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Monday, 13 March 2017

Buhari and The State Of The Nation (I)

I sat with him over a cup of coffee in my house last Monday before I left Nigeria. I started pressuring him to talk to me on phone a month after his appointment. He declined. He was confident my phone must have been tapped long ago. So I waited. That meeting was long overdue because he holds a sensitive position in government and I have always wanted to discuss the state of the nation as I see it from the eyes of the average Nigerian with him. I wanted him to corroborate or refute some information I have. He did corroborate all my priors with the exception of Mallami on Saraki! Here is what I know.

Buhari set out to do 3 major things from onset;
1. Keep Nigeria safe and destroy Boko Haram
2. Create infrastructure
3. Curb corruption

On assuming office, he got to work on Boko Haram. Before he was sworn it, a vast swath of the Northeast had become Boko Haram territory with Nigeria losing ground to the terrorists daily. He halted that. Only his detractors will refuse to acknowledge his good work on that front. On infrastructure, only one budget has been passed. The politics of stiffle and strangulate is at play here. I will detail that shortly. Thankfully, they floated the Eurobond, we'll see how that will pan out. On corruption! Hahahaha. This is better discussed along with the politics of Nigeria. The anticorruption fight is failing. Like I have written on this page before, President Buhari wanted to be president but he underated how low Nigeria have sunk since he left power. He had no blueprint, he was not a politician and still not a politician. He came on board as naive as they come with his integrity, moral capital, patriotism as positives and the baggage of old age common to men his age and a patent lack of political heft as negatives.

He came on to spend only one term. They knew it! So the cutthroat jostling began in earnest. They also know, he delegates a lot. I once wrote on this page that "Buhari always needs an Idiagbon. Unfortunately for him and us, Prof. Osinbajo is a clone of his. He is not a politician, he is not ambitious and only there to serve and go! Buhari left everything to the party. He refused to fund the party or give them contracts where they can get money to fund the party. Most often, he had to be coerced to attend party functions. He ignored the platform and the bucaneers took over. As President, Buhari focused on the micro and lost the macro. His ministers, except the former governors among them could not get the perks previous administration's indulged ministers with. Gone are the days when government officials are assigned a room at Transcorp and forgotten there. There was no money to spend except those who extort money from those wanting to see the president. Again, he made the mistake of not manning the midfield (the national assembly ) and he has no defense either in the judiciary or law enforcement and that proved costly, it might even be fatal unless he does what I hear he is going to do soon.

He charged the various law enforcement arms and the judicial system that to retrieve as much stolen money as they can. Unfortunately, law enforcement people in Nigeria are thoroughly incompetent especially in the areas of evidence gathering. In America, if the FBI arrests you, you better plead guilty and ask for leniency or cut a deal because they already have you in a ring before arresting you.

In Part II, The Senate Forgery Case et al...

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