The Impediments to Buhari’s Agenda: Time for Critical Assessment

by Yahaya Balogun

In the next few months, President Buhari will be one year in office. As opined by this writer, his government has scored B+ in unearthing the billions of dollars stolen from the taxpayers. His efforts at taming corrupt individuals are yielding results. Nigerians look forward to a judicial dispensation of justice for these children of corruption to serve as deterrents.

Ibuharin order to deliver on his promise to change Nigeria for good; unencumbered by elites’ pressure to manipulate or influence the judiciary to abort justice, President Buhari should make it a matter of urgency to deliver on his promises; maintains his body language to rid Nigeria of corruption. He should be firm, fair and consistent in his approach at dealing with these agents of corruption.

Nauseatingly, Mr President’s body language on national crisis has been below expectations. His silence each time we experience the massacre of the innocent people in Nigeria is disheartening. A beloved leader shows quick and unblemished concern to national calamity with national broadcast and unscheduled visits to the bereaved families. Nigeria is highly polarized along religion and ethnic lines. Mr President should take cognizance of these polarizing norms to use his Vice President to bridge and connect all the dots to national cohesion and development.

The president has been transactional in almost one year in office trying to clean the Augean of mess of the previous administrations; unearthing the colossal rape of the nation. But behind his frail and slimy look is a soul full of energy with vision and mission to kill corruption in a beleaguered country. We understand his mission to exterminate corruption; but his interest should go beyond this to encompass national integration; not a “one-issue” president. Security, economic and social development should understandably be injected into his policy. His fight on corruption should be all inclusive with no sacred cows.

This writer is an incurable optimist and the unrepentant author of a prosperous Nigeria; he is also a staunched supporter of president Buhari because of his incorruptibility. But we must be frank with Mr President that some impatient and agitated Nigerians are upset and angry with his cabinet’s shrouded performance. Nigerians are getting frustrated with the state of the nation. The fundamental of the Nigerian economy is weak. We should be more constructively critical to identify Buhari’s failures and encourage him in his avowed mission to rid the country of corruption. Mr President must be acquainted with his own inadequacies and the shoddiness of some Ministers in his administration. The president’s efforts do not commensurate with his agenda and the expectations of the impatient citizens of Nigeria. Understandably, what has been destroyed cannot be undone in his four years in office but the fundamental problems of the people must be met, which include jobs, security and national cohesion.

Only those who understand the enormous challenges the president has on ground will have patience with him and his honest performance so far. The process of re-inventing Nigeria through change is not going to be easy. It is easy to destroy a magnificent structure but to rebuild it takes herculean tasks of men and women of goodwill.

Meanwhile, most of Buhari’s ministers are showing signs of incompetence, and seem confused of their constitutional duties, responsibilities and the crucial positions they currently hold. Some of them are discreet with the ways they explain the business of government. Government in any given society is a serious business. Good intent is not enough for good policy, it needs sustained ideas, constant stock-taking, transparency, open-mindedness, effective communication, selflessness and delivery of services.

In a nutshell, the position of the Minister of Information is politically sacrosanct to showcase the progress, failures, achievements and the obstacles of government, but the current Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Muhammed has been found wanting in this area. He has been inconsistent in information dissemination. All the ministers of the federation should always be on the same page with the president in information sharing and dissemination. In recent times, there have been inconsistency, contradictory messages, cagey and shrouded line of communication among the executive. President Buhari needs bouncy young and fresh technocrats in his government; people with impeccable values and academic credentials who will deliver the dividends of the people’s hard-earned-change. The days of extemporaneous Professor Bolaji Akinyemi as a Foreign Affairs Minister, the exquisite and charming Alex Akinyele as Information Minister and the energy savvy of Professor Rilwanu Luqman, Minister of Petroleum make us to envy the dark days of the military-president of Ibrahim Babangida.

The president should look into this anormaly and bring government closer to the populace. Nigerian problems should be shared and seem taken care-of and solved by the people that direct their affairs. The executive needs to bring this government to the door-steps of the people. The seemingly intertwined failures, achievements and burdensome of the present economy under president Buhari need to be explained to the ordinary man on the street of Kuje; the palmwine tappers in Ekiti; the market women in Okija, the ponmo sellers at Ojuelegba and the Okada riders in Ikorodu. No matter how good intentions of Mr president, people need to get involved and be informed in the business of governance.

Mr president’s foreign trips are very substantive to his foreign policy formulation, that is, to stimulate foreign investors and their governments to partner with his government in the areas of comparative advantage and national development. The achievements and the outcome of his foreign trips are what we want to see not the flamboyant receptions of our president by the host nations. The pictures we see on social media on his foreign trips speak more than a thousand words, but we want to see this translated to economic empowerment for the people. Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser on media to the president should give us the success of Mr president’s foreign trips, and how those trips will impact positively or solve the earthly problems of his plebeians.

The change the plebeians voted and fought for should be the change they anticipated. The government should not only be aspirational, but must be a participatory democracy where we are all involved for positive results and development of the country.

President Buhari has a lot to grapple with. He has sincere heart with strong will and determination to remove us from our age-long socio-political and economic doldrums. He needs to be more assertive and give us deterrents from all these looters. The corrupt people will do anything to make him fail. They will use their stolen wealth to fight and influence their corrupt partners-in-crime in the judiciary. He needs to be cautious of the looters and let the common people be his shields. We need deterrents for other prospective children of corruption to have a rethink of their flamboyant lifestyles and waywardness. Nigerians are getting impatient to see culprits go to jail for stealing their common wealth. The state of economic sabotage is prevalent in Nigeria, the perpetrators of economic sabotage should not be allowed to go unpunished.

The social and print media are awash with those who want the president to fail. When you allow your enemy to define you, that is a recipe for failures. The aids to President Muhammadu Buhari should avoid enemies within to define the mundane efforts of his government. With the abysmal state of Nigerian infrastructures, the urgent basic and physiological needs of the people now are portable water, good roads, employment, good sleep, security, energy, uninterrupted power supply; and re-invention of our religious and social norms.

The President should be more assertive and do away with incompetent hands in his government. People are demanding for the dividends of their hard-earned change and democracy. Nigeria is equipped with untapped human capital. We need active, vibrant and articulate technocrats who will make the transformational agenda of Mr President work. Nigerians are impatient and they have every right to be. The people need to be communicated with the transparent daily business of government. Nigerian business environment should be made business friendly and conducive to attract global trade and investment. Nigeria will be a hub and destination for international trade and investments if we harness our potentials and create a conducive business environment. Our power of imagination should be unleashed and tapped to eke out our hidden potentials. As the one year anniversary of his government approaches, President Buhari should begin to sieve his government; begin a stocktaking of his Ministers; peruse the balance sheet of his government, and make the necessary corrections in order to realize his transformational dreams for his impatient and disgruntled people.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

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