By Ikeddy ISIGUZO
MUHAMMADU Buhari, former President of Nigeria, has no spartan expectations when he is praised. Forget his ditters. Buhari glows in the glories of the gamut of his failures. He still only cares for himself.
When he turned up for the public presentation of Walking with Buhari, Femi Adeshina’s reflections on being his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Buhari was stiff, smug, distant, and bore the same askance that saw Nigeria dither for eight years under him.
“Without documentation, revisionism wins. Human beings often have short memories, and unless events are recorded in cold print, some people would come and attempt to either distort or even obliterate recent history,” Buhari said in praise of his achievements which another five-volume publication also recorded.
The rule used to be not to speak evil of the dead. For Buhari, every rule is broken, standards dumped, history distorted to make something of him. Buhari’s failures are never stated. Is it plausible that Buhari is unaware that his failures strip words of meaning? How does one assess a President whose favourite response to critical national issues was, “I am not aware”? At least he is aware of history, that is a good start, though belated.
His successor, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Jagaban Borgu, is a beneficiary of the low points Buhari took Nigeria to in eight years that were built on false hopes, and in real terms no hope.
Pa Edwin Clark, Convener of Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, reacting to the Buhari books was nearer the mark about non-existent Buhari amplitudes. “To most of us as Nigerians, Muhammadu Buhari failed abysmally as President. His administration was full of insecurity, economic collapse, injustice, religious bigotry and lack of direction. The eight years of his administration plunged Nigeria and Nigerians, five decades backwards. Even his successor, the current President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, noted as much in his speech at the time of the occasion where Buhari was eulogising himself,” Pa Clark’s statement read.
Adeshina said his book was meant to correct wrong narratives about Buhari. He is right. Wrong or right could be directed by our biases. In fairness to Buhari, let the party manifesto with which he contested the elections be the bases for our narratives.
On Thursday, 6 March 2014, when the All Progressives Congress, APC, launched its manifesto in Abuja, it impressed Nigerians with a commitment to change Nigeria. Buhari was the man who drove that “change” with a reckless zeal that changed Nigeria so much that we only remember where we started the journey, but have kept wondering, in our wandering, if there was a destination.
Some excerpts from APC’s manifesto –
.Make our economy one of the fastest growing emerging economies in the world with real GDP growth averaging 10% annually;
.Embark on vocational training, entrepreneurial and skills acquisition schemes for graduates along with the creation of the Small Business Loan Guarantee Scheme to create at least 1 million new jobs every year, for the foreseeable future;
.Embark on export and production diversification including investment in infrastructure;
.Promote manufacturing through agro-based industries and expand sub-regional trade through ECOWAS and AU;
.Make Information Technology, Manufacturing, Agriculture and Entertainment key drivers of our economy;
.Balance the economy across regions by the creation of 6 new Regional Economic Development Agencies (REDAs) to act as champions of sub-regional competitiveness;
.Put in place a N300bn regional growth fund (average of N50bn in each geo-political region) to be managed by the REDAs, encourage private sector enterprise and support to help places currently reliant on the public sector;
.Create an additional middle-class of at least 2 million new homeowners in our first year in government and 1 million annually thereafter; by enacting a national mortgage system that will lend at single-digit interest rates for the purchase of owner-occupier houses;
.Targeting up to 15% of our annual budget for this critical sector (Education) whilst making substantial investments in training quality teachers at all levels of the educational system;
.Promote the concept of reserving a minimum number of seats in the National Assembly for women;
.Create teams of volunteers to plant and nurture economically viable trees in arid regions;
.Restructure the Ecological Fund Office to enable it to meet today’s environmental challenges;
.Generate, transmit and distribute from current 5,000-6,000 MW to at least 20,000 MW of electricity within four years and increasing to 50,000 MW with a view to achieving 24/7 uninterrupted power supply within ten years, whilst simultaneously ensuring the development of sustainable/renewable energy;
How did Buhari fare with the APC manifesto in eight years? Where are the six new Regional Economic Development Agencies? Was the proposed N50 billion per region spent on other regional developments?
Did Buhari deliver the nine million housing units APC promised?
How many millions of new jobs did Buhari create in eight years? Where are the economic plans to sustain annual yearly growth of 10 percent? To ensure fairness to Buhari, can we drive the Buhari narratives on similar questions?
Tinubu mostly rehashed APC’s failed manifesto. Tinubu’s manifesto affronts with the futile efforts to garb APC in a new attire.
Apart from the unanswered questions on implementation, Tinubu the great leader, lifted APC’s manifesto in places and minimised the 2015 promises.
An example, “l will establish new industrial growth centres by creating six new Regional Economic Development Agencies. These agencies will create sub-regional industrial hubs to exploit each zone’s competitive advantage and optimise their potential”. Tinubu gingerly left out the N50 billion funding of 2015 and avoided funding totally.
“My administration’s critical goal is to have 15,000 megawatts distributable to all categories of consumers nationwide to ensure 24/7 sustainable power supply within the next four years” We enjoyed a promise of 20,00 megawatts, scalable to 50,000 megawatts from the same APC. Why did Tinubu promise less? If Nigerians needed 20,000 megawatts of electricity in 2015, have we grown fewer in eight years that we would require less electricity?
Tinubu will stop fuel subsidy and determine the price of fuel by market forces. “By the time we took (sic) office, the Dangote refinery would have been fully operational, nullifying the need to import refined petroleum. There will be no need for a subsidy because the market will be open and transparent, supply will come from local refineries, and the forces
of demand and supply will determine the price of petroleum products,” Tinubu’s manifesto states.
Can Dangote Refinery meet current national daily demand of 66 million litres (NNPC’s figures)? Dangote is expected to produce 55 millions litres of fuel daily. Will Dangote not sell to more lucrative foreign markets?
“My administration will collaborate with state governments, the building and construction industry, private sector investors, and banks to build and sell over 5 million new homes within the next four years. I will introduce a national mortgage system that will lend at single-digit interest rates to purchase these owner-occupied homes,” Tinubu repeated APC’s 2015 promise.
Like Buhari, like Tinubu. By the time Tinubu leaves office, there could be over 20-volume publications glossing over his bumbling incompetence in security management, celebrated looting of the commonwealth that is treated as national culture, incohension on a national direction, and the standard belief that leadership is about photo opportunities.
The unending shame about our torpid accommodation of listless leadership is that a Buhari can make a public appearance to discuss history and his entitlement to be vindicated for his dedication to momentary wakefulness and sloppy speeches that confirm unimagined concerns over Buhari.
DAYS after an explosion in Ibadan, the cause of the mayhem remains speculations. The rising kidnapping in Abuja is another security issue that is lost in an incredibly spare considerations in our lives. Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Minister, Dr. Nyesom Wike, a lawyer of over 27 years standing, blames Area Council Chairmen for insecurity in FCT. The Constitution which Wike has sworn several times to uphold lists establishment and maintenance of cemeteries, burial grounds, markets, parks, and homes for the destitute or infirm as the major roles of the Local Governments. For Wike to share the blame the way he did, it means that insecurity and the blast in Ibadan could be lost in blame-shifting, blame-sharing.
Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues