We are un-oblivious that the economy is sluggish despite alleged economic growth. But now we learn that the security situation is far weaker than previously understood. But that is not the only unflattering truth that has come to light. Our national unity is equally in far troubling shape than we thought few years ago.
It isn’t as if job growth isn’t even keeping up with population growth. It isn’t just that the federal government has effectively thrown in the towel and admitted that underemployment is at its all time low.
It isn’t just that the Federal Bureau of Statistics month after month, revises the jobless numbers further downward — making what was bad news then, even worse news now. It isn’t just that the previous quarter’s economic growth has not translated into economic development.
It isn’t just that in recent months more Nigerians have given up hope and stopped looking for work than have found a job.
It isn’t just that more than half of manufacturers and small business owners say that they would not have started their businesses in today’s climate. It isn’t even that well more than half of such business owners said that Ghana and Benin republic are more supportive of their small businesses and manufacturing than Nigeria is, of its own.
It isn’t just that the North East is in flames and people are killed daily and school children abducted in droves. It isn’t just that the herdsmen/farmers clash we were inexcusably unprepared for caught us flat-footed.
And it isn’t just that Buhari has been deceptive about our security situation, the actual cause, what the government has done to contain it, progress made so far, beyond the inanities of oft – repeated ‘technically defeated, terribly degraded, completed defeated’ and all other semantics.
It is all of these factors combined into a squalid mishmash of amateurish leadership, self-aggrandizement, childish blame-shifting, and blind adherence to failed ideologies.
But that is not all, Buhari mixes into the reeking emulsion of bitter partisanship, amateurish leadership, demagoguery, and failed policies, a fundamental dishonesty. He does not actually debate those with whom he disagrees. He simply and grotesquely misrepresents their position and tortures it beyond all recognition. Once he has created a dishonest and false “straw-man,” he then battles only the straw-man he disingenuously fabricated — carefully avoiding any serious debate with serious people, and never seriously discussing ideas or solutions.
It is not clear whether it is simply a function of his penchant toward grandiosity or his lack of intellectual rigor, but this is the man who allegedly said that his mere inauguration would stop the insurgency in North East. Today that statement is self-evidently absurd, but even on the day he first uttered it, it was inane.
On energy, Buhari has consistently lowered the nation’s collective IQ by dishing out rhetoric. As APC flagbearer, Buhari is said to have argued that his government will generate 20,000 megawatts of electricity in four years. But in his independence day speech on 1st October, 2017, he asserted that power is a huge problem.
That is simply not even close to being true. It is completely false and laughably absurd. If a high school student made an argument like that in a civics class, he would fail the assignment. How is it that a president was so misinformed, yet speaks so confidently notwithstanding his lack of anything useful or intelligent to say on the topic? Didn’t he realise that power was a huge problem when promised 20,000 megawatts as a presidential hopeful? What has changed since then? Let it be known that power is not and would never have been a problem. Our major challenge is clueless leaders like Mr. President that serve as cog in the wheels power delivery with its confused policies.
Buhari is intellectually lazy. He is, quite frankly, a lazy president. He likes being the president, but he doesn’t like doing the work of the president. He took a similar approach to being a head of state in the early 80’s, I would learn. Whilst in opposition, he was always coming into national discourse with shocking frequency. Once he arrived Aso Rock Villa , he had little interest in doing the work of a Nigerian president. Rather he almost immediately began making indirect statements about his second term ambition.
Once Buhari became president, he left the work of actually governing to Maman Daura and Abba Kyari. He only once lifted a finger to pass a budget in the last two years. His budget has always come with so much controversies that balancing the budget was apparently a laugh line for him.
The N- power welfare package, which clearly has not worked as promised, wasn’t even his work product — again, he left the heavy lifting to Osinbajo.
Buhari never rolled up his sleeves and worked to build compromise or consensus. As a result, he has unwittingly polarised this nation more than ever before.
It isn’t so much that Buhari is a bad leader, he simply is not a leader. When things go to his liking, he ungraciously claims the credit. When things go poorly, he blames others.
Buhari has hardly met with the economic team. It is shocking that as debt ceiling and budgetary issues loomed, he hardly met with the leaders of the National Assembly, to help forge an agreement , but for the proposed changes in the order of election which he viewed as a threat to his re-election.
Even days after killings in Plateau, Borno and Kogi, Buhari instead of arranging a national security briefing chose to attend Dangote’s daughter wedding in Kano. And for good measure, while on a condolence visit cum political rally in Plateau and Yobe, he resorted to playing politics. Yet the APC never saw anything ironic about him accusing a former president of displaying inertia albeit applauding himself of being responsive, while on a condolence visit. Simply stated, this is not a serious man and he has not been a serious president. He has been the absentee president — still effectively voting “present.”
And Buhari gets away with it, only because some shameless and dishonest ethnic and religious bigots cheer him as he tears apart the very straw-man he has so carefully crafted for precisely this phony show of intelligence and leadership.
There is almost always some rhetorical license taken by politicians when discussing the issues of the day or debating opponents. But Buhari does this in the extreme and to stunning new lows. He not only regularly crosses the line, he sprints enthusiastically to the side of rhetorical deception and outright dishonesty. If you examine his entire career, that is who Buhari is— a shady politician who speaks with the aid of a teleprompter in moving, glittering generalities.
So now after the thrill and excitement of “change” have worn off, we must face the cold hard facts. By any objective measure, Buhari is a failure. He isn’t a serious president. He spends more time blaming and lecturing others, than working on solutions.
Just as Buhari appears to be entirely detached from reality as he tells us he wasn’t aware that his IGP flouted his order, added to his minister of defence who told Nigeria and the world that communal clash is to blame for the killing of Benue people, he seems equally out of touch when he tells us that we are making progress on corruption fight and that we are on the right track and we just need to give him more time.
Time for what? More time to not meet with economic advisors or his cabinet? More time to blame others? More time to claim credit for any good news? More time to watch cartoons? More time to junketeer? Is this what Buhari and APC think passes for leadership or change?
Buhari has yet to seriously explain why and how a second term will be any different or better than the first. He doesn’t seem to think that is even necessary. Which is only one more reason to question his seriousness and his leadership. A serious leader would honestly assess where we are and where we’ve been, describe where we want to go, and explain how he will chart the course to get there. But then again, that is what a serious leader and serious mind would do. And Buhari is neither.
Uzairu is a political commentator and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org