By Adekoya Boladale
As it stands now, there is only one thing holding the government of President Muhammadu Buhari together: the Nigerian Constitution which stipulates a term of four years. Otherwise, we would have been picking the debris of this administration in several parks, bus stops and market square across the country.
To many who understand practical politics, Buhari was no messiah but a disciple presumed to be open to change if effectively sung in his ears severally. The turn out of Buhari’s government did not come as a surprise, even amongst party chieftains and elder statesmen, the vision of what his administration will be was glaring to all but as human nature holds unto the glimpse of surprise and miracle, many, in spite of face-staring evidences were hoping that either by sheer luck or divine intervention, reality is cut short. It was on the basis of this illusion that his aspiration was supported in 2015 and his policies, silence, actions and inactions were supported and blames passed on aides all with the hope that eventually he will come around. Alas, that ship has sailed. Old habits does not just take time to die, in reality, it never does.
The problem with the fall of Buhari is not just that of deception and abuse of trust against the promises made to the people but rather the widening of the divide between the ruled and the ruler. In one of my articles after Buhari’s emergence, I wrote about my fear on his possible failure as capable of creating a collapse of the Federation where citizens get disinterested in the affairs of State and care less on how it is being govern. This birth voter’s apathy, civil disobedience to constituted authorities and failure to perform statutory duties as a precursor to the eventual burial of social contract. It becomes a society of all man for himself, God for us all.
The Federal Executive Council- the administrative arm of the Presidency is a clear indication of the rot and decadence of the Buhari-led administration. The Council made up of thirty-six members which took six months to compose can best be described as a Bordello-a house of sin. In this Council, you are either under suspension for graft, undergoing investigation for graft and corruption related issues, magically escaping investigation, serially incompetent or perpetually docile.
From the President who has refused to act on investigative reports submitted to him on grievous allegations of diverting over a billion naira meant for resettlement of Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal under the Presidential Initiative for the North East (PINE) and the miraculous discovery of 13billion naira in an apartment at Ikoyi, Lagos under the supervision of the Director of the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayodele Oke, to the Head of Service of the Federation, Oyo-Ita Winifred Ekanem, who connived with others to reinstate into active duty and promote Abdulrasheed Maina, the former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, who allegedly stole over 6billion naira pension fund; the Chief of Staff to President Buhari now renamed the ‘Thief of Staff’, Abba Kyari, who allegedly received a bribe of 500million naira to negotiate a fine reduction for MTN Nigeria, and has continuously been in the heart of every sharp practices in the Presidency; the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu who allegedly received a kickback of 3.8billion naira in exchange for marginal oilfield using his brother, Dumebi Kachikwu as front; the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who was the brain behind the reinstatement of Abdulrasheed Maina; the Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai who during his time as the Director of Procurement at the Army Headquarters allegedly diverted funds meant to equip the Military into buying choice properties worth millions of dollar in Dubai; the Minister for Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi who allegedly embezled State Universal Education Board (SUBEB) funds as the Governor of Ekiti State; the Minister for Interior, Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau who was indicted by a Presidential investigative committee probing Arm procurement for awarding ghost contracts worth $930,500,690 with others while as the Chief of Army Staff between 2008-2010 and one of the brains behind the reinstatement of Abdulrasheed Maina; the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi alleged to have stolent 142billion naira as the Governor of Rivers State. What about the $25billion NNPC contract which details remain in the realm of oblivion?
From the above, it is evident that never in the history of Nigeria has an Executive Council parade this array of criminals and fraudsters. A country under the administration of these lots has fallen.
Again we will hope, we will hope that Buhari wakes up tomorrow to sack his entire cabinet and tender an unreserved apology to Nigerians for this monumental misrule but in reality, this will never happen. To those who may quickly want to distance Buhari from the sins of his people, please note the now paraphrased saying ‘Show me your cabinet and I will tell you who you are’
Conveniently, the Maiden called democracy is expected to take solace under the shed of the two chambers of the National Assembly but that would have only been possible if our men and women in the green and red chambers have not become mere dogs who barks often but rarely bites. Under their garment of purity and legally backed powers to check the excesses of the Executive lies tones of rots garnished in budget manipulation and stolen allocations meant for constituency projects. Every investigative committee setup ends as bargaining chips to add more to the next budget and in rare cases when reports emanate from such Committees, it is at the gain of Bake-beans sellers, fried-yam merchants and hawkers of groundnuts and popcorn.
The judiciary which would have been the last hope has now become a tool in the hands of the Presidency after series of forceful submissiveness, blackmail and intimidation of Judges. Failure of Judges to dance to the rhythm of the Presidency or dole out ex parte orders as at when requested automatically qualifies such Judge for DSS visitation or EFCC harassment.
To the rest of us, the best we can do in the midst of this political anarchy is to dust our voter’s card, place it under our pillow and pray they let our vote count in 2019.
Boladale is based in Lagos, Nigeria. He is a public affairs analyst and political commentator. His contributions have been featured on BBC, The Africa Report (Paris), The Star (South Africa), Ouestaf (Senegal), Islam Channel (UK), Punch, Guardian, Vanguard Newspapers (Lagos) amongst many others.