PERFIDY. That’s one word that readily comes to mind while attempting to describe the eight years of the regime of the former President of Nigeria, Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress [APC] political party. Unless something happened [because this column went to bed on Sundaynight which is the eve of the transfer of power], the Buhari regime was expected to expire by midday yesterday, Monday 29th. The expectation is that Nigerians will exhale on account of the departure of the affliction called Buhari. But heck; no. There is so much anger in the land. There is apprehension. There is trepidation. There’s anxiety in placeof hope.Or ‘renewed hope‘. There’s despondency instead of excitement.
Many Nigerians are looking back insteadof looking forward-backin anger at the numerous negative antecedents of the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC]-created President, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu. His antecedents of allegations of dealing in psychotropicdrugs, forfeiture of money therefrom to a foreign government, dual citizenship, disputed names, multiple perjuries, certificate forgeries and uncertainty over schools he attended or not attended. The real or perceived illegitimacy that will dog his alleged or suspected INEC-assisted accessionto the presidency will be compounded by the widespread condemnationsof the below par conduct of the 2023 general elections. Some global newspapers have since labeled the elections and the purported outcome as at best a scandal and at worst asham. One South African-based newspaper wrote that unless something gives, the world may ultimately be compelled to take a serious look at Nigeria. It wrote: “Nigeria matters. Though it is unlikely that much of the world paid attention to the results of its presidential election on 25 February, it should have… Even if the result stands and somehow reflects the broader will of the people, Tinubu faces one of the toughest jobs imaginable. “First he would need to stabilize the economy.
Then, major reforms to the police and military are needed to reinstate security across the country, especially in those areas threatened by insurgencies and secession. “The toxic confluence of problems besetting Nigeria has not only been a handbrake on African economic growth.It has destabilized the region and caused mass humanitarian and
immigration crises as far away as South Africa and Europe. Africa, and the world, needs a Nigeria that works for its voters and youth. If managed well, it remains a country with enormous potential and resources. “Sadly”, the writer concluded that “it is unlikely that this recent FARCE [emphasis mine] of an election will provide that”. Back home Buhari still beats his chest about how he has cleaned up Nigeria’s electoral system. But that should not come as a surprise because he has been a man without shame and without restraint. He was the only president of Nigeria in recent memory who sat for an examination in which he determined the questions, wrote the exam while armed with ‘expo’ in the form of a pliant National Assembly and excessive borrowings from both domestic and international debt markets, flunks the exam and yet struts about claiming phenomenal success. It is
either that the former President, Gen. Buhari is shameless or that he is thoroughly wicked and enjoyed the sufferings and privations he put Nigerians through these past eight years.
Gen. Buhari failed. And he failed spectacularly. There is no redeeming feature in his two-term presidency. His supporters and spin doctors can do nothing aboutit. The evidence of his misrule is writ large in themanifestsub human living conditions of citizens including the nearly 140 million ‘dimensionally poor’ Nigerians; the killing fields all over the country especially in the Middle Belt and NorthWest regions; the over 20 million children who are out of school, up from about 12 million he inherited in 2015; citizens including school children who were, andsomestill arein the captivity of kidnappers; spike in the activities self determination and separatist’sgroups in parts of the country;breaches of the Constitution through under the counterWays and Means borrowings from a corrupt Central Bank whose governor is ashameless card carrying member of the ruling APC; and mindless borrowings which have pushed the country to debt peonageor slavery.
Buhari who is going about awarding himself excellent pass mark has left the Nigeria in a place where the country, going by the projections of all reputable financial institutions and sundry experts, will by the end of this year and going forward, require to borrow to service, not repay the principal, the debts indiscriminatelyincurred by Buhari and APC in the last eight years. Nigerians gave Buhari a pass andso deserved what they got in return. The preceding is a sweeping generalization and so unkind to some fellow citizens. We know many Nigerians who were implacably opposed to the presidential aspirations of Buhari in 2003, 2007 and 2011 [the three occasions that he failed], and who forewarned about the danger of his win in 2015. How right they are now that Buhari had come, had seen and had lost. On all counts Buhari failed on the targets he set by himselfand for himself. On the war on corruption, he failed. Under his watch termites ate up bank notes in their millionsin government agencies; snakes routinely swallowed money; an accountant-generalof his allegedly embezzled over N100 billion; his anti-graft czar got enmeshed in corruption, was arrested but with no further action taken; his successor is currently entangled with allegations of corruption including claims that he spent tens of thousands of dollars on bills ina high end hotel for himself and family members while they were on a pilgrimage. The man is a public servant. Gen. Buhari leaves office in a blaze of an in-your-face-scamand possibly a brazen theft by his acolytes, the type of which had never been witnessed in our country which a former British Prime Minister once described as ‘fantastically corrupt’. In his usual way, Buhari promised Nigerians a national carrier.
His one and only aviation minister set about the task which they named Nigeria Air. A recent report claimed that between 2016-2023, a budgetary sum of N84.42 billion was provided for the phantom national airline. At a point in what has turned out to be a 419 or advance fee fraud scheme, the regime said that Nigeria Air project will be a partnership between the Ethiopian Airline, adjudged to be the most successful African carrier [49%], individual Nigerians and corporations [46%] and Nigerian government [5%]. As we write this last Sunday, Nigeria Air has no known office address in Nigeria, it has no staff unless the former minister of aviation can be classified as its only adhoc staff, it has no aircraft registered in its nameand in Nigeria, it has no known leased, whether dry or wet, aircraft, it hasno valid air operating certificate [AOC], it has no website nor booking platforms and it has no telephone or other contact details, after seven years of incubation. On Friday, May 26th, an aircraft painted in the colours of Nigeria Air was flown into Abuja allegedly at the behest of the Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika. He had barely 72 hours to the end of his tenure. The fraud was so poor because the aircraft with Nigeria Air livery still bore Ethiopian Airlines registration as it wasunveiled and launched, ostensibly for operation at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja. Less than 24 hours after the charade, the aircraft was flown out of Nigeriato be repaintedand returned to active duty in the busy Ethiopian Airlines fleet. The minister had delivered Nigeria Air and more than justified the over N84bn budgetary allocations for the project since 2016. The little matter that the Nigeria Air is tied up in litigation in court is no longer the minister’s headache. He has kicked the can to whoever would succeed him.He has demonstrated that even as a SUPER minority shareholder, you can still single handedly deliver on a big ticket project such as a national carrier. A newspaper once described Nigeria under Buhari as a crime scene. The rolling crime in Nigeria is not limited to the aviation sector. It is pervasive and it bears the signature of the regime of Buhari, who if he had not been elected in 2015, would have gone down in the annals of this country as the ‘best President we never had’. The minimum we could do was to hold our nose while Buhari and his gang vacated office. The anxiety, however, is that afflictionappears setto strike a second time. Footnote : Turkiye’s President has just been declared winner of a runoff election. And hours after world leaders were personally sending their congratulations. Compare that with Nigeria’s in February. It speaks to our situation and the problem of low trust society.
AUTHOR: UGO ONUOHA
Articles published in our Graffiti section are strictly the opinion of the writers and do not represent the views of Ripples Nigeria or its editorial stand.
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