Last week, one of the most dominant news items Nigerians talked about with great relish was the extension of the tenure of the former Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and the ‘resignation’ of the country’s Service Chiefs.
This week’s QuickRead also reflects on a banter in which the presidency was caught putting the poor corruption rating of Nigeria at the doorsteps of ‘enemies of the government.’
Three other stories created quite some buzz and their implications for Nigeria’s political space cannot be sidetracked.
1. Buhari’s double-barrel ‘attack’
On February 4, President Muhammadu Buhari, in his wisdom, decided to extend the tenure of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, by three months.
Earlier, the presidency, in a terse statement, had arranged a soft landing for its much maligned Service Chiefs.
Femi Adesina, Buhari’s media aide had said, “PMB appoints new Service Chiefs. Maj Gen LEO Irabor, CDS (Chief of Defence Staff), Maj Gen I Attahiru, Army, Rear Adm AZ Gambo, Navy, AVM IO Amao, Air Force.
“He congratulates outgoing Service Chiefs on efforts to bring enduring peace to the country.”
About a week later, President Buhari caused a further stir when he forwarded the names of the immediate past Service Chiefs to the Senate as non-career ambassadors-designate.
In a letter he sent to the Senate to confirm the nominees, Buhari said:
“In accordance with section 171 (1), (2) (c) & sub-section (4) of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, I have the honour to forward for confirmation by the Senate, the under-listed five (5) names of nominees as Non-Career Ambassadors-Designate.”
“The nominees are: Gen. Abayomi G. Olonisakin (retd.), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Y. Buratai (retd.), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas (retd.), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (retd.), and Air Vice Marshal Mohammed S. Usman (retd.).”
Why it matters
The elongation of the tenure of Mohammed Adamu by Buhari shows a continuous disdain for the country’s constitution even under a supposed democratic dispensation.
Ultimately, it speaks to the dubious motive of the ruling political class to prop up strong individuals rather than build enduring institutions.
The lame excuse that Adamu was retained to give the President ample time to select a successor clearly illustrates the administrative tardiness which has become almost a work culture in the Buhari government.
On the other hand, the nomination of the ex-Service Chiefs as envoys barely a week after they exited office points to unspoken intrigues within the country’s power corridors.
It’s either that the retired military chiefs negotiated their way out of power or that the Buhari presidency had skeletons in its cupboard for which it fears that the retired soldiers could expose from close quarters.
The suspense created by Buhari’s seeming hurried action may not thaw in the coming days as more Nigerians, civil society groups, both local and international, seek to interrogate the tenure of the erstwhile military chiefs.
It may not be unsafe to insinuate, therefore that the Buhari handshake may have been deliberately crafted to grant the retirees immunity through the back door or safe Buhari some shame.
2. Presidency in chase of shadows
On January 28, the Presidency, through the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Buhari, Garba Shehu, in reacting to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index on Nigeria, sought to blame everyone but itself for the country’s poor corruption rating.
In a statement titled: “President Buhari deserves credit for diminishing corruption in public service,” the presidency alleged that some “enemies of the government” were behind TI’s rating.
“We are not unaware of the characters behind the TI in Nigeria whose opposition to the Buhari administration is not hidden…We have repeatedly challenged TI to provide indices and statistics of its own to justify its sensational and baseless rating on Nigeria and the fight against corruption,” Shehu said.
Why it matters
The most recent report on Nigeria’s anti-graft war makes it even more glaring that the Buhari administration has failed to live up to its campaign promise to reverse the culture of wanton looting of the country’s resources.
That the situation had gotten worse also suggests that Nigeria’s brand equity continues to erode and dampens the value placed on its investment windows.
Interestingly, the country might be building castles in the air in hoping that its grades will improve when the leadership itself looks to have taken actions intended to undermine the institutions set up to fight corruption.
Until the Buhari administration fully resolves the intrigues behind the sacking of its anti-graft Tsar, Ibrahim Magu, it is feared that the world would continue to doubt the country’s commitment to transparency and accountability.
3. Igboho’s unguarded utterances
On February 3, self-styled Yoruba activist and freedom fighter, Sunday Igboho, committed what many felt was a sacrilege by verbally attacking the revered Yourba monarch, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja II, the Ooni of Ife.
Igboho, who spoke on the back of his quit notice to Fulani herdsman to leave Yorubaland, attacked the Ooni by saying the First Class monarch was a “disappointment for not painting the true picture of herders’ carnage on the South-West before President Muhammadu Buhari.”
Why it matters
Igboho’s unguarded utterances, though uncalled for, depicts the sordid depth to which the country’s leadership has sunk, with ethnic warriors, terrorists and bandits brazenly seizing ungoverned spaces.
It is a classic case of what to expect when a government has failed in its duties of protecting the citizens and securing every part of the country.
It is to be assumed that many more Igbohos will spring up to protect their people in the face of government’s inability to do the needful.
Unfortunately, Nigeria may have to contend with the Igboho quality of leadership as long as mediocrity is rewarded and excellence is shoved aside.
4. Stinking refineries
On February 1, the Federal Government announced that Nigeria had spent a whopping N123.4 billion on Nigeria’s three refineries under the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in 13 months without making any profit or getting commensurate products from them.
It was a damning verdict that the Nigerian government had spent taxpayers’ money to keep the refineries idle for the combined cost of N123.45 billion from October 2019 to October 2020.
Why it matters
The shameful revelations on Nigeria’s oil giant puts the seal on the famed opaqueness in the operations of NNPC which, incidentally, President Buhari superintends over as the substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources.
The findings must, therefore, be admitted as a direct indictment on Mr President who has failed in six years to deliver an oil industry driven by transparency and accountability.
The hard reality is that the refineries will remain a drain pipe except an honest move is made to dispose them off in a transparent bid as future Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) contracts would only amount to scamming the country.
5. Obasanjo’s confessions
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo seems to have become a new man after he came out to blame his generation for the woes that had bedeviled the country.
On February 1, during a virtual interview with an academic and historian, Toyin Falola, Obasanjo, who ruled Nigeria between 1999 and 2007, said “Nigeria has no scarcity of people to lift the country and Africa up. But Nigeria is deficit in leadership.”
“Whatever my generation might have done wrong, and I will be the first to admit that my generation has done a lot wrong, is for your (young) generation to do it better… Don’t just sit and complain; it is like the anger of a cripple. Be proactive. Get like-minded people that can say ‘we can bring about a change’,” Obasanjo said.
Why it matters
Obasanjo’s confessions and admonitions are a call to action, especially for the rising youth population.
The former President may sound politically correct but whether he would be forgiven by future generations for the misrule during his era is doubtful.
And, for the numerical strength of Nigerian youths, it is also doubtful if they would immediately convert this political advantage in the absence of a seeming clear cut strategy to seize power.
Have a great weekend as QuickRead makes a return next week.
By Isaac Dachen
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