I watched Buhari’s campaign speech yesterday and I left feeling like I was listening to my father speaking to me- and that’s sort of natural. After all, he and my father are about the same age. Buhari is an awesome figure, very impressive in terms of what he stands for as a person . Indeed, I must tell a story – way back in 1998 during the perennial university strikes I was in Kaduna during one of the perennial fuel scarcity episodes. I was at the Ungwar Rimi filling station and had been on a line for 3 hours or so waiting for my turn to buy fuel. And if you can recall those days, fuel lines were like military camps and people were violent if you tried to jump the queue unless you were a friend of the petrol station manager or a soldier. And General Buhari drove into the area in his 505 looking for fuel and somehow people saw him and all of a sudden people started moving their cars out of the way to allow him drive up to fill his tank.
This people did without compulsion – it was out of sheer respect of him, the man, the father figure- that was General Buhari, before he become Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF).
If Buhari was going to be allowed to run the country based on his ideals alone, I would probably change my mind (after I get past the age factor). But honestly speaking , governance is not strictly about a single personality – it’s a series of conversations around different interest groups and institutions and walking the fine line between your decisions based on personal interest or moral values and/or public interest- which usually means a politicized decision
I feel that a General Buhari presidency, though well intended, will not achieve much due to the fact that he will try to purge Nigeria via old school methods which are no longer practical. He will be the face but the real machinery will be run by some of Nigeria’s most “pious” politicians – people like Tinubu, Amaechi , Atiku ,etc. The question is will they allow him to stop the business as usual environment they have benefited from to their detriment?
When he spoke about Sharia a few years back, which was seen as very inciteful, and how it was necessary in Nigeria, he spoke as a devout Muslim that he is – but the statement was so politically incorrect especially since you know that same Sharia implementation led to the death of thousands of man and women in Kaduna state alone in the early 2000s. The implementation of Sharia in Kaduna led to the division of Southern Kaduna from Northern Kaduna and the relocation of the people to Barnawa and beyond due to religious intolerance. When it comes to elections, I personally feel that we are asking a man who’s ways and actions are set to suddenly become dynamic and new and do so with the support of leaders who were not just part of the PDP’s alleged rot but were key players in it. Suddenly the are ‘born again” and old things are passed and have become “new”.
President Goodluck Jonathan is far from perfect but I see him continuing to make steady inroads especially in the area of the economic advancement of young people because the cliche is true – the youth are the future but the future is now and here!
Has he done well? In some areas yes but in security no. That’s the fact. I won’t go into the reasons why not but we should note that the rot in the army started many years before Jonathan and the insurgency only opened the cankerworm that was hidden because the need to protect Nigeria against a new age enemy hadn’t arisen in over 39 or so.
About corruption having worked around government for almost 3 years I now understand things I never quite understood. Most of the corruption in our country is usually attributed to government and the civil service which is true but we forget that they need collaborators in the private sector to successfully perpetrate these crimes. The best way to fight corruption is to build institutions and use technology to fortify them so they can reduce incidences of corruption- that’s the truth. You can’t tap an MTN line like we used to tap the box telephones at home in those days. You can’t pass the Lekki Toll Gate without paying N120 at the automated gates but the politicians can set up companies to surreptitiously buy the company that owns the gates (hope you get my drift) and that’s done at top level. You can’t also fight corruption if you tip a policeman at every checkpoint instead of taking the day off and ensuring you get your drivers license so we can stop the extortion – yes that too is corruption.
Why is budget implementation so poor? Because the National Assembly unduly politicizes the process leading to late passage of the bills (in 2013 it was in July / August same as 2014) so when projects don’t get delivered its mostly because of slow passage of the bill.
The other reason is that the appropriations committees can tamper with the budget how they like that’s why a project like the perilous Lokoja -Abuja Road which led to the death of many Nigerians took over 10 years to be completed because the amounts appropriated by the NASS was simply inappropriate to adequate fund the completion. It was only when the Sure-P Programme intervention came that the road was fast tracked (as most can testify) same with the railways , roads and bridges etc- why? Because the SURE-P funds were better insulated from tampering unlike many other projects approved for completion. There are now policies being put to change this to make execution more effective from the lessons we learnt via Sure-P on a federal level.
But I digress, I agree that GMB is a fine gentleman and leader but I also believe that if I did vote for him I would be doing so nostalgically not realistically because there’s a new Nigeria where people are earning a living off their talents and passions and creating a new middle class which was virtually non existent pre-GEJ and that’s the Nigeria I want to be part of…
Agriculture is becoming the new sexy and his administration has pushed it even more than Obasanjo (a renowned farmer did). No matter how I explain FB or Instagram or the global economy to my dad now he may not fully grasp it as a person below 35 would and I fear that I would rather move forward imperfectly than go back to the past in search of a non-existent Utopia.
This is just my view of things and I have taken time to state it and not berate GMB – it’s my vote, it’s my choice. Some will say that I vote for GEJ because of SURE-P. But honestly I do so because in him I see a man who is imperfect, struggling with his imperfections to make things better and I see room for improvement and change… in all fairness we are all sort of like that trying to get a better report card and improve on poor subjects of last semester. In the former I see an upright man of integrity and high discipline who doesn’t yet realize that one of his disciples may yet betray him because they don’t stand for the same ideals.
Audu Maikori is the CEO of Chocolate City Entertainment Company. He tweets from @audu.