By Tari Martins
In any system of government, performance is the traditional barometer for leadership popularity. Upon assumption of office in 2008, President Barack Obama of the United States of America inherited two wars and an economy in recession. Knowing the enormity of the task at hand, President Obama spent no time castigating the previous administration whenever he had an audience; he wasted no time to hit the ground running. Within a period of two weeks after been sworn into office, he constituted his cabinet and got them to work immediately. He was guided by a vision to govern rather than mere ambition to preside over the largest economy in the world, hence his huge popularity world over. He knew that the time for politics was over and the time for governance had started. It is possible that on President Buhari’s scale of preference for governance, probing and harassment of political enemies in the opposition party is high up the list and more important than issues of economic growth and job creation. After the completion of President Buhari’s tenure in 2019, he won’t be assessed by the amount of persons he charged to court or the amount of opposition party politicians harassed by the security agencies. Rather, his assessment will be based on key indices of governance such as implementation of sound economic policies, infrastructural development, job creation etc. The selective fight against corruption on the pages of newspapers rather than the law courts adds no relevance to the ethos and values of moral supervision.
Social justice is usually the first casualty in any selective anti-corruption war. While corruption is endemic, it must be noted that its primary constituency is not the opposition party politicians or perceived enemies of the government. The presidency has said, its fight against corruption would be limited to the last administration alone, what this means is, those Nigerians that stole our common wealth before 6th of May 2010 have been given the freedom to enjoy their loots. Simply put, only the politicians that associated with the last administration will be probed. The APC has made us to understand that for 16years those in power have embezzled our resources. Ordinarily, one would have thought that the fight against corruption would have extended to the last 16years when our current democratic dispensation kick-started. What then will happen to cases like the Halliburton scandal, Siemens scandal and the $16b rural electrification contract scam? Why then do we have to wait for 30years for the Incorruptible General to assume leadership only to witch-hunt political opponents rather than deodorize the corruption stench off our national life? In more advanced democracies, institutions of government fights corruption not the president. At this point, the need for a truly independent EFCC cannot be over emphasized.
I belong to everybody.
During the presidential swearing in ceremony on the 29th of May, majority of Nigerians were in ecstatic mood when they heard the president say he belongs to nobody and he belongs to everybody. What this means is, regardless of party affiliations, voting pattern, region and religion, every Nigerian will be treated equally and have that sense of belonging in this new dispensation. Our hopes got dashed few days ago when the president implied that, since he got less than 5% votes in Niger Delta, the south-south zone shouldn’t expect an equal treatment with zones where he had up to 95% of the votes. This isn’t only sad and worrisome, but also a very disturbing aberration. Nigerians expected the president to focus on more important issues that bind us together and unite us as a people. After the elections, such division isn’t necessary. Maybe this is the reason why the president’s appointments so far has been lopsided, favouring the north over the south. While the APC has said they don’t believe in zoning and are more focused on merit and competence, it is shocking that, based on the appointments so far, over 90% of the competent Nigerians are northerners. Nigerians shouldn’t be victimised based on their choice at the polls. The president should see the entire nation as his catchment area, since he is now the father of the nation. If there’s one thing democracy offers, it is the luxury of choice since they can be no democracy without freedom.
About Tari Martins:
Tari Martins is a political analyst and founder, Niger Delta Integrity Initiative. He tweets via @tarimartins10.
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