By Yemi Adebowale; [email protected]
Taking responsibility is still a big issue with President Muhammadu Buhari. He is obstinately shifting blame for all the failings of his administration. Those around our President should encourage him to read about the life and times of the late President Harry Truman of the United States.
Truman, who served as the 33rd President of the United States (1945–1953), had a sign with the inscription, “The Buck Stops Here” on his desk in the White House. This was meant to indicate that he would not pass the buck to anyone else but accepted personal responsibility for the way the country was governed. The phrase further refers to the notion that the President has to take the decisions and accept the ultimate responsibility for those decisions. Throughout his tenure, responsibility was never passed beyond Truman’s office. He was persistently plain-speaking.
Truman assumed the Presidency during the waning months of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War. One of the deadliest decisions Truman took was approving the dropping of nuclear bombs on Japanese cities, which effectively ended the 2nd World War. Despite the horrendous death of at least 129,000 people, most of whom were civilians, Truman took responsibility for the action. It remains the only use of nuclear weapons in the history of warfare. Our dear Buhari also needs to read about how Truman effectively implemented a Marshall Plan that resulted in the rebuilding of the economy of Western Europe after the 2nd World War 2. This is the meaning of taking responsibility.
Unfortunately, our President is still into buck passing, almost three years after emerging as leader. Buhari has spent almost his entire tenure blaming his predecessors and saboteurs for the flaws in government. In his New Year speech, he blamed saboteurs for the stinging petrol scarcity across the nation. I was so depressed. His business is to fix the problem with all his executive powers and not telling Nigerians Mungo Park stories. If there are indeed saboteurs, Buhari has all the constitutional powers to crush them. At his level, it does not make sense shifting blame to marketers.
Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, was apt when he called on the Buhari administration to end the current fuel scarcity in the country rather than buying time and passing the blame. In his statement titled, “Blame passing: The New Year Gift to a Nation,” the playwright recalled that before the current fuel crisis, other challenges, requiring an immediate fix, had begun to monopolise national attention, relegating to the sidelines the outcry for a fundamental and holistic approach to the wearisome cycle of trauma.
Buhari has clearly failed to actualise virtually all the promises his administration made to Nigerians. Refineries are not working 100% as promised, new ones have not been built, petrol price did not come down, rather, Nigerians are paying an unprecedented price for this product. His school feeding programme never took off in the real sense of it; three million jobs have not been created as promised, instead, about 10 million Nigerians have lost their jobs in the last 31 months. Buhari has failed to crush Boko Haram within three months; he has failed to provide uninterrupted electricity supply while the N5000 stipend to 25 million unemployed youths did not commence. His war against corruption is a jaundiced one, while the majority of Nigerians wallow in hunger, disease and poverty. Herdsmen, armed robbers and kidnappers are still killing and maiming with impunity across our nation. So, our President has to take responsibility and take practical steps to reduce the suffering in Nigeria. He must take responsibility for these failings and be courageous enough to rejig his cabinet, which is dominated by dead woods. One of such dead woods is junior Minister for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu. I watched him on television on Thursday, as usual, lamenting about the poor state of our refineries. That’s what he has been doing for almost three years without taking any concrete step to remedy the situation. Kachikwu has no business staying a day longer in this government.
Two other documents I really want Buhari to spend quality time reading meticulously are the New Year messages of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria. These messages aptly capture the situation in our dear nation. I doubt if those around the President would allow him to see the newspapers that published them. I have spent quality time reading the messages and these are my takeaway. First, the NLC noted that the All Progressives Congress government ruined Nigerians and pushed more workers into poverty and wretchedness in 2017.
It stated that the deplorable economic conditions in 2017 were captured by the statistics recently released by NBS, which indicated that over four million Nigerians lost their jobs in the first nine months of 2017 alone.
The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said: “The APC government has failed to fulfill its promise of creating three million jobs annually. It has chastised and ruined Nigerians through its policies. Rather than working to create jobs and improving the conditions of workers/Nigerians in general, leading elements in the ruling APC government, like Governor Nasir el-Rufai have been taking measures to further chastise and ruin Nigerians by throwing tens of thousands of workers into the already saturated unemployment market and wretchedness.
