Excuses and blame game have almost become the mantra of this government. Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari urged Nigerians to show more understanding regarding our problems. He implored us to consider where we were in 2015 and where we are now both on security and the economy. According to him, the present government is working very hard and doing its best with the resources and manpower available to it.
He added: “If we order for weapons and armoured vehicles, it takes time for the manufacturers. It takes time to ship them and when brought here eventually, they are taken to training institutions, train the trainers before sending them to the field. This is a very long process.”
Is this not a lame excuse? Before President Buhari came in 2015, Nigerians thought his immediate predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, was clueless. The height of insecurity at that time was the kidnap of Chibok schoolgirls in 2014 by the Boko Haram terrorists. Then, it was strange. Nigerians mobilized and demanded the safe return of those girls.
When Buhari took over, he promised change. He pledged to tackle insecurity, corruption and fix the economy. Being a retired General, he attracted the votes of many Nigerians who thought he had the magic wand to face terrorists and bandits. I did not vote for him because I had studied his first stint as military Head of State in 1983/1984 and concluded that he would not do well. I and some others wrote and alerted Nigerians to his weaknesses. But his avid supporters drowned our voices with their chant of ‘change’ and ‘next level’!
Today, we are all suffering the consequences. Terrorism and other forms of criminality have enveloped our land. Kidnap of school children has become the new normal. From Yobe to Katsina, Niger to Zamfara, Kaduna, and Abia states, hundreds of innocent students have faced much trauma in kidnappers den. Some of them were even killed. Sadly, we have become the third most terrorized country in the world; the third worst governed country in the world and the first poverty capital of the world. And we are still waiting for some armoured vehicles, six years of being in power! Very unfortunate!
Mr. President, how do you expect the traumatized parents of the murdered students of Greenfield University, Kaduna, to understand you? How do you want the residents of those 50 communities in Niger State who are now ruled by Boko Haram to feel? What do you expect the residents of Abuja to do in the face of constant fear of terrorists’ invasion? And how will Nigerians develop confidence and understand you when there was an attempt the other day to burgle Aso Rock, the seat of power?
Alarmed at the worsening turn of events in Nigeria, 17 southern governors met in Asaba, the Delta State capital, recently. They issued some 10-point agenda on how to salvage Nigeria. They identified criminal herdsmen as the major cause of the upheaval in the country. And they not only banned open grazing in the entire South, they also called for restructuring, national dialogue and creation of state police. But will Buhari hearken to the call of these governors?
It is very doubtful. The Presidency already has a mindset about the clamour for restructuring. Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, had described such calls as unwarranted and unpatriotic. This is despite the fact that the issue was part of the major promises of the current ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), to Nigerians before the 2015 elections. What this means is that Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka; the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye; ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and many other prominent Nigerians who had earlier called for the restructuring of Nigeria are unpatriotic. The President has not told us what his real fears are.
Nevertheless, I have my own 10-point agenda on what we need to do to salvage this country. They are as follows:
One, our customs and other security operatives should concentrate their energies on policing our borders and other entry points. They should go after merchants of illegal weapons and stop raiding petty traders’ shops to cart away bags of rice and money.
Two, security operatives should go after all the criminal herdsmen carrying AK-47 rifles. They are the ones who deserve the recent shoot-on-sight order of the President. Otherwise, let the government empower farmers and other Nigerians to carry their own sophisticated weapons.
Three, security agents must be proactive in dealing with criminals. They should take the war to them in the forests and deal with them decisively. We can make use of our old armoured cars and sophisticated weapons if the new ones we ordered have not been delivered by the manufacturers. Or have they all broken down?
Four, there is urgent need to restructure this country. Whether the Presidency likes it or not, restructuring will douse the agitations for self-determination in some quarters. We don’t need another national conference to do this. We already have the blueprint from the 2014 national conference. What is required is to review and implement the recommendations for the betterment of Nigeria.
Five, government should tackle the twin problems of unemployment and poverty in the country. This is one major factor contributing to the upsurge in crime. Granted that it is practically impossible to employ every youth, but if a greater percentage of them are gainfully employed, it will reduce crime rate. This employment doesn’t have to be in government ministries. Encouraging entrepreneurs with tax rebates and other incentives may just do the magic.
Six, government should drastically cut down the cost of governance. This will partly make Nigerians believe that it is serious about fighting corruption and wastage in public institutions.
