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Published On: Tue, Feb 23rd, 2016

Buhari Change Mantra and Ranting of Critics



By Akporhobo Tataunu
LAGOS FEBRUARY 23RD (URHOBOTODAY)-“We returned to our places, these kingdoms. But no longer ease here in the old dispensation”. _ Professor Chinua Achebe.
From whatever locale you may want to focus your lens on the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and the All Progressives Congress, APC government, it will, for a serious-minded Nigerian show a bright and transparent picture of a departure from the past.

Besides, talking about “Progress”, Paul Harris, founder of Rotary, stated “The measure of a nation’s progress as well as the measure of an individual’s progress must ever be its readiness to learn from the experience of others,” and it is on the basis of this that Nigerians can assess the progress so far made by the President Buhari Administration in Nigeria.
But, Barrister Jesutega Onokpasa, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Delta State, whose comments on the achievement of the administration were eulogized by a columnist in THE URHOBO VOICE MID-WEEK, February 17- 24, 2016, Miss Annabel Ogheneganre, falls short of a critical-minded Nigerian. It goes beyond being a “blind enthusiast” of the APC, as the columnist put it.
I think a columnist ought to be a social crusader and minder. She is expected to correct misdirected opinions and she is supposed to put her readers on the know. This is besides the columnist being a purveyor of accurate information and a fair commentator. Not everybody is a politician. According to Wills Rogers, as stated in the VANGUARD Book of Quotations, “Most people take up politics through necessity, or as a last resort.” Naturally, there is nothing wrong in criticising the ideologies and performances of a given political party but that should be done in view of the prevailing circumstances and with conscience and innocently done too. One begin to doubt if the comments of Mr. Onokpasa did not betray him as a new convert of the APC, not yet at home with the ideologies of his new party. But it is all due to lack of commitment.
What is then used to assess the degree of success of the President Buhari’s administration? You may conclude that the APC has taken over the reins of power from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for eight months running. However, it was His Eminence, Cardinal Richelieu who stated that “If you give six lines written by the most honest man, I will find something in them to hang him”. Nevertheless, it is a matter of unctuous when Miss Ogheneganre over-emphasized the sloppy statements credited to Mr. Onokpasa in her column. Onokpasa’s position and like Chief Olusegun Obasanjos’ could then be liken to the tale of the “blind men” who evaluated the elephant. But, even this was done with a clear picture of the different parts as felt by each. So, when Ogheneganre commended Onokpasa’s comments did she take a critical and cursory view of what the commentator has said? The patriotic zeal of Mr. Onokpasa and Chief Olusegun Obasanjos’ were wrongly placed while Mr. Onokpasa commented on the level of achievement of the current administration, Chief Olusegun Obasanjos’ was economical with the truth. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has refused to tell Nigerians who reversed the public service reforms he introduced or who aborted the probe of the privatization process. Therefore, it is people in the ilks of the duo who perpetrate warped and undemocratic instincts in the National Assembly as well as the administrative staffs in the Presidency.
President Muhammadu Buhari is one individual, generally viewed as one person who welcomes criticism when there is need for one, but not done for the sake of it.
However, writing on achievements so far by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, since May 29th, 2015, it would seem as if one is out to count his chickens before they are hatched. On the eighth month of this administration, no part of Nigeria is still under the control of the dreaded insurgents. It is verifiable. Nigerians can no longer find a place where Boko Haram hoists its flag. While every government is to protect and uphold the sanctity of the Nigerian nation, the president Goodluck Jonathan administration did nothing to put an end to the exploits of the Boko haram in Nigeria. The Jonathan administration virtually glamourises Boko haram as a terrorist group. The former Nigerian President used the presence of the terrorist group to pauperise Nigerians. And no body cares. It is similar to a case of instructive “all eyes close”. Thus, it was a matter of “rattle his bones over the stones; he is only a pauper whom nobody owns.”
Millions of Nigerians forced into Internally Displaced Persons, IDP Camps across the country were the result of the lackadaisical manner in which the previous administrations handled the nations’ economy and security. Nigerians have agreed that because of the inordinate ambition of Goodluck Jonathan to earned an unchallenged Presidential primary elections and secured an underserved victory in the 2015 Presidential elections; monies meant to bring the insurgents on its kneels were diverted and squandered. Barrister Onokpasa simply turn the blind eye and remain mute as a doll. Some Nigerians do not see anything wrong with what former president Goodluck Jonathan had done to stifle Nigerians, even in the face of current disclosures through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC recently.
