By Martins Inyangetoh
In the buildup to the 2015 general election, two of the major campaign points of the All Progressive Congress (APC) that entreated Nigerians to deception were the fact that Nigeria under the PDP leadership of Dr Goodluck Jonathan was alluded to be sick of corruption, impunity and insecurity especially as young Nigerians, the Chibok School Girls, were allegedly kidnapped by Boko Haram. With this, there was need for a paradigm shift, one that will give room for change in leadership and platform for Nigeria. That envisaged shift brought about the ‘change mantra’ of the APC and that mantra, according to the APC, was geared toward peace, unity, justice and progress in the development of the Nation.
Surprisingly, in less than a year into the Muhammadu Buhri-led government, Nigerians realized they were hook-winked and tricked into boarding a ‘one-chance vehicle’ called APC. Many have realized that the very ‘change’ they were promised was rather ‘chains.’ This informed the reason why those that used to chant ‘Sai Baba’ later switched to ‘Oh, Baba wai?’ Those that trekked to Abuja amidst cheers and celebration have returned with sober reflections. Those that were carried away by the body language syndrome were later miming ‘I did not know’. Those that used to chant ‘APC, Change’ later started chanting ‘APC, Chains.’
In reality, we need no soothsayer to explain to Nigerians that the ruling APC government is living the opposite of what it promised Nigerians in 2015. Recall that the Minister for Power, Housing and Lands, Babatunde Fashola, once said that “a serious government will fix the power problem in Nigeria within six months but here we are, over two years, the power situation in Nigeria is worst under Buhari/Fashola’s watch. President Buhari, Bola Tinubu, the Minister for Information, Lai Mohammed, etc, in their separate speeches, said “the only way to restructure Nigeria is to vote out PDP. The only way to end Boko Haram is to vote out PDP. The only way to stop corruption is to vote out PDP. The only way to make $1 equal to N1 is to vote out PDP. The only way to buy a liter of fuel for N45 is to vote out PDP, the only way to stop impunity is to vote out PDP and so on. Today, none of the many promises has been fulfilled in the three years of the Buhari government.
Today, Corruption, impunity and insecurity are singing hosanna in high places under the watch of President Buhari. Just as we were contemplating on how former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir could cut the dry grass in IDP camps with a whooping sum of 200m, we remember how $24billion NNPC contracts were awarded without due process, the dubious N1.1Billion budgeted to clean the office of the National Security Adviser, employment scandal in Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) which had sons,daughters and relatives of the major government officials being listed in the new personnel recruitment list, illegal recall and promotion of Mr Abdulrasheed Maina, privatization of Nigerian Police Force by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the spending of $500,000 on a one day dinner for Professor Wole Soyinka by Minister Amaechi, $440b Ikoyigate scandal,$500m MTN Bribery scandal, N500m gift scandal, padded budget scandals, etc. With the spate of corruption cases being swept under the carpet by this government and the affirmation by the Transparency International that Nigeria is moving aback, it sure makes the gesture of the African Union’s recognition of President Buhari, a couple of months ago, as the anti corruption champion a mockery of the century. To sane individuals, such gesture is questionable.
However, it is pathetic that the 8-Point improvement that former President Goodluck Jonathan made which was adjudged to be the best ever improvement on the annual transparency International corruption perception index, moving from 144 to 136 has been mocked by the selective war against corruption by the President Buhari government whereby making Nigeria relapsed deeper into corruption and has moved 12 steps aback from 136 to 148 as affirmed by Transparency International in its 2018 report. Recall, the 2014 report where Transparency International noted the successes recorded in the bid to stem corruption in the system under former President Jonathan leadership wherein, the government achieved a total elimination of corruption in fertilizer procurement scheme via the e-wallet initiative which cut out the middle man and thus saved the nation over 200billion naira, introduction of the Integrated Payroll and Personal Information system (IPPIS) which weeded out over 100 thousand ghost workers from the federal civil service, saving the nation over N3trillion annually, the cashless policy and the Jonathan’s political will to speedily investigate and fire his Ministers and Aides who were accused of corruption or conflict of interest. Maina, Stella Odua, etc were victims of this circumstance.
In addition, in 2012 CNN money projected that Nigeria economy was the first in West Africa and third fastest growing economy in the world with only China and Qatar being ahead of it under former President Jonathan’s watch. Also, it was reported that the British Prime Minister, David Cameron said on 12,2012 that ” Yes, we have been hearing about China and India for years but its hard to believe what is happening in Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria too. I applaud these countries for their economic growth”. That largest economy is now rotten in a double digit inflation rate, recession, high cost of petroleum products, high cost of food products, high cost of living, etc. What an irony!
More so, the Buhari that bragged that if elected as President, that his first three months will have him face the insecurity challenge squarely thereby bringing to an end kidnapping, bombing and murdering activities of the dreaded terrorist group, Boko Haram, is still battling to achieve such feat. Till date, the activities are ongoing not forgetting the Dapchi school girls kidnap saga and the swap scandal that saw the terrorists having a triumphant entry into the Borno villages to release the kidnapped school girls with one christian girl left in their custody till date while their colleagues that were arrested during Jonathan’s regime were released as the deal had it. As if the havoc committed by the Boko Haram terrorists was not enough, the marauding deadly Herdsmen terrorist erupted from nowhere and began killing Nigerians in dozens without having fierce battle by the security personnel as python, snake, crocodile, elephant etc were not instructed to go dance in Benue, Jos, Zamfara, Taraba, Enugu, etc. Till date, insecurity and corruption is rocking Nigeria as never before.
Nevertheless, it is advisable for government to make timely effort to stem the free fall of Nigeria into the abyss of corruption, impunity and insecurity by refraining from engaging in media trial, hypocritical dialogue/swap deal and nepotic act in favour of the herdsmen and other relatives of Government officials while less or nothing is done on the legal and patriotic front. Also, respect for the other two arms of government should be accorded due advantage and not indulging in hounding, intimidating and emasculating them in attempt to cow them into giving favourable judgments against perceived political enemies in the case of the Judiciary while the legislature should be left to embark on its legislative assignments independently. APC led Federal Government should rather engage in a true corruption war not anti-opposition war and a holistic fight against insurgency by ensuring that there is a total clampdown on the dreaded herdsmen killing Nigerians like fowl on daily bases.
Finally, as two million voters voting in an election without void vote in Kano, the fire inferno that gulf the live of the INEC returning officer and the lives of his family members without any trace to the root cause, enrollment of underage to vote in some states, remain a mystery for sane Nigerians like us, thus it is worthy to rhetorically ask “will we repeat this mistake of reelecting Buhari in 2019 even after suffering this much in the hands of his APC led Federal Government for the past three years? This is a question we all must answer as the 2019 general elections approach. To me, never again hence the need to get my PVC ready for this action in 2019. How about You!!!
Martins Inyangetoh writes from Ukana in Essien Udim L.G.A