By Rev Francis Ejiroghene Waive
Many congratulations to President MohammaduBuhari on his one year in the saddle as democratically elected President of Africa’s largest democracy. Most Nigerians including those who did not support him during the campaigns rightly expected him to do things differently given his no nonsense mien. Hence at the beginning of his government there was this euphoria about his body language. Every little progress was attributed to this and those of us who know that it is in our collective interest that he succeeds rejoiced that things were getting better. Sadly this romance did not last long.
Perhaps the single most laudable action of this government is the recent removal of subsidy on petroleum. And every well-meaning Nigerian hopes that this is complete deregulation and nothing less. It takes political courage and tactics to take such a sensitive action and succeed with it. The last administration’s attempt at this failed because that government appeared weak and it never carried the people along in this matter. It is the primary duty of government to protect as far as possible every member of the society from injustice or oppression. Fuel subsidy is the tool of the oppressor to continue to undermine our collective progress with corrupt enrichment of the few that belong to the club. Contrary to popular opinion, it is not the poor who benefit from the subsidy on petroleum.
Removal of fuel subsidy is the single most important action taken by this government in fighting corruption. It will take institutional changes like this to kill corruption before corruption kills us and our country. The Buhari method of arresting people perceived to be corrupt in bravado style, keeping them illegally behind bars despite court orders and always sounding braggadocios when speaking about the anti-corruption war is either a hoax to deceive the uninformed or an attempt at militarization which is unlawful, unproductive and unsustainable.
Talking about deception reminds one of a niche the Buhari government is creating for itself. Whoever heard of running a government by lying to your people! It is shameful for officials of government to speak from both sides of the mouth. Due to our past experiences, most Nigerians don’t trust government. But this Buhari government came in with such degree of public expectation that it will be a tragedy if the citizens are brazenly lied to and taken for a ride.
Nigerians are well aware of the global economic implication of the sharp drop in the price of crude oil in the international market and its implications for our economy. What shocks our sensibilities is the lack of clear cut strategies to weather the storm! Propaganda may win an election but it will not run an effective government. The economy cannot be left on auto pilot while our attention is been diverted. Government ought to know that the only thing that will divert the attention of a hungry man is food on the table. No Nigerian is asking government to put food on each individual table. What we are asking for is that government should create such environment and policies that will make us thrive in this depression. And it does not take magicians to do this!
Most of the great leaders in history emerged in moments such as this. Therefore there is no excuse.Enough of playing the blame game! Should it be that Mr President’s team is the issue, he has the powers to sack anyone! Indeed most Nigerians were surprised at the number of dead woods that made his cabinet after more than six months of his being sworn in. One of the gifts he can give to this nation on his one year anniversary is to drop those politicians who have nothing to offer our country. Any president who fixes his eyes on the politics of second term instead of fixing Nigeria will end up like Jonathan. Buhari or no Buhari.
As the government enters its second year in office, emphasis must be placed on fixing the economy, creating sustainable mechanisms and systems in our institutions that will prevent corruption and expose it wherever it manifests, promote the rule of law, give every part of the nation a sense of belonging, create respect for our country in the comity of nations, ensure documented recovery of looted funds, build strong institutions and leave a legacy of good governance, equity, justice and peace.