President Muhammadu Buhari government is suffocating in many ways: One is the unjust manner in which it relieves many Nigerians of their rights to farming, thereby causing an acute shortage of food in the country. The tyrannical regime of General Sani Abacha between 1993 and 1998 would indicate a fluid ounce if scaled alongside the present Mephistophelian APC-led government. When President Buhari emerged Head of State in 2015, people heaved a sigh of relief from poverty and corruption. States that felt marginalised saw life through rose-coloured spectacles, armed with the belief that the ‘change’ and ‘restructuring’ promise would bring good tidings. Unfortunately, it did not take too long before reality dawned on the electorate. With the rabid dogs in President Buhari’s second tenure snarling dangerously, Nigerians eventually, in the year 2021, find the All Progressive Congress an ill wind that blows nobody any good.
As efforts towards salvaging the perishing ship of the party and bringing succour to the people, Nigerian columnists, critics, and literary writers have railed; protesters have wailed whilst unrepentant gunmen and kidnappers have waxed violent. But all efforts at getting the APC government back on track and staunching the funereal tears that daily drip down the sunken cheeks of the masses are of no avail.
Both at home and abroad, many people attribute the huge problems confronting Nigeria to President Buhari. The view is rife that President Buhari is callous, nonchalant, incompetent, psychotic, and favours his tribe. Although some of these claims could be true, I will not finger President Buhari as the cause of the challenges Nigeria is facing.
President Buhari’s office can be likened to a bee colony made up of innumerable workers. The APC as the ruling party in Nigeria features the good and the bad, dissemblers and sycophants. There are also others with no portfolios yet are mini-gods and -goddesses who brainwash and reorient their ‘subjects’. They are sycophants, who because of what they benefit from the President, align in thoughts, actions and tenets with tribes remotely different from theirs. Worse still, they turn a blind eye to his peccadillos and maladministration. Blames should stop streaming into President Buhari’s living room, but make a beeline for the bad eggs in his government.
Party defection very well illustrates the sycophantic traits of President Buhari’s cabinet. Inasmuch as politics has become a do-or-die affair in Nigeria, the relish with which Nigerian politicians defect from one party to another should not swing surprises. Defected politicians, in order to justify their actions, usually cite internal wrangles, lack of cohesion, lack of consultation, dictatorial tendency, party inefficiency, etc. as major excuses for leaving their parties.
I have asked: Why does the APC win more members when its government fails to reduce the price of fuel to the amount it once promised Nigerians? Gowon in 1973 left the price of fuel at 8.45kobo, from 6kobo. Murtala left it at 9kobo in 1976 whilst Shagari, in 1982 moved it to 20kobo from Obasanjo’s 15.3kobo. Babangida left it at 70kobo. Shonekan,₦5.00;Abacha, ₦11.00;Abubakar, ₦20.00; Obasanjo in 2007 left it at ₦75.00;Yar’ Adua slashed it to₦ 65.00; Jonathan left it at ₦97.00;Buhari in 2015 reduced it to ₦86.50kobo and later increased it to ₦146.00 in 2016.Then in 2020, Buhari increased it again to ₦165.00 and doused people’s expectation.
What incentivises Nigerians to defect to a party that cannot pay the ₦30,000 minimum wage? What is left of a government under whose watch hospitals have become necropolises? Why do people still defect to APC that has no plan to reduce the soaring prices of food and other essential commodities? Why the acceptance of a party that cannot secure lives and properties in Kaduna, Borno, Ebonyi, Oyo and Imo States?
The lies told by stalwarts of APC further illustrate the sycophancy in the President Buhari APC-led government. The sycophants, of course, make it their primary assignment to distort facts about the state of affairs in Nigeria. Regarding the progress made in the war between the Nigeria’s Army and Boko Haram, the Minister of Information and Culture never gives instances when the insurgents kill scores of Nigerian soldiers. One learns often: ‘Boko Haram has been technically defeated’ when actually the insurgents wax stronger.
From Borno State, lies are packaged and sent to President Buhari who himself knows the truth. Borno State has been battle-scarred due to incessant attacks by bandits. Thus, the exodus of its people from the State is a strong evidence that Borno State is not the ‘Home of Peace’ it is designated as. Really, the State, as well as Kaduna, has not ‘enjoyed relative peace more than any state in the Niger Delta’.
In Kano State rent the air utterances that insulted the Yorubas. We were told that ‘there is harmony between the Fulanis and the Yorubas’ when actually the large scale killings of the latter by the so-called Fulani herdsmen forbid any sincere person to think so. The Yorubas and the Fulanis may be in each other’s pockets in Kano and Lagos States, but not ‘where’ I can think of. Whether the context of the utterance was a conflict resolution meeting or a party convention, the interlocutor had the objective of securing his pocket and cementing his political bromance with President Buhari.
On the EndSARS reports handed in recently, the likes of Femi Falana fulminate against the inaccuracies that typify the reports reeled off by the US Department of State. Again, the aide who maintained that ‘Wailing won’t stop President Buhari from going on medical trips’ is a sycophant that cannot aid in building Nigeria. Utterances, acts and misleading information such as the ones highlighted in this write-up enormously detract from the dignity of the sycophants and tell the inquisitive public how much distrust to expect from the APC-led government.
In conclusion, the trouble besetting Nigeria at present arises from the fact that the sycophants in President Buhari’s cabinet take undue advantage of the free hand given to them. President Buhari started well by initially fighting corruption and prosecuting looters until sycophants closed in on him. But the President should not be a passive bystander; he needs to visit the grass roots and see things for himself. To see how well the funds budgeted for COVID-19, East-West road, refinery rehabilitation TUCANO Jets, health and education sectors, 774,000 jobs, unemployed graduates’ stipends, NDDC, etc. are spent, the President does not need wraparounds; he should peer into the nation’s coffers with probing lens. To ascertain the scourge of hunger in his country, he should tour Edo State, Oyo State, Ebonyi State, and Owo in Ondo State and see how much arable land the people have lost to snaggle-toothed nomadic Fulanis. The fair-weather friends called defectors, on their own part, should endeavour to learn the art of consistency, transparency and democracy.
Sola wrote from Port Harcourt.