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Buhari… The turbulence ahead



By Joseph Edgar …

As I look into the next 18 months, I see this administration fighting an impeachment battle. I also see this administration coming out of that battle victorious but hobbled in its attempt to clean the Augean stable of the stench and rot it had vowed to clear during its electioneering campaign.

The fight will be tough, compromises and realignments will happen and this will lead to serious erosion of the present high moral ground thereby putting it in a weakened position to continue in the anti-corruption campaign.

Why do I harbor this fear, the ominous signs are everywhere. First of all the amalgamation of strange bedfellows brought together and united by their sheer hatred of the Jonathan regime without any strong ideological footing, but the single minded need to kick out Jonathan and his forty thieves.

For how do you explain the coming together of sworn enemies like Obasanjo and Atiku, Tinubu and Obasanjo amongst others? That alignment of forces, the newPDP, the cross carpeting of prominent PDP members who themselves cannot be said to be clean, all coming together to fight for this cause.

Immediately Jonathan was kicked out, the umbilical cord tying the new enlarged APC was also severed and nothing best describes this than the fight in the emergence of the House leadership.

Party superiority was trampled upon, party position was kicked into the gutter as a mad and naked fight for position ensued. We saw the dearth of party discipline and the PDP showed better cohesion and unity in the lead towards the emergence of new House Leaders and in fact played a major role in their emergence as their members’ votes were majorly needed for stability.

Ever since that debacle, the fight had continued down to the appointments of committee chairmen and other minor leadership positions. Tinubu the party godfather, has found himself defanged and demystified with his famed influence no more than a wishful appeal that was ignored in this debacle. Leaving him crouched at a corner with tears of regret dropping from his tired eyes.

Buhari’s insistent of not being involved in this has left the house under the control of very strong and independent leadership with dodgy loyalty to him. This to me shows Buhari’s naivety in these things, as he would need the house if he wants to have a successful and stress free administration.

A Saraki leadership with allegiance leaning more towards Atiku than Buhari portends danger. Any which way, a leadership of the House loyal to Tinubu would have been a worse fate for Buhari. As I see Tinubu using the House as a bulwark to assuage his frustrations from a continuous shut out from Aso Rock. What I am trying to say here is that Buhari was not in that fight, it was a fight between Tinubu and Atiku and any which way it swung, Buhari still came out a sore loser.

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Already, the National Assembly by refusing a reduction in its expenditure has shown that they are not really on the same page with the government and could not care less. With a budget of about N150b it continues to remain the elephant in the room. How Buhari will tackle them remains to be seen.

What I see and I could be wrong, is these powerful forces using the house to force the hands of the government. The House is a powerful organ of oversight especially over the Executive arm. You saw how they fought Obasanjo despite his overwhelming influence and clear understanding of the game to almost a standstill during his regime. You can only imagine what would happen to Buhari who has shown only but a passing interest in the affairs of the House and who is waging a fierce anti-corruption battle that if properly conducted could consume very powerful interests with foot soldiers in the legislative arm.

Another reason for my fear is the ongoing anti-corruption battle. If this battle continues at this pace and intensity then the major linchpins who put the structure in place to deliver the

Presidency would be consumed. Buhari needs to show not just Nigerians but the whole world that he is capable of fighting a cohesive and comprehensive battle without fear or favour.

He must be seen to be above sectarian considerations and in so doing he would be faced with an Hobbesian choice. Would he ignore the growing and very strident calls to extend the campaign towards his party faithful or risk his integrity and strong moral equity by protecting some of those who helped put him in power, but with leprous fingers stained by graft. I envy him not, an attempt to move against them, may see them triggering the ‘bombs’ laced in the National Assembly.

The continuous inability to form a cabinet continues to show the frustration in getting ‘clean’ people within those who worked for this victory in building a team that would not only be effective, but also project a strong image of pristine integrity. The Fashola website scandal and the continuous fight between Wike and Amaechi must really be giving Buhari a throbbing headache.

Fashola at face value remains the poster boy for a new regime, but the facts coming out slowly but effectively will continue to whittle down his moral foundations, giving him a feet of clay and thereby if not curtailed make him a liability to this government. These issues are coming out as a result of an alleged frosty relationship between him and his establishment godfathers who are feeling cut off from the centre and are heaping all the blame on him and Fayemi. With Fashola, Fayemi and Amaechi hobbled, who does Buhari turn to. I pity Buhari.

His seeming lopsided appointments are also beginning to create some level of restlessness. He has managed to balance it, but the advantage to a section of the country can be seen if looked at very closely. If this is established, it can quickly bring the forces in the south together in a united fight against it. The damage the Abacha/ IBB regime fostered on the monolithic North and the continuous onslaught of Boko Haram in disrespecting the traditional stools of control in the north may not allow Buhari a fallback position to push against a cohesive south who would be united by greed and a need for a better share of the National Cake. He has to balance out these appointments, giving a sense of belonging to all divides to ward this off.

Finally, I see within the next 18months a Jonathan like realignment of forces against Buhari. Buhari’s success in the anti-corruption battle, blocking of leakages, destruction of political patronage, centralized decision taking will push the coming together of the PDP elements in the APC, the godfathers of the APC and what is left of the PDP to come together to face this new enemy in its bid to literally save their backs.

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Like I said, Buhari will emerge victorious, but weaker and compromised. My strong advise is for him at his age, not to look for a second term, so that he can be single minded in his pursuit, he should retake the National Assembly by instigating a ‘coup’ that should see him putting his loyalist in the commanding seat, he should build a cabinet of performers with strong integrity.

He should look beyond the Fasholas and Amaechis of this world. We are 170m people in this country and as such he should find capable hands outside this shallow pool of compromised candidates who will destroy his anti-corruption stance. He should push a new liberal economic policy, reducing government involvement in the economy to just regulation and creating a better environment instead of involving itself in appointments of even such low level officials like General Managers.

I wish him luck and my prayers are still with you Sir. But where all these fail, you still have your Cows in Daura to go back to. At least those ones are not as complicated to manage as the Nigerian project. See you soon.

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