By Ajibola Abayomi,
February 23, 2018.
On November 23, 2017, a front line civil society group, OneVoice Coalition shared a paper with the press on the state of the nation and performance of President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government.
The paper was delivered by Pastor Adedeji Adeleye, Media Chairman of OneVoice Coalition in Lagos as he adjudged the three cardinal programmes of the president listed as anti-corruption, security and health.
Digging into the archives, Adeleye recalled that when President Buhari took over on May 29, 2015, Nigerians were full of high hopes and expectations that he was going to fix many aspects of the nation requiring quick fixes.
The activist regretted that:“Unfortunately, the President busted the bubbles of hopes and expectations of many Nigerians: First, it took him three months to appoint his own aides and ended up appointing some bad officials whose integrity has been dented.”
He did not stop there, he went ahead to figure out the security menace of the Fulani Herdsmen saying. “the security challenge of the Fulani herdsmen under the national association called Miyyetti Allah. Using AK 47 and other dangerous weapons, these herdsmen have ravaged and decimated farmlands in Benue, Nassarawa and Enugu States destroying houses and killing thousands of people. Yet, government did not see the compelling need to arrest and prosecute them.
“President Buhari’s much-lauded war on corruption is one area in which his hard-core supporters continue to defend him. In many respects, the defence is entirely understandable: at no point since its establishment in 2003 has the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) been seen to be so active in pursuing alleged perpetrators of graft as it is at present.
“Yet, there has been no high profile conviction till date. We only hear about arrest, interim forfeitures of huge cash and properties but no conviction.”
Pained by the inability of government to address the situation, the pastor lamented that: “Very soon Nigerians will go to Government hospitals and will not see a Doctor. Statistics from University Teaching Hospital (UCH) Ibadan shows that the health crisis in Nigeria is unprecedented as the mass exodus hits alarming proportions.
“Already it takes an old patient two hours (three hours for new patients) to see a doctor on the average. Over 100 doctors have resigned from UCH this year . 800 Doctors have resigned from Lagos State hospitals over 2 years. 100 this month alone.
“Kebbi State has been unable to employ a single Doctor in 2 years despite multiple adverts for employment. Over 200 Doctors and nurses have resigned from Ladoke Akintola Teaching Hospital this year.
“Nigeria has 80,000 registered Doctors. More than 50,000 are practicing abroad. 92% of Nigerian Doctors in Nigeria are considering finding a job abroad”.
READ THE FULL TEXT BELOW.
STATE OF THE NATION: BUHARI, HIS MEN AND HIS THREE CARDINAL PROGRAMMES A CRITICAL ASSESSMENT Being A Paper Presentation at the Media Parley Organized by OneVoice Coalition at the Center for Constitutional Governance (CCG), Ilupeju Lagos, Thursday November 23, 2017.
Caveat: (1) As civil society professionals and practitioners, we are more concerned with the impact of government policies, activities and programmes on the ordinary citizens. More often than not, they bear the full consequences of harsh policies. Our position therefore is from this perspective.
(2) We are not the presidential media team of President Buhari whose moral duty is to always launder his image, especially judging from the patronizing book just released last week. We are non-state actors and therefore we are going to assess President Buhari within the governance space.
When President Muhammadu Buhari took over on May 29, 2015, Nigerians were full of high hopes and expectations that he was going to fix many aspects of the nation requiring quick fixes. Unfortunately, the President busted the bubbles of hopes and expectations of many Nigerians: First, it took him three months to appoint his own aides and ended up appointing some bad officials whose integrity have been dented. Whereas soon after he was sworn in as President, General Olusegun Obasanjo released his first appointments on the same day of May 29, 1999. And no one could fault Obasanjo’s choice of key aides: General Mohammed as Chief of Staff; General Gusau as NSA; Chief Ekaette as SGF; Col. Areh as DG of SSS, among others.
However, it took 166 days for Buhari to form his cabinet. Does it mean for more than ten years that he was contesting to be president he did not have a plan let alone a team to help him carry out his plan? He admitted that he gave directive for boards to be reconstituted since October 2015 but that directive is yet to be carried out. He appears to, not only over delegate his presidential powers but apparently abdicates his responsibility too
In addition, it took President Buhari 14 months for his government to finally unveil its medium-term economic strategy, the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP). Not to mention the lack of improvement in the now-customary practice of delayed budget presentations (and, therefore, approvals). By all means, the Buhari administration can, so far, only be described as taking a bad situation and making it worse. For this reason, continued attempts to paint the government as a victim of a set of unfortunate circumstances are, at most, disingenuous
During the 2015 general elections, President Buhari and the APC had made a number of promises, out of which three key themes stood out: improving Nigeria’s security environment; tackling corruption; and economic reforms. The record appears more mixed, albeit more skewed towards underperformance.
When Buhari came into office, Nigeria’s most pressing security challenges were the menace of Fulani herdsmen rampaging farmlands in Benue, Nassarawa and Enugu States as well as some parts of Ondo, Ekiti and Kogi States; the Niger Delta militants and Boko Haram. While government was able to free many of the Chibok girls and also contain and diminish the Boko Haram insurgency through combination of factors (intelligence gathering, superior weaponry, assistance from international community, surrender by many insurgents etc), the fight is yet from over. Sporadic suicide bombing still take place here and there in Bornu, Adamawa and Yobe States. Government cannot claim ignorance of this loss of lives and properties. Given the current situation, what seems debatable however is whether Buhari’s government can be given a big pass mark on the war against Boko Haram. Nonetheless, it seems less contentious a fact that his government has not directly worsened the situation. Even if the government appears to be doing too little in dealing with the fallout i.e. the risk of famine or drought in the North East as a result of Boko Haram’s nine-year terror campaign in the region and its devastating impacts on farming and trading activities which, we believe, have not yet been fully quantified in Naira terms. And we may never know the exact amount of losses because majority of the citizens in the northeast are illiterates who do not keep records.
The second security challenge is the various Niger Delta militants spearheaded by the so called Niger Delta Avengers, tabling long-held grievances in the oil producing region. The debate existed as to whether the pipeline vandalism (explosions and destruction) and other violence are due to political sabotage driven by Buhari’s political opponents who are in control of the region. Others feel the violence has to do with the administration’s failure to address regional grievances, thereby giving legitimacy to armed groups claiming to be defending the rights of the Niger Delta. There may be some truth to both claims. However, when Professor Osinbajo acted as President he struck some deals with the militants regarding modular oil refineries; return of maritime university and some other agreements. What happened to these agreements when Buhari returned? Who is to blame for the renewed violence by the Niger Delta Avengers? Can we say that the government does not have a track record in dealing with the militants? In the absence of a confirmed permanent cessation to hostilities by militant groups, further attacks will remain a looming threat to the nation’s security. Buhari’s government has failed to douse the volatile tension in the Niger Delta regiom.
The third security challenge is the menace of Fulani herdsmen under the national association called Miyyetti Allah. Using AK 47 and other dangerous weapons, these herdsmen have ravaged and decimated farmlands in Benue, Nassarawa and Enugu States destroying houses and killing thousands of people. Yet, government did not see the compelling need to arrest and prosecute them. Audu Ogbe, minister of agriculture (along with other Nigerians) suggested establishment of cattle ranches (whereby grasses will be imported from Brazil & other Latin American countries), Miyyetti Allah rejected it, insisting that they prefer to continue