Buhari: Hitting the Ground Lurching

by Michael Egbejumi-David
Presidential seal Nigeria

Muhammad Buhari has been campaigning, running for the office of the President of Nigeria since 2003. That is a long time – twelve years to be exact. I don’t know anyone else in Nigeria who ran longer for consecutive years and times. Buhari is also the only Nigerian who declared for the Presidency himself (as opposed to being sponsored) and actually went out and won it.

So when the gentleman declared at his inauguration as President that he would “hit the ground running,” it was a believable line. I mean, the President has had twelve years to look at the nation’s problems and he went out on campaign trails spelling these out and professing possible solutions to them. We all assumed he had the wherewithal, and had the people in mind to help him enforce these solutions.

But today, 11 June 2015, as I write this, thirteen days in, we have a government of only 3: Buhari and his two Spokesmen. No Advisers, no Ministers, no Chief of Staff, no Secretary, no Cook.

Another believable line President Buhari sold the electorate was that he would publicly declare his assets if elected. Well…now we are told that there might or might not be a public declaration after something called “verification.”

All of that isn’t exactly hitting the ground running, is it?

To make matters worse, Bukola Saraki and his old Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gang rose up and taught Buhari a snappy lesson in how to get a move on and how to get things done.

I know it is very early in the day, but the way Saraki and the PDP turned Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) over so cheaply is a cause for concern. You have to wonder what kind of change we are staring at. The PDP was more astute, more ready, more coordinated and executed better than Buhari and his ruling Party. Some PDP governors (Wike of River and Mimiko of Ondo) and other bigwigs like Anenih and Atiku were in town to ensure that the needful was done. Also in town was the PDP’s perennial consensus doctrine. By the end of it all, while the APC leaders were still in siren blaring, chauffeur-driven cars and Buhari was still shaving, the PDP captured the National Assembly completely without breaking sweat. Even David Mark, the previous Senate President, was elected Senate Leader for goodness sake!

Saraki and his PDP mates did their thing, hung around long enough to shake hands and to gloat, then they shut down the National Assembly for two weeks and went off on their merry way to their various hangouts for Cuban cigars and non-alcoholic wine.

Only Jesus Christ did it smoother when he walked on water.

For the rest of us, unfortunately, it appears we are being left in the clutches of the old stagnating and self-serving brigade again. It’s all a pity given that there was so much expectation in the air only two weeks ago. In Lagos here, getting fuel at the station remains a one-day job, and NEPA is still doing its thing as if it never heard of the word ‘change.’ Please, for what are we still waiting? What is holding up oga Buhari?

I recall it took the same Buhari an eternity to pick a running mate after his nomination. Well, here we go again. Two week in, there’s no sign of any government in sight. No policy speeches, no economic agenda or blueprint, no discernible direction, no shape. Instead, Buhari has hit the ground like wet laundry.

For our sake, and for the sake of the country, we can only pray that twelve straight years of campaigning and running for office hasn’t left Buhari stranded in electioneering mode. Someone should please inform the President that the elections are over; there’s a country waiting now to be governed.

Nigerians have been let down so many times. I truly hope it is not happening again. I hope Buhari isn’t going to hang us all out to dry. Twice now, David Mark has socked it to Buhari: one as a military man and now as a civilian politician. Haba!

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