President Buhari’s 100 Days of False-Steps
The first 100 days of President Buhari is full of controversies. A season of claims, denials and counterclaims. Truth be told, the opposition, namely the PDP has so far played the negative aspect of its role well enough, namely to distract the government of the day from moving forward positively. Take it or not, PDP is a political party, as such every tool to achieving its partisan goals, so long within the realm of legality is allowed. So, the filibuster-like tantrums shown thus far is not unexpected. In this regard, it has done well. Meanwhile, we cannot sincerely say that the PDP as opposition has not contributed to moving the country forward in the past 100 days. After all, with all the negativity displayed, a wise ruling party would avail them to its good use by showing indeed it is a party to be taken seriously. For instance, the rumoured sale of jets in the presidential fleet. Of course, the rumour was not unconnected to element of PDP partisanship. APC/Buhari’s response countering that the presidency ever planned to reduce the harem of jets was a faux decision.
Talking of wrong decision cum jamtalk, we have all seen the non-wisdom of President Buhari declaring openly he would not be “meddling” in the affair of the legislature. A hardly wise decision, and a wrong declaration it was. Not even when your closest allies were clearly about to loose face. Smart politics demands tactfulness. Not President Buhari. His “body language”-refusal to meet the senate president- was not enough. He had failed to put his mouth where they belonged in the first place, namely on the side of his party.
One faux pas followed the next political blunder. The appointment of ministers and into key offices. Since we have unwillingly agreed to allow the president time to put together his team “whenever he wants”, there is no wisdom in random appointments considering the nature of our togetherness. We will be fooling ourselves to undermine the underlying intention of every move/decision taken by the president. If the president is thus far uninformed that even the way he inhales and exhales air shall be placed under a magnifier, he had better be now. This premise informed the angry outbursts which trailed the recent appointments into key positions, many of whom are from the North.
There is no reason not to wait till September to kukuma appoint plus introduce his goverment to us all at once. If there still would be dissatisfaction, then it would have been of one with reduced tension. We await now the ministerial list with breathes held. Any perceived regional marginalization will result in another row of tension. President Buhari could avoid all these unnecessary distractions. But who knows, it probably is desirable. After all, he has not for once denied he was a man with a provincial taste in politics.
In any case of dissatisfaction, two sides are always involved, the satisfied and the dissatisfied. Apparently, President Buhari is satisfied with his appointments going by responses from the presidency, and crowned by the interview granted BBC Hausa service by the president himself. He was convinced the criticisms are unfair. He referenced the constitution, even if wrongly, to justify his appointments. Added to the lists of justification for Buhari’s appointments, ranging from meritocracy to newness of approach, to we-dont-care to buhari-must-be-right, this constitutional justification cum trust-basis extend that list. The dissatisfied party must be allowed its grounds too. We can only be thankful for the daring spirit of the opposition and many more who were quick to point out the unjustified skewness in the appointments. A retrospective look at the justification, one would see that many supporters of the current government must have thought there would be no dissatisfaction. This explains the creativity in the scheme of endless justification and explanation. The truth is, if it was fair and just by Nigeria’s multi-ethnic standard, nobody, or at least only a few, will be dissatisfied.
Almost immediately after election, the disconnect between the president and his political sponsors, voices and thieving mobeybags who ensured his victory, could not have been more visible. Another faux step. Of course, targets of his unique ” I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody” declaration could not be missed. The likes of Chief Bola Tinubu, Governor Rotimi Amaechi et al were the first caricatures of this monumental discharge. Since then, President Buhari’s body language and actions have not been in dispute with each other. Let me be clear, I am not unhappy that Chief Tinubu et al are being dissed by the man they helped to power, but honesty and political wisdom, particularly in a Nigerian atmosphere, demand a different approach to achieve the same/similar goal. In this light, the saying that “you don’t bite the finger that feeds you” comes to mind. The Yoruba will sum it up this way: Ile lapoti njoko de idi, i.e. there is always a payback time.
Lets look at the latest hashtagtrend in town- body language. We can only wish that the presidency would not one day go to Chatham House to deny it ever wished the term was used to polish its inactivities in the past 100 days. There is a truth which the Buhari presidency is yet to accept, which is that the little achievements of the past 100 days are indeed creditable to his predecessor, President Jonathan. Considering the fact that President Buhari’s uncordinatedness and slowness in letting us into the policy directions of his government could only bring about negative achievements, we must own up to the disturbing truths. Here is one of such truth: The improvement in power supply in the past 100 days is not attributable to President Buhari. Well, since supporters of the president felt a body language is all it takes to change power supply in the country, we can only hold on to see this body language improve the situation further.
On the fight against corruption, the president has apparently forgotten campaign is long over and the election has been won. Governor Ayo Fayose was right on point when he said the obvious. This is very close to what he said: You don’t fight corruption on the pages of newspapers. If you keep saying you know where the thieves keep their loots, won’t they change location? So far, it has been 100 days of media-fighting corruption in the country. Like Ikhide Ikheloa would say, one can gradually begin to conclude that the fictional Obi Okonkwo might end up being the only corrupt Nigerian convicted of corruption under this current president. No doubt, Nigerians want him to fight this monster indeed. I want him to, but when a fight is signed-up for unprepared, the outcome is predictable. President Buhari only wanted to be president, he was never going to fight corruption. This Yoruba wisdom sums it all up: Ti oju baje, enu a dake. A bribe is given and taken for a reason. President Buhari’s acceptance to be bankrolled into office on the wings of corruption could never have been serious to wage any war on corruption. Thus, his compromise, albeit a necessity, was a far too big compromise to risk.
Why do I keep having this feeling that his fight on corruption is wrongfooted? The shrub-effects will put this feeling in perspective for us. Lets assume for once that President Buhari gave a “presidential” go-ahead to have Chief Obasanjo put on trial for corruption. Of course, this will never happen. Now, we can slowly think of the impossibility of putting President Jonathan in a trial stand on charges of corruption. If it did happen, then President Yar’Adua must be probed. The shrub-effect must not stop on late Yar’Adua, we must make to rescue our monies stashed away in polyethylene bags into foreign banks by politicians well-known to us. APC sponsors and moneybags must be jailed. In short, we must thereafter lock them all up in maximum prisons across the country. Having done this, we will then return President Buhari to office to continue his job of redeeming our land. Where is the point? Here is it: Wisdom and political expendiency demand a smarter approach to this fight of corruption. The case of Senate President Saraki and ensuing Lamordegate exemplifies an approach dead-on-arrival. By the way, we must not forget, the fastest way to arouse ethnic sentimentaliy in the country is to “witchhunt” a corrupt bigfish that is not from “inquisitor’s” tribe.
When Reverend Father Kukah wanted him to “probe” President Jonathan with caution, many went to town with the news of a priest who had stayed too long in the corridor of power, he is stained, many denounced his cautionary open thoughts. Well, that might be correct. We must but say this: It is also correct the priest admonished that the fight against corruption and the task of governing are not mutually exclusive. If President Buhari and his machineries are this efficient in their fistful rage, so far fruitless, on corruption, they could as well dispense such power, or even more, to make public knowledge of policies and path to implementing them in the past 100 days. We are yet to see this.
Let me round up with a suspicion, which I am afraid might not be faraway from the truth. I have within the past 100 days thought of the president as a directionless president, only too willing to shout his time out of office. As of now, he has earned himself different acronyms: He is a go-slow president, a take-your-time president, bodylanguage president and no-nonsense-sherrif president. He will earn more names, no doubt, my worry is, he might end up being a president worthy only of the pejorative aspects of these good names.