822 views | Clem Aguiyi | May 17, 2021
Some writers are like prophets, not because they want to be called prophets but because in their writings they could predict the future.
In 2011, Mr. Duff an American journalist writing on Nigeria wrote vividly about the conspiracy by some internal and external forces to tear down the pride of Africa with hope of plundering her natural resources.
Duff rightly predicted the rise in ethnic consciousness as against nationalism. He spoke of the rise of Islamic militancy sweeping through the Sahel. He concluded that Nigeria will be engulfed in ethnic war caused by ethnic squabbles. He said there is need to save Nigeria from disorderly disintegration because the world may not be able to cope with the disorderly displacement of over two hundred million people.
I agreed with Duff that we must do everything to save Nigeria from possible collapse, get over our tribal disagreements and seek peace with one another. By peace, I mean genuine peace that makes life worth living, the kind that will enable all citizens of the country to co-exist peacefully and to grow and build a better life for our children, not only peace in our time , but peace for all our generations.
It’s rather sad that many years after a brutal civil war fought to keep Nigeria one, we are still talking about unity, peaceful and co-existence in terms of equality and fairness. Incidentally, this debate about equal citizenship is not about equality between some white folks versus black folks. We are speaking about the equality of our own indigenous black people.
President Buhari whose nepotism compounded our woes has all the tools in his hand to quench the fire he ignited by recognising our pluralism and diversity. He can end the ethnic tension today if he so wishes and I see no difficulty in him doing so.
Why he has remained defiant is not just mind boggling but incredibly discomforting and unhelpful. By his actions and inactions, he has become a major stumbling block in our quest for a fair and peaceful society. I do not mean peace enforced on the rest of the country by military weapons or the peace of the grave but peace that will endure our time and future times.
Last week in my article titled , ‘What Nigeria denies, there the truth lies’ I warned that our security is in jeopardy and that bandits are advancing into the Federal Capital and may attack the symbol of our democracy, the National Assembly and also the Seat of Power. On the very day the article was published in the New Telegraph, the news of some bandits burgling the official home of the Chief of Staff to the President right inside the Presidential Villa made news headlines.
Some readers wondering how accurate I was, called me. One particular reader called me a prophet, which I am not. I am only a political writer who made an intelligent observation given our precarious security situation and the weakness of our government in responding to the security challenges.
The government of the day is wobbling and showing every signs of a dying regime because President Buhari is a weak leader. The Presidential Villa was supposed to be an impregnable fortress, but not anymore, at least going by the attempted robbery of the official residence of the Chief of staff. I dare say, that anyone with the audacity to breach the security of the home of the Chief of Staff to the President can as well steal away the President. It’s that bad.
What went wrong? Obviously, Buhari had hoped to be a great president. He vied for the presidency on a number of times and got lucky at the 4thtry. He made a lot of promises during his campaign. Hopes and expectations were high that he would be better than then President Goodluck Jonathan. Those that packaged him marketed him as the most definitive dividend of democracy for Nigeria. Even those that initially wrote him off as no good were sold on to the dummy. Now six years down the line, many including those who championed his election have lost all hope. They fear he may finish as the worse president under whom Nigeria is liquidated.
Save a miracle happens, Buhari will be remembered as presiding over ‘stagflation’ and ‘humiliation’ at home by unknown gunmen, bandits and insurgents, the very terrorists he promised to put down within sixty days in office, and he couldn’t even scratch insecurity in six years.
Inside the State House, the security of the home of his COS was breached by some ‘foolish robbers’. Nigerians at home and abroad were embarrassed by the lapse and not impressed by the government playing down the incident. Many are just counting days to his final departure for relief.
Nigerians are worried about the economy, they are worried about the rapid devaluation of the Naira, they are worried about the mindless borrowing by the government. The total debt between 2015 to 2019 amounted to $111.54 billion US Dollars while the external debt as at December 2020 stood at $33.48 billion Dollars. That’s where we were in 1999.
Is the economy stupid, or ? Buhari himself has argued that he inherited a wounded economy, something his opponents disagree with. They vigorously argue that he inherited Africa’s largest economy and the 7thfastest growing economy in the world but he surprisingly crashed everything in six months.
Added to the unfolding economic nightmare is the worsening insecurity. Very often, bandits and insurgents test the will of the president who has not spoken to the nation in a long time about the worsening insecurity except for occasional press releases by aids, expressing his sadness and condolence to the victims. The speculation that the president may be in mental decline is rife. His detractors argue that he is avoiding the press because he frequently loses his train of thoughts and therefor incapable of jostling with the media.
It is not comforting that all he does is to warn the bandits and to tout our capability to deal decisively with them whereas on ground the criminals are gaining more grounds and decimating our forces.
It is not clear whether the President actually believed that his ceaseless warnings to the insurgents and bandits even if given a million times will make them end their armed aggression or that his regular touting of our military capability is of any consequence to the insurgents if not backed by profound military actions.
Having failed against the economy and insecurity, it is unlikely Buhari’s political fortune will rise significantly before the expiration of his tenure in 2023. It will indeed be sad that the most memorable thing about his presidency will be that he was able to divide the country and that he was the President conquered by terrorists. God forbid.
The sheriff we trusted lacked the leadership strength to save and protect us. He himself recognized this awful perception and has blamed age and ill health for his inability to grapple with the challenges of office. Rather than constant humiliation or watch the nation go down, isn’t it better that he takes the most patriotic and honorable step and resign as Commander in Chief? It’s not by force to be president and doesn’t have to wait to be impeached.
Whatever be the case, whether Buhari resigns or he is impeached and removed from office or that he continue to hibernate inside the presidential villa till the end of 2023, my prayers is that our land will remain peaceful and glorious. Let those bearing arms drop their arms, let those threatening war stop because no one can tell the end of any war.
The time and hour demand for us to band together as soldiers of peace who can do more than preach the choir. We can save this republic, the country and our democracy if we band together and try harder. We need genuine peace; we need to find a common ground to resolve our conflicts without violence.