Two major infamous incidents made the All Progressives Congress (APC) government of President Muhammadu Buhari slide terribly in this writer’s estimation in the past two weeks. One was the president’s statement in Osun State last week while on a one-day visit to the state. The second was the announcement of the needless postponement of the Edo State gubernatorial election slated for today till September 28, 2016.
The Independent National Electoral Communication (INEC), working in cahoots with the DSS and the Police, had claimed during the tail end of the week that threat of insurgency in Edo necessitated this postponement. This is no doubt one of the strangest fictions we have heard in recent times. Insurgency in Edo? How come no insurgent threat had hitherto been heard in Adams Oshiomhole’s state? Why is the apparently disingenuous clique that manufactured this ostensible untruth dragging in the mud the residue of respect that the Buhari government is left with? It does appear to a wide spectrum of Nigerians that this gambit is to cover an impending Waterloo. Giving this issue wider space than this would be a spatial toleration of this APC lie.
During the Osun visit, the President had spoken about the intense hunger in the land and the difficulties Nigerians face living under his government. He feels our pains, he said matter-of-factly and in consoling the people, he promised that despite the various challenges, Nigeria would be great again under his watch. “I thank you for your prayers for the nation. God will help us to secure Nigeria and efficiently manage it. Please continue to pray for us. I can assure you that Nigeria will be great again,” the president had told Muslim leaders in the state, shortly after joining them in the Zuhr prayer held inside the State Government House.
If President Buhari reads the barometer of his ratings by Nigerians, there is no doubt that he would be terribly afraid, both for himself and his government. It goes to show the uncertainty of public adulation. For a government that came into office last year under the gale of unprecedented public encomium, this relapse of esteem is worthy of a study. Many fans and supporters of the government have suddenly gone apostate of their beliefs in the Daura-born ex-military head of state. His anti-corruption adornment, perhaps the only jewel that recommended him for office at a time when the Nigerian economy had become a bazaar in the hands of Goodluck Jonathan, has suddenly lost its glitters. Those who were ready to swear by the name of their dead parents that in the hands of Buhari, Nigeria would be great again suddenly waxed cold and shamefacedly walk languidly out of discourses on how government’s rating daily kisses the canvas.
The Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, has emphatically declared that Nigeria is in recession. Before her declaration, Nigerians knew that things were at the edge of their tethers. Two weeks ago, this newspaper reported that Nigerians were dying in droves due to the unaffordable forex crisis. Feeding has become an excruciating business and the number of depressed Nigerians is multiplying. The rate at which Nigerians take their own lives has quadrupled and hopelessness stalks the land like a pestilence. Only at a time of war should a people be allowed to live this dangerously. But indeed, there is war, fought on all flanks by hunger, with armaments of extreme and corrosive powers.
Government hasn’t done well in the management of the nation’s economy. Many knowledgeable people would still tell you that only Mother Luck rescued this nation from the affliction that would have befallen her had Jonathan won last year’s presidential election and continued in office. What would have happened was that an economy that was surviving by a whisker would have been papered over by government while the rot underneath continued. By the time Nigerians would know the real state of affairs, Nigeria would have been just a kilometer to Zimbabwe and Venezuela. Oh my, but we are there!
Anyway, so Buhari is seeking our understanding. What angers this writer most is the penchant of Nigerian leaders to drag God into the fray when they are wholly complicit in this drama. Why is Buhari implicating God in this miasma of regression? What else can God give to any sane people that He hasn’t given Nigeria? Are there no persons with adequate mental endowment to theorize us out of this economic bind? Are there no earthly national resources to kick-start our flight out of this pain and agony? But it is apparent that those who can rescue us out of this morass don’t fit into President Buhari’s already made-up profiling. They probably are not Hausa-Fulani and chant ‘chain’ instead of ‘change’. So they are permanently kept out of the loop.
What is more worrisome is that this government is not communicating hope of a greater immediate tomorrow to Nigerians. In saner countries that are unfortunately besieged by this kind of economic blight, government gives statistical indices at every juncture of how and when this pall would be lifted off the face of the nation. No, this government doesn’t understand that. The other day, Audu Ogbeh, its Minister of Agriculture, at an Abuja town hall meeting, said that the dollar would soon exchange for N1000 unless we curbed our rapacious thirst for foreign goods. Methinks saner governments are the ones who curb unfavourable tendencies through their policies, not the people. What is more excruciating in this season of anomie is that Nigerians are blind and are being led by self-blindfolded people. When our blindfolded leaders say there is light at the end of the tunnel, we laugh, in spite of our frail lips. What we need is hope communicated scientifically, not this type that is obviously from a babalawo who has just looked into his crystal ball.