By; Khalifa Dikwa PhD.
Pardon me to remind President Buhari that in view of the fast ticking clock, it is not ingenious for his government to unnecessarily wait for the pathological foot soldiers of corruption to give up their habit, or for the desperate politicians who got more projects and slots for their constituencies over and above those who deserve them, yet in a hurry to backstab Buhari in order to occupy the presidency.
Therefore, PMB should start utilising what is already in the Treasury Single Account (TSA) rather than wait for big monies to fix things. It is important to replace the double agents with the real drivers of the change mantra even without the traditional pay packages rather than to keep a small government to save more money as this can be interpreted as an act of ingratitude (butulci) to deny the die-hard campaigners to earn an official recognition for their hard work, sleepless nights brain crackings, risking their lives, talking and sharing campaign posts for 12 years running, till success was achieved in 2015. The change drivers dared the devil to take the bull by the horns to dislodge a cult behaving unrepentant selfish and stinkingly corrupt leaders who had earlier attempted to amend the constitution to perpetrate themselves in power for life like Mugabe of Zimbabwe, as the typical case with many African presidents.
For instance, most of them were brave drivers of change who risked their families, businesses and jobs, defied harassments, blackmails, rain and health as some of whom jumped out of their hospital beds to cast their votes. They incredibly invested their time, energy and resources as they sold their assets to buy and distribute phones and recharge cards to party loyalists from wards to LGA headquarters up to state capitals to organise, interconnect and coordinate activities leading to the successful neutralisation of the rigging machines during the historical election.
Despite the substantial degrading of the Boko Haram terrorist activities by our gallant armed forces, many have lost their patience with the PMB style of trying to avoid being accused of breaking the rule of Law, of lack of cooperation with the legislature with an unfortunate set of advisors creating bad synergy with the National Assembly, thereby delaying for many months what could have passed in one week. Sadly for us who continue to defend President Buhari’s good intentions, yet he is left alone to take the blame, which could have been avoided if he had not shortchanged his own team mates including governors in preference to newcomers who are mostly loyal to the old regime that brought Nigeria to its knees.
Such commentators have already run out of patience because their own arrowheads are abnormally kept outside with the pretext of meagre resources, hence keeping a small govt to save money. But we all know that most of such individuals only needed recognition, not the usual paraphernalia. Many of such impatient supporters see this as an act of ingratitude (butulci) as typically portrayed by one of the northern governors who brought in his own team from outside the state to help him run his govt while he gave the contracts to foreigners and proxies with a foreign template, running his govt on the pages of newspapers and in the social media with little or no results on ground to fulfill his campaign promises as he stayed most of his days outside his state, having excluded the real stakeholders who could have done the job. Yet he is still busy globetrotting, a real departure from ideals that are expected from an elected governor.
Back to my worry, any further delay may see us unable to defend this govt, our own govt of change that allowed moles and double agents to run his govt down. Perhaps they prefer the status quo of business as usual to return. I see no reason why somebody should advise president Buhari in December (18months after) for PMB to unfold his programme of recovery which is days to 2017 that could come with serial distractions such as formations of new parties shifting from one party to another, strikes, possible resignations etc emanating from degeneration of services such as electricity, fuel, scarcity of essential commodities, loss of trust and confidence barely halfway to the 4 year-mandate, as such late appointments could be misconstrued as another recruitment of campaigners for the next election, only to be dumped afterwards.
As it is now, i feel like retiring from talking and campaigning for anybody again. I have always previously warned this govt against rigidity cum an academic approach of adding 2+2 to get 4 in solving political problems. I also warned it against watching the double agents within who cannot face PMB to tell him the truth or blocked from doing so as a deliberate attempt to cage the President, as well as lack of ingenuity to keep more than N4.3 trillion waiting for more money to start budget implementation when time is needed to execute capital projects with the challenge that current galloping inflation and free fall of our currency that the economic team has failed to address.
More appeals for patience will no longer ring a big bell to the hearing of the teaming jobless youths and their forcefully retired parents whose kids are always humbled by hunger, parental poverty to pay school fees as most of us tend to load the blame on the leaders rather than praying hard for Allah to help us out of our predicaments. Only a few of these folks that President Buhari so much trusts are reliable because they don’t mind misleading Buhari till the end of his tenure as they did to former President Jonathan. They are now using PMB as a scapegoat to run this govt down. All are saying that even the party is so broke that its national executive cannot invite state officials for constant discussions to help the running of government because this regime is penchant for only one way ticket of saving when officials are in need to spend some money internally and externally to organise meetings to lobby more foreign investments and even provide transport and accommodation to party men and visitors to go places such as assessing the North East to look at the Boko Haram devastation, assess the pathetic state of the IDPs, the clean up of the Niger Delta oil spills, guley erosions in the south east, desertification in the north, to explore oil, gas and mineral resources, food production, with industries that such produce needs.
PMB should no longer watch the enemies within to continue planning and sabotaging his govt, leak such minuses to the press to be followed by denial by the media aids. I wonder if Buhari is getting the same social media writeups, comments and papers we read (in intelligence), some newspaper pages could be specially designed to cage a president as they did to late Gen Abacha to give him a positive impression that things are okay, particularly if the president doesn’t have enough time to break the cell, to place phone calls to reach out to those who would tell him the whole truth. Pres Buhari may do well to covertly join temporary membership of credible online platforms where Nigerians of different backgrounds throw away their partisan leaning to help Nigeria when national interests are at stake.
No matter the level of sincerity of Pres Buhari, his rigidity, slow speed can easily pave way for pathologically troublemakers, haters and rivals to perpetually cage him. With the little time left, PMB must wake up to reality and listen to the cries of the people who made him president. Our hard earned change government must be put back to rails by taming the activities of the devil’s advocates within the three arms who have so far had a field day, one of which is the haphazard policies of the economic team.
Most urgent steps must be taken by both NASS and the presidency to curb the fast deteriorating security situation. I can say with certainty that the morale of our armed forces is at its lowest ebbs as their fight against suicide bombers of Boko Haram, pipeline vandals, herdsmen/farmers, kidnapers etc for poor and lower fire power, fewer/older weapons, inadequate, untimely pay as well as lack of welfare, incentives coupled with poor intelligence gathering and sharing. Other acts of saboteurs include those opposed to the end of insurgency which is theirautomated teller machine (ATM).
The same negligence can be said of the police, DSS, antigraft and other security agencies. In short, the successes earlier recorded are already slipping hence my urgent call to save the situation NOW.
It is sad that some of us who are known for bluntness no longer find it easy to defend this government, though it is better than the previous one in terms of security and saving. It is not wise to keep money against time while the clock keeps ticking as only promptly used money begets more money and good will of the investors, entrepreneurs with the aim of narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor people. Delaying policies or execution of projects for months when it can actually be done in a few days is a serious lack of ingenuity, particularly when people are faced with a galloping inflation without palliative measures in place to cushion its effects.
It looks like some of our leaders lack human feelings when they advise for saving without feeling the pulse of starving people. This govt was massively and unprecedentedly supported to dislodge a sitting regime. It is therefore politically unwise to take the patience of the people for granted. Nigeria is economically better off than Greece and Spain, it must therefore avoid the Venezuelan nightmare by avoiding a chain of looming strikes and protests that may be difficult to convince and control when they all come at the same time when the presidency and the National Assembly are playing Tom and Jerry with our lives, rights and time.
Indeed, the security situation is deteriorating with the recent loss of our great commanders and troops, yet no political leader is talking about it. A stitch in time saves nine. May God help us and our leaders to succeed.
Dikwa PhD is a Kaduna based Associate Professor