The beautiful bubble of hope for the Buhari government was created by passionate and ardent cries of ‘sai baba', with a conviction that the endemic corruption in the country would soon be in the past, the terror of Boko haram would be squashed and the economy put on a firm road to recovery. That bubble looked good while it lasted. However, the government of Mohammed Buhari has been progressively showing clear signs of falling apart beyond salvage. It seems now that hardly a week goes by without some sensational development which further substantiates the true nature, lack of cohesion and direction of the government.
The first signs of trouble can be traced to the very beginning of the electoral victory in 2015 which saw ex-President Goodluck Jonathan dramatically throwing in the towel. Clearly, Buhari was more prepared for war at that time as evidenced by his infamous speech of ‘baboons drowning in blood' than governance. It took the APC new government over three months to announce a cabinet. A serious minded government would have had a ready list of ministers and functionaries with a clear manifesto and would have hit the ground running.
The suspense created by the waiting had everyone watching the space when the announcement finally came. It was a most disappointing list. Against the backdrop that Buhari's campaign had been cardinally hinged on fighting corruption, the list left few people in doubt that the ideal was compromised. It left a sour taste.
The much awaited list contained high profile names that had unresolved cases in court with the EFCC; the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. It was expected that the notoriety of such characters and their cases with the EFCC would preclude them from the list of the executive cabinet. Suspicion of the government’s real attitude to crime, particularly financial crime was clearly evident in the populace. The argument that unsatisfactorily tempered the suspicion was that it was early days and to give the government the benefit of doubt. Up till 2020, in the second tenure of Buhari, the government has had ample time and opportunity to prove that sentiment wrong but alas, the reverse is the case.
Snakes have successfully swallowed humongous sums of monies, rats and monkeys have equally played their roles in the business of laundering huge sums, fires have conveniently burnt down crucial records involving billions of naira, huge funds donated for Covid 19 intervention have mysteriously disappeared, election results have been forcefully seized, but even more astounding is the recent revelations that the Chief corruption fighter, the Chairman of the EFCC, Magu has been involved in the abuse of his position to shield criminals and even has a syndicate of his own officers at the Commission. Together they have re-plundered recovered loot and other monies in their purview. It is far from enough that they are now being questioned and some of them laid off. The pertinent question is, what informed Buhari’s insistence on employing Magu into such a sensitive position despite the National Assembly refusing to ratify his appointment? Surely, that image of Buhari as intolerant of corruption can now be laid to a final rest.
At the beginning of the tenure, the spate of crossovers from the PDP of heavy weight politicians with a history of financial impropriety began to crystalize the suspicion of the government’s real attitude to the fight against corruption. It wasn’t long before it became clear that the party was a haven for those politicians running from their dubious past. As the rather loquacious second Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomole liked to put it, crossing over to APC meant their sins were forgiven. Oshiomole’s attitude and subsequent actions in other elections which he superintended such as in Zamfara, Ekiti and Rivers states showed clearly that APC could do no wrong because the party had incumbent power. It also became clear that the EFCC had become the hounding dog for political opponents. The anti-corruption cat was out of the bag and in the open. A new paradigm to corruption pertains in this APC government.
Another notable faux pas at the beginning of the tenure of the APC government was the handling of the obvious ill health of the President. The electorates were clearly treated as undeserving of an explanation for the long absences of the President outside the country for treatment. Instead, the real nature and scope of the nation’s number one citizen was carefully shrouded in secrecy and has remained so. This situation led to rumors and conjecture that he was dead and that he'd been replaced by a surrogate. These rumors were fueled by the fact that the closest people to the President were identified as relatives and functionaries that had not been elected, but wielded such power as to be described as a cabal. These clear signs of nepotism has remained a hallmark of the Buhari government .
It has been remarkable that the government’s promise to quickly smash out the Boko haram terrorist group has also not materialized. What has played out is that the emergence of the government seemingly emboldened the terrorist group whose activities became increasingly brazen. They continue to wax strong and not a week passes without their infamous exploits. Up till now, it is difficult to differentiate this group from the other marauders called ‘herdsmen’ who have kidnapped, raped and plundered large sections of the country, particularly in the South- east, South-west and South-south regions of the country. Amotekun is a direct result of the South-west region’s determination to find a solution to this brand of insecurity.
Curiously, the government’s approach to these criminal insurgents has been to declare amnesty and compensate them for laying down their weapons. The approach has not stemmed the attacks as evidenced in daily reports. It is damning evidence that there are no records of any of these terrorists who were apprehended that has been successfully prosecuted for their heinous crimes. This has led some people to the conclusion that there are strong ties and understanding which these terrorists have with the core elements of the government. According to former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, the country has never been more insecure and that there are clear signs of fracture which need urgent attention.
The country is still on lockdown without any meaningful palliative for the common man. Inflation is at an all-time high and the economy is in shambles. Abba Kyari is gone, but the legacies of his ruling Nigeria by proxy will continue to reverberate for a long time. Internal strife within the APC that are showing terminal signs have led to the unceremonious removal of the controversial Adams Oshiomole as Chairman. The impending Edo State governorship election is hanging dangerously like the sword of Damocles. All of these are indices of a party bursting at the seams.
Aisha Buhari has inadvertently revealed a lot about the true state of things in Aso rock. Gun shots involving the first lady right inside the President’s lair is shocking and ominous. Is the father and husband truly home?
What is really going on in the seat of power? One good day, the whole truth will come out, but in the meantime, all the kings men and all the kings horses could not put the Buhari bubble back together again.
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