BUHARI’S FIRST TERM: THE UNACCEPTABLE TRUTH. – BY IKE ABONYI.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Twenty-four hours ago President Muhammadu Buhari began his second term of four years as President of the most populous black nation in the world. It also marks a third chance being given to him, a rare opportunity not available to many who desire it. His first chance was in 1983 when his peers in the military disrupted the second republic and invited him to come and rule. The second chance was in 2015 when he won election after three attempts.

American actress, Rachel Griffiths insists that “there is nothing as exciting as a comeback-seeing someone with dreams, watching them fail, and then getting a second chance.” Such rare opportunity would even want to make you throw everything in to perform to the satisfaction of the people. Getting a second, a third one for that matter, would make one want to go all the way.

President Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) feel strongly that they will go all the way in his second term and take the country to the next level, but majority of the citizenry who have witnessed his first term of four years think otherwise. A lot of the government watchers feel that the performance of the government in the last four years did not provide any ground for the perceived so-called next level advancement.

Looking ahead factually, the performance index of this administration in the last four years rather helps to sustain the people’s despondency or pessimism. Even President Buhari is well aware that he has not even been able to meet the agenda he set for himself four years ago when he made his landmark statement: “Having just a few minutes ago sworn on the Holy Book, I intend to keep my oath and serve as President to all Nigerians. I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody.

A few people have privately voiced fears that on coming back to office I shall go after them. These fears are groundless. There will be no paying off old scores. The past is prologue.”

After four years, nothing in that cherished statement that was looked at then with pleasure by the populace can stand the test in any performance analysis.

For instance, the President’s widely criticized 95/5% formula in political positions sharing clearly contradicted his ‘belonging to everybody’, his generally acknowledged nepotism in political appointments also runs counter to his ‘belonging to nobody’ because by both his body language and other actions, he actually belonged to a section not tall Nigerians.

The fear of his old foes that he would come for them which he expressed above was real as he was unable to keep to the pledge that their ‘fears were groundless.’

Even the President’s assurance on the insecurity situation in the country, that Chibok girls must be all released before his administration can rightly claim to have defeated Boko Haram sect still stands against him today. “We cannot claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage by them.”

Rather than meet the people’s aspirations, what we have seen in the last 48 months is the abduction of more innocent persons including but not limited to a 15-year-old Leah Sharibu. The abductors have kept her back in the forest after her colleagues of Dapchi schholgirls were freed, for refusing to deny her faith, denounce Jesus Christ and embrace Islam. For this reason Leah has become an albatross to both her captors and the Federal Government who negotiated the release of others and have been unable to do same in her case. The multiplication of violate crimes across the country from Boko Haram menace to banditry and kidnapping as well as herdsmen killings across the country have put the regime’s record of performance on the negative in the area of security.

Also, the health of the nation’s economy in the last four years has also actually not given any keen watcher the thrust to be optimistic that the vehicle that brought us where we are now, groping and fumbling in his driving, and causing us to leave in denial, would be able in all honesty to take us to the next destination. Even the high hope four years ago that corruption in the society was going to be tackled squarely under Buhari’s ‘s watch has not been so, instead, the ruling party has become a canopy of some sort for persons with doubtful character and who are bankrupt morally.

The picture is also empirical that corruption issue and general insecurity have all not produced admiring results in the last four years, enough to be able to garner the needed support or warrant the people embracing the next level project. Failure to meet his own set agenda based on the above inference maybe the real reason behind the President’s inability to present inaugural address after taking oath for second term yesterday at the Eagle Square.

Only a bad mathematics teacher would want to jump into solving algebra problem to pupils who have not been able to understand a simple arithmetic solution. If the President’s next level message is not enjoying the desired acceptability, the blame finger should point at the record of the last four years. The level we are at the moment will determine our next.

The truth is that today is just not savouring for Nigerians at all for them to be too hopeful about tomorrow.

If President Buhari with all the goodwill and euphoria that welcomed his first term was only able to produce such underwhelming performance, he needs something dramatic and a quick think outside the box to be able to realistically carry the people along or give them any hope rising.

My friend and professional brother since my days in Triumph Newspaper in Kano, one of the great spine doctors of President Buhari, Mallam Garba Shehu is however optimistic that Buhari’s second term would be better and rewarding. According to Shehu, “Nigerians should expect renewed vigour and greater commitment of the President to the implementation of his campaign promises.”

Even the President himself challenged those calling him Baba go slow to wait and see his second term. Nigerians and indeed international watchers are looking forward to see how these dreams will turn out. For the President to make any appreciable impact in this second term as he is assuring, he must find a way around sycophants who are perpetually in the corridors of power more for their selfish ends than public interest.

If, however, the President chose instead to leave in the world of sycophants he should also be ready to embrace its consequences. When praise singers surround you when in power drumming into your ears only the rhythms you want to hear, note also that they would be the first to pack their drums and move over to the next person when you fall.

That perhaps explains why great minds argue that history is replete with blunders written by sycophants and Chinese always remark that those who are fond of praising men to their faces are also fond of damning them behind. I am very much aware that those who conduct applause for leaders always seem good while on duty but the risk in having them around you is that they change the applause without telling you when your relevance dwindles.

If the road distance to success and that to failure are almost exactly the same according to British orchestra conductor, Colin R. Davis, it then means that President Buhari may have covered more distance in the side of failure than success in the last four years of holding forth.

Therefore to reverse the table in his performance rating looking ahead, the next four years, the President must in his interest try to ward off all the baggage that made movement impossible in the last four years. He should also clear his mind of prejudices and see the whole country and her citizens as his responsibility.

The fact that despite the President’s age a perception exists that his Presidency is not favourable to all parts of the country, should worry him and his spinners and he should bend backward to erase such notion. God bless our nation.

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