Today marks the 58th annual celebration of Nigeria’s independence from British Colonial hegemony in 1960. Normally, we should all be in a happy and delightful mood, praising the magnificent progress of a country that is supposedly free from the bondage of British oppression and exploitation for six harrowing decades. However, the last fifty-eight years is a story of unprecedented retrogression and monumental misery in our collective human experience and national history.
Even in this misery, it is our civic duty to remember and pay respect to all our fallen heroes in the Nigerian armed forces, who have died so that we can live to realize our collective dream to see a flourishing Nigeria. At the same time, permit us to use this solemn hour to commiserate with the families, parents, and friends of the Nigerian Air Force pilot who died during the NAF Jets rehearsal in Abuja, in preparation for our 58th Independence Anniversary. Just as we wish the other two pilot officers involved in the crash a speedy recovery, we urge the Nigerian Air Force to conduct an investigation into this unfortunate crash and ensure that necessary precautions are taken to prevent the reoccurrence of this ill-incident.
It is crucial to note at this point, that, while for fifty-five years, the people of Nigeria witnessed a slew of unending promises and disappointments from different politicians, several millions still demonstrated unalloyed faith in democracy and transformative leadership by voting for General Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. This faith, however, has been betrayed by General Buhari by every possible standard since he decided to follow the path of reckless impunity, abuse of office, disregard for human lives, and absolute disregard for democratic tenets and institutions – like his antecedents.
During the presidential campaigns that preceded the presidential elections in 2015, General Muhammadu Buhari conveniently made 81 different promises to Nigerians which he pledged to fulfill if elected into office. General Muhammadu Buhari has not only failed to fulfill his promises to the good people of Nigeria, but he has also proven to us that his words are lighter than an empty barrel and that he bears absolutely no respect for the good people of this country.
Firstly, among the numerous failures of General Buhari’s regime thus far, the obstinate refusal of his regime to disclose to the good people of Nigeria, the exact ailment beleaguering the president, and also the total amount of money that has so far been spent on this unknown ailment which has compelled him to sojourn in the United Kingdom for a total of 173days since he resumed office, remains unfathomable and disappointing. More disappointing is the fact that transparency and accountability was one of the core promises of General Buhari during his campaign for the office of the president. But as has become characteristic of his regime, General Buhari does not concern himself with such things as accountability or transparency.
Secondly, before he was elected, General Buhari promised to increase electricity generation, transmission, and distribution to at least 20, 000MW in four years, but Nigeria is currently struggling to maintain between 5, 000MW to 7, 000MW of electricity. He also promised to create 3Million jobs annually, but we have only heard of con jobs out of the twilight zone.
As against his promise to record unprecedented economic development in Nigeria, Nigeria is now the extreme poverty capital of the world and also ranked 157 out of 189 countries on Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP. From 87Naira in 2015, fuel price is now 145Naira and even higher in a few places in the country. In 2015, a bag of rice (50kg) was N8,500 but now sells for 17, 500. Additionally, one bag of beans sold between N20, 000 to N22, 000 in 2015 but now sells between N30, 000 to N39, 000. Also, a bag of Garri( 80kg), now sells for N10, 500 as against N7, 000 in 2015.
The prices of many more commodities have skyrocketed since the return of General Buhari to power in 2015, and the common man has continued to suffer untold hardship ever since. Under his regime, Nigeria’s unemployment rate has ramped up to 18.80% while youth unemployment rate has ramped up to 33.10%. These and other awful facts reflect the current reality of our economy – widely apart from what General Buhari promised before he was elected, and far from an indication of a country on a path to economic buoyancy.
Thirdly, General Buhari, though branded a reformed democrat in 2015, has proven to the good people of Nigeria, and indeed the world at large that once a tyrant is always a tyrant. Since 2015, the degree of human rights abuses committed under the incumbent regime has been exponentially inhumane and brutal. Apart from the obvious fact that General Buhari has severely battered the dignity of Nigeria’s judicial system by not only invading the homes of judges in the middle of the night but also saying recently that he believes rule of law must be subject to a vague national interest.
Also, it is befuddling why under the watch of General Buhari, over 300 Shia members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) were brutally massacred by soldiers of the Nigerian Army and hurriedly buried in mass graves between December 12 to December 14, 2015. As if that was not brutal enough, the General Muhammadu Buhari regime has continued to keep the leader of the IMN movement, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky behind cold iron bars alongside his wife with bullets allegedly lodged in her body, for over 2years, disregarding a court order which ordered their release.
Like Sheikh Zakzaky, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), NnamdiKanu whose disappearance followed the invasion of his home in Afaraukwu in Umuahia has neither been accounted for by the Nigerian Army nor the Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria’s Armed Forces, General Buhari. All attempts by concerned Nigerians to inquire into Kanu’s disappearance has proven frustratingly abortive, even as 114 courageous women of the IPOB movement were terribly attacked and unlawfully detained under dehumanizing conditions in August 2018, in Owerri, Imo State. Nigerian Journalists, too, have been under persistent state-oppression and persecution since General Buhari happened to our great country in 2015, so much that the Nigerian media now operates under strict state laws and extreme apprehension of state repression.
