In tough times, as Nigerians are
increasingly being required to fasten their belts, limit their use of fuel,
manage higher prices and in-affordability of foreign currency and make other
related sacrifices, it is necessary to call on Nigeria's President Muhammadu
Buhari to lead by example in the interest of peace and progress.
In a recent Al Jazeera interview, when
the President was asked on why he will be keeping his children in school
abroad, affording dollars at the official rate while other Nigerians were
deprived of similar luxuries; the President responded that "those who
can afford it, can." This is the very thing Nigerians voted against and
away from. Buhari himself and no cabal, or big company should have an advantage
in purchasing dollars over a small individual or business entity. All sectors
are equally important in a nation's economy. Small enterprise, SMEs are
statistically the greatest employers of labor by far (70% of employment) and
not big business. If Nigerians do not have the jobs small enterprise employment
accords them, how will they be able to purchase the goods made by the low
employing handful of cabal industries? From social welfare handouts?
Nigerians are tired of decades of
disparity and institutionalized disadvantagement by the rich,
politicians and cabal over the poor/masses. This is said to be the root of the
chaos and terror bedeviling the nation.
While Nigerians queue for petrol for
their vehicles, it is unseemly for Nigerians to see their President affording
fuel for his trips all over the world, many seen as highly unnecessary. There
is hardship in Nigeria; due to the possibly erroneous policies of the
government, fuel scarcities have persisted. Nigerians would like to see a
President and Minister of petroleum who is concerned by this crisis and sits at
home till it is resolved.
As Nigerians support a war against
corruption and pray for establishment of and success of the instruments against
this terror; the exposure of Buhari's budget being ridiculously padded has been
quite a let down. How can the government that is supposed to lead the battle
against corruption be also so corrupt? The amended budget reportedly saw only
about N17 billion deleted out of over N670 billion in padding. This means the
2016 budget is still corruptly loaded. How can Nigerians be asked to sacrifice
while ministers and other heads of service and members of the Presidency have
made official plans to rip Nigeria off of billions of Naira, "in our
party's "hooliganism" and political corruption and the
diminishing and decapacitation of the electoral system is not encouraging
either. Nor is the apparent subversion of the State Security departments seen
to be used for sectarian and political agendas and as permissive
and complacent in other matters. Law must be maintained by those on top as by
those at the bottom.
So as not to lose public support and
good will, Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari is called upon to lead by
example. It is time he takes serious steps to rid his cabinet of all corrupt
elements no matter how highly placed as well as reposturing himself as a
Nigerian leader concerned with the problems of the people and as an equal
citizen employed as the top public servant.
Good examples of leadership can be
gleaned from stories of blessed Jesus, the Prophet of Islam and the like.
These were true public servants.
In a story of Caliph Umar Bin Abdul Aziz
of the wealthy Umayyad caliphate, it was narrated that once when his wife came
into his office at night to discuss house matters, the Caliph asked her to
kindly turn off the lamp with the words, "let us not use State oil in the
lamp to discuss personal matters."
'One day, according to the narration,
the Caliph was sitting in his private chamber examining a pile of State
documents. The dim light of the room was adding to the serenity
and sombreness of the place and the Caliph could scarcely feel the arrival
of his wife, Fatima, till she addressed him, “Sire! Will you spare a few
moments for me? I want to discuss a private matter with you.” “Of course”,
replied the pious Caliph, raising his head from the papers, “But, please
put off this State lamp and light your own, as I do not want to burn the State oil
for private talk.”'
It is time Buhari fires his corrupt
members of his cabinet no matter how good their records of performance may be.
Buhari must personally be an example and set examples. Unlike Jonathan, Buhari
knows what corruption is. He knows that stealing is corruption. It is time for
honesty and empathy from the new government.
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