Nigerians are beginning to wonder how long it will take before they start seeing the change they voted for. They argued that three months down the line, it is time for the president to start walking the talk writes Dozie Emmanuel.
Precisely on August 29, it will be three months since Muhammadu Buhari was sworn-in as the democratically elected President of Nigeria. Millions of Nigerians came out en-masse to vote for him because of their conviction that he is capable of taking Nigeria and Nigerians to the next level.
Having contested for the presidency three consecutive times in 2003, 2007 and 2011, luck smiled on him in 2015 on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC. So it was no surprise when he was finally declared the eventual winner of the presidential poll.
No doubt, his emergence came with huge expectations from Nigerians and the international community. Of course, many thought Buhari would swing into action in view of the manner he emerged, but that is yet to be seen from a man who had promised so much during the electioneering campaign.
Barely three months down the line, a good number of people are yet to be convinced that change is underway. Most of them are of the opinion that Buhari has not started walking the talk. Admittedly, the president, just like any other person should be given time to deliver, but three months is enough to know the direction of any government’s blueprint.
Perhaps, this is why the septuagenarian has been christened ‘baba-go-slow’ by both his admirers and critics for his slow pace in bringing the much needed change that Nigerians are yearning for. Although he has accepted the sobriquet, he argued that it was better for him to be slow and steady.
Though the president has taken some steps to address the dwindling security and economic fortunes, the results are yet to be felt. On the invitation of President Barack Obama, Buhari, on July 19, travelled to America where he discussed Nigeria’s security issues with his host. The two leaders also discussed Buhari’s economic plans and how to strengthen the relationship between Nigeria and the US. President Buhari also told American lawmakers that sodomy was against the law in Nigeria and as such the country would not legalize gay marriage. He also held several sessions where he answered questions relating to his administration’s plans. He was also interviewed by CNN anchor, Christiane Amanpour, who asked about his position on negotiating with Boko Haram. Before he returned to Nigeria, the president played host to his war college mates at the Blair House.
Since his return, the APC and PDP have been trading words on the trip to the US. Assessing President Buhari’s visit to Washington, the PDP pointed out that nothing beneficial to the country would follow the meeting.
It opined that “the only achievements and change brought by the APC government are the curbing of the fundamental human rights of citizens; engaging in selective application of war against corruption, interfering in the activities of the National Assembly and eroding the independence of INEC. The order of the day has become the crass victimisation and harassment of officials of the immediate past administration,” the party said through a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh.
However, the APC has maintained that the PDP cannot provide a virile opposition, describing its criticism as convoluted and hollow statements. It claimed that there was no government in Nigeria’s recent history that has been as focused and systematic as the one headed by President Buhari.
In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said: “President Buhari is working hard every day in the priority areas of tackling security and corruption, rebooting the economy to provide jobs for our teeming youths and generally to restore good governance. We are sorry for those who are too blind with hatred to see this. The PDP is terrified by the expose of how the federal government it led looted the treasury and created an environment for impunity to thrive, as well as the fate that will befall those who were part of the show of shame and disgust. But we assure Nigerians that this government will not interfere with the work of the security and anti-corruption agencies and also that under the Buhari administration, only the guilty needs to be afraid.”
By and large, it is quite disappointing that the president has not been able to come up with a clear-cut blueprint on how to curb corruption, fight insecurity and improve the economy. Even some of the key ministers that will assist him accomplish his so-called lofty goals have not been appointed. The reason being advanced for this delay is that the president wants to appoint people of impeccable integrity into his cabinet. The pertinent question now is how much time does he need? Was he really prepared for the task of ruling a complex and dynamic country like Nigeria having said earlier that he would not contest for the 2015 election? Will he summon the courage and name his cabinet in September as being rumoured?
Some eminent Nigerians have expressed dissatisfaction on the continued delay by the president to name his ministers. One of such persons is the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Hassan Matthew Kukah. The bishop argued that even if Buhari takes all the time he needs, it will not guarantee the quality of his choice.
According to him, “The president can take all the time in the world; it will never be a guarantee of the quality of his choice. Jesus prayed before choosing his disciples; he knew every man’s character, but Judas was in the crowd. I hear Nigerians harping on choosing the right people. How do you measure the right people? Is my ability to write a good article, the fact that I went to Oxford, Cambridge, and Yale, the evidence that I am a good material?
“I think all the president should do is appoint people, read the riot act, lay down the minimum of what is tolerable and sack people when they fall short. But there will always be traitors. After all, from what one hears, the transactional costs of access are already beginning to manifest. The opportunity that access offers will be abused by aides and so on. President Buhari, for all these years, has not mixed with people. So, he has to rely on pieces of paper and whispers, most of which will be based on personal interests.”
Even the wife of the president, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, echoed this position recently at the 2015 LCCI Commerce and Industry Awards held in Lagos where she pleaded with Nigerians to be rest assured that positive change will soon be witnessed in the country.
“Since Nigerians voted for change, positive change will soon come to this country, my husband is ready to serve and make the change a reality, very soon, we will all live to see the goodness of our great country,” she said.
A man of Buhari’s calibre should know that Nigerians are running out of patience. Those who voted him into power are itching to see a better economy, job creation, transparency in governance and improved security. Therefore, it is time for him to hit the ground running and stop advancing excuses that do not hold water.