‘The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything.’——Albert Einstein
Just barely over a month since the inauguration of the current federal government of President Mohammadu Buhari (PMB), some Nigerians are getting a bit too curious. And the questions on the lips of these Nigerians are legion. Before going to the questions that most readers want PMB to answer, it is pertinent to ask upon introspection whether a 30-day period is sufficient to determine the efficiency or efficacy of a new government in power. In apposition, it could equally be asked what length of period is sufficient to determine the efficiency of a new leader in power.
In a polity like Nigeria’s where the people suffered intensely in 16 grueling years of misrule by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), any straightforward answer to the above questions could be contentious. To some, it could be argued that the time is too short to pass any meaningful judgment; while to others, such short period is enough to see a sparkle of hope to satisfy the curiosity and expectations of the apprehensive.
This is where the dilemma of a columnist lies. It is a legitimate thing for any columnist to have a position because any robust column should be able to take a definite stand on any issue, which is why yours truly has no apologies for whatever positions he may have taken on issues or personalities, nationally and globally. So for some days now, ardent readers of this column have been calling and sending text messages requesting it to take a position on whether the PMB administration has met the expectations of the majority of Nigerians that voted for change on March 28 and April11, 2015.
One basic fact is that Nigerians have expressed mixed feelings about the approach of PMB to governance. To this column, it may not have been out of place to call for more time for PMB to stabilise in power after several years of rot unleashed by successive administrations. But at the same time, this column could not disagree with those that believe that the PMB government is working at a snail-like speed. From experience of management of the nation’s public affairs which is replete with disappointments over time, it might be difficult to just wish away the questions that Nigerians want PMB to answer, and very quickly too.
To wish was to hope, and to hope was to expect. Following from this true expression, it could be argued that the several wishes that propelled majority of Nigerians to vote for PMB have raised their hopes and expectations which they believe are being delayed by what many termed as ‘steady slow’ approach of the president. Through the many questions that Nigerians throw in the face of this column, they want PMB to know that the true measure of the value of a leader is his performance. It will be sharply misleading to misconstrue the disposition of virtue of PMB to mean the same thing as performance. To majority of Nigerians, they believe that a virtuous disposition should be complemented by positively impactful virtuous actions.
On the socio-economic sphere, Nigerians want PMB to say something about the free fall of naira to the United States dollar. They believe that a strong presidential statement will help restore confidence in the forex market, but there is none so far. They want the president to query the Central Bank Governor over the mismanagement of forex during the last presidential and governorship elections. They called on the president to sack the CBN governor, following the due process, without wasting time. Nigerians say that they are aware of the latest revelations regarding the squandermania in NNPC and the sack of its board but they want the president to do something about the issue of perennial fuel scarcity. They claimed that despite the current scarcity of dollar that may hamper fuel importation, the presidency has not said anything about another imminent scarcity staring everybody in the face. Rather than embarking on another probe, they demanded that the president should act urgently on the PriceWaterHouse audit report of NNPC that was commissioned by the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. By delaying a complete overhaul of NNPC, the president according to Nigerians is giving those behind the rot in the corporation an opportunity to cover their track of corruption. Nigerians want to know the policy direction on power generation and distribution that would ensure stable power supply in the country.
On the political level, Nigerians think that the president has allowed the squabbles amongst members of his party in the national parliament to distract him. To them, this was avoidable but for the rigidity and indifference of PMB to political matters that should not have been left unattended to. Nigerians demand a political solution to the salary backlog crisis ravaging most of states of the federation. Nigerians want the president to shun divide-and-rule tactics if he intends to achieve anything meaningful. They call on the president to arrest political and other challenges at their embryonic stages rather than intervene after they have become intractable. Most Nigerians desire to see a more orderly and disciplined APC under PMB’s leadership. They want PMB to disabuse the minds of those doubting Nigerians that believe that he was only interested in becoming president and has subsequently displayed indifference to whatever comes afterwards. Contrary to this position, this column still wants to give PMB the benefit of the doubt by hoping that the president will drop his rigidity and indifference and complement his altruistic disposition by prompt virtuous actions in politics, economy and other realms of governance.
The APC under PMB must not fritter away its goodwill through uncoordinated and unruly conduct of party men and women. It is the trust reposed in PMB and his party that raises hope of positive direction under his leadership. But he must equally realise that time is of the essence and that in the long run, Nigerians will take nothing short of excellence and fairness in his delivery of promised commitments. He needs to raise his level of performance to meet the expectations of the people that voted for him.
This column enjoys the inquisitiveness of Nigerians and calls on them not to stop questioning. Curiosity, not only amongst Nigerians but also in other nationals, has its own tremendous advantage. Nigerians should not stop questioning until this administration gets it right by bringing to the doorsteps of Nigerians the badly desired positive change.