Napoleon Bonaparte, the Corsican that rose to become not only a French General in his early twenties but the Emperor of the French Empire by age thirty had even his defeats magnified. After his first defeat and exile, he fought his way back and ruled France for a brief one hundred days before being defeated by his foes and banished for life to St. Helena where he lived the remainder of his six years on planet earth in the battle of Waterloo that has now become a buzzword in the English language. His short 100 day reign has now become the norm for assessing governments worldwide.
Buhari came to power with the slogan of change and September 5 will make his government 100 days a power and so it calls for a critical assessment of how it has fared these past few months.
Many pundits thought the boko haram insurgency will be a thing of the past immediately Buhari was sworn in. Many believed that the group was a Northern creation created to dislodge Jonathan from power and return it back to the north. Many thought that Jonathan had stayed in power longer than necessary and it was a breach of the unwritten code which opines that the North is born to rule. His supporters cited his antecedent as a military commander who chased the dreaded Maitasine group as far as to Chad in 1980. They were proved wrong as the attacks have not stopped since the swearing in of the man popularly referred to as Sai Baba. Surprisingly, there are even talks of a possible negotiation with them which is in contradistinction with his hardline stance during the heady days of the campaigns. He has done his best to eradicate the terrorism scourge by introducing a couple of counter terrorism measures which include the siting of the military command headquarters to Maiduguri – the town that has been worst hit by the crisis, trips to Chad, Benin Republic, Cameroon and South Africa and the appointment of new service chiefs with the timeline of three months to make boko haram history. Security would be given a gargantuan boost as ten thousand new policemen would be recruited and there is a directive to cut down the number of policemen attached to politicians and Very Important Personalities. The Boss of the Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele said that the foreign reserves rose by $2.89 billion in the first month of the Buhari administration.
The war on corruption is gaining momentum as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is on the trail of some notable Nigerians and there is a proposal for the establishment of thirty-seven special courts – one in each of the thirty-six states and in the Federal Capital Territory to try corruption cases.
His trip to the United States which cost hapless tax payers billions of naira was pilloried as a monumental failure. He could not secure the cooperation of Barack Obama to sell arms to help the nation fight the boko haram insurgents using the Leahy’s amendment as a shield. The report by Amnesty International that our military was killing innocent civilians was used against us. The Leahy’s law named after its major proponent, Senator Patrick Leahy forbids the United States from trading arms to countries whose military harm defenseless civilians. While I condemn the report of the neo-colonialist Amnesty International who have failed to provide evidence of the so called atrocities of the military and Obama’s non challant attitude towards the plight of those living in the north who are killed, maimed, rendered economically destitute and displaced from their homes and communities, the actions of Northern Groups such as the Arewa Consultative Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Borno Elders Forum and former Adamawa state Governor, Admiral Murtala Nyako has done more harm than good. Their claim of genocide of northerners under the Jonathan administration and threats to haul the erstwhile Chief of Army Staff, General Azubuike Ihejirika before the International Criminal Court must have aided the imperialist Amnesty International to have formed a jaundiced opinion of the actions of the Nigerian army. The evil propaganda by the boko haram group of wearing the Nigerian military uniform when carrying out their sadistic and bestial acts must have influenced the asinine view of not only Uncle Sam but Amnesty International. On the other hand, some analysts have posited that all these veils would have been torn if Buhari had consented to Obama’s wish of legalizing same sex unions in the country. Jonathan was smart enough to pitch his tent with Russia who supplied weapons that were used to repel the boko haram insurgents and reclaim lost territories in the six week interregnum before the March 28 elections. PMB should look towards forging sturdy ties with China and Russia as America no longer purchases our oil and can’t be bothered as to what happens in the North East. The only point Buhari scored in his well-publicized visit was getting Obama to pledge to return $150 billion looted funds sitting pretty comfortably in the vaults of American banks. However the latter just merely put the former in touch with some American business leaders with no clear cut strategy publicly stated of how the money was going to find its way back to the most populous country in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Most of the appointments made by PMB come from the north which has drawn the ire of many Nigerians as they have not reflected federal character and they have been far from gender friendly which has put him in the bad books of gender rights activists who still remember with ‘nostalgia’ the Goodluck Jonathan days as the closest that came to implementing the thirty percent slot for women which is our local version of affirmative action.
The lack of a cabinet has given much serious cause for concern and many believe he has still not shed the toga of being a dictator as he is ruling in a manner akin to that of a sole administrator. Professor Ben Nwabueze, SAN, a renowned constitutional lawyer has actually opined that his rule without a cabinet is unconstitutional and illegal and no other legal luminary or wannabe has come out to challenge this assertion.
The abrupt change in the forex policy has caused untold hardship to many as it has hit many companies hard leading to job cuts in an economy already saturated with massive unemployment. Unofficial statistics from the office of the National Bureau of Statistics indicate that about thirty million youths are unemployed. This is even more than the entire population of Ghana. The lack of a cabinet has made consultation with economic experts a rare occurrence with attendant disastrous consequences for the ailing economy. He has promised to constitute his cabinet by September and we earnestly await the corrupt free and capable Nigerians that would make this list.
It is still too early in the day to judge Buhari’s government but we urge him to have a listening ear and be more sensitive to the diversity of our dear country which should include inclusiveness for it to truly blossom like a rainbow.