Muhammadu Buhari before the election was the face of apc. While many argued that there was no marked difference between the apc and the pdp, Buhari was always the difference and marketed the party. However, 100 days after, some actions of the president threaten to roll back the huge goodwill the party enjoyed before the elections, writes emma alozie
There is no gainsaying the fact that the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC came to power riding on a great tide of goodwill. After 16 years in power, Nigerians needed a change and in APC they found one. The campaign of APC raised hopes where there were none; it rekindled people’s interests in governance, and restored confidence in ‘Project Nigeria.’
APC as a party came made, it came prepared and the icing on the party’s cake was its then presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, generally perceived as a man with a high sense of moral standard and a seemingly unassailable integrity. Nigerians, across the divide imbued in him that messianic attribute and believed that on him all Nigeria’s problems would be solved.
However nearly 100 days down the line, the pang of reality is setting in and Nigerians have started murmuring. If Nigerians are complaining then the group that is worst hit is the president’s party, the APC.
Barely 100 days in office, the party is receiving some bashings owning to some of the president’s indiscretions. To put it in another way, the president is fast squandering the enormous goodwill that saw to the party’s success at the polls.
For instance the latest appointment made by the president left even members of his political party speechless. There have been murmurings that the president sidelined the party’s top hierarchy in his appointments that are apparently North heavy.
So far, the president has made about 45 appointments with 75% of these appointments going to the north as compared to 25 % for the south. A geopolitical zone breakdown of the appointments so far shows that the president’s North West has cornered the lion’s share of 43%, North East 20%, South West 10%, South South 17% and South East nil.
This has obviously left even party chieftains whispering in low tones that the president should be called to order. A top member of the party from South West who spoke anonymously lamented and warned that at this rate, the president may as well kill the party. According to the visibly enraged party chief, “if the president is left to carry on like this, he would willingly handover power back to the opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party. Let no one be deceived, campaigns for the 2019 election have started and with this bold but infamous statement by the president that the south does not matter, our great party the APC may just wake up to realise that the opposition PDP has taken back the initiative.
“My point is simple, the president and his handlers must be mindful of the fact that many people are really aggrieved especially many of those who stuck out their neck for the party, those who used their resources to fund his election. It is important we as a party take care of all interests and carry everybody along”.
Another APC chieftain from the south east echoes the same sentiment categorically dismissing the president’s appointments so far as visibly anti Igbo. “The president has elevated sectionalism to a new height. Never have we witnessed it like this before where after over 40 appointments, the entire South East region is maliciously sidelined. The president should understand that he is not doing our great party, the APC any good in terms winning members in the region. The earlier his handlers make him realise this, the better for his image and that of our party.
“The president is using his appointments to send a message across to the people of the South East that perhaps, he does not need their support and this is very dangerous for the unity of our great nation,” the APC chief said.
The irony surrounding President Buhari’s presidency is that prior to the election, his fabled integrity marketed APC, but three months down the line, the president’s indiscretions in office are de-marketing APC. The president rode to power trumpeting integrity and never minced words when he promised to publicly declare his assets if elected into office. However despite pressures from civil society groups, the president seems to have reneged on what many term as the simplest of all his campaign promises.
“I pledge to publicly declare my assets and liabilities, encourage all my appointees to publicity declare their assets and liabilities as a pre-condition for appointment. All political appointees will only earn the salaries and allowances determined by the RMFAC,” the president was quoted to have said.
Curiously, when Garba Shehu, the president’s second spokesman announced that the president had declared his assets and liabilities as required by law with the Code of Conduct Bureau, Nigerians asked, why not publicly? Mr Shehu referred any inquisitive Nigerian to the Code of Conduct. When the pressure became somewhat huge, he pleaded with Nigerians to wait for the president’s 100 days in office.
Femi Falana, a human rights activist and a huge admirer of the president, said “These men just took oath of office two days ago and they declared their assets officially as required by law which stipulates 90 days. Meanwhile, they’ve promised to declare their assets publicly within 100 days. I hope it is better we wait for the 100 days.”
Even Professor Itse Sagay, a constitutional lawyer and close ally of the President never doubted the president’s resolve to declare his assets within 100 days in office. “I have no doubt that he will make it public because that is where credibility starts. That is where Jonathan started losing credibility.
“The late Umar Yar’Adua forced him to declare his assets in 2007, reluctantly, he did it. But when he was his own man, he said he does not give a damn and that is where he started sliding down. So, Buhari has no choice, it is absolute for himself and Osinbajo if change and credibility are going to be sustained.
“There is no other way out, so I expect in the next 24 hours or so that we would know what their assets are. He should apply it to every other appointee of his regime, not just himself and Osinbajo, it is compulsory and absolute,” Profesor Sagay assured.
However, as the 100 days approached with ferocity, the president and his aides started shifting the promise. The president’s spokesman, Femi Adesina came out recently to say that President Buhari never in his campaign promises pledged to declare his assets publicly. He argued that it was the APC that made such promise.
“You need to get his words right, go and check all that the president said during the campaign, in no place would you see it attributed to him as a person. But then there is a document by his party, the All Progressives Congress, saying he would declare publicly, so we need to set that right, it’s a declaration by his party. Now what does the law require? The law requires public officers to declare their assets; he has done that. But his party has a document that says he would do it publicly,” Adesina defended.
This position has raised moral questions for the president, his handlers and even his party. The president is fast frittering away the party’s goodwill even before the actual governance starts.