|President Muhammadu Buhari|
We were warned. We were warned that though the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did not impress Nigerians after four consecutive terms of four years each, in Aso Villa, the All Progressives Congress (APC), which allowed ageing Muhammadu Buhari to bear its flag, was not what Nigeria needed in 2015. PDP stirred the political cesspool, forcing Nigerians to clamour for change. But what we did not know was that even as APC planned to alter the calculus, Buhari had his own agenda.
Even those who claim to be more spiritual than others were distracted from reading the book of Proverbs chapter 24 verses 21 and 22, which warned: “My son, fear thou the Lord and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change; for their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knows the ruin of them both?” I don’t want to believe that Buhari gratified them because he even ‘borrowed’ to purchase his APC nomination form.
When Buhari was being pummelled with criticism, I was among those who thought that with all the bashing, even if he had bad intentions, he would have a re-think. I bought into the school of thought that Buhari should be given the benefit of the doubt, to try that magic he had been harbouring in his mind for the past 12 years. I was also one of the students of Soludonomics. Professor Chukwuma Soludo, former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), had, during the electioneering, said whoever won the presidential election between PDP and APC would find Nigeria difficult to govern. According to him, even the APC that wanted to wrest power from PDP had not proved that it could see through its campaign promises. The latest manifestation of that prediction is the school feeding programme, where pupils were fed with N20 worth of bread, spread with what looks like palm oil – that was what I saw in the video that went viral on social media.
But when he took the joystick, even to choose his cabinet became the labour of Hercules. There, his nepotistic and tribalistic nature came to play. I don’t need to start reeling out what most Nigerians already know. However, when he was challenged during a presidential media chat, he referred to Ibe Kachikwu, the Minister of State for Petroleum, as one South Easterner with a juicy position in his government. Even he was oblivious that the Kachikwu in question is from the South-South. Recent developments exposed the underbelly of that portfolio. With Buhari as Petroleum Minister and Maikanti Baru as Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Kachikwu is just a pawn. Hence, when Kachikwu complained that Baru was not respecting him, the case was shoved aside.
The assertion that “under PDP, officials were corrupt; while corruption is official under APC” is becoming a truism. Or how can you explain that Abdulrasheed Maina, who was declared wanted for allegedly stealing billions of pensions fund, was reinstated, promoted and paid N22 million for running away from corruption allegations? As at the beginning of this week, he had not been sacked, as pronounced by Buhari after much pressure.
Buhari, the president of Nigeria who doesn’t want any part to secede, has the mind to tell the World Bank to concentrate on developing the North. This is not minding that the money used to fund North East Development Commission (NEDC) is from the Niger Delta.
A World Bank official said: “In my very first meeting with President Buhari, he said specifically that he would like us to shift our focus to the northern region of Nigeria, and we’ve done that.”
But the presidency still accuses Nigerians of not interpreting the statement well. Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, said “ignorant and mischievous people” made it seem that Buhari’s position was a calculated attempt to give the North an unfair advantage over other parts of Nigeria.
Adesina said the president, since his inauguration, had been seeking international support for the rebuilding of the North East, which was ravaged by years of insurgency.
Information gleaned from projects.worldbank.org showed that out of the 14 World Bank-sponsored projects in the country, seven are exclusively for the North, while six others are meant for the whole nation (South West, South South, South East, North West, North East, North Central and North West); and the remaining one is for Lagos State. Titled ‘Projects and Operations’, these projects were listed under June 2015 to June 2017 projects.
And you still wonder why some people maintain that Nigeria’s unity is non-negotiable. We were warned.
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