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President Since the post-colonial era, impunity and astonishing acts of recklessness and gross ineptitude have, no doubt, become the trademarks of many African leaders. Although most African countries now operate democracy, however, in sharp contrast to democratic principles, most African leaders act in defiance of democratic engagements. The tragedy of the African continent is that most of her leaders, especially those who have little or nothing to offer the people, have continued to tow the ignoble path over and over again. Nigeria’s incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari has raised the bar of ineptitude, introducing new levels to sheer callousness that have dwarfed most of his predecessors and contemporaries in the highly endowed African continent.
Africa is very rich with natural possessions such as fertile soil, enough rain and sunshine for cultivation, raw materials, oil, gas, gold and many other major resources that would have propelled her as a shining light, however, corruption and bad governances are her bane; the major reasons for the visible miserable poverty, unmanageable sufferings and deaths on the continent. Simply put, she hasn’t been able to fully harness her potentials and maximise growth simply because the leadership question or governance puzzle hasn’t been satisfactorily answered.
With the exception of only a handful leaders, Africa has failed leadership wise, getting the right leaders has proven to be way too strenuous. from Robert Mugabe, Paul Biya, Sani Abacha, Jacob Zuma, Laurent Gbagbo, Yoweri Museveni, Samuel Doe, Mobutu Sese Seko down to Muhammadu Buhari. They share so much in common; they were all power drunk and that explains why they mostly maintained an iron-hold on power. Well, despite her leaders’ penchant for power, in Africa, the practicality of poverty is quite frightening as most Africans live on less than a dollar income per day.
Nigeria’s current President, Muhammadu Buhari is an obvious example of the kind of leaders Africa has been birthing. Perhaps, asides his height, there is no positive element to peruse about the dictator camouflaging as a democrat. Born in 1942, and raised in his native Kastina, the gaunt faced Buhari went on to exploit an agelong State policy to secure his recruitment into the Nigerian Army. Quota system was the name of that anomaly – A system that sacrifices meriotocracy and sound intellect for inefficiency and buffoonery in a wicked quest to create an unjust balance just to keep the British contraption united. Indeed, Buhari only exploited an existing loophole to smuggle himself into the Nigerian army with the firm knowledge that future Nigerian leaders would emerge from the active involvement of barrel of the gun.
To butress this assertion, what plausible explanation would one give to the fact that Buhari, who began his Primary school at Katsina Middle School in 1953 was already on his way to the Nigerian Military Training College (NMTC) in 1961, only 8 years later! does it mean he underwent both primary and secondary education in just 8 years? Only Buhari can answer this question but then the fact remains that his education cannot be substantiated; his crooked way of life ostensibly did not begin recently. It is a dominant trait.
After joining the Nigerian Army on quota grounds, he wasted no time in perfecting his art in the game of coup plotting. After actively participating in the coup of July 1966 as well as the genocide of 1967-1970 as Adjutant and Company Commander of an Infantry Division, he went on to perfect his skills in the coup of 1975 before topping a democratically elected government in 1983 (which was treasonable if Nigeria was not lawless). In all these, there was no display of intellectual dexterity for the cow loving Buhari, it was always about guns, military fire power, crude military tactics and battle experiences. How such a man was able to hypnotise the most populous black country on the planet to return him as President of a 21st century country is a simply heart wrenching. It can only happen in Africa.
Of all the living former leaders of Nigeria, Buhari is the only one to have maintained a stagnant life, over the 30 years that spanned between his ouster as a Head of State and when he became President, Buhari wrote no book, made no intellectual contribution to the socio-political development of the fragile Nigeria, ran no job creating venture to improve the lots of the teeming unemployed graduates, funded no research, didn’t acquire any degree or academic elevation, infact on the three different occasions when he contested for and lost Nigeria’s presidential elctions between 2003 and 2011, the only thing he knew how to do was to echo ‘Corruption fight’ on every podim to hoodwink Nigerians. It was too bad that not even Buhari’s cows are productive, expecting an unprodictive charlatan like Buhari to grow Nigeria was akin to expecting a chicken to grow teeth.
Upon gaining the keys to the Nigerian seat of power again, despite his mind-numbing zero knowledge of governance and international relations, it was only going to be a matter of time before he crumbles Nigeria. Buhari does not possess the minimum educational requirement to be president of Nigeria, make no mistake about it, he had actually danced and danced around this disability over the years until he got exposed to public office again, this time, it was a more complex Nigeria and not the one he ruled with an iron hand 35 years back as the country’s military dictator. It became his waterloo, and ever since, Nigeria hasn’t remained the same.
It is even more heart wrenching that donkey years after lusting for the presidency as if it were his birthright, Buhari finally secured it and, for the past six years, has demonstrated what most right-thinking Nigerians knew all along: he does not have what it takes to do the job. He was a mistake that could happen in Africa.
Buhari’s incoherent protectionist economic policies have sparked increasing inflation that, as of last month (June), is at an annual rate of 18 percent, the highest it has been since January 2017. Under the despotic Buhari in 2018, Nigeria overtook India as the country with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty with 82 million Nigerians clearly living in extreme poverty and hopelessness. Last month, Bloomberg reported that Nigeria would soon become the country with the highest unemployment rate in the world and such prediction would easily fall in place with Buhari at the helm. To even analyse that the country’s employment is the sole reason for her alaming crime rate would posit that things will surely cease to be funny moving forward.
Buhari has shown that he posseses neither the skill set nor the courage nor the will to lead a country as complex as Nigeria. He also does not have the values; his own confession after his 2015 electoral win, where he admited in a small press meeting in the United States that he would address the needs of citizens based on how regions in the country voted butressed him as nothing but an ethnocentric and religious bigot.
Buhari, who has taken Nigerians closer to perishing, was never the person for the job. And it becomes clearer with each passing day, each reported failure of his administration, that the unknown future of his departure is preferable to this dreadful present. Despite his litany of failures, Buhari remains both a symptom and a symbol of Nigeria’s failed political systems and political culture. He practicalises the deep rot in Nigeria’s failing democracy just as he exposes the country as one ruled by tired, unimaginative, anachronistic men whose thirst for power has delayed and deferred any real progress for generations. Africa is perhaps one of the few places where a character like Muhammadu Buhari can fester unchallenged, it is such a painful reality.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK