By Bayo Oluwasanmi
“I have seen corruption boil and bubble Till it o’er-run the stew.” – Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
For Nigerians, the popular slogan – smiling and suffering – borrowed from one of the songs of the irresistible and irrepressible Abami Eda, Fela Anikulapo, assumes a bitter and biting meaning of life of poverty and pauperism, barbarism and cruelty, hate and hunt, hopelessness and helplessness.
It is amazing how the brain capacity of Nigerians is able to withstand the extent of sorrow and sadness that cripple their lives to a screeching halt. Nigerians have all lost sense of meaning, sense of life, sense of living, sense of purpose and self-realization. Nigerians are not shielded or sheltered from the brutal man made disasters of their rulers and from other elemental forces. They all come for them.
Nigeria is a nation of men and women deprived and depraved of morals, integrity, probity, honesty, and conscience. We lack men and women whose dedication and fortitude can break leadership handicaps, manufactured obstacles and hindrances, leveled false gods, and show us greatness, service, sacrifice, and leadership.
My man of the year is the man that had the greatest impact on Nigeria and on the lives of its180 million citizens in 2017 for good or ill. Nigeria needs a leader. A leader that will hold up and not fold up. A leader that will face difficulties and work through trials. We need a leader with connected brains. Visions make leaders passionate, thorns keep them authentic. What’s the vision? What’s the passion? And where’s the thorns?
The year calls for a leader and there’s no one home. The year calls for a leader who will not administer justice selectively. A leader who will not protect his own by nepotism or any other ethnic bias. A leader who sees a dramatic contrast between the vessel and the contents – whether the container exists for the sake of the treasure. A leader that will bear the weight of over size expectations of Nigerians. A leader that will solve our ancient problems. A leader who will wage war on corruption swiftly with results of causalities permanently tucked away in a federal penitentiary in Kirikiri or Kuje. A leader that will demonstrate the ability and foresight to move this seemingly ungovernable nation forward. The list fills pages.
With over two years into Buhari’s presidency and with little sign of success, Nigerians begin to doubt if he’s up to the task of turning Nigeria around. It’s more and more glaring that his administration is in jeopardy. Yes, he inherited a vast array of socioeconomic problems. For more than two years Buhari has been in charge. He’s bereft of that indispensable political skill, the ability to turn things around and effect sweeping changes. He’s not a strong president to push hard on the legislature, to prod departments and agencies to achieve his political agenda. It becomes evidently dangerous for a failed country like Nigeria to have Buhari as president.
Nigerians are crying for a president that will bail them out on all fronts. But President Buhari is MIA – missing in action! He took office with fanfare and high hopes. He’s now cling to Aso Rock amid confusion and collapsed hope. Majority of Nigerians believe the country is headed the wrong way. With a disillusioned, confused, corrupt, crisis-ridden, and frigid administration, Buhari’s presidency looks like a holiday camp freak show.
Corruption has not only fought back, corruption has won. Flares of unrest, protests, horror stories of killings, insecurity, fear, hunger, prohibitive food prices, fuel shortage, and increased uncertainty for the future have simmered the faith and hope of Nigerians who voted him into office. Buhari no longer commands the respect of Nigerians or can he influence them. He refused many times to pull the trigger of his executive powers on vital, urgent national priorities. He has failed to articulate his vision for the country, where the country is going, and a plan to bring it there, and what lies before us in the journey ahead. He hasn’t demonstrated a strong mind, incredible capacity to synthesize, process, and understand the complexity of demands and expectations of his office.
A strong president sets the tone, sets the right goals, prioritize objectives, gets things moving, and gets things done. He allowed ambitious, corrupt, and reckless people with crackpot ideas run and ruin his government with catastrophic outcomes. Nigerians are trapped between a rock and a hard place. Trouble looms ahead.
Buhari squandered opportunities to rewrite history of Nigeria for permanent revolutionary changes. For his failure to restructure Nigeria and make it a true federalism, for his missed opportunity to jumpstart the economy, failure to reform the judiciary and the criminal justice system, lack of courage to slash bogus salaries, criminal perks and allowances of federal legislators, failure to reform education, health, aviation, to create jobs, to scrap the ragtag NPF and replace it with state and local government police, for successfully submerged Nigeria and Nigerians into distressed and disturbed nation, for being confused, clueless, constrained, castrated, and much more, President Muhammadu Buhari is my Man of the Year.