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BUHARI: BEYOND THIS "BOLEKAJE" CHANGE - Abdulwahab Oba


Not all that glitters is gold, so says the classical counsel. But in 2015, Nigeria chose the beautiful, not minding the wisdom of the old, and as the years went by, we began to realise that we needed more than the beauty of a maiden to make a good home. Our political marriage that produced the incumbent President came with all the trappings of commercial advertisement and we were all got enthralled by one single attribute of the man, Muhammad Buhari: his integrity.

And who wouldn’t, anyway, given the massive depletion of our national integrity in the comity of nations following almost eight years of gross incompetence by the former President Goodluck Jonathan? If there was a missing key in the last administration, it was the fact that the leadership of the nation had demonstrated on many fronts that it lacked the grit to handle the affairs of Nigeria. It deminstrated gross incompetence and insensitivity. The oil subsidy scam alone was enough to write off that administration; but there were also so many other instances of national disgrace that dictated a regime change as the only alternative to get the nation out of the quagmire.

And to fix that we found Buhari; we had looked for him as a young man would do for a damsel. His major attribute was that he would stand firm, no, ramrod, at all times. That he would be fair and just; that he would not condone corruption in any form; that having seen it all before, having been chased away from the post by his military colleagues, and having struggled unsuccessfully for three times to get the post again through the ballot box, his focus would be to do those things that will prove to Nigerians he truly loves the job of being President; that he's truly a just leader. 

Apparently we were wrong; our bride has come home but we cannot see the beauty that attracted us from outside. In street parlance, we have entered One Chance! From the time it look like forever for the President to assemble his cabinet after the election, a move often done by most leaders even before being sworn-in, we began to see hints that we needed more than integrity and incorruptibility to make the change we really needed because when the cabinet list was unveiled, it contained no new names from what the average political analyst on the street beside the vendor’s stand, had predicted. Maybe, these roadside analysts might even have done better, given the chance! But for few of them, most of the Minister can not pass the integrity template laid for the President by most pundits. 

Then came the issue of election into offices in the National Assembly, an exercise that would have gone smoothly in a right system where stakeholders in the ruling party would have sat together and harmonise the sharing formula. The said election ended in a stalemate whereby the legislators became clearly separated from the party seemingly compromised, with   a distance more than envisaged by those who crafted the theory of separation of power. Since then, the executive has not had a smooth relationship with the lawmakers and even though both sides have tried to patch things up, there is nothing to show that they are actually together in their hearts.

If they were, would we have had the Omo-Agege episode, where a lawmaker walks coolly into the chambers of the senate, accompanied by a team of thugs who equally coolly walked to the chamber’s maze and picked it? Would they have so easily escaped from the precincts of the National Assembly; a complex guarded 24 hours round by stern-looking officials with "modern" gadgets? Someone made a joke last week about all the legislators who have fought the executive so far now facing one ordeal or the other while Omo-Agege, who staged the maze take-away, has been appointed member of the Convention Planning Committee of the APC! What an impunity unbelievably under Mr Integrity. 

And just few days back, the President expressed his uttermost disdain for the legislators by simply approving the expenditure of over one billion dollars from the Excess Crude Account. He said it was an emergency; that the money was needed to pay for military jets to be supplied. Next month? No. In 2020! What an emergency. I have read arguments by the President’s men to the effect that previous leaders followed the same pattern of not seeking the constitutionally recommended approval path. And I ask, is that why this President, who came on board with the integrity mantra, follow the same pattern of those we asked him to come and replace? Does the impunity gene we sought to break also run in him? No! Not the Buhari I know. 


But then, what about the latest episode with Senator Dino Melaye?  Proof of integrity! Whereas, the executive has held on to ElZakkyZakky for close to three years now despite subsisting orders of competent courts, no one has been arrested, arraigned or disciplined in any way for still keeping the man in the cell. But here is Dino, who was declared wanted by the police on a day he was in the full glare of Nigerian at the senate; here was Dino, who was to travel on federal assignment but was ‘arrested’ and later said to have ‘jumped’ out of police vehicle. There have been more than 50 policemen attached to Dino to ensure he does not escape, in order to answer a questionable charge while there were no policemen to protect innocent lives in Benue, Nassarawa, or even in Offa here when armed robbers came to slaughter the people.

Love him or hate him, Dino, under 50 years of age, has contributed to democratic norms in the country. His seemingly youthful exhauberance not withstanding, he has been consistently a whistle Blower and anti corruption Campaigner in the National Assembly. He revealed the fraud in the award of 2nd Abuja Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport  Runway Contract which cost N64 billion. Dino has made his mark. He exposed how the then speaker Dimaji Bankole allegedly misappropriated over  $59 million between 2008 and 2009. Though he suffered for it but remained undaunted. All these while, Dino was a member of the ruling party PDP.

In this administration of integrity, it seems that a perceived friend of the President is a friend of the agents of power and vice versa. Remember how long it took to axe the former SSGF from office even where glaring unethical acts had been uncovered with his imprints on them? That is not integrity. The real fight against corruption should know no political or friendship boundaries. Nigeria needs more than this attribute of integrity which so much endeared us to Buhari, to have a true change. It has not impacted our lives the way we thought it should. We need a change from impunity to rule of law. We need a change from individuality to collectivity. If this marriage of convenience must work, everyone's right to decency must be guaranteed. Not this type of a bolekaja change.

Abdulwahaab ObaChief Press Secretaryto the Kwara State Governorabdulwahaboba@gmail.com

BUHARI: BEYOND THIS "BOLEKAJE" CHANGE - Abdulwahab Oba Reviewed by Unknown on May 01, 2018 Rating: 5

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