By Sunny Awhefeada
Social scientists and other critical observers of the Nigerian experience must be hard put trying to codify or put a name to what has befallen Nigeria in the last seven years. Unbeknown to many other Nigerians, the intelligentsia that is considered as the facilitator of ideas, the encoder and interpreter of our socio-historical evolution is presently huddled in a mental cul-de-sac that make rational thinking almost impossible. Inventive, creative and as many as our eggheads are, they have reached their wit’s end. They are suffering from a menopause of ideas when it comes to the Nigerian condition. Their prognosis of yesterday for our today refused to add up. Their diagnoses of today’s ills have failed and they are unable to provide navigational guides out of the Nigerian crisis. Nothing is adding up in Nigeria presently and the nation is overwhelmed by a pervasive numbness and the essence of government has long capitulated. Many have concurred that the nation is on autopilot. The truth is that if there was a more severe word to describe our plight, such a word will need a superlative to approximate our condition. Looking back, Nigerians were, in 2015, hoodwinked into voting in a government led by a man that had passed his agile and productive years. Peeved by the seeming lackluster performance of then President Goodluck Jonathan and the reification of corruption under his watch, Nigerians bought the hooey that the unsmiling Daura-born general touted for his no-nonsense reputation would do away with the shenanigans and breathe a new sense of purpose into the Nigerian psyche and also eradicate corruption, tame insecurity and reboot the ailing economy.
The then opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), made up of strange bedfellows, that are now in retrospect actually most unprogressive, mounted an unprecedented media propaganda against the administration of the meek and gentle President Jonathan. He was criticized in the most corrosive of language and described as clueless. Heavily de-marketed, President Jonathan presided over an election which he lost and joined the lean club of African presidents who lost elections to do second term in office, a very rare phenomenon on the African continent. Gentleman Jonathan took no offence after his defeat even when political parasites around him wanted him to disown the result of the election and manipulate the process to remain in office. He bowed out of office and took a back seat in public cum political affairs. The new administration came in which much public approbation in expectation that it would perform political miracles. In truth, a momentary sense of sanity prevailed in the first three months of the new regime. Many did surmise that the new helmsman would unfold a riot act that would restore decorum and a new sense of direction in our national life. They looked back to his first coming as a shogun in 1984. But as it turned out 1984 was not 2015. The dynamics had changed and radically so.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s inauguration speech in May 1999 gave a deceptive hint that a nationalist was moving into Aso Rock. The “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody” line of that speech was tantamount to scoring the bull’s eye. Public commentators analysed that expression and saw in it a new ideal for Nigeria and Nigerians. But that euphoria was largely ephemeral. Nothing else President Buhari has said or done since that memorable speech matched the lofty intentions embedded in it. Buhari came into the presidency jaded and uninterested. His age, the reality of his being out of touch with contemporary issues, his not too impressive academic credentials, his abysmal zero-knowledge of political economy all made him an unfit material for the Nigerian presidency. No matter how brilliant or good intentioned ministers and presidential aides are, their diligence, brilliance and fidelity to national ideals and aspirations will come to naught if the president is not in sync with their vision and strides. Herein lies Nigeria’s present ordeal. Buhari came into Aso Rock suffering from governance fatigue. Since governance is what matters or the most important defining factor in national development, any act of bad governance is easily infectious and ruinous to the entire apparatus of the state.
What presently ails Nigeria is, simply put, governance fatigue. President Buhari has had his best moment before he was begged, cajoled and dragged into the presidential race. Those who precipitated his second coming were men who see politics as a cloak and dagger engagement that should only be beneficial to themselves. Their goal in dragging the man into the race was not hinged on any nationalistic ideal, but driven by narrow and ultra-selfish interest. And they scored a masterstroke by being able to hoodwink the people. They marketed Buhari on a triangular parameter viz; corruption, security and the economy. These three indices were not in the best of shape around 2014 and 2015 when the campaigns were on. The then President Jonathan’s presidency scored abysmally low on all three. An already exasperated populace jumped into the bandwagon, sang and danced to the rhythm of change which the Buhari promoters offered. It took the new president several months to appoint his ministers. The security situation he promised to end in the December of 2015 laughed back at him in mockery. A recession that was poorly managed confronted him with the reality of poor managerial skills.
The Buhari presidency will come to an end in about six months from now. Looking back, Nigerians’ verdict for his time in office is unanimously that of phenomenal failure. The nation’s experience of the Buhari presidency entrenches the trend of a previous government being better than the present. Yes, if President Jonathan’s administration scored an average of 50% in governance, the present regime would be rated as 25%. Followers of the present regime will agree that President Buhari has not hidden the fact that he was hobbled by certain factors. Sometime ago, he told Nigerians that he was not the Buhari of 1984 who was much younger and in sync with the reality of that era. At another forum, he told the audience that he was tired and eager to return to Daura. He went on to say that his regime had tried. Unfortunately, what he considered his best efforts were too inconsequential and ineffectual to mitigate the Nigerian crisis.
The trumpeters and masqueraders who offered Buhari to Nigerians are today embarrassed and silenced with occasional pouting of lips in shameless defiance. As the regime begins its countdown with just half a year to go, Nigerians are looking back and interrogating how they got swindled by the chorus of change in 2014 and 2015. What the present regime visited on the nation remains unprecedented in the nation’s evolution. From unbridled corruption to heightening insecurity to a badly economic, no other regime has done worse than the present one. The nation’s universities were closed down due to the insensitive and unpatriotic posture of two of Buhari’s ministers. One of them recently came out to confess that he failed as a minister. Yet, he was garlanded with a national award a few weeks ago!
Nigeria is depressed and distressed due to governance fatigue. No genuine governance has taken place in a long time hence Nigeria is packing up gradually. So many things we once took for granted have become ordeals. We have become a nation without roads and we can no longer travel. Those who could dare to travel are subjected to ordeals manifested in terribly bad roads and kidnapping or mindless killings. Security has virtually collapsed as nobody is safe anymore. Beyond the theater of war in the North-East and the insecurity orchestrated by terrorists and bandits in the North-West and North-Central, insecurity has crept into every nook and cranny of Nigeria including the nation’s capital, Abuja! Our security agencies have become so weak-kneed that civilians now protect our crude oil pipelines which are the nation’s most important economic assets. The education and health sectors have collapsed and only the poor who have no means of funding foreign education or embarking on medical tourism patronize our hospitals and schools. The power and production sectors are in limbo just as agriculture is suffering. There is absolutely nothing to cheer about. Governance fatigue has done us in.
Fatigued from the beginning
Couldn’t campaign in all the states
Tendency of previous govts better than the present
NSA and using mercenaries
ASUU, roads, train insecurity
Corruption steals what was stolen and recovered
Civilian Tompolo protecting national assets
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