Sunday, 6 September 2015

Article: The New Sheriff In Agbada In Aso Rock

President Buhari


By Kenneth Uwadi

I am disturbed by current happenings in Nigeria. President Buhari's conduct in office so far is worrisome. The morning they say shows the day and in 100 days in office I am not comfortable with his achievements. If we were to go by the alleged overwhelming popularity of the president of Nigeria, the drums and the cymbals ought to have been rolled out by the people on their own volition to celebrate his first 100 days in office. In reality however it is only the inner caucus of the ruling APC that are celebrating among themselves. The inner caucus of the APC are marking Buhari’s 100 days in office with flamboyant congratulatory messages in the mass media.

While the various congratulatory messages gave the impression of a rosy and successful 100 days in office, the reality on ground contradicts the rosy picture painted by the various congratulatory messages sponsored by hangers-on, political jobbers, contractors and associates of those in public offices. For Femi Adesina , the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Buhari, there is a new Sherriff in town. To him when a new Sheriff comes into town, disorder gives way to order. Chaos flees. Impunity is swept away. Laxity gives way to diligence, and people change their old, unedifying ways. When you have a Wild, Wild West situation prevailing, the new Sheriff comes, and stamps his authority. Old things then pass away, behold, everything becomes new.

We are happy that a new Sheriff has come to town. We truly want disorder to give way to order, chaos to flee and for Impunity to be swept away . But in 100 days no matter how we pretend, the reality is that the conduct of our new Sheriff in Agbada so far is worrisome. For 100 days now Buhari only brought vindictive and parochial tendencies to the fore. He has been ruling Nigeria all alone, and had refused to appoint ministers till now.

He forgot that what we have now is not a military rule, but a democracy. What he has been doing is to set one probe panel after another without a minister of justice; he set up an economic team without a minister of finance; and he has been travelling all over the world without a foreign minister. In just 100 days he suggested to us that democracy means whatever he alone approves. His anti corruption fight is also very selective.

Nigerians will only agree with every step Buhari takes in fighting corruption with the qualification that such a probe must not be selective. It must cut across the board. For now despite his anti corruption posture, there is incontrovertible evidence that grave corrupt practices are ongoing and allowed to fester by associates and cronies of government, including former and present APC governors and others who played major roles in financing his campaigns with stolen state funds. Every discerning mind knows that this administration is not executing a credible holistic war against corruption because it is a product of corruption, surrounded by corrupt persons.

Nigerians are asking ‘’What has Buhari said about all the cries of corruption coming out of Imo State of Nigeria? What has he said about N78 million state money allegedly spent on personal website by Former Lagos State governor ? What has he said about this same man inflating a N2.1 billion contract for the construction of pedestrian bridges, N25 billion for 1.36 kilometre link bridge, US$200 million World Bank education fund while leaving behind N500 billion debt arising from alleged reckless spending? What has he said about the diversion of state funds as well as the embarrassing accusations of stashing away of billions of naira state funds in foreign banks by the former Rivers State governor ? ‘’ Some persons even spent 139 million naira to construct just 2 boreholes.

If Nigeria is to get through its current corruption crisis then the government must let those who know how to investigate corruption do their job. The Nigerian Anti-Corruption Commission must be able to act independently and be free from political interferences.

In 100 days one can safely say that there is no difference between Buhari the head of state and Buhari the president, as the difference is blurred. Why on earth would he be appointing only northerners into positions of authority in a country of about 170 million people from six regions? The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria: section 14 subsection (3)says The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or any of its agencies.

From Buhari’s appointments so far he has told Nigerians that only persons from the northern part of our country, meet his acid test for integrity, ability and reliability to be appointed to positions of authority in Nigeria. He sees himself as the president of the North and not the president of Nigeria. Appointments, announced and unannounced, are dominated by the Northwest. South east has no appointments at all. What is our President telling people from Southeast? What is our President telling the South as a whole?

In 100 days he found it difficult to get people capable enough to be ministerial members of his cabinet putting the economic policy of the country of 170 million people in limbo, and leaving the likes of the central bank to fill the vacuum. There is no government in place in Nigeria. Where are the ministers? If there is a government, there will be ministers. The absence of a cabinet, a team has made it hard for him to set out a specific program. The Federal Executive Council should be composed of people from various parts of the country according to the constitution. Every week that Nigeria goes without a cabinet increases the chance that it will face a dangerous shock — whether a revenue collapse or a currency crisis. Leaving the federation for example without a finance minister is a questionable choice at the best of times; doing so during a period of economic instability is difficult to explain. Cabinet delay is not pleasing to investors. Investors are expecting tighter fiscal policy, a currency devaluation and a greater focus on tax collection after the drop in oil prices.

In 100 days in office he has turned the judiciary and the DSS to instrument of repression and intimidation of any opposing views dragging us to the era of military jackboot absolutism with its associated abuse of the fundamental rights of people to freedom of expression, among others. Imagine the Department of State Security, headed by Lawan Daura, invading the Government House in Akwa-Ibom, ransacking the entire Government House. Governor Udom of Akwa Ibom State seeing how the DSS men were ransacking his government House immediately called Buhari on the phone and was heard asking in anger, “Is this democracy? Why send these people to invade our government House?” DSS are now arresting opposition politicians here and there. It is only the opposition politicians that are now the corrupt ones.

Today nobody has the right to say anything against the government, because almost all the streets urchins have become DSS overnight and are allegedly in the government payroll, or at least as their conducts suggest with the mandate to hunt down those termed as opposition . Critics including bloggers are allegedly being constantly threatened to either keep their mouth shut or face the wrath of government sponsored DSS. Some bloggers have been thrown in jail. Even Boko Haram that scattered after a military counter-offensive in the last weeks of president Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, have nevertheless killed around 1000 persons in bombings and shootings since Buhari came to power.

To Buhari it is only a lazy person that can respect the rule of law. He sees nothing good in all the tenets of democracy. In August 27, 1985, General Ibrahim Babangida justified the coup that removed him , as the head of state, in these words: "Regrettably, it turned out that Major-General Muhammadu Buhari was too rigid and uncompromising in his attitudes to issues of national significance. Efforts to make him understand that a diverse polity like Nigeria required recognition and appreciation of differences in both cultural and individual perceptions, only served to aggravate these attitudes". One can say now, without fear of contradiction, that IBB was right then, because, Buhari has remained the same till today.Onye Army yi Agbada abatago na Aso Rock

 (Uwadi writes from Mmahu-Egbema, Imo State, Nigeria

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