence is a cause for national concern.

At present, it will amount to a flight of reason to recommend new faces who do not have the financial muscles and tested structures to challenge the monstrous power of incumbency. There is no iota of doubt that the APC has failed to introduce the promised change, not because President Buhari has not tried within his limited capacity, but the presence of a cabal determined to hold on to power at all cost for its selfish motives makes it imperative for Nigerians to retire the Daura General to well-deserved rest.

No matter what happens, the days ahead are certainly unpredictable. Buhari and Atiku, being frontline candidates for this election, have signed a peace accord. It will take the determination of Nigerians to ensure peace prevails. May the angels of deaths and destruction threatening our nation be averted and may the sanctity of the ballot triumph over the manipulation of a greedy cabal that has held this country down.

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