By Reno Omokri
President Muhammadu Buhari wants to intervene in The Gambia to prevent a breakdown of law and order which will lead to a humanitarian crisis.
The Gambia has a population of 1.8 million people, while Kaduna has a population of 6 million people of which over 2 million of those are in Southern Kaduna.
Till date, the only person who has died in The Gambia is President elect Barrow’s son, Habibu Barrow, who was bitten by a dog. But in Southern Kaduna, hundreds of people have bitten the dust.
If in truth President Buhari really wants to prevent a humanitarian crisis, the place he should be visiting and intervening in is Southern Kaduna before The Gambia.
And the penchant of the President to delegate pressing domestic problems to his subordinates while personally addressing foreign challenges of lower priority is on the increase.
I have chosen to empathize with the Buhari administration over the deaths of Internally Displaced Persons and international aid workers at the Rann IDP camp in Borno state by a bomb mistakenly dropped on the camp by a Nigerian Air Force Jet, but for the life of me I cannot understand why the President, who heavily criticized former President Jonathan’s handling of the Boko Haram crisis, elected to delegate his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, and some ministers to visit the victims and survivors of the Rann disaster to offer condolences and supposed support.
And to the Borno state governor who cheekily said there was progress because in his words there was no “blame game” as would have happened in the previous administration of Jonathan, I would just say, wake up and smell the coffee. I can see no excuse for this faux pas except the Borno state Governor is sarcastically trying to call out the Buhari government for its over indulgence in blaming previous administrations.
If it was possible, the Buhari administration would have taken out a registered trade mark on the phrase ‘blame game’. Never in the history of Nigeria, and perhaps contemporary Africa, has an administration invested so much of its focus and time on blame gaming as the Buhari government. So Governor Shettima would have to pull more fallacious words out of his mischievous magical hat of illusions to be able to pin such a false accusation on the Jonathan Government.
It may be necessary to remind Governor Shettima that the Jonathan he so likes to blame visited Borno more than once as President during the height of the Boko Haram insurgency. Has President Buhari even bothered to drop by? That is how much the President thinks of him!
But in all this, we still must give God the glory that the mistake by the air force did not occur while Oby Ezekwesili and Lai Mohammed were combing Sambisa forest in search of the missing Chibok girls.
And let me speak directly to the President. President Muhammadu Buhari, as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, don’t you think you owe it as a duty to be in Rann at this very moment to personally comfort victims and survivors of the unfortunate mistaken bombing by our Armed Forces?
This is more so when some of the dead include qualified doctors who left their countries, homes and profitable businesses to volunteer through Doctors Without Borders and the Red Cross.
If those foreigners could leave their countries to go to Rann, sir, you can leave Aso Rock to go there. This bombing is not your fault, but if you fail to visit Rann where lives have been lost, you will send a very wrong message particularly as you just visited The Gambia where no lives have been lost accidentally or deliberately due to Yahya Jammeh’s actions.
Why President Buhari Ran(n) to Gambia and ran away from Rann would continue to be a mystery for a while. But the truth still remains that you do not focus on putting out the fire in your neighbor’s tiny hut when your own massive estate is on fire.
In Nigeria’s history no President has engaged in foreign travels like President Muhammadu Buhari yet never before has foreign investment dried up in Nigeria as it is today.
So bad has the situation degenerated to that Reuters, in a piece by Paul Carsten and his colleagues published on January 18, 2017 detailed how President Buhari’s globetrotting efforts to secure foreign loans have hit a brick wall.
The article cited failure to present a coherent economic recovery program as the reason why foreign donors are wary of trusting the Buhari administration with their hard earned money.
In fact, the article posited that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has been forced to work with a “consultancy” to patch together a policy document that it hopes would be acceptable to foreign lenders.