Meanwhile, Polybus (on the Rise of the Roman Empire) admonished “it is precisely the most difficult and exceptional achievements which give rise to the most intense jealousies and the most poisonous slanders.” At the time of writing this piece, Nigerians are still pondering over the rumoured conspiracies of some eminent Nigerians with the honorific title of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs to deprive other Nigerians the enjoyment of fortunes that will result from the fight against corruption. And the recording of the highest mega watts in power supply recently coupled with the millions of Dollars and Naira returned so far is a clear indication of the direction of this administration. No national sector will be left untouched so long the area contain the leprous finger of corruption.
Undoubtedly, Former President Goodluck did not have the effrontery to confront the challenged of national malaise, while we will not forget in a hurry the level of unchecked corruption as one of the maladies afflicting Nigerians.
The aura of the All Progressives Congress, APC’s administration has compelled most Nigerian elites to adjust and amend their ways for the positive. For instance, the Delta State government has woken up to the change mantra by recalling all contractors of abandoned projects to go back to site. Such that the 2013 UBEC projects at Orhuwhorun, Udu local government area, Delta State has got a new lease of life with the rehabilitation work on the Primary school structures undergoing a facelift even though the job is quite poor. These and others are the intangible and tangible effects of the emergence of the APC in Nigeria.
Though, according to Henry Fielding [1707-1754] ‘’to murder ones’ reputation is a kind of suicide, a detestable and odious vice,’’ yet Nigerians revel in it. And indeed, Nigeria needs greater virtue to bear good fortune than bad. Nigerians deserved better treatment than they got during the too previous administrations.
Whatsoever, no political party can implement its manifestoes in the absence of an approved national budget committed to such programmes earlier enshrined in the party’s manifestoes. That is, the President Buhari’s administration will work within the very lean resources in its disposal and given the prevailing circumstances in the country. And one wonders if critics are aware of these idiosyncrasies and conditionality.
Meanwhile, the returned loots and the recorded N2.2trillion ensuing from the single treasury account policy, TSA into the Nigerian treasury is worthy of commendation as far as patriotic and conscientious Nigerians are concerned. It is not a mean achievement within eight months of assumption of office.
The fearless posture of the president in tackling corruption is a genuine pointer to national reawakening.
All the rot being investigated were perpetrated by the top shots of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP with the connivance of former president Goodluck Jonathan; and some Nigerians complained on putting handcuffs on Mr.Olisa Metuhs’ hand. A suspect of Metuhs’ status and the volume of money allegedly stolen by him made him qualified to be put in handcuffs. Mr. Metuhs’ act of tampering with his own voluted statement is criminal and he therefore deserved to be put in handcuffs, as he is dangerous to society.
People who stole goats in our society were put in handcuffs; what about those who stole millions of naira and dollars?
The nascent APC is better in character and purpose than the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP which has existed for and ruled Nigeria for 16 years continuously. Nigerians must learn to appreciate the environment in which a system operates instead of casting aspersions innocently. Interestingly, the zero budgeting strategy being implemented by the administration aimed at streamlining capital and current expenditures in our budgetting system and justifying needs and cost rather than the ubiquitous annual incremental approach is hardly recognized.
The approach which transfers expenses from previous budgets with added upward and the reviews are a welcome development for national development and economic stability. Also, it is worthy of mentioning, the receipt of payment for crude oil royalty of N4billion due to Nigeria but carelessly abandoned by the Goodluck Jonathan administration. And nobody can imagine the financial savings made by Nigeria with reduction of Ministries, Departments and Agencies by this administration and the absolute reduction in the numbers of Ministers cannot be simply discarded.
Clearly, whatever activity that is going on is a tip of the iceberg towards improving the lots of Nigerians generally. And this writer believes that the strategies of the APC are clear departure from the past, while it will come out in the wash after the passing and signing of the 2016 budget, coupled with the right mix of skilled personnel and values enshrined in the All Progressives Congress, APC change mantra.

Akporhobo Tataunum a social commentator writes from Warri, Delta State

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