If Buhari Does Not Kill Corruption It Will Kill Buhari
We seem to forget what we hated so much about Buhari and Obasanjo, even under his civilian rule. Buhari may come out even worse if he cannot get his way on corruption. Nigerians need a decisive leader to set wayward and erring criminals that are willing to take advantage of every situation. In the process, innocent people pay a price. Losers cannot control Buhari's agenda!
The achievement worthy of praise in Buhari first month is corruption watch. Assurance by G7 leaders to haunt looted funds during their summit he attended; closing loop holes of revenue generating and collecting agencies at the Federal level must also be extended to the state level as previously promised by the former Coordinating and Finance Minister; discovery of 3.8t naira unremitted from NNPC and $2b depleted cash from Excess Crude Account deserve appreciation.
Security is very important but it's an ongoing fight not only against Boko Haram but also against ethnic militia, day and night robberies and total disregard for human lives by Police and Army in their abuse of civilians. Indiscipline within the Armed Forces has demoralized Esprit de corps and their ability to respond to both internal and external threats.
It has only been a month since Buhari took over the new Government in Nigeria but looking at the criticism he has received, one would think he has been there for a year. Comparing this to the last time he took over as a dictator, his impact was immediate after the initial celebration that welcomed him and Idiagbon. What he lacks now is ruling by decree or fiat. While his voters may be patient for the next 100 days, the criticism by those that voted against him is startling.
There are problems from his own political Party that may distract him from fighting corruption. All of us have to decide which Buhari we want. It has to be one that will let some criminals go scot free to our dismay so that the right of most innocent people is not jeopardized or Buhari that will punish a few innocent people so that most criminals can be severely dealt with. It is easier to want something in between but practically difficult, even in western democracy.
Moreover, his APC alliance is under fire, revolt and subterfuge. Most of the inside fire is coming from the likely sources. They are members of PDP, his main opponent during the election, that were enticed to undermine their leaders and former President Ebele in collaboration with the new cross-overs from the same party. Instead of following the terms of their new party, they have decided on the minds of their own, with different agenda and goal. It may sink APC.
Ethnic rivalry will always have a place in the politics of Nigeria. The Hausa do not have to get involved in this. Let the Igbo and Yoruba play their politics of elimination as usual depending on which of them successfully gain not only alliance with the North, but trust. The Igbo gave their loyalty to Jonathan the defeated President that Yoruba found wanting. Sadly, the defeated President had been elected by most Nigerians North and South of the Country.
Since the Yoruba backed the elected new President, the Igbo are having the greatest fun of their life asking what Yoruba has gained from their endeavor with the North in view of the entire problem in APC between PDP crossover and Tinubu leadership in the APC alliance. Time will tell in hundred days or more how Buhari will solve the mess.
The Yoruba felt they have lost the Speakership twice in a row; with the opposition of Igbo that were against Ms. Akande in PDP in collusion with Tinubu during the reign of Jonathan. For the second time, Igbo went against Gbajabiamila with the support of Saraki against their past ally Tinubu. Yoruba must not feel sorry for themselves if they did not put their best foot forward. All Hausa brothers have to do is nothing, but watch the two other brothers go after one another.
There is nothing new here. Nigerians have a history of taking over parties that they were not foundation members of. Indeed, it has created problems for the leadership and Presidents of the parties. What is surprising here is that they would plan and carry out the plot under Buhari, the well-known former dictator. We are now under democratic disposition, he does not count?
There is also a saying in Nigeria that too many heavyweights will sink the boat. Nevertheless, we thought Buhari and Tinubu worked their differences out. What they didn't take into account was their differences with members coming from the opponent's party. Even more disturbing is the caliber of Buhari's partner Tinubu and those of PDP crossovers, especially Bukola Saraki. Tinubu and Saraki are far from change Nigerians desired from Buhari's anticorruption image.
Unfortunately, speculations are rife that Buhari had some insight into what may later be his waterloo. Some claim he did it to curtail the influence of Tinubu and his loyalists. Others claim PDP renegades want to make sure he did not probe PDP for corruption. If he has to probe them, he must start from Tinubu. If Buhari does not kill corruption, Corruption will kill Buhari!
Expecting Buhari to hit the ground running might have been easier under dictatorship. This time he has to prove that he is a true democrat willing to achieve his goals in a “civilized” manner by due process. He has made some appointments alright but they are heavily from his side of the North which other Nigerians see as common flaw of Northern leaders. The same Nigerians see Governor of Kaduna State, El Rufai appointments fairly accommodative of Nigerians in his State.
It may be unfair to estimate Buhari's disposition when he has more appointments and ministers to select. There are some opinions that are harder to dispel based on first impression or initial missteps. Buhari is in politics now and he should have mixed up his initial appointments because he must have known that sceptics are watching every move he makes. We must also remember that he has some Northern constituencies he needs to send messages to.
Written by Farouk Martins Aresa.