When President Muhammadu Buhari was campaigning in 2015, after three failed consecutive attempts, to be elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria he was convinced as many Nigerians did of his tested capacity to bring about change to a system — then broken and rotten. Through the All Progressives Congress (APC) coalition he had presented his manifesto to our people harping on re-establishing security, revamping the economy and providing employment for the teeming jobless youths among us. Almost three years down the line the ruling APC policies and programmes seem to be headed to a mitigated general outcome.
Today, just a year before the next general elections, Nigerians are daily expressing fears about the deterioration in their living conditions, the ubiquitous security challenges, the mounting unemployment and the economic acrobatic dance. While we recognise that President Buhari has given the top job his best shot thus far given the national institutional and infrastructural challenges he inherited the truth is self-evident that the federal leadership machine is not functioning at full steam.
For one, Transparency International (TI) had recently released its global 2017 Corruption Perception Index in which Nigeria was ranked poorly at 148th position out of 180 countries considered! What that meant was that despite the anti-graft propaganda of the ruling party and the heroic efforts of the EFCC much still needed to be done to save Nigeria from itself.
Of course it is not untrue that the present federal government has done more than any other democratic government before it came on board in terms of battling graft but the TI shocking rating poured cold water on our vaunted campaign at fighting corruption at the state and national levels. ‘Mr Integrity’ in Abuja Aso Villa seems to be finding it more and more difficult prosecuting the much-vaunted war on graft.
Alas corruption has proven to be a ‘Nigerian’, a hard nut to crack — even for a retired General whose integrity is widely-acknowledged. For another, the Boko Haram armed and dangerous insurgency up north has refused to ‘die’ despite the federal sledge hammer being used to try to crush the terrorist group. And when you add the menacing marauding Fulani herdsmen to the mix then you can conclude that the Buhari presidency is indeed challenged on many fronts security-wise. The Daura man of the Jackboot never envisaged it this way as he sought to change the way we see Nigeria and do things.
Yes, it is not false a claim that the fugitive Abubakar Shekau and his misguided criminal elements had seen their command and control mechanism degraded or damaged yet they have refused doggedly to capitulate. Technically beaten or strategically castrated militarily Boko Haram has proven to be a formidable fighting force with the fiscal, military and organisational wherewithal to withstand the federal assault.
After the Chibok school girls’ abduction imbroglio few years ago here comes another spectacular mass kidnapping in yet another female academic institution in Dapchi, Yobe state. The Dapchi Government Girls’ Science Technical College was not known to many Nigerians until now. While the Chibok incident drew global news headlines the present frightening episode in Dapchi has brought Nigeria another round of opprobrium at home and abroad. The sad news was broken to me by the RFI (Radio France Internationale).
The number of Chibok girls missing at the time of their abduction was said to be close to 300 and now we are being told that the missing Dapchi girls is estimated to be more than a hundred! No one has been found so far. But it is not surprising in any way though. Nigeria is reputed to be a country where on a daily basis innocent blood is shed with no one shedding any tears and governments doing nothing. Life is worth almost nothing!
Days after the Dapchi evil ‘rapture’ of the young ‘Eves’ the Governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim Gaidam, was quoted online as saying that some of the girls had been found. It later proved to be a deliberate lie told to deceive the restive population. The state government had issued a damage-control press statement explaining itself and apologising for the gaffe. According to the statement the Governor told the lie he told based on an “unreliable” information at his disposal then! It accused an unnamed member of a security force fighting the BH for supplying the unverified, yet verifiable, information.
But it goes beyond clarifications or apology or both. The questions persist as parents of the missing girls lament the abrupt departure to the unknown of their loved ones. Pray, how could a state Chief Executive have committed such duplicity? Must he have believed the source easily? What if the same source had told him that he had shot dead Shekau in Damaturu GRA as he was about to bomb the Government House would he have also believed him?
If it were to be in other saner climes Governor Gaidam would have since resigned his executive position or been impeached by the state legislators in the event of any exhibition of intransigence. But Nigeria remains Nigeria where resignation is a ‘taboo’ and gubernatorial impeachment a rarity.
The solution to the Dapchi kidnapping, as embarrassing as it might be, does not lie in releasing the already tried and condemned BH criminals in exchange for the missing girls’ freedom. Or in paying huge ransom in the neighbourhood of millions of Dollars as ‘bribe’ for the girls to be set free. Such a deal encourages Shekau to continue prospering in his murderous mission. The military establishment and other security agencies must get cracking by doing the job (protecting lives and property) for which they are remunerated.
It is a national tragedy that another Chibok was allowed to happen even when some of the abducted Chibok girls had not been accounted for. Allowing the Dapchi damsels to visit BH ‘hell’ and back amounts to cruelty of the worst kind. They deserved better in a rich nation as ours.
The major problem faced by Buharism as 2019 approaches is that the Dapchi abduction may well define or re-define his presidency much like that of GEJ. Whether he succeeds or fails to consolidate power next year history and posterity would never forget to remember his actions or inactions toward the Boko Haram terrorism and their numerous exploits nationwide under his command.