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Buhari’s 100 days of elusive leadership

07 September 2015, 14:05 Onyiorah Paschal Chiduluemije

It is now 100 days since Major General Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in on May 29, 2015 as a democratically elected President of Nigeria (Northern Nigeria, some now say) and so far, no doubt, a load of hogwash, gibberish and naked canards are increasingly being thrown into the public domain as testimonies of his elusive leadership.

Bad enough, it appears, there is practically no limit to which the mischief-makers behind all the nonsense styled as Buhari’s achievements in 100 days in office cannot go in the propagation of their white lies and in misleading the unsuspecting and gullible members of the public.  

Of course, we may recall that no sooner was Major General Muhammadu Buhari sworn in as a democratically elected President than he swiftly embarked on a familiarization tour of countries, Chad, Niger Republic and Cameroon, affected by the dastardly activities of the Boko Haram insurgents. Even though this move was deemed timely, the fact that Mr. Buhari just assumed the mantle of leadership and thus needed direct access to details about the efforts being made by the leadership of these neighbouring states on the war against the insurgents obviously made this tripe inevitable. Hence it became laughable when eventually this clearly self-help tripe was later tagged “shuttle diplomacy” by Alhaji Lia Muhammed, the APC spokesman, in an apparent attempt to count on it as an aspect of President Muhammadu Buhari’s foreign policy achievement.

Also Read: Tension in APC over Buhari’s cabinet

As seemingly embarrassing as this mentality of Alhaji Lia Muhammed and his ilk appeared, it is evidently ignominious today that even Mr. Garba Shehu – the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity – has overwhelmingly become so intoxicated by this line of thought that he equally regards this mere familiarization tour as one of the key achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari within 100 days in office.

Probably writing under the intoxicating euphoria of his residency in the villa, Mr. Garba Shehu has enthused that “some of the other activities (a byword for Buhari’s achievements) I wish to enumerate also include the fact of his taking relations with the country’s immediate neighbours to new heights”. Taking what to new heights? For crying out loud, enough of this gaffe! What sort of “new heights” is Mr. Shehu really enthusing about? If one may ask, was Nigeria hitherto at war with her immediate neighbours? If yes, then since when did the war start? And if no, then what is the hullabaloo about this issue of new heights?

By the way, were Nigeria’s relations with her immediate neighbours not cordial enough – in the first instance – to have allowed and/or necessitated the formation of the Joint Multinational Task Force (which began to fight in earnest the Boko Haram insurgents in the border areas with these neighbours since) during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan? Meanwhile, what has President Buhari taking Nigeria’s relations with her immediate neighbours to the so-called new heights brought to bear on the lives of ordinary Nigerians living in the North-Eastern region? Again, to what extent has this “new heights” rubbish minimized the incidence of unbridled killings and wanton destruction of properties being perpetrated by the Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East? For goodness sake, where lies the sense and benefits in this “new heights” nonsense?

Besides, it is really comical that some folks believe and are wont to argue that the relocation of the military High Command and Control Centre from its Abuja main location to its present make-shift base at Maduigri, Borno State, is yet another milestone in hundred days of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. As trite as this argument is, it is by no means less ludicrous than the one associated with the counter-productive and irrational order for the immediate dismantling of all military checkpoints across the federation, reportedly issued by Mr. Buhari soon after being sworn in as a President.

But left to objective observation, truth is that the apparently unprecedented and unabated killing of hapless Nigerians nowadays in the North-East, particularly in Borno state, and even in the face of the heavy presence of top military brass with their status and sundry other ordnance, simply goes to impugn the viability of the entire strategies and policies of Muhammadu Buhari’s government towards the containment of the Boko Haram insurgency.

Unmistakably, however, it must be stated that our military personnel are wonderful compatriots and are just doing great in stemming the tide of Boko Haram menace within the circumstances they have found themselves. Hence the fact in issue is neither about our military nor their capacity to discharge their functions well. Rather, the fundamental problem here is the perceived anachronistic policies of President Muhammadu Buhari towards tackling the menace posed by these Boko Haram “brothers”.

Critically weighed, defeating the Boko Haram terrorists clearly goes beyond the subsisting attempt at pushing our military High Command around in an apparent show of being in charge. At the very best, instead of this useless relocation of the military Command and Control Centre to Maiduguri, this government would have done well to deploy more of specially trained and seasoned military personnel alongside with hi-tech equipment and facilities to the 7 Mechanised Division of Nigerian Army at Maiduguri, bearing in mind that war on terror is not basically about quantity but quality. This is course the rationale behind the establishment of this new Division by President Jonathan’s administration. In essence, having a whole lot of our military personnel and their leadership domiciled in the desert area all in the name of fighting the Boko Haram vermin is, to say the least, strategically moronic. And whether anybody likes it or not, this is one of the abysmal areas of Muhammadu Buhari’s hundred days of elusive leadership.

Moreover, it is highly provocative that this government is incurably inclined to mistaking the thinking faculties of all Nigerians for a malfunctioning machine. Otherwise, how could mere “body language” of Mr. President be depicted and construed as a causative factor in the electricity supply in the country? As reasonable and sound minds are inclined to ask, since when did the “body language” of the President become (converted to) electricity infrastructure put in place by the administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to provide light for Nigerians?

