Posted by News Express | 29 June 2018 | 1,008 times
The President and Commander-in-Chief of Nigerian Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari, may be asking for absolution from Nigerians through his ongoing gesture to the youth of the nation.
Buhari, a retired major-general in the Nigerian Army, was former head of state from December 1983-1985, after taking power in a military coup d'etat from a democratically elected government. And, now, he is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The president is known to “take it by force”, as he has never appealed for anything; and two things place him in that position. One, he is a military officer, a known despot and, second, a Muslim, whose ego is taller than his stature.
The programmed democrat was confirmed on May 29, 2015. And, since his assumption, the country's concern intensified. But the President, just as in 1983, faults his predecessor, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
The economy was steered into the rocks and floated into recession; the division among Muslims and Christians expanded; herdsmen become more powerful and death registered in every part of the country, with the President staying quiet and unconcerned.
In two events, Buhari, in his typical style, casts the fault on the youth. In February 2016, Buhari told the Telegraph, UK, that Nigerians were hoodlums and they are profoundly rejected for their high criminal records.
“Some Nigerians claim that life is too difficult back home. But they have also made it difficult for Europeans and Americans to accept them, because of the number of Nigerians in prisons all over the world, accused of drug trafficking or human trafficking,” he told The Telegraph.
“I don't think Nigerians have anybody to blame. They can remain at home, where their services are required to rebuild the country.”
While talking at the Commonwealth Business Forum in Westminster in April 2018, Buhari likewise pointed the finger at Nigerian youth, after failing to fulfill one of his campaign promises when he said that each jobless Nigerian will be paid N5, 000 stipend.
The President said Nigerians don’t like to do anything since they feel Nigeria is an oil-rich country. According to Buhari, a considerable number of young Nigerians have not been to school, yet they want everything free.
His words: “Nigeria has young population, and our population is estimated conservatively to be 180 million. More than 60 per cent is below the age of 30 and, a lot of them haven't gone to school. They are claiming that Nigeria has been an oil-producing country and, therefore, they should sit and do nothing, get housing, health-care and education free.”
As a young and energetic military head of state, he also had this tendency, a development that necessitated one of the late Afrobeat maestro, Fela’s popular hit: “My people are useless, my people are senseless, my people are undisciplined.” Thus, when at the start of his government in 2015, he held a meeting in London with a former British Prime Minister, David Cameron, who had earlier described Nigeria (not Nigerians) as “fantastically corrupt” and Buhari’s opinion was sought. He merely stamped Cameron’s position, and asked to be refunded loots stashed away in the United Kingdom. He also once made a snide remark at his wife for openly criticising him, saying she belonged to “the other room”, among others.
Nigerians have kept on blaming their President for taking credit for the uncompleted projects of Jonathan's administration. Some say the President hasn't conceived an idea while the Presidency stays firm to its argument that Nigeria can't be resuscitated in three years, after 16 long years of the Peoples Democratic Party's government.
As the 2019 presidential race approaches, Buhari's pressure expands. On Nigerian democracy day, May 29, 2018, the President was questioned by Reno Omokri, who was an aide to Jonathan, over the rundown of accomplishments in his May Day speech. Nigerians, likewise responded, depicting his purported achievements as a "heap of untruths". Omokri saluted the President for entering the Guinness Book of record as the President that told most lie in the history of the nation.
As Buhari loses his trust in the hands of his kin and now at loggerhead with the National Assembly, he is making moves to apologise to Nigerians without hurting his ego. For a man who hasn't asked for anything or complied with the rule of law, most likely once in his life, is now connecting with the people as the 2019 presidential election approaches. His first move was to sign the Not Too Young To Run Bill which, by the way, he has declined to execute.
African Democratic Congress (ADC), threatened to drag President Muhammadu Buhari to court for shifting the effective date for the implementation of the Not Too Young to Run Bill which he signed into law last week. The national publicity secretary of ADC, Chief Anayo Arinze, in a statement said: “We see the executive restraining order of Mr President as a continuation of his inglorious rating of Nigerian youth as lazy, immature and uneducated.
“The ADC shall raise a legal team to study the new Not-Too- Young-to-Run law, vis-à-vis the President’s shifting of the effective date of the implementation of the law to 2023.”
On June 6, 2018, Buhari likewise appealed to the Yoruba race again, without giving it away by directing that, with effect from 2019, Nigeria's Democracy Day, which is denoted each May 29, be moved to June 12, to honourMoshood Abiola, winner of the 1993 presidential race. The Buhari government said Mr Abiola will now be conferred with the nation’s highest honour: the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic ( GCFR). The honour is exclusively conferred only on presidents and former presidents.
Also to receive a GCON is late foremost pro-democracy activist, Gani Fawehinmi.
Buhari said: “For the past 18 years, Nigerians have been celebrating May 29, as Democracy Day. That was the date when for the second time in our history, an elected civilian administration took over from a military government. The first time this happened was on October 21, 1979. But in the view of Nigerians, as shared by this administration, June 12, 1993, was far more symbolic of democracy in the Nigerian context than May 29, or even the October 1,” a statement from the Presidency said on Wednesday.
“June 12, 1993 was the day when Nigerians in millions expressed their democratic will in what was undisputedly the freest, fairest and most peaceful elections since our independence. The fact that the outcome of that election was not upheld by the then military government does not distract from the democratic credentials of that process.
“Accordingly, after due consultations, the Federal Government has decided that henceforth, June 12 will be celebrated as Democracy Day. Therefore, government has decided to award posthumously the highest honour of the land, GCFR, to late Chief MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 cancelled elections. His running mate as vice-president, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, is also to be invested with a GCON. Furthermore, the tireless fighter for human rights and the actualisation of the June 12 elections and, indeed, for Democracy in general, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN, is to be awarded the GCON.
“The investiture will take place on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, a date which in future years will replace May 29 as a national public holiday in celebration of Nigeria’s Democracy Day.”
His ongoing move may catch some aggrieved Yoruba race who complained they have been side-lined by the present administration. However, the present presidency may have failed in all ramifications: it might be sufficiently shrewd to interest Nigerians by granting what they had constantly needed. The President may soon appeal to different locales, obviously.
Inflation is gnawing hard, joblessness is in the high, insecurity is more than ever. Nigeria is now one of the third most appalling countries to live on the planet. Corruption intensifies under the Buhari's administration and its selective prosecution, political terrorism (intimidation), high rate of nepotism and, above all, narrow-mindedness - borne out of intolerance - are quantities of sicknesses endured by Nigerians. However, the President may, in any case, win the 2019 general election on the off chance that he keeps on sneaking on Nigerians with aberrant interests, or “a beg for forgiveness.”
•Ehi Ekhaor, a UK-based freelance journalist/publisher, Naija Centre News, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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