Has President Buhari lost the plot? — Nigerian Pilot News
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Has President Buhari lost the plot?

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Has President Buhari lost the plot?

Following his re-election at the 2019 presidential elections, President Buhari was reported to have stated that in his second term in office, Nigerians should expect things to be “tough”. Because he did not elaborate further on this, Nigerians have been left to conjecture on the meaning of this dire pronouncement by the president.

Did he mean he will go one gear up on his much vaunted fight against corruption and in this regard spread the dragnet to arrest more persons and prosecute them without fear or favour? Or is the president floating a kite on Nigerians generally to expect more economic hardship in the coming months and years?

There are indications for instance that the government plans to hike Value Added Tax (VAT) on items. There are also signs that an increase in the pump price of fuel is in the offing.
Whatever the president meant by this statement one hopes that for both its sake and the country the administration will take into account the general mood of the populace before it embarks on any sudden turns of policies that will likely inflict more pain on the people. This is what got All Progressive Congress Party (APC) leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu into firing a warning to the administration not to contemplate the VAT caper.

But beyond all the speculations on what the administration plans to do going forward, it will be instructive to note that the generality of Nigerians no longer place any truck on what this administration purports to stand for. In the experience of Nigerians over the past four years, all the planks on which the Buhari administration came to power have yielded diminishing returns. This is borne by hard facts.

Take the war on corruption for example. Yes we have been treated to some spectacular cases of fraud and corruption with arrests and prosecution of certain personalities. But with the benefit of our knowledge and experience, the whole corruption fight was a red flag. It transpires that the administration went after high target individuals creating a spectacular diversionary spectacle for the benefit of the public, while its own officials and preferred persons carried on their corrupt practices on the blind side.

Towards the election period all this came to light when in its desperate bid to win, the administration actively courted some of those highly placed individuals it had been pursuing on corruption charges, to come over to its side. In some celebrated instances, the president himself not only ignored proven and clearly certified acts of corruption committed by some of his closest associates, but went on to endorse them.

How then can Nigerians be convinced that President Buhari means business on his war on corruption?

Then there is the issue of insecurity ravaging the land. Where once it was restricted to the Northeast where Boko Haram was the scourge, now President Buhari’s Northwest has come under the grip of kidnappers, armed bandits and assorted criminal elements under his watch. Indeed the entire country now labours under scourge of criminal elements of all hues with clearly no end in sight to their atrocities.

The jury out there is that the administration is fast losing the confidence of the people under the weight of its inconsistencies, contradictions and dysfunctionality. Which is why it should think twice before contemplating piling more misery on them.

The impression that comes through is that at the top, the administration is peopled by persons who are, insensitive, self-absorbed and lacking in empathy, all driven by a dubious sense of entitlement. Their reading is that having secured a second term for four years before the next circle of elections, the administration has the license to do as it wishes with Nigerians and not expect to be called to account. In this regards one just hopes that the administration will heed recent developments in some African countries.

Lai Mohammed’s 2.5 billion naira faux pas

The simmering made-in-Kwara joust between Information Minister Lai Mohammed and the Director-General of Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Ishaq Moddibo Kawu, has blown open in the wake of the controversy surrounding the 2.5 billion naira payment to a private communication company, Pinnacle Communications for the installation of Digital Switch Over( DSO)for broadcast services in the country. The Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) had waded into the issue after it deemed that the payment was out of order.

But the facts available clearly showed that Pinnacle, which got the licence in 2014 after coming out tops in a tough bidding process involving nine other companies paid over 600 million naira license fee to the National Broadcasting Commission, duly provided the services required. The Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo launched the Abuja digital exchange in 2016. And as the end user of the services of Pinnacle the NBC of Ishaq Moddibo Kawu having been satisfied recommended to the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed as supervising Minister for the payment to be effected.

It was only after the ICPC had launched an investigation into the matter that the Minister in a bid to exonerate himself and possibly to hang out his nemesis DG Kawu with whom he had been having a running political battle to dry reportedly turned around to claim that he was “influenced to sign the payment”. In effect the Minister was trying to wash his hands off the matter and pass it off as a fraudulent transaction between the DG and Pinnacle.

Why would the Minister say this knowing full well that the principle of vicarious responsibility applies to him as the boss of DG Ishaq Kawu? Was he not expected to do due diligence before approving the payment of such a humongous amount?

It has come to light that between DG and Minister Lai Mohammed, both of them prominent sons of Kwara state, there is no love lost as the former was said to have pursued his political ambition to be governor of their state without paying political obeisance to the latter. Indeed DG Kawu was not the choice of the Minister for the position in the first place.

Putting aside their local differences, what should concern us here is the posture of the Minister on the ICPC investigation. Indeed if anybody is to be on the spotlight it is the Minister as the buck stops on his table. He cannot turn around and try to wash his hands off a matter that is within his purview. And it is ironic that the same Minister who in the wake of the Justice Walter Onnoghen issue asked the Justice to own up and take responsibility for his actions or inactions, will in his very own case seek to try to wriggle out over something that he is also responsible for. He should rise above petty politics and own up to his responsibility.

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