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By Dr Ugoji Egbujo

It has been three years.   It’s now undeniable ,   substantial   change   won’t come easy. Bishop Kukah had warned about euphoria and messianism.   The public overestimated the president and the president underestimated   the nations’ ailment and what ‘change’ needed.   The president has not   performed as woefully as his opponents would want everyone to believe. But the president has not met the expectations of even his most ardent and uncritical supporters, including his wife.

He believes   he has run a difficult race well. He thinks he deserves another chance despite self inflicted wounds   like   Abdulrasheed Maina and a multitude of gaffes. His opponents insist   he has   frittered away an underserved opportunity. They say he has run with tired feet and a befuddled head.   They say he   has   been encumbered by chronic ill health. They mock that had he   kept focus and   not wasted useful energies in lamentations and vindictiveness, he could have received genuine accolades from his wife. The president, perhaps, has strived but has not quite managed to translate into reality his good intentions.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari

The president needs to change.

The president   is convinced that   he has retrieved the country from the ditch his predecessor drove it into.   He boasts that   he has put it on the right path to a prosperous future.   His opponents are fed up with his mythical reputation and   the propaganda mill built on it. They are tired of   unfulfilled promises and self congratulations. They are nauseated by his sanctimoniousness. They would rather have the president concede to old age and ill health, and not run. They sneer that had the president retained his sincerity of 1984, he would have lacked the self-deception that currently   denies him a true appraisal of his performance. They dismiss the suggestion that the president could spark to life in his second term   as superstitious nonsense.   And blame the naive credulousness of his supporters for the farce.


But there also those who believe that the president has retained a stubborn mass support. And its   not because of naivety. He   appeals to them despite a multitude of shortcomings.   The   reputation that he lacks appetite for wanton   acquisition of   personal wealth has survived where others crumbled. And it has survived because of his lifestyle.

The president   touts his   Economic Recovery and Growth   Plan (ERGP) and points to a quick   economic recovery from recession.   He   reels off huge gains in the marked decline in rice and fertilizer importations,   and beats his chest. He claims he has decimated the insurgency.   He dismisses the   insurgency’s lingering   rampancy as the vigorous last   dance of a headless chicken. He wants the   opposition party to always remember how its timidity allowed Boko Haram occupy   23 Local Government Areas under President Jonathan.   He brushes aside concerns about his health and announces that   he has dealt   stronger blows against corruption than his predecessors put together. His huge documented   recoveries from thieving politicians support his   grandstanding.   He admits the journey has been painfully slow but he proclaims himself a surer path to national   restoration and glory.

His opponents are unconvinced that he has the mental acuity to navigate the ship of a   town union let alone a turbulent state.   They scoff that   since he cannot find projects to commission , he should at least commission peace. They say the insurgency, after Dapchi , has grown new wings, new arrogance. They tease   that if the president had empathy anywhere in   his soul   he would have wept himself into resignation.   They concede that   his predecessor was ill prepared for the insurgency. But wonder how   a General, armed with precious   hindsight,   has ceded the country to   the insurgency and   banditry of cattle   herdsmen. They insist   that the counter insurgency requires fresh ideas which the president cannot generate. They argue that the country’s security situation has degenerated calamitously since Buhari.   They believe that ineptitude and unique clannishness   synergistically fostered the impunity of the violent cattle herdsmen and their blood   thirstiness.   They declare that the government’s   pathetic approach to the crisis   reveals a deep   rot,   a fundamental dysfunction,   in President Buhari’s government .

They say the president has to be changed

Perhaps only the president and his men believe the government has lived up to its responsibilities in containing the herdsmen violence.   Professor Wole Soyinka once wondered why the federal government could not be stirred by the sheer volume of the massacres. He concluded that   the president could be in a trance.   Obasanjo   had supported the president vociferously in 2015. He is now the champion of the Buhari-must-go crusade.   Obasanjo may be   self possessed. But lapses in governance have created a window for his resurgent messianism.   Slow economic growth could be understood. Oil prices and production suffered a shipwreck at the outset.    The reign of violence in many parts of the middle belt and the government’s ambivalence   towards it are inexplicable.


Something has to change

It is significant that even amongst the president’s most enthusiastic   supporters,   real change is   only still expected.   The police have not changed. There is no one who thinks the country should continue on same path and at same pace. The opposition is exasperated   with their perceived   ridiculous optimism of Buhari’s supporters.    The Buharists , it seems ,   hope that the president, if given more   time , would reclaim his authority, sack the cabal , sanitize the country, and get the cogs to finally click.

Obsanjo has referred to Buhari supporters   as morons.   Obasanjo has become the face of anti Buharism. But he has unfortunately succumbed to the very   unhealthy animosity with which anti- buharists have gone about their enterprise and polarized the polity.   He   cannot deny that these millions of Nigerians who are   stuck to Buhari are there partly   because the other politicians of stature inspire no hope of   a national redemption.

Buhari supporters are not mere change romantics. Some of them are haunted by the recent past.

The 2019 elections are months away. There is no better time to assess Buhari’s stewardship than now.

The post PRESIDENT BUHARI : IS IT TIME TO CHANGE THE CHANGER? appeared first on Vanguard News.

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