By Ikeddy ISIGUZO
A Major Commentator on Minor Issues
HOW do you miss someone who was barely available? Rather, how do you miss someone who showily made a mess of almost everything that came his way, supposedly his idea of serving you? President Muhammadu Buhari failed so woefully, yet he boasts about his achievements by comparing his abysmally woeful performances with non-existent low standards.
He was absent, not just physically. There were moments he was physically present and they made no useful contributions to our lives. While we wish he could leave us alone, he was the one to complain about the demands of office and wished time flew fast enough to liberate him from the burdens of office, principal among them, long working hours.
Who has had time to wonder what he did working long hours?
During crises Nigerians wondered where he was. He would later confess that he was “not aware”. Other times, Nigerians expected him to speak to heal the nation, empathise with victims of Fulani herdsmen attacks. When he spoke at such times, the verdict was that it would have been better if he kept quiet.
Buhari disrupted our lives in unimagined ways. Neither those who thought him bereft of the capacities for the office nor those who promoted him as the man needed in 2015 could estimate the extensive damages he was capable of doing. He excelled in different ways of letting Nigeria down, starting with announcing to the world, in one of his earliest visits abroad, that Nigerians were criminals, of course, except him.
Unfortunately, his disasters will not be limited to the eight years during which he created a more divided nation than the most imaginative minds would have conceptualised. He spared few measures in ensuring that Nigerians never saw themselves as one. In words, in deeds, Buhari was just for himself. Nothing else mattered.
Times were when he thrived on excuses. Then he ignored all suggestions that he was taking Nigeria to the brink. And finally his followers ingratiated him with claims of developing infrastructure that were useless as insecurity hued the nation. No space was spared.
Buhari was an unmitigated disaster. He appeared satisfied with his failings. He explained then with his age, health, and inability to read fast as he told South African Cyril Ramaphosa, in 2018, on why he delayed Nigeria’s signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA.
The Buhari embarrassments were on both fronts – private and public. He was not corrupt, his minders would say. No Nigerian leader has wagered opportunities the way he did. He excelled in wastefulness at a time the nation went on a borrowing binge.
Let us be fair to him. He was on a spectacular borrowing spree, one of the few policies of his administration that he pushed with sustained zeal. What did he do with the borrowings?
Where are the billions of Naira that that his anti-corruption agencies reportedly recovered? What about the millions of Dollars seasonally returned from General Sani Abacha’s loot? His sanctimonious bearings meant that we were to trust him as the upright leader, the Almighty’s elixir for Nigeria’s challenges, the divine leader.
Buhari failed no matter how low the bar was placed. His vision was blurred. His minders were left to keep regurgitating illogicality in his defence. When he shut the southern borders he said it was to kill smuggling. Did the measure stop smuggling?
Only Buhari could have chosen decapitation as cure for headache. He got away with it and boasts of how his measures re-built an economy he brought from its knees to the belly.
One would have thought that his numerous medical trips abroad would have necessitated the building of a medical facility of his choice in Nigeria. Did he?
Yes. He commissioned a new presidential hospital days ago. Ironically, he had just returned from treating his teeth abroad. The new hospital cost N21 billion. If Buhari didn’t use it, who would?
Buhari’s signature projects were no less shambolic. Over N200 billion was committed to a census that he knew would not hold. Top of the pack is the elections that cost over N300 billion to reward Nigerians with worse outcomes than the analogue elections we used to have. Buhari would count them as achievements.
Holes that Buhari has left in the economy would be unfolding in the coming days. The fuel subsidy which Buhari had rated a scam when a World Bank report stated that Nigeria spent a total of N6 trillion from 2010-2014, rose tremendously under him.
In the 2023 budget, the Federal Government allocated ₦3.6 trillion to pay for fuel subsidies for the first half of 2023. In the 2022 budget, ₦443 billion was allocated as subsidy payment for the same period.
Buhari should go. He has done well for himself.
ADIEU Tina Turner, 83 – pulsating performer, enchanting songstress, engaging dancer, great actress – whose electrifying displays on stages across the globe on those high heels that held some of the best legs that mankind has witnessed, were inimitable. Her songs borrowed massively from the ups and downs of her life. The smiles, agonised face enhanced her story that easily connected with millions of people. Her unique definition of love as “a second hand emotion” was a tip of her depths in asking us to interrogate our emotions. May the Almighty grant her rest.
WHAT has happened to the battered okada rider of Abattoir, Agege? Has he got a thorough medical check up? And the three policemen who abused him? I do not know who to ask even as I am asked.
ALL fears about the inauguration of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Jagaban Borgu, are coming from the Federal Government and its security agencies. Why are we being warned to keep away from watching the momentous event at Eagles Square, Abuja? Exactly what is our offence?
THE Federal Government has the powers to award contracts until midnight of 28 May 2023, Minister of Works, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, retorted to concerns about last minute contracts the government was awarding. In case then you have not been awarded a contract, do not give up. Mr. Fashola says there are still some hours to go.
Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues