Connect with us


OPINION: Reasons to worry for Nigeria



OPINION: Buhari’s presidency at Nigeria’s expense [1]

JUST before the February and March general elections, statesman, Chief Afe Babalola [SAN] was reported to have said that Nigeria had become unrecognizable given the level of decay in the society. From all indications, he spoke too early and too quickly. The country has gone from bad to worse in less than 10 months after he bemoaned the state of the country. Babalola was not alone in wondering how far and how rapidly the country is going down in virtually all sectors.

He was so alarmed that he called for the postponement of the elections and the formation of an interim government ahead of the expiry of the Muhammadu Buhari regime on May 29. He said Nigeria was in urgent need of a reset. But segments of the political class would not hear of that, especially the politicians who felt entitled to accession to the presidency. And now here we are wracked by the disputed outcome of what has been described as the most controversial and egregious elections in recent memory. The greater concern is that the elections are just a part of the many problems that have made many Nigerians despondent, fearful, uncertain of their tomorrow and indeed hopeless. The prevailing mood is ironic given that the mantra of Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the man who was declared the winner of the presidential election by the ‘Independent’ National Electoral Commission [INEC] was ‘Renewed Hope’. Nigerians have not been more hopeless than now, about 80 days since his inauguration as president.

Tinubu’s afflictions on Nigerians started from Day One when he unthinkingly announced the stoppage of the so-called petrol subsidy. That item was said not to be in his inauguration speech but he later told a bewildered country that he was ‘possessed by courage’ while he was on the podium to make the declaration. In the Holy Bible persons who fall into this Tinubu category were usually possessed by the evil spirit. So he may not really know the spirit that possessed him that fateful day. Often you are wont to do good when you are possessed by courage. The contrary is the case when you are possessed by demon spirit. The spirit that possessed Tinubu on May 29 and in the weeks after has led Nigerians to weeping and gnashing of teeth. And this is just the beginning. The prognosis is not looking good on all fronts.

On the political/administration front the Senate recently concluded the ‘screening’ of ministerial nominees. The ‘screening’ was a charade of ‘bow and go’. And for a country struggling for breath, the regime thought this the best time to inflict an over bloated cabinet on Nigerians. Forty eight nominees, the highest number in 24 years. It took the man who claimed that he had worked to become president all his life almost the entire 60 days deadline imposed by the Constitution to produce an underwhelming list of nominees. Even then, the nomination came in bits and pieces. Tinubu’s supporters had assailed Nigerians during the campaigns that he was a specialists in headhunting and discovering talents. The cabinet demonstrated anything but that. It was a testament to the old order of recycling old faces and politicians with suspect, and in some cases outrightly ugly, bona fides. It was a continuation of transactional politics and governance model. Someone described the cabinet as an expanded and empowered campaign council in view of the widely expected adverse outcome from the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal [PEPT]. Of the 48 nominees, more than 40 have cases and allegations of corruption trailing them. Not unexpected, anyway. After all, the head of the pack, the president himself, has the worst baggage. He faces accusations of being a bag man for drug traffickers in the 1990s for which he forfeited four hundred and sixty thousand United States Dollars to the American government. He is also alleged to have forged his university certificate and committed perjury in the cause of his blemished political career. His problems are legion including his real name and parentage.

READ ALSO: OPINION: Don’t let Tinubu go rogue again

Tinubu was sold to some Nigerians as the man who built Lagos when he became its governor between 1999-2007. Now the man who allegedly single-handedly built the country’s only mega city is furiously at work destroying Nigeria. We accused Buhari of being parochial and nepotistic but Tinubu is turning out worse. Indeed a Yoruba man was on national television the other day bemoaning Tinubu’s appointment of virtually only his kins people to head key and critical national institutions including the military, police, Customs, immigration, central bank, among others. Even in his bloated cabinet some regions got as many as 10 nominees while the South East [mainly the Igbo], who were perceived to not have supported his presidential bid got only five slots. The politically discerning know that any president shunned by the Igbo struggle to succeed. The disaster called Buhari is a recent example. His dislike for the Igbo, however, is mutual. The same can be said for Tinubu.

A man who is blinded by hate stumbles. And Tinubu started stumbling from Day One with the removal of the so-called petrol subsidy. Then he stumbled into the now obviously failed rates unification in the currency market. From there Tinubu has stumbled into a more dangerous terrain- attempting to drag Nigeria into a senseless war with Niger Republic.

Nigerians have told him in plain language that they do want any war with anybody. And certainly not with Niger, a country that shares so much in common with the northern part of our country. The usually lick spittle Senate also rejected Tinubu’s application to declare war. Yet, he won’t let go. He wants war to appease the US, the UK and France, and to distract from the legitimacy baggage of his regime. Another issue that should be of grave concern to Nigerians is the menacing militia of Alhaji Asari Dokubo. He calls it private military company [PMC], ostensibly like the Wagner of Russia. We have yet to find the laws approving the establishment of PMCs in Nigeria. But that should be the least of our problems. The point to note is that Dokubo’s heavily armed group is Tinubu’s PMC. Somehow Nigerians have failed to connect the dots when Tinubu’s lawyers at the Tribunal said categorically that there will be anarchy in Nigeria if the Tribunal ruled to sack Tinubu from the presidency. Was it a coincidence that the doomsday declaration by the lawyers came about the same time that Dokubo was granted audience in the Presidential Villa by Alhaji Tinubu. Later that same day, Dokubo used the backdrop of Nigeria’s Coat of Arm in the Villa to address Nigerians during which he castigated and pilloried the Armed Forces of which Tinubu is supposedly the commander-in-chief. He walked away triumphantly and there had not been any consequences since then. The dot to connect is that if and when the Tribunal rules against Tinubu, the Tinubu/Dokubo private army would have been sufficiently armed and primed to cause anarchy in Nigeria. It will then be said that Nigerians are angry with his sacking. This is cheap but dangerous. Dokubo with the suspected support and probable sponsorship of the extant presidency has already demonstrated his evil capacity by using their PMC to organize a counter cost of living crisis protests in Abuja. We have been warned but we have not taken heed.

The economic front is also gloomy in spite of assurances to the contrary that it will get worse before it gets better. The Naira is taking a beating in the foreign exchange market. That comes as no surprise. Inflation, especially food inflation is on the upswing. Petrol and diesel prices will accompany the Naira in heading north. Nigeria’s diesel-driven economy will take further hit. The effects will be a subject for another day. Meanwhile, the President is busy beating the drums of war that only he is desperate to fight.

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.

Join the conversation


Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism

Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.

As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.

If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.

Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.

Donate Now