NIGERIA: PRESIDENT BUHARI REPULSIVE POLITICAL LEADERSHIP

Olaoluwa Ogunsakin
5 min readDec 3, 2020
Gov Babagana Zulum of Borno State leads relatives of Zabarmari massacre victims in funeral prayer on Sunday, November 29, 2020 (punch)

In wake of another massacre in Borno state Nigeria, the ambiance in the country is that of sickening disgust, and angst on the killing of dozens of farmers and their families by Boko Haram insurgents. An act that plunges the soul of the republic of this nation. Farmers are the pride and identity of the richness of our arable lands, they occupy cultural and social significance in the Nigeria societal fabric, even more their outputs and inputs are essential to the internal stability and development of a country in dire need of food security. The Zabamari massacre reveals two things.

INEPT LEADERSHIP

This government has reached a new low in its six years in office and it is unequivocal to state that President Buhari democratic dispensation has been the worst ever in the history of this country. His failure to secure the lives and property of the citizens he swore to protect has been disappointing to put it mildly. His presidential campaign in 2015 was premised on ending this insecurity scourge but fast-forward (5) years the insecurity challenge has grown more hydra heads. Unfortunately what has been so frustrating is how distant he has become to Nigerians so much so that his administration has lost its legitimacy among a growing number of people in different quarters of the nation. His government lackeys have not helped either they have flippantly tried to defend the president but have been stonewalled by the silence of the man in the Villa. It has sincerely been a cacophony of muddled leadership that has stretched the gap between the government and the people they govern. The list is endless the handling of the end-sars protest, the rising social-inequality, the abuse of the judiciary, the systemic and elitist corruption, the education quagmire, I iterate again the list is endless.

Or how do you explain, a government that supports the shooting of live rounds ammunition at its youth peacefully protesting for transparent governance and safer communities. Or a government who never admits culpability to ill-advised actions or policies taken by its institutional conduits. Till today the government has continually denied any wrongdoing in the Lekki Toll gate incident. Even more baffling about this regime is its endless cycle of inept response after every national massacre. President Muhamadu Buhari owes the country an elaborate explanation of how an essential socio-economic group in Borno were targeted and exterminated in such harrowing display. Call from the public to rejig the security chiefs have fallen on deaf ears. This government has a group of presumptuous leaders in sensitive positions that circumvent truth when in public air; they choose to address the metaphorical “Nigerians” in their abstract press release rather than the existent citizens in the country. Just last week a major general came on air in channelstv sunrise daily program to flippantly state that the military will always be a step ahead of security challenges, its just sickening to hear, government representatives give false social spit shine whenever they have the opportunity to genuinely engage with the citizens who listens to them.

DEFICIENT POLITICS

Secondly, there is a problem with the politics in Nigeria and as Dr Oby Ezekwezili said in an interview in her Fix politics initiative the nature of our politics is at the kernel of our myriad socio-economic challenges in our national landscape. In the past months Nigeria has been in the international purview for all the wrong reasons, and this dent in image has been further exacerbated by the lack of leadership nous from this government, our hollow politics have produced an echelon of political elite that don’t just understand leadership. The ruling political elite have shown no sincere attempt to gauge the pulse of the people they represent hence the unprecedented level of distrust in the political system today. It was three years ago that I came across an interesting op-ed written about ‘The Kindness Quotient of Jacinda Ardern’ the New Zealand Prime Minster and why this quotient was important for the new generation of leaders. Today, she has been praised for her exemplary leadership in the aftermath of the Christchurch Mosque terrorist shootings and sensitive approach to national crisis in New Zealand. When observing how democratic governments are practiced in other climes one tend to wonder why ours in Africa is so full of misfits and ambivalence. One credible answer could be our chequered history which has engendered this systemic cancer in our politics, and institutions today.

All am saying is that it is totally insensitive to just condemn killings, and summon emergency security meetings with empty press briefings, the crisis communication template of President Buhari government have been to put it bluntly ‘outdated and depressing’ and it has dampen the morale of the troops at the forefront of this unremitting battle against Bokoharam, Iswaps and bandits .The Zabarmari massacre, the Zamfara killings,the Lekki toll incident and other national terror incidents that have occurred for the past six years have just maintained status quo. The service chiefs are still serving, and quite frankly sacking them is not the silver bullet to our insecurity debacle. But it appears to show that there is indeed no sincerity and political will by this government in tackling the insecurity challenges facing the country.

Indeed, I can rant about the need for us to get it right in 2023, but the odds are surely not on the side of the election of a more progressive, collaborative and sensitive president among this crop of political elite. Hence, I totally agree with a more measured approach to fixing politics as serenaded in the Fixpolitics initiative public event last month. I only wonder whether the issues of Nigeria are as structural as it is systemic in nature. Thomas Hobbes in his book ‘The Leviathan’ metaphorically depicted a commonwealth or nation-state in the form of a leviathan- a biblical monster that constitute a social contract between a sovereign government and the people who give legitimacy to such government for protection. In the ‘Nigeria Leviathan’ the head is rotten and the only hope for its survival is a daunting task of attempting to treat its systemic and structural cancer in its body politics- the people.

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