Fourthly, the several intimidating records of Human Rights abuses under General Buhari’s regime, with all sense of worry and distemper, does not equal the blatant disvalue of human lives under his watch. In contradiction to General Buhari’s promise to drastically combat insecurity in Nigeria, the frightening reverse is the endless killings of Nigerians across the country by Fulani militias, killer herdsmen, the Boko Haram sect, and political thugs coupled with frenetic kidnappings across the country. Under General Buhari’s watch, at least 19, 890 Nigerians have been viciously killed since June 2015. Another report shows that about 1, 061 Nigerians were killed brutally by Fulani militias in the first quarter of 2018 as a result of 106 well-planned consistent attacks on several communities in North-Central Nigeria.
These reports and many more unreported violent deaths of peace-loving, law-abiding, hard-working Nigerians are indicative of the active presence of killer herdsmen, Fulani militias, and Boko Haram militants in especially northern Nigeria and other parts of the country. Fulani militias and Killer herdsmen have consistently perpetrated unprovoked attacks in Adamawa, Benue, southern Kaduna, Kogi, Nasarawa, Plateau and Taraba states, and several of such violent attacks in Edo, Rivers, Oyo, Ekiti and a few other southern states. During the occurrence of many of these cases, General Buhari showed little or no compassion but chose to attend wedding parties, embark on international junkets, and also comment on developments in his political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a despicable turn of events, rather than prosecution, General Buhari has freed over 100 Boko Haram militants and has promised to even grant amnesty to many more. In the same vein, General Buhari has done very little to ensure the release of the only Christian girl remaining out of 110 young school girls abducted in Dapchi, in the captivity of Boko Haram, Leah Sharibu, despite endless public outcry to this effect. Also, the barbaric killing of SaifuraKhorsa, a midwife with the International Committee of Red Cross, and the devilish threat to kill Hauwa Liman and Alice Ngaddah who were abducted alongside Khorsa in March 2018 have not received substantial concern and action from General Buhari’s regime. Additionally, General Buhari, who could not compensate the families of thousands of Nigerians murdered as a result of unprovoked vicious attacks, has pledged to compensate Fulani herdsmen for the death of 52cows crushed by a train in Kaduna.
These blatant displays of nonchalance, irrationality, and inhumanity under the present retrogressive regime of General Buhari is evidential of his lack of ability to either comprehend human sufferings or provide transformative leadership in Nigeria.
Fifthly, as against his public facade of an anti-corruption crusader, General Buhari has mostly shielded his cronies who have at one time or the other been alleged to be corrupt. A fact that is indicative of both his corrupt and nepotistic tendencies. For a fact, we know that General Buhari’s present Chief of Staff Abba Kyari, has been alleged of being involved in a bribery scandal of $500million with MTN and recently, a N29Million bribery scandal in the award of a contract. In the same vein, the present Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has been alleged of gross misconduct through receiving bribes from wealthy Nigerians and private corporations in exchange for security to the tune of N120billion.
Also, MaikantiBaru, the GMD of NNPC, the corporation which General Buhari heads as the Minister of Petroleum, was alleged to have breached due process in the award of contracts to the tune of $25billion. Likewise, the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, BabachirLawal, who embezzled over 200Million Naira meant for thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North-East roams the street freely without any sign of prosecutorial moves by either the government or the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). It has also been established that at least eight out of the politicians working for General Buhari have pending corruption cases worth N232billion.
In all of these cases, there was none in which General Buhari ordered a prosecution, even the BabachirLawal’s case for which an investigative committee was set up, did not lead to any prosecution hitherto. According to the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International, Nigeria currently ranks 148 out of 180 countries in the world – far from better than pre-2015.
For a president who enjoyed and continues to enjoy the dividends of democracy, General Muhammadu Buhari has failed to uphold its tenets now that he is the chief custodian of a democratic government. General Buhari has flagrantly shown Nigerians and the world at large that he does not give a hoot about democracy. In fact, General Buhari is a parasitic democrat: he agrees with democratic tenets only when it favors him. From the incessant clampdowns on protesters, arbitrary arrests and unlawful detention of Journalists and critics, to the usurpation of democratic institutions, and the subversion of democratic processes, General Buhari has failed to demonstrate the qualities of a truly reformed democrat and a progressive representative democrat. He has not only shattered the tenets of democracy, but he has also belligerently attacked its principles, actively demonstrated unbridled nepotism, tribalism, and ethnic jingoism, leaving the country helplessly divided and reminiscent of the gloomy old days.
In all of the above, one thing has remained constant – the repetitive failures of General Buhari to deliver on his campaign promises and provide the change he promised Nigerians. While these unending failures have continued to provoke deep worries over the bleak future of our great country under General Buhari, our resolve to recall Nigeria from the disastrous track which General Buhari is presently running on, defend Nigeria’s democracy and the interest of the common people of our country, and also facilitate a paradigm shift in our polity, remains unchanged and stout.
We are, therefore, convinced that the time has come for all Nigerians who are tired of the shame and gross disservice which General Muhammadu Buhari has brought upon our country, to stand firmly with us as we fearlessly and tirelessly declare to the world that General Buhari Has Failed.
We make bold to say that: in health, Buhari has failed; in education, Buhari has failed; in fighting corruption, Buhari has failed; in solving the insecurity crises of Nigeria, Buhari has failed; in Economy, Buhari has failed; in preserving our unity, Buhari has failed; in not agreeing to restructure Nigeria, Buhari has failed. It is an incontrovertible fact known to the young and old that GENERAL BUHARI HAS FAILED.