Seven, the Presidency should stop insulting our sensibilities with undue comparison of what happened in the previous administrations and now. This administration was elected to uplift our condition not to dwell on the mistakes of the past.
Eight, government should expunge nepotism and favouritism from its dictionary. A situation where a section of the country is in full control of the security apparatus of Nigeria will never auger well for the peace and unity of the nation. The people in power must respect our diversities if they hope to reap a bountiful harvest from our farms of patriotism. Equity and justice should be our watchword always.
Nine, the National Assembly should expedite action on the amended Electoral Act and re-present it to the President for his assent. If we agree that leadership deficit is the root cause of our problems, then we must get the electoral processes right. Our votes must count if we must change a bad government. It should be the beginning of our journey to enthrone an egalitarian society in Nigeria.
Ten, government must prioritize education in the scheme of things. Illiteracy is a major problem. But education empowers an individual. Over 13 million Nigerian children are out of school. Many of these children will grow to join criminal gangs because they have not acquired any skill that will enable them to better their lives.
No doubt, if our government follows these prescriptions strictly, the quality of life of Nigerians will drastically improve. And there may not be any need to wait for the delivery of sophisticated weapons to cow bandits into submission.
Re: Nigeria, Jordan and phantom coup plots
Dear Casy, the coup plot story from the security people was a ruse. The Miyetti Allah coup against Nigerians started since 2016 when they hijacked our government from Buhari. Fulani took over the Presidency, legislature, judiciary, security forces, MDAs, our towns and farmlands across the 36 states. Every state is currently under attack by Fulani under the supervision of the Nigerian security forces. Now, Buhari and Fulani have declared a needless war in eastern Nigeria to finish the genocide against the Igbo which Gowon couldn’t finish in 1970. He will fail.
-Eze Chima C. Lagos, +2347036225495
I don’t believe there is a coup plot anywhere. Rather, it is the force of the very high level of failure that has occasioned the recurring conspiracy theories of phantom coup plots. Have the theorists named anyone or group(s) linked to the so-called coup plots, let alone substantiating their allegation? The present Nigerian government is truly aware of its failure and consistent bungles. The body language of some of its honest allies, who are not comfortable with the way things are, speaks for itself. Therefore, the resort to the leeway of the blame game and non-existent coup plots is indicative of the fact that ‘The Guilty Are Afraid’.
-Edet Essien Esq. Cal. South, +2348037952470
Dear Casmir, I had planned to support Buhari soon after his victory in 2015 because he said those who defected to APC immediately after he won won’t get appointment. He also said his victory was for all irrespective of party alliance. However, his sudden change of policy bred agitation and turmoil. Solution is restructuring and amendment of electoral act.
– Cletus Frenchman Enugu, +2349095385215
Dear Casy, the late Chief Osita Osadebe, the highlife music maestro, said metaphorically, in one of his musical tracks, that a king resorted to alerting his subjects to the presence of a lion in their midst which led the king’s subjects to trooping out en masse to kill the lion only for the king’s subjects to discover that the king was fooling them as there was actually no lion. One day, the lion really came out, the king raised alarm but there was no response from the king’s subjects. Reason? The king had fooled his subjects many times and the lion had a field day devouring the king! Liken this scenario to the Nigerian situation today where sophistry and rhetoric occupy the pinnacle of governance in the face of damning all-round calamitous reality and you cannot but weep.
-Steve Okoye, Awka, 08036630731.
Casmir, what is disturbing about the APC-led government is that no single government official has deemed it fit to resign in protest to the failure of Buhari’s government in every aspect of governance including such individuals that were known to be leaders of protests in previous administrations. Today, they are the ones who will always defend Buhari. They’re the ones that will create the atmosphere of confusion and claim that the opposition including IPOB are the problems. They’re the ones who will deny the obvious even when international communities and the oppressed citizens are crying for help. They’re those who have used their positions to get wealth and influence and have acquired the erroneous belief that they are immune from any mundane adversity. But they have forgotten that History will always be the final judge.
-Pharm Okwuchukwu Njike, +234 803 885 4922
If things are going well in Nigeria, no person or groups will call for President Buhari’s impeachment. Nigerians should not fold their arms or keep silent while things are going down.
-Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535
- Also published in the Daily Sun of Monday, May 17, 2021