In the wake of the independence of African countries, political observers suggested that “politics is the quickest means of getting rich in Africa.” It was, and is a statement that has never been faulted.
The then patriots have gone or been forced out by self-centered money-monger politicians camouflaging in patriot’s toga.
The main aim of most African political elites continues to be money. And the civil servants who were once above board have contaminated the epidemic. The slogan is “if you can’t beat them, join them.”
The national treasuries have been shamelessly looted, and the populace are continually taken for a ride with the crumbs falling from politicians’ table as if that is their worth. These politicians continue to lavish the stolen wealth while at the same time turning deaf ears and blind eyes to what their own conscience is telling them. Or should it be said that they don’t have conscience anymore? They believe they are clever and others are not, if not these others would have done the same thing. Some are manipulated to accept the doctrine and follow the same steps. Imagine how those once considered respectable people could become shamelessly greedy and divert what is meant for the betterment of members of the public. They put their loot into personal and that of their family’s use without thinking of the fate of the ordinary people.
What has been happening in Nigeria the past decade shows the extent these callous politicians could go to toy with the lives of their fellow citizens. One of such acts is the diversion of over a billion dollars meant to fight insurgents who were killing, and continue to kill Nigerians in their hundreds. Compounding this are the recent discoveries of millions of dollars and other foreign currencies (in cash) stacked in private properties or buried in homes (in one case a pit latrine) and graveyards. That is not all. There are millions also hidden in foreign banks while the Federal, States and Local governments find it difficult to pay salaries.
When some political parties merged to form All Progressive Congress (APC) Party, presented Muhammad Buhari as its presidential flag bearer in the 2015 election, one believed it to be a genuine body aimed at correcting the impasse and sanitize corruption, but on the contrary it seems to be nursing a hidden agenda to loot the country.
Buhari was elected with the hope that he could tame corruption, the epidemic that does not only retard the progress of the country but also destroys it and its people. He was and still is known for his anti-corruption posture and his simple lifestyle.
It is for this reason that some who initially hailed him now want him crucified because of the recession in the country attributing the cause to him without trying to trace the genesis of the recession.
Let’s look at some of the causes. The economic situation of the country when he assumed office was not robust and the coffer was almost empty. In addition he had to face a well-equipped Boko Haram insurgents while at the same time wage another war against corruption to fulfill his campaign promise. The severity of both could be traced to his predecessor.
Then about six months into his administration the price of crude oil, the sole revenue generation for the country, crashed from about US$120 per barrel to about US$28. To compound the situation, and in an effort to starve his administration of funds, a new group of militants surfaced in the Niger Delta bombing oil pipes and installations and as a result reducing the oil production from 2 million barrels per day to less than a million. This has to be sold at the going price of course.
The 2016 national budget was not approved on time because the legislators wanted their allocation to be increased in spite of the poor revenue as a result of the above issues raised. What baffled most Nigerians at the time was the insensitivity of Nigerian law-makers to the state of the country’s financial status. They refused to make some sacrifice and cut down their allocation regardless of what they earn. Any reasonable and patriotic assembly would trim its own budget to help the country. The Nigerian does not see any need for such cut.
Now it is becoming more obvious that Nigerian politics is not to serve but rather to amass wealth. This led to the current strained relationship between the legislative and executive arms of government.
That parliamentarians continue to jeopardise Buhari’s efforts to fight corruption and wanting him, on their own term, to secure external loans to bail out the country’s economy from the woods. A clear sign that they want him to grease their palms, or as someone put it “dance to their tune.”
Now in poor health, it appears his battle is almost a lost one. Once again, Nigeria appears to be gasping for breath to save what is already a chronic disease which no soft leader can cure.
Should Buhari resign, as is being peddling around in social media, he will not be the first African leader to do so for health reasons. President Ahmadou Ahidjo of Cameroon did so before him when he made that solemn speech on 4 November, 1982 which paved the way for President Paul Biya who was his Vice President. The only difference then was that everyone knew about his ailment as officials did not seal it from the public. He was a public figure, voted for, and so the very public had the right to know. Botswana’s President Ketumile Masire resigned from office in 1988 to make way for the Vice President as is stipulated in the country’s constitution.
Even if President Buhari opts to resign now, the fight against Nigeria’s ills should continue.