Now, Nigerians can understand why I questioned the wisdom in the appointment of a polytechnic graduate by President Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s finance minister at a time when we should be putting our best foot forward. The finance minister, Kemi Adeosun, attended the University of East London. The problem is not that this university is one of the worst universities in the United Kingdom today. The issue is that the ‘university’ was actually a polytechnic at the time Kemi Adeosun attended it and was only upgraded to university status in 1992! If you Google this university, you will find that it’s graduates are one of the least likely to get a job on the strength of their degree of any university in the United Kingdom.
I guess the guidance and counseling department of the University of East London should by now have found a fix for this problem-if you cannot find U.K. employment with your UEL degree, just relocate to Nigeria. Chances are you would be made a cabinet minister!
The funniest thing is that when President Buhari ran against then President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003 one of his prominent campaign posters had the promise and I quote “what we will not do-spend 110 days in a year globetrotting”. As I write this and as you read it, President Muhammadu Buhari has globe-trotted all the way to London. In fact, by his first anniversary as President on May 29, 2016, President Buhari had made 30 foreign trips with very little by way of returns to the country from them. So much for his promises. Would the President be man enough to apologize to former President Obasanjo who was the subject of his particular criticism in 2003? Your guess is as good as mine!
So my advise to the President is that he should spend less time blaming past administrations especially as he is now more guilty than them of the things he accused them of.
I give this advise because I am aware that each time President Muhammadu Buhari blames previous administrations, what foreign and domestic investors see is a leader who loves the perks and privilege of his office but hates the responsibility attached to it. They see a ruler who likes to bask in the glory of his predecessors achievements like the Abuja-Kaduna rail and the Treasury Single Account, yet refuses to give them any credit. And they will not invest their money in a country whose leader focuses on blaming instead of leading. Blame is the cause of the Naira losing value not falling oil price. An economy can survive a price crash but it cannot survive a crash in leadership.
Now, on to other matters. Two weeks ago I commended the President for fulfilling at least one of his campaign promises. By this I meant the promise to pay ₦5,000 to the poorest Nigerians. Again I commend the President. However, since I gave my commendation I have gotten some feedback.
It would seem that many Nigerians are not impressed by the ₦5,000 handout from the APC led Federal Government because they are already on their own fulfilling President Buhari’s campaign promise of one meal per day because food is too costly and kerosene to cook it is too expensive!
If you are still talking of gas then you must be a super elite because the price of gas has skyrocketed beyond belief! From a price of ₦1,800 for a 12.5kg cylinder of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) under former President Jonathan the price is now ₦4,200 under President Buhari and rising.
Under former President Jonathan, Nigeria had many fast rising political, business music and acting stars but under President Buhari the only thing that is fast rising is the price of food, electric, gas, petrol, kerosene and dollars! What a fast rising government!
And it seems Nigerians also misunderstood the President’s promise to make ₦1 equal to $1. It was perhaps a typo. The printer probably forgot three zeros. He may have meant make ₦1000 equal to $1!
And the President’s promise to be fair to all Nigerians is now sounding hollow although the fault is not entirely his. State governments have their own fair share in the blame although one could argue that they took their cue from the President’s body language especially after his famous ‘97% versus 5%’ speech at the United States Institute for Peace in July of 2015.
Today (Wednesday 18th of January, 2017), the police brought Joachim, the man who named his dog Buhari, to court for prosecution. This is the same police that has not yet prosecuted any of the killers of hundreds of Southern Kaduna people. This is the same police that last week released the suspected killers of Mrs. Elisha, the RCCG pastor killed in Kubwa. We are not even talking of the suspected beheaders of evangelist Bridget Agbahime who were acquitted in Kano two months ago. As I always say, welcome to the new and improved Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari!
In the new and improved Nigeria, you are more likely to be prosecuted if you misname a dog and if you steal or kill cattle than if you kill or behead a Christian Evangelist or pastor.
This is even as a Governor admits to paying self admitted foreign killers of Nigerian citizens with tax payer funds to induce them not to kill again. Again I say, welcome to the new and improved Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari!
Omokri is the founder of the Mind of Christ Christian Center in California, author of Shunpiking: No Shortcuts to God and Why Jesus Wept and the host of Transformation with Reno Omokri