​THE PRESIDENT WE VOTED FOR

There is no gainsaying that President Buhari assumed power with the best political capital in Nigeria’s history, both locally and internationally.  His popularity and confidence rating were such that stock prices automatically moved Northward and fuel queues suddenly disappeared within his first two months in office. Though this only lasted for a few months before Nigerians reversed back into its old mode and since then the political capital has been gradually eroded and one wonders what is left of it.
My thrust in this article is therefore to critically discuss the capital (moral, political and economic) that President Buhari brought into power in 2015 and what is left of that capital. 

Before he emerged winner of the presidential election in 2015, he had lost the same bid three times and had even decided to quit until he was ‘purportedly called out from retirement’. Perhaps it would have been better for him to stay retired. My reasons for saying this are not farfetched.

Sequel to his victory in 2015, most Nigerians were tired with the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan for several reasons. For some, Goodluck Jonathan lacked the political will to fight corruption (which has been adjudged as Nigeria’s greatest enemy). For another, Goodluck Jonathan had ceded the running of the nation to some few elites, who took full advantage of this to the detriment of the nation, squandering and personalizing the nation’s resources. For some others too, Jonathan should never have been President in the first place, having usurped the opportunity offered him by the Constitution upon the death of former President Y’aradua. 

Not to talk of the First Lady’s high-handedness which made her become overbearing, perhaps with more power than the then President himself, breaching presidential protocols on many occasion and causing several embarrassments for Nigerians. 

So, for the majority it was ‘anything but Jonathan’ at the last Presidential election. This mentality was what paved way for old man ‘Buhari’, who many perceived as the exact opposite of Jonathan. Disciplined, firm, resolute in the fight against corruption, vast military experience, with a lot of moral and political capital at that time, having won so much votes across the entire country. 

Alas, times have proved even the staunchest supporters of Buhari wrong. President Buhari since assumption of office, has repeatedly disappointed his believers. Starting with the delay in formation of cabinet, the lack-luster team he formed and the unending strings of allegations of corruptions within his cabinet and government, which have been repeatedly swept under the carpet. 

Just to mention a few, Chief of Army Staff alleged possession of properties worth millions of dollars in Dubai, President Buhari’s certificate saga, suspended SGF’s sleazy grass-cutting deal, the embarrassing revelations about the Police IG and the latest being the allegations against NNPC GMD Maikanti Baru. 

To compound issues, President Buhari has openly shown disdain for some parts of the country through his remarks and appointments. Most of his appointments have been largely skewed towards the North while leaving out the South-East zone completely. Whoever thought President Buhari had metamorphosed into a Nationalist should have a rethink, the Buhari we wanted may have died during that tortuous three times trouncing at the Presidential Polls.

The kid-gloves manner of handling the Fulani herdsmen’s matter is another evidence that the Buhari we envisaged may have died. The Fulani herdsmen have wrecked and continued to do so much damage to people’s lives and properties and yet there is no firm law to checkmate this menace, not even to bring to book those who have marauded innocent villagers. They have become ‘unknown soldiers’ from neighboring countries, yet our military has been firm in dealing with Boko Haram and IPOB. 

Should we even mention his disinterest in the clamour for restructuring, which surprisingly was one of his party’s major campaign strong points? 

While statistics are not readily available to support this, I daresay never have Nigerians being utterly disappointed as they are under this administration, and this has been evidenced in the droves of young and even old professionals who continue to leave the country for better lives in other countries! 

How much of moral, political and economic capital does the President have left? I will leave the answers for the readers to make. However if the Presidency and his team think he has enough to make him the darling of many at the next Presidential poll, they should have a serious rethink. 

Truly, but not in the manner being peddled by some, the Buhari we wanted may have died during his three-time unsuccessful Presidential bids! Or maybe the real Buhari only exists in our imagination!
Adewumi Oni
Published in Independent Newspaper

Sunday 15th October 2017

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