Buhari’s heavy cross and Next Level

WHEN President Muhammadu Buhari conquered Nigeria’s highest office in 2015 after three failed attempts it was not for nothing that expectations were high and the future seen to be ‘pregnant’ with promise by his supporters. Appearing on the scene at a time his predecessor was, to a large extent, perceived to be too inept to rein in Boko Haram elements and fight the vermin called corruption, Buhari, a war General with his much publicised integrity, appeared to many as the perfect candidate to dislodge former President Goodluck Jonathan and restore fading hopes.

Four years down the line, another presidential election has been lost and won. But the tripod – fighting insecurity, tackling corruption and reviving the economy- upon which Buhari anchored his campaign in the 2015 and 2019 elections, have come under scrutiny and drawn flaks in recent times owing to what many see as the failure of  the president to deliver on his campaign promises, or put mildly, his less than stellar scorecard.

Last week, The Economist gave its verdict on the Nigerian economy under the Daura-born Nigerian leader. The newspaper said the Nigerian economy was “stuck like a stranded truck”, adding that more people had slipped into poverty in the last four years. The report of The Economist did not shock many Nigerians.

The displacement of India to become the poverty capital of the world, the scary 23.1 per cent unemployment rate and the occupation of unenviable 152nd position out of 157 countries in the World Bank’s Human Development Index bear testaments to a sick economy. Away from the economy and its troubles, except in war-torn countries, finding countries where 1071 people, according to IGP Mohammed Adamu, are killed in a quarter of a year alone due to activities of criminals can be likened to an attempt to squeeze water out of a stone. It speaks to the enormity of the security problem we contend with on a daily basis.

We have screamed ourselves hoarse to get Buhari to fire the Chairman, Special Presidential Investigative Panel for the recovery of property, Obono-Obla without finding luck. The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) had described his certificate as “altered and invalid”, yet he wines and dines with the president with his stained hands. How do we wrap our heads around the fact that his close ally and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, who was indicted and sacked for corruption and embezzlement of IDP funds was appointed the coordinator of his campaign in Adamawa State? Or is it the $25 billion contract allegedly awarded under Buhari’s watch by the Group Managing Director of Nigeria’s national oil company, Maikanti Baru, without following due process?

Luckily, Buhari has another four years to, not only retrace his steps, but right the wrongs of the past and write his name in gold. Perhaps, he will win the fading confidence some of us who have now been labeled wailers had in him.

No doubt, the task ahead of the president is enormous. He has a very heavy cross to carry in the next four years. But he asked for the job and over 15 million Nigerians ‘employed’ him, according to the result declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). It is his to design how he wants to be remembered by posterity.

  • Ladesope Ladelokun,

Ogun State