The APC’s Shortcomings And The PDP ’16 Year Rule’ Escape Route By Umar Hassan
“The best way to avoid becoming a scapegoat is to find one”-Warren Eyster
The latest version of the ‘PDP massive 16 year damage’ song was by the Special Assistant to President Buhari on political matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu. He disclosed in a recent interview how previous administrations doled out farewell gifts of $100,000 or $50,000 at the very least, to politicians and monarchs visiting the Presidential Villa.
While I admit I was intrigued by such a revelation that went as far as disclosing even the ‘standard’ tip pattern: driver-$500, PA-$1,000 & girlfriend-$200, it didn’t have the effect it would have had over me about 7 months ago.
The APC in calling for patience, sings in high pitch about the maladministration of the PDP over the years and as a result, have started to bore a lot of us almost to the point of death. They forget we wouldn’t have kicked out the PDP if we didn’t already know just how badly led we were. The APC is so buried in its self-righteousness that it fails to notice just how similar it appears to be with the previous governments. Every administration from 1999 till date has asked for ‘patience’ and each with its own assessment of the damage on ground.
They have all failed to make a decent lemonade out of the lemons they were thrown as each is ever willing to take the convenient ‘bad hand dealt’ route where excuses and more excuses reign supreme.
While I agree with President Buhari when he says Nigeria has nothing to show for 16 years of oil boom, he has however, given me cause to doubt his competence severally from a very objective perspective. Times when It would be hypocritical and unjust of me to tag along with him to the ‘PDP damage’ escape route.
There was so much expectation of a drastic cut in the cost of governance primarily due to PMB’s promise of doing so when he was elected. As it is, much hasn’t been done in that regard if you ask me.
Those who called for absorption of the Ministry of budget and national planning into the finance ministry were vindicated when the budget padding incident occurred. The Special duties and Niger-Delta ministries are ones we can live without and at worst, should have been integrated into other ministries and not left to gulp precious taxpayers’ money.
The Presidential fleet still boasts 9 aircrafts at a time when some of our African brothers with far lesser numbers are selling off all that they have.
Though one must commend the Buhari administration for setting aside a most impressive 30% of the 2016 budget for capital expenditure, the president has failed to lead by example in ensuring the menace of excessive spending on recurrent expenditure is checked by putting a stop to unnecessary appointments in these dire times.
He has not only a special adviser but also a personal assistant on new media as well in addition to his two SAs on media. In line with the thoughts of people like Sen. Ben Murray Bruce, it is better to have a bloated team of economic advisers than of media. At least one or more would advise him to not cite the unsuccessful outcome of a devaluation exercise of the naira in the 70’s or 80’s as his reason for not considering the option in this time and age. The popular notion is that the quality of a leadership sells it and to worry excessively about public perception technically implies that the leader isn’t too confident in his abilities hence the resort to an army of spin-doctors.
A lot of us are starting to laugh hard at our ignorance for daring to think the President might even work with as little as 19 ministers when he assumed office.
16 years of PDP misrule has nothing to do with his inability to efficiently cut down costs neither is it responsible for all the bad calls that ultimately rub off on our destiny.
I received a message from a friend sometime in March detailing PMB’s ‘achievements’ in less than a year in as president. He listed the huge amount being saved by the removal of fuel subsidy as one of them and I remember arguing that the viability or otherwise of such a move could only be tested when our filling stations had fuel. It would only amount to a good decision when we have an unhindered and sustainable supply of fuel in abundance without the payments because it might very well turn out to be an ill-advised move that would save government a lot of money at the detriment of innocent Nigerians and that won’t quite add up to a wise call.
Before we got to test the decision, the government started paying N5.84 subsidy on every litre of fuel in a measure that portrayed it not only as confused but also as rash. No one can say the removal wasn’t a mistake after a careful look at the whole picture and No, I won’t blame the PDP for that.
It’s so ironic how one would rate Buhari low on security even after seeing the commendable manner in which he is tackling the nation’s number one threat-the Boko Haram insurgency. Under him, we have watched a reinvigorated military gradually crush the insurgents. But it is sad that a few lamentable situations exist to wipe out every point he scores from the war against insurgency. The atrocities of the fulani herdsmen have been allowed to linger for too long unchecked.
After the killings in Agatu and a few others in Ondo and Ibadan, they massacred about 40 people in Enugu just days ago. The herdsmen have gone on a nationwide killing spree and if something is not done fast, we would have a bigger war to contend with. Quite regrettably, the President hasn’t really done much.
The mere fact that a member of his team had to come out to ‘remind’ us that a statement was issued in that regard all the more confirms that. If Buhari had been consistent in his condemnations and expressing sympathy towards the families of the victims, there would be no doubt as to whether he had ever spoken on the matter or not.
A crisis that has claimed numerous lives and properties and the question was whether the President of the Federal Republic had ever issued a statement regarding it or not, Pathethic.
The Afenifere while expressing worries over the government’s seeming indifference to the wanton killings by the fulani herdsmen across Nigeria in a meeting on Tuesday 26th, called on President Buhari to speak up on the matter and take urgent action. It also went on to reject the preposterous statement credited to the Minister of information, Lai Mohammed that ‘government was working silently’ towards ridding the country of this problem by demanding that all actions of government be open as people weren’t being killed silently. I couldn’t agree any more with these assertions.
Not a few voices condemned the disclosure by the DSS that it had discovered the bodies of five slain herdsmen in the South East because of the weighty security implications accompanying such. The Enugu massacre seems a reprisal killing for those five.
There are reports that there was prior intel of an impending attack in Enugu by about 500 herdsmen yet the DSS could do nothing to prevent it. President Buhari travelled all the way to his village to drag the current DSS boss from retirement for reasons best known to him. Its Buhari’s cross to bear, the PDP has nothing to do with these shortcomings.
The current fuel scarcity and poor power supply plaguing us is being attributed to the activities of vandals. Much like the previous administrations, this government has so far failed us on the issue of pipeline security and it is also noteworthy that never have Nigerians had to suffer this much as a result of of vandalized pipelines or installations.
This government is overseeing probably the longest and most hard biting fuel scarcity in our history while our Power generation is at a pitiful 2000+mw.We set a record for ourselves by hitting 0mw power generation at about 12:58 pm on March 31st 2016.
I would have to say the PDP governments appear more skilled in crisis management for the simple reason that they didn’t subject us to this much hardship. Corrupt as they may be.
Its high time the President and his gang understand that we wouldn’t have voted them in if we didn’t know just how bad the PDP years were. Its high time they settle down into the business of ‘Changing’ things rather than reminding us on a daily basis why we kicked out the PDP for them.
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano.