Six of Buhari’s unforgiveable sins


With Tunde Asaju · May 2, 2023

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A lot has been written about how Buhari rebuilt physical infrastructure like rail, roads and bridges, especially the 2nd Niger Bridge. Not enough has been assessed about how the unprecedented level of insecurity has made using the infrastructure a gnawing nightmare.

Like a sombre sinner before a skeptical priest, outgoing president, Muhammadu Buhari, has sought the forgiveness of Nigerians he might have offended in eight harrowing years of utter disappointment. Like in a confessional, the global precondition to national forgiveness is numerated admission of guilt. Buhari should be told that he couldn’t hide under generic apology for total absolution is one condition that would not even fly in the Gacaca court of public opinion. There can be no total absolution where truth is buried.

In case the president is thinking about seeking genuine forgiveness here is a list of six mortal sins pulled from his penance file. It is germane to ask him now he would like to be forgiven. In China, governance sins are forgiven in the form of a single bullet to the head. In Japan, the guilty commits seppuku. In the Old Oyo Empire, a failed leader is asked to sigba iwa, literally open the calabash, which translates to committing suicide.

Nobody is asking Buhari to take these routes. We are a religious people who daily beseech Allah for forgiveness, knowing how far we fall behind His injunctions. Indeed, he apparently does not hope to come to judgment and has plans to elope to Niger Republic in case anybody tries to make him.

Obviously, most Nigerians would love to see a leader who is penitent enough to admit to areas of his failure rather than psychedelically gloss over his sins. This is where we should enlist the expertise of Pastor Femi Adesina, an official mouthpiece to read to him Proverbs 28:13. It predicts that whoever covers his sin shall not prosper while whoever confesses and forsakes his sins shall have mercy.

By seeking forgiveness from his citizens, Mr. Buhari would appear to be giving up on his tawba. Perhaps Malam Garba Shehu would be able to lead his boss on the proper way to seek national absolution from errors of misgovernance. This piece attempts to jog Buhari’s memory on his sins of commission or omission. From here, he could enumerate his offences while naming them one by one.

When you are the president of 200 million people, there is no way of keeping tab on whose toes you might have stepped in eight years.

Sin number one, Buhari promised to stop the insurgency. There was no reason to doubt him, given his track record as a veteran with an American degree in strategy. Unfortunately, none of that was deployed in securing a tangible instead of a technical defeat against insurgency. In reality, Boko Haram writs large aligned with herdsmen wreaking havoc on parts of Nigeria that Buhari claimed have been liberated from their evil claw.

President Buhari was elected on his touted track record on integrity. Governance has revealed dark blotches on that garment of integrity. Things got so bad that dates gifted from Saudi Arabia to cushion the effect of Ramadan during a pandemic ended in the cupboards of powerful members of his government.

During the global pandemic, the president was supposed to superintend the distribution of COVID-19 palliatives to the poor. The poor did not get the aid although the minister in charge swore by largely untraceable beneficiaries that the cash was equitably distributed ostensibly by WiFi or bluetooth.

Buhari parades more than military honours. He was a former oil minister privy to OPEC operations. He twice appointed himself the substantive petroleum minister for eight years. Prior to being elected, candidate Buhari described fuel subsidy as a scam. In eight years, Nigerians lost count of the number of times Buhari removed the phantom subsidy by calling it a new name.

Nigerians could forgive Buhari for not understanding the true meaning of subsidy; they would not forget how the president’s promised of one new refinery for each of the first four years of his administration failed to materialise. In addition, he failed to make the perennial turn-around-maintenance yield selfsufficiency in local production. Not one of the existing four refineries has met the local demand for petroleum products. Buhari and his acolytes try to pull the wool of Dangote mega refinery on our eyes but it could never count as a government achievement.

The jury is yet to find the evidence that Buhari promised to make the naira par with the US dollar. If he did make that promise, then he failed on that too. When Buhari was first sworn in, the naira exchanged for N187 to the dollar; before it plateaued at its current rate, the naira nearly hit the uncomfortable roof of N1,000 to the dollar under his watch. This led to spiraling inflation and an incredible debt profile without commensurate tangible development.

Nigerians could have forgiven Buhari for the parity between the naira and branded toilet paper except that last year, Buhari bought into a scam recolouring of the naira. That scam reportedly cost over N400 billion. It led to unprecedented hardship during which citizens were forced to buy their own currency at exorbitant rates. Those who could not pay for this usury died trying. In the end, the discoloured new notes are out of circulation while a court injunction reinstated the old and once outlawed notes back as standard issue. Anyone suffering from bronchial ailments in the next 10 years should join a class-action lawsuit against Buhari and Godwin Emefiele, his friend in crime.

A lot has been written about how Buhari rebuilt physical infrastructure like rail, roads and bridges, especially the 2nd Niger Bridge. Not enough has been assessed about how the unprecedented level of insecurity has made using the infrastructure a gnawing nightmare.

Buhari promised to Bring Back Our Girls, but failed miserably as many more girls; boys and adults are in captivity waiting for their ransom to freedom. For the eight years of Buhari’s rule Nigeria has become a senseless killing field.

Nigerians are now numb to stories of carnage, killings, kidnap or assault. Buhari needs to render a truthful account of his use of the huge security votes under his administration. He needs to account for the number of our security agencies who became collateral damage while Buhari enjoys safety in Aso Rock.

In 1984, when Buhari’s boys truncated the second republic, Buhari described Nigeria’s hospitals as mere consulting clinics. Buhari spent more time in a London hospital than he spent tackling Nigeria’s health care problems. More doctors and health workers ‘Andrewed’ or checked out of Nigeria under his watch than they did in the 30 years before he returned to office. Not even the elite Aso Rock Clinic was kitted adequately to cater for the health needs of the president or members of his immediate family. Things are so bad that Tinubu; the man he hands over to in 27 days has opened the same channel for his own medical needs.

Buhari could never have made it either in the army or in politics without education. Unfortunately, in eight years, Nigeria’s educational institutions were locked as a result of avoidable strikes. In 2023, there are still Nigerian children learning under trees, using stolen blocks as writing desks and excluded from learning when it rains because their school roofs leaked. To his shame, and in sharp contrast all of Buhari’s children graduated from foreign universities. There is no future for a nation without functional education.

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