President Muhammadu Buhari’s 100 days in office is a paradox of mixed feelings. While many people believe his administration is on the right path towards moving the country to greatness, others believe the first 100 days of the president has not brought much hope for a greater future for the country. Whereas everybody is entitled to his or her opinion, we must be careful not to jump into any hasty conclusion on the president’s avowed determination to right the wrongs of the past and put the nation on a new political and economic pedestal that will enable it to compete favourably among the comity of nations.
Nigeria has come a long way in terms of decadence and retrogression such that the nation has not only become a laughing stock all over the place, it is also a country that was almost being avoided globally when it comes to discussing serious political or economic matters. That was the dire straits the nation was until May 29, when Buhari stepped into the nation’s number one spot as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Since then, a ray of hope seems to have appeared on the horizon as the country is now being refocused by its new leader.
But if anyone is projecting that President Muhammadu Buhari will encounter strident opposition from only the ousted Peoples Democratic Party, then such pundit is not taking into consideration the lurking baggage of intractable bumps and roadblocks that will either assail him or stunt or truncate some measures of successes he may reap from his present presidential engagement. The almagamation of the legacy parties – the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, the Congress for Political Change, CPC, the All Nigerian Peoples’ Party, ANPP and fragments of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP and All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, resulted into the new party now on the block, the All Progressive Congress, APC. Those who projected that, that political tsunami will be seamless may have been caught napping by the series of intra-party crises which had exposed the soft underbelly of the ruling party. The fact that this interplay of forces have come soon after accessing governance on May 29, signposts the parlous nature of the political contraption that was hurriedly assembled by a phalanx of politicians with disparate ideological bents.
Once the main objective of snatching the presidential diadem and by extension, the reins of power was achieved, the sharing of other positions and booties of “war”, turned contentious when certain political camps went Oliver Twist in an arrangement that lacked a sharing formula in the first place. This was responsible for the power-play that dominated the affairs of the National Assembly right from the inception of the 8th Assembly in June and almost polarised it along primordial lines. The division set tongues wagging over whether the APC, the ruling political party, was actually ready for governance. Until concessions were made here and there, it took quite a long time of politicalblitzkrieg, before finally the current peace of the graveyard now prevailing in the two chambers of the National Assembly was achieved.
Now, except for the resilience of Buhari, the nation’s number one man, in steering the affairs of the country through the assistance and cooperation of his able deputy, Akin Osinbajo, a professor of law, also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and a former Attorney General of Lagos State, the story would have been different in the first 100 days of this administration. Unfortunately, it is not yet a smooth sail for the president. It is glaring that Buhari’s present travails are, invariably, caused by some elements in his own party, who have agenda that counter-balance that of the mother party, the APC. From the various insider crises that have ruled the activities of the APC since May 29, it appears that the party has not been able to manage its monumental and unexpected successes at the general elections where it uprooted the 16-year–old PDP octopus political machine.
Many factors are combining to present a hazy picture of a political group that have been ripped apart by crass internal desperation for its control and usage for some selfish personal or group interests. For a president who has governed for more than three months without the constitutionally- required accompaniment of a cabinet of ministers as political heads of the various federal ministries, all cannot be said to be well. The fact is that there is an emerging and growing cadre of APC party men and women, high and low, who are neither happy nor comfortable with the reward system in the party. They might not be too relaxed with the formula being adopted by Buhari, which is solely-based on a person’s Corruption Index that is of prime importance to the President before any consideration is taken for any political appointment. No cognizance is taken of whether such a person or persons worked for the success of the party at the elections or not. It is believed, within the APC’s various strata, that this stringent “angelic” requirement has thrown spanners into the loyalty base of the ruling party.
In actual fact, more than anything else, this singular factor of searching for “angels” to occupy government positions may have shaken the APC to its foundation as the foot-soldiers now believe that “The Baboon Worked and the Monkey is Now Eating”. There is no doubt that without the current holistic approach to wiping out the hydra-headed monster called corruption from all facets of our body politic, it is impossible for the country to achieve meaningful progress and development. And by extension, there is no way the change mantra of the APC can be realised without tackling the behemoth that corruption has become in our society. The only problem now is, considering the fact that the APC is a patchwork of very strange political bedfellows and groups with disparate Ideologies and socio-economic back drops, it is imperative that one will expect a cacophony of diverse and tightly-held opinions, actions and reactions, that have consistently exposed the Coat of Many Colours contrivance that the APC is, truly, is.
That it has survived, till this moment, from blows to its solar plexus by external traducers and internal power and lucre seekers, is due to the avuncular nature of the President. The point is whether he will continue to do damage control and fire-fighting that has continued to distract him from his constitutionally-assigned schedule of duties. Rightly or wrongly, the generality of Nigerians are beginning to (mis)interpret the current blame game disposition of the new ruling party and its arrow-head, President Buhari, as possibly, an admission of APC’s inability to find urgent or long-term workable solutions to the problems and challenges inherited from the Jonathan administration and the PDP. Like I said earlier, without clearing the Augean-stable, it may be impossible to move the nation forward in a deserved direction where all citizens irrespective of tribe, race or class, will have a sense of belonging and equal opportunities to aspire to whatever level they may desire. That, I think, is the vision of the APC.
‘The emergence and the meteoric rise to power and reckoning of the APC, is, in the first place, necessitated by the people’s belief that the party’s mantra of “Change” will, like an “Open Sesame” change everything for the better’
The emergence and the meteoric rise to power and reckoning of the APC, is, in the first place, necessitated by the people’s belief that the party’s mantra of “Change” will, like an “Open Sesame” change everything for the better. This was further reinforced by the general over-expectation and “reality” of Buhari’s “messianic” involvement. Nigerians are a people in a great hurry and because of this, the people may be tempted to see the current government as symptomatic of unpreparedness and lacking initiative with the constant staple of laying of all manners of blames on the past PDP administration.
To be continued