In 2015, most Nigerians lost confidence in former president Goodluck Jonathan due to rampant allegations of corruption in his administration and his inability to deal with the rampaging Boko Haram menace.
Everyone assumed the then Gen. Muhammadu Buhari RTD, would decisively deal with corruption and Boko Haram. As soon as it was officially announced that Mr. Buhari won, Nigerians from all walks of life congratulated him and some world leaders even extended state invitation to him. They invested a lot of their hope in him partly because Nigeria is the largest African country and what happens there affects the rest of Africa. Nigeria was also looked upon as a country that can show the world how Christians and Muslims can live together in a functional democracy.
Three years later, the Nigeria economy is still struggling, rampant corruption has not been tamed and Boko Haram has not been defeated. Sadly in fact, another menace in the form of violent and blood sucking herdsmen have compounded the nation’s insecurity.
President Buhari’s long absence from Nigeria due to his illness did not help at all but that is beyond his control. President Buhari and his cabinet as well as his economic team have not articulated consistent economic policies and have not successfully implemented full year budget. It appears that they are running the economy on ad hoc basis.
On the positive side, President Buhari’s administration have stabilized Nigerian currency against foreign currencies. The Federal Government has successfully deregulated fuel import and removed subsidies, although there are still claims and accusations from some quarters about illegal subsidy payments to oil companies by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC.
The administration has also successfully implemented the Single Treasury Account (TSA) which has led to better accounting of all national revenue. It must be emphasized that TSA was President Jonathan’s idea but he did not implement it due to rampant corruption which has become a defining point of his administration.
One of the issue that has really dealt a significant blow to President Buhari standing in the World community especially in western countries is his handling of Nnamdi Kanu and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) movement.
Most people in Nigeria do not realize how sensitive the issue of Biafra is in the Western world. It is a sensitive issue because the world has not forgotten the pogrom and genocide that took place before and during Nigerian civil war. Most foreign governments especially western nations do not want breakup of Nigeria or secessionist movement which will lead to the creation of Biafra or Oduduwa or Niger Delta Republic. They want a united Nigeria but not at all cost. Certainly not at the cost of massive bloodshed.
Nnamdi Kanu and his movement was not taken seriously in Southeastern Nigeria until his arrest and detention by the federal government. Federal government action drew most Igbos to his side which was demonstrated on May 30, sit-at-home protest. That sentiment by Igbos and some parts of nearby states is still there.
What is bothering Western nations government is President Buhari’s tactic of using military force when people are protesting and airing their grievances. They believe that force is not the solution, that IPOB has a legitimate grievance that needs to be addressed to the satisfaction of all Nigerians. They also think that these agitating groups will take up arms or move toward violence if they are denied the opportunity to protest or air their grievances in a peaceful democratic setting which is the correct assessment.
Consistent attacks by herdsmen who have wrecked mayhem especially in the North Central parts of Nigeria is yet another issue Nigerians think the president is treating with kid gloves. While some attribute the presidents reaction to the fact that the hoodlums are of the same clan with president, others think it is a calculated attempt to annihilate the Christian communities in that part of the country. Of note are the remarks by renowned Nigerians who believe it’s a case of ethnic cleansing.
All of a sudden, the once revered President Buhari is no longer the bride a lot of Nigerians want to associate with. Nigerians are not happy also with the massacre of shitte religious sect in Kaduna state and subsequent disappearance of their leader even though some judges have demanded his appearance in their court hearings. Recently, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria Sheik Ibrahim Zakzaky was arraigned alongside his wife for crimes against the state.
Nigerians especially the ‘talakawas’ and a sizeable number of the elites appear to be detecting a pattern with Mr. Buhari’s and are beginning to think that he is not a democrat but an autocratic leader who has no regard for rule of law and respect for human life.
President Buhari will be better off if he can spend his time in finding peaceful solution to issues raised by these groups before things gets out of hand. Re-organization or restructure of Nigerian federation should take place before most regions of Nigeria will consider it insufficient. Restructure of Nigerian federation need to take place before the next presidential election so Nigeria can move forward.
President Buhari’s government need to offer solutions to issue raised by so many Nigerians before the situation gets worse.
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