“For us in the Congress and for the majority of working people in Nigeria, the hope placed on the capacity of President Buhari to bring about positive change is being undermined by his government’s inability to address the infrastructural deficit and other related problems in the oil industry, such as making our existing refineries work at optimal capacity by refining products for domestic consumption.”
The TUC President, Bobboi Kaigama, and Secretary-General, Musa-Lawal Ozigi, added: “The TUC states here unequivocally, that workers have not only lost their jobs in millions but many even committed suicide when they could no longer fend for their families. Families die on our roads, yet, they tell us our roads are not as bad as some Nigerians claim.”
Buhari, with all manner of Executive powers residing in his office, the buck should stop on his desk. This New Year, he must learn to take responsibility for all the failings of his administration and take pragmatic action to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians.
Horrific Tales from Kanama, Gamboru-Ngala, Mafa
In the last eight days, Boko Haram has continued its reign of terror unhindered in Kanama, Gamboru Ngala and Mafa. Reports from the affected communities are depressing. Last Saturday, the terrorists confidently took the fight to a military base in Kanama, headquarters of Yunusari Local Government Area of Yobe State. Five soldiers and a mobile policeman were killed during the attack. About 30 soldiers and two mobile policemen are missing. The spokesperson, 3 Division Nigeria Army, Colonel Kayode Ogunsanya, confirmed the attack but was economical with the casualty figures.
However, Yobe State Commissioner of Police, Abdulmalik Sunmonu confirmed that there were casualties on the side of the military and police. He said: “Details were sketchy till this (Saturday) evening when search and rescue operation in the Area discovered the bodies of one of our Sergeants and two soldiers. As at this (Saturday) noon, two of our PMF boys and 30 soldiers were missing. Kanama/Guliba/Gulani are problematic.”
Earlier last Saturday, scores of civilians were killed in Mafa when the terrorists ambushed firewood traders in the village on the outskirts of Maiduguri. A vigilante, Umara Modu confirmed the attack, saying, “different Boko Haram gangs ambushed us at different locations. More than 50 people, mostly those chopping firewood which they normally sell to support their families, were killed. They carted away many trucks belonging to the firewood mongers and set ablaze the rickety ones.”
On Wednesday, Boko Haram continued its unrelenting attacks by bombing a mosque in Gamboru-Ngala, killing 10 worshippers. These terrorists are still roaming freely in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, slaying and injuring hapless Nigerians. For how long will this administration continue with the delusion that the Boko Haram fighters have been decapitated? For how long will this country continue to bury our gallant soldiers in hundreds? For how long shall we continue to bury innocent civilians in thousands? For how long shall this mess continue? These are pertinent questions begging for answers from the Buhari administration.
Softly, Softly, Pastor Tunde Bakare
These Pentecostal “men of God” will never cease to amaze me. They always think everybody is stupid. Well, the fault is not theirs. They have succeeded in hypnotising so many people. The latest of such charade called vision from one of these “men of God” is that from the Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, who wants us to believe that God told him to run for Presidency. The Lagos-based cleric who spoke during the watchnight service at his Latter Rain Assembly said God gave him the instruction in the early hours of Monday but had not told him when the “appointed time” to run for the presidency would be.
Bakare remarked: “In my study around 4am on Sunday morning, God told me ‘you cannot bring your political career to a close; there is still more to do. Run for Presidency. I will do it at the appointed time.’ Joseph (in the Bible) did not contest an election; yet, he became the prime minister of Egypt. Why must I worry myself about where to get the resources for the task? Your own duty in this assignment is to pray along with me. When it is the appointed time, He (God) will do it. When He tells me the time, you will hear about it.” Bakare said that he was unfazed by the daunting task that his aspiration might pose, expressing confidence that once the Lord had spoken, it was left for God to perform it.
My dear Bakare, please, pursue your presidential ambition without dragging God into it. Enough of these humdrum prophesies. This brand of politics will not take this country anywhere. You have all it takes to run this country. You are immensely qualified for this job. Present yourself and your programmes to Nigerians. You don’t have to introduce sentiment into it. Stop telling us preposterous stories about God telling you to run. Pastor Chris Okotie told us a similar boring story few years back, when he contested for the Presidency with his Fresh Democratic Party. Bakare, adding that God had not told you the appointed time to run for Presidency is simply hypocritical. You simply want to test public opinion before deciding to run or not to run.