After watching the unfolding tragedy of unpaid workers’ committing suicide, the dramatic butchery of untold magnitude and pillaging of communities perpetrated by rampaging squads of herdsmen, the skewed economic policy of Buhari’s government that has almost grounded the nation to a halt, the abysmal insensitivity, and total lack of compassion of the president in the face of the human degradation taking place, the helplessness and hopelessness of millions of unemployed Nigerian youth who have been scammed by the promise of change, Buhari’s outstanding supervision of shocking tales of corruption under his nose, the entrenchment of a perverse and bigoted system of political appointments, the total disregard of Buhari’s government for the constitution and the judicial system, and the monumental tragedy that has been the president’s misguided leadership, I have come to the conclusion that I need to purge myself of a guilty conscience.
To those who say that the political, economic, and social pathologies that we are currently witnessing also happened during the previous regime, it is important to remind them that it was on the basis of the performance of President Jonathan’s government that Nigerians voted Buhari into power. President Buhari took an oath on May 29, 2015 to protect the lives and property of Nigerians. If the same maladies that happened under Jonathan, some of which he inherited from his predecessors, have not only continued to happen under Buhari, but seem to have been elevated to the supreme level of statecraft, no one should exonerate the president. It is a clear sign that he too has failed.
As things currently stand, the sensibilities of Nigerians have been numbed by the daily carnage flashing our TV screens. Apart from the indignity of being killed helplessly, more painful is that fact that we now count our dead in lump numbers than in the record of their names. Yet, in the midst of all these President Buhari has often chosen the path of stoic silence. When he chooses to speak, everything he says is not what you’d expect from the father and leader of a nation. Not only has Buhari failed to call the killers to order, his actions and inactions seem to send the signal to the slaughterers that they can go on lawlessly and systematically amusing themselves with innocent blood. If this is wrong, how come Buhari’s cold, slow and tardy handling of the brutal massacres by herdsmen is not the same with his swift reaction to other less serious security threats like IPOB and Niger Delta Avengers?
With a feudalistic and bigoted governance mentality still set in 1983, Buhari has come full circle with his tragic leadership aptitude, and would go down in history as one of the most uncompassionate ruler to bestride Nigeria’s political firmament. He has shown again and again that he lacks the political reflex needed of the leader of a huge multi-religious and multi-ethnic country in the 21st century. He has carried on with his derisive style of leadership totally impervious to the cries of those he is expected to govern.
Since becoming President, Buhari has refused to visit Nigeria’s many trouble spots. He has spent more time travelling and visiting other countries than he has visited the states of his own country. When tragedies happen, state governors come to the Presidential Villa to brief the president, when he should ordinarily go to visit the bereaved and commiserate with them. A man who exemplifies and incarnates this insensitive attitude is simply not fit to be called a leader.
At a time when we thought that the spate of corruption would abate under Buhari’s watch, it is sad to say that he now presides over a monumentally corrupt agency: The Federal Government of Nigeria, with many shocking tales of graft happening right under his nose. His unusual fondness for drag and delay in the face of serious national issues that need urgent attention is not just an affliction that bedevils his leadership, but also the blight that has infected all those he has surrounded himself with.
This attitude is clearly reflected in the recent laughable documentary that claims to portray Buhari’s “human” side (as though he wasn’t a human being). The fact that the president’s media team lost sight of the fact that such a documentary should show us the Buhari’s “humane” rather than his “human” side shows the monumental tragedy that has afflicted us in the aptitude of the men that make up Buhari’s inner circle: a clear lack of seminal thinking and rigour, a distaste for careful planning, and intellectual laziness. That is why board appointments would be delayed for nearly three years only to be released with names of dead people making the roll.
When Olusegun Adeniyi published his book on the 2015 presidential election, Against the Run of Play: How an Incumbent President was Defeated in Nigeria (2017), in the postscript he warned President Buhari against repeating the same mistakes of the Jonathan era. Buhari has totally ignored that advice (if he ever read the book). However, I have chosen not to resign myself to fatalism and indifference. I will continue to protest against Buhari’s determination to convert Nigeria into a global mortuary. I do this for the sake of our children, because I do not want our present to become their future. But for the man who has shown himself impervious to the lessons of Nigeria’s troubled history, let me recall this wise counsel, which was the message beneath a photograph of coffins that a friend posted on Facebook, in memory of the victims of the Benue massacre: “President Muhammadu Buhari, behold the result of your leadership. I hope it helps you sleep well tonight.”