President Muhammadu Buhari’s infant Presidency is on trial. On trial also are former President Goodluck Jonathan and the Nigerian people who have been damaged heart and soul, over time. The cynicism that the earth might be cut once again under their feet, couple with the despairing feeling of possible ill grace by the present dispensation is gaining grounds.
I was promptly routed from deep sleep with text message a few days ago in the middle of the night with several conundrums: “What if Buhari fails?”.
It followed with other double-barrel questions: “What if he fails to appointment the right folks and like minds? What if he fails to deliver on his electoral promises, namely: to rescue the Chibok Girls within 100 days; stamp out Boko Haram militias; stabled power supply and creating of jobs for teaming Nigerian youths?”. The question is endless.
It has been one call after another by patriotic citizens to me to set agenda for President Muhammadu Buhari’s Presidency. These calls seem necessary because of my stoic defence and principled support for Buhari’s Presidency and the fireworks that ensued between me and a number of other interested Nigerians who didn’t want to give the 72 years old man a second chance.
The hopeless expressions, especially from the likes of Dr Akhibi Onoke, Prof Chibuzor Umezeoke, Dr Okeke Friday, Chief Chris Wale Ogunmuyiwa, Iria Fredrick Asekhamen and a host of others too numerous to mention, is part of responsive governance Nigerians crave from Buhari administration. The interrogation is necessary, if we must extricate ourselves from the precipice and emerged in an orderly country, surmount economic and political woes bedevilling Nigeria.
All the calls came with the accusation of failure to set similar agenda for President Buhari so as to disentangle myself from being hold on to them if Buhari strays away from the dotted lines. Their proposed agenda, for sure, is not different to everyone’s expectations. It ranges from stamping out Boko Haram militia as well as rescuing the Chibok Girls, stable power supply, the rule of law, job creation, infrastructure development and of course, probe of previous administration.
If President Buhari succeeded in crushing Boko Haram militias and “Bring Back Our Girls” in months as he has promised, he will automatically become the Nelson Mandela of Nigeria. His name will not perish or be found in the hall of infamy and amongst those who bestride Aso Rock recesses drunkenly, without vision and mission, without morality and blueprint for actual leadership and without balls to confront treasury looters in different guises.
If the Boko Haram’s savage campaign continues in their quests to inflict mortal harms on the nation by maiming hapless citizens in broad day light; burning cities, towns and villages uninterrupted, slitting the throats of hundreds of thousands of innocent victims unchallenged in their bid to create an Islamic State, then President Buhari’s place in history would have been worse than that of President Goodluck Jonathan who simply idled away in feat of drunkenness while the nation burns.
The charges that Buhari hasn’t made any significant dent on the war against the savage beasts called Boko Haram are hardly misplaced. More also that, defeating Boko Haram is not rationally achievable under the same military command he inherited which have been largely accused of aiding and abetting the insurgents group.
The argument of developed nations also suggest that no supersonic government on the planet earth could have grounded such a sophisticated murderous asymmetric militias like Boko Haram with the speed light in less than three months on assumption of office. That’s why the sacking of the service chiefs is a welcome development.
“How about the constancy of power supply, job creation and the promised prosecution of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s criminal government, they queried?” No doubts, Buhari’s Presidency was actualised on the grounds that the long-suffering Nigerians would find solace in these areas. It’s also not because those promises have never been made before, but because Mr. Buhari’s concrete puritanical integrity was factored into those promises.
While job creation and power stability efforts could take some time to yield results, no excuses should be made about the immediate prosecution of former President Jonathan administration. The fuel subsidy fraud, Ms.
Diezani Allison Madueke, Dr Okonjo-Iweala, Mr. Mike Onolememen, Mr. Abba Moro, Ms. Stella Oduah, and all the ministers under President Jonathan as well as all the Service Chiefs, NSA and other ministries and parastatals must be probed, they insist.
But this is not the position of some aberrant faceless group. While reasonable Nigerians, including the befuddled PDP leadership are calling for cautious, assertive and unbiased probe, tasking Mr. Buhari government to fulfil his promises to Nigerians, which includes prosecution of those? found culpable of looting the nation’s treasury under President Jonathan administration and Jonathan himself, a group on the auspices of Vanguard of Nigeria’s Democracy has raised the alarm. They alleged moves by President Muhammadu Buhari to “investigate, malign and imprison” ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on trumped-up charges.
The group accused the President and his All Progressives Congress-led administration of anti-Niger Delta tendencies. “We the members of the Vanguards of Nigeria’s Democracy, are aware of some clandestine moves made by the APC-led government to probe, investigate, malign and imprison ex-President Jonathan. We are already aware of the trumped-up charges the APC government is levelling against a man who has diligently served the Nigerian state at the highest level of government”, the group leader, Mr. Osaghae Ogiemudia, said.
The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was a little miserly when said that the Presidency was free to probe past administrations but warned that the exercise must not be carried out with malice, designed to witch-hunt some persons who worked under Dr. Jonathan.
“It is the right thing to probe and investigate but there must be respect for fundamental human rights of the people. It must be carried out within the confines of the law, there must be no witch-hunt. There must be plans for the future, the government can go ahead with the probe, but must put forward those things that will move the country forward because very soon, Nigerians will be asking questions on insecurity, incessant arrest, the state of the dollar, among others”, Olisah Metuh said.
The point to be made is that a fraudulent and bankrupt group like Vanguard of Nigeria’s Democracy and its minders ought to be telling Nigerians how well former President Jonathan used his six years in government to better the lots of Niger Delta citizens. If the group worth its name in gold, it should be calling on Mr. Jonathan to account for his misdeed in office, after personally admitting that he thought the people of Niger Deltans and Bayelsans would stone him for not developing the zone after leaving office.
The travail of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration was his vague and nebulous and thoughtless agenda, called “Transformation Agenda”, (TA) which became “Transformation Paralyses” (TP).
Worst still, the Otuoke-born former university teacher became encircled, enslaved and the country was ultimately looted blind by those he appointed to lead the nation out of the woods. He was not left out of the frolic looting. Now, he has left without being able to make any significant impact in any sector of the economy. He left Nigeria worse than he met it!
We can only hope that President Muhammadu Buhari escapes such political elite of doubtful value who glory in sadism and the destruction of the nation and hitch his star on the masses’ resolve for a better country. That way, President Buhari, a man of sterner stuff to the very depth of his soul would have erased the deep gloom that hung over us.
Erasmus Ikhide writes in from Lagos. twitter @ErasmusIkhide