Curiously, while almost commending President Jonathan’s giant strides in the power sector and, knowingly or unknowingly, exposing in the same breath the elusive leadership of his principal who, as recent events have shown, seems to delight in taking the glory that rightfully belongs to another, Mr. Garba Shehu naively writes: “He (President Muhammadu Buhari) didn’t put a kobo to finance the power sector. Yet, reading his body language alone and knowing that there are things you cannot do and get away with under Buhari, electricity supply all over the country has risen”.

As infantile as this submission is, it is crystal clear to even a stranger who has lived in Nigeria for over a year now to know and bear it out that the relative improvement in power supply across the country today goes practically beyond the so-called “body language” of one man - called the President. In the same vein, it is absolutely nonsensical and glaringly unscientific for anybody to even ascribe this improvement to the so-called matching order allegedly issued to the operators in the sector by President Muhammadu Buhari. For one,  if the opinion of the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of power, Mr. Godknows Igali, that gas pipeline vandalism was the cause of intermittent power interruption during President Jonathan’s administration (especially taking cognizance of Igali’s emphasis that “it reached its peak on the May 26th (2015) when gas-generated electricity was completely grounded”)   is anything to go by, then it is not unlikely that the allegations that this nefarious act was being perpetrated by members and supporters of the All Progressive Congress may not be entirely misplaced. Unfortunately, here “we” are deceiving Nigerians and talking about President Buhari’s elusive achievement in the area of electricity supply whereas his spokesman, Mr. Garba Shehu, has unarguably admitted that the latter has not and in fact “didn’t put a kobo to finance the power sector”. Yet, this is a President who astutely and corruptly appears to be taking the glory that rightfully belongs to another.

Here again, instead of giving honour/credit to whom at the moment deserves it – even though the present government is notorious for its pathological hatred over achievements left behind by the administration of Present Goodluck Jonathan - Mr. Garba Shehu appears to be busy playing to the gallery, creating and building a strong man mentality in President Muhammadu Buhari who apparently seems not to know yet where to start from in tackling the myriad of issues bedevilling the power sector.

So far, Nigerians are being bamboozled with vague and fiction-based accounts of how the country’s economy has been supposedly turned around under Buhari’s watch and in less than one hundred days of his Presidency, for that matter.

According to Mr. Garba Shehu, “In the area of economic management, Nigerians are already seeing things happen they thought were not possible in so short a time”.

With all due respect, this platitudinous assertion is not only preposterous but also it speaks volumes about the extent to which this wobbling government has made deceit its watchword. Otherwise, how could a government that has no official economic team led by any recognisable professional (a Minister) and with no known policy direction yet, claim to have recorded not just pleasant but unprecedented economic activities in its less than 100 days in office? For clarity, the term “activities” as employed here is a byword for President Muhammadu Buhari’s achievements as broached by Mr. Garba Shehu in his article “Understanding Buhari in 100 Days”.

Also Read: 'Buhari has every reason to celebrate 100 days in office'

Also, this is a government whose economic blueprint was reportedly unveiled by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbanjo, on Wednesday, September 2, 2015 (see the Punch Newspaper of September 3, 2015).

What is more, even President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade is more or less a hoax. Of course Mr. Garba Shehu would want Nigerians to believe that as at May 29, 2015, Mr. Buhari had less than 30 million naira in his bank account, some mud houses which spread across a few states in the North, some undeveloped plots of land as well as possessing shares in Berger paint, Union Bank and Sky Bank. But the concern is:  if indeed the things that Mr. Garba Shehu mentioned comprised Mr. Muhammadu Buhari’s assets as at the time of his inauguration as President on May 29, 2015, then it couldn’t have taken these donkeys’ years to unveil them. Even at that, since the Code of Conduct Bureau is still reportedly vetting the so-called assets so declared by President Buhari, then why must the latter be the one to publicly romanticize it, instead of the official (s) of the bureau? Or, Could there not be possible motive for this? Or, is this not capable of anticipating the ongoing vetting work of the Bureau? More so, is it not possible that by this seeming anticipation a script and/or templates may have been set for the Bureau to comply with? Can the officials of Bureau afford to dare the President? One wonders why the President seemed to have forgotten to include or mention his electronic appliances since he could enthuse about his 25 sheep and a variety of birds. Indeed, the whole assets declaration exercise smacks of laughter. Clearly looking at this seemingly hide-and-seek assets declaration game of President Muhammadu Buhari vis-a-vis the wait-and-see process of verification by the Code of Conduct Bureau, there is no gainsaying that the whole thing still reeks of whitewash.

All in all, a President who in less than two months of his ascendancy reportedly began to build a helipad (“a kind of landing for Helicopters”) at his Daura country home; whose party (the APC) and media aides are currently enmeshed in serious denial of virtually all that he promised the people during the electioneering period; whose odious inclination to   parochialism, bigotry and ethnic jingoism as so far evidenced in his appointment of officials to assist him in the business of governing a supposedly secular and federal entity called Nigeria, cannot of course be seen to have that nationalistic disposition or pan-Nigerian mindset needed to provide the right leadership at the centre that will not only be antithetical to corruption but also impervious to primordial sentiments.

In the circumstance, therefore, General Muhammadu Buhari has within these hundred days of being in office as the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria shown that he is only good at and may remain good at providing an elusive leadership to Nigeria and Nigerians alike.

- MyNews24

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