Buhari and the struggle for Nigeria’s democracy -By Joel Aleburu

Filed under: Democracy & Governance |


While 2015 might have appeared to present a ray of hope for very many of us who were at that point simply opposed to everything President Goodluck Jonathan and his total administration, it appears like once again, just like previous years and administrations, our hopes have been dashed and disillusionment is now the common denominator in the polity.

Sometime last week, I took up the unenviable exercise of scouring through the All Progressives Congress’ 2015 promises and all I could make of them was that, they amount to the biggest joke ever told in the history of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic democracy. It is needless to say, however, that most of these promises, if not all, have been denied anyway.

As it was with me, very many other Nigerians wanted the many years of obvious waste and official corruption characterised by the Jonathan administration out. And we did all that we could by showing the administration the way out of Aso Rock through the instrument of our ballot at the polls two years ago.

In one of my public interventions last year vide an article entitled, “Dear Mr President; before your time runs out”, I had called President Muhammadu Buhari’s attention to the fact that Nigerians were highly expectant of the good governance model he promised them at the campaign stands and that he did not have too much time on his side to fulfil these drowning expectations. It was to my consternation however that this article which I authored in good faith was received with an amount of backlash. The rhetoric “wailing wailer” had then been coined at the time and was on the rise, and so it wasn’t surprising to get my own share of being tagged a wailer quite unfortunately by a reading mass who had imputed so much sentiments to my honest intervention.

However, two years on after the jubilations that characterised this government’s victory, our case can only be described with the popular expression: “From frying pan to fire” and the case of a people running from pillar to post in search of the dividends of governance. There is, as a matter of fact, no gainsaying the fact that we have obviously descended into a worse state than before and yet muddled up in a quicksand. The past two years can at best be described as a colossal disaster characterised by a high inflationary rate and surge in the price of absolutely everything in the country with the exception of the minimum wage as usual. Life has been much harder for those in the middle class, let alone the lower class and poor Nigerians. One could say that life in the country could be captured aptly in the Hobbesian context of being nasty, brutish and short. A spate of events that have left too many a citizen worried and languishing in utter hopelessness.

There are three categories of people who have been obviously represented in the post-2015 dialectics of the current administration: The first set are those who think criticising Buhari and his administration simply and directly means hatred for the President, love for the PDP or total blindness. These people unfortunately have been the most unhelpful in assessing our growth as a nation and in further setting of agenda for the government at the centre. This lot also seems to be the ones surrounding the Presidency hence blocking them from seeing the current and actual realities on the ground. It is even more painful and shameful that a chunk of those that fall into this category are actually intellectuals and members of an elite class who have seen things work even better in other places. Some are in short, direct beneficiaries of a working system.

A sub-branch of those in this category are those who think criticising the President is a direct hatred for the North. Unfortunately, unlike their counterparts in the parent-branch, many of those in this sub-branch are actually uneducated, which on its own isn’t only a disaster but a ticking time bomb. Members of those in this category are arguably influential in the rumours being driven across the corridors of Aso Rock and boldly sold on the streets of Abuja to the effect that “the President was poisoned”. The set of people in this entire class are obviously the most dangerous ones.

That President Buhari has been absent from the country for the past 70 days and we as citizens having absolutely no idea what kind of illness he is suffering from are now matters of common knowledge and public disaffection. And one would be right if they draw the conclusion that we have not been holding Buhari to the same standards we held of his predecessors especially Jonathan. And this leads me into asking: What happened to all the critical articles that flew around pre-2015 and the various calls from different quarters for a better society? The big question perhaps is: What if it was Jonathan who decided to take a 120-day leave without telling us what was wrong with him? Would the reaction be the same? Is it okay to then assume that the extreme criticism that Jonathan faced wasn’t totally as a result of his perceived incompetence? Can we assume that many of the pre-June 12, 2015 activists were simply driven by ethnic solidarity and not personal principles? What is wrong with our President? How much of state resources have he spent on him in the last 70 days? At least, we know for sure that a presidential jet has been parked in England and that isn’t for free.

Out of about seven months this year, Buhari has been out for about four. When will he be back? As much as I liked pre-2015 Buhari, Nigeria doesn’t currently have a commander-in-chief. The missing military flag was rather obvious during Acting President Yemi Osinbajo’s Democracy Day address. That we need a President amidst the terrorist attacks happening in the North and the various numerous security challenges spreading like wild fire in the South is a fact of incontestable truism.

And since it has come to this, I must associate myself with the sentiments of Seun Onigbinde to the effect that “since we know the Federal Executive Council wont bulge, I will state that the National Association should write him a letter for his return or simply commence impeachment if he doesn’t reply”. However, if asked, I will suggest that Buhari should gracefully resign and return to his country home in Daura, to take care of himself and if possible, attend to his orchard. He has been leader of the country twice anyway.

The best thing that he can do for us is to put Nigeria and Nigerians first and resign, go home and take care of himself. Democracy and governance must continue by all means. Nigeria should be greater than anyone or any group’s personal interest. And just before the Buhari crowd calls for our head, may we point out that our position is not birthed from the hatred for Buhari, it is simply from the love of Nigeria.

Aleburu is a cybersecurity analyst and social commentator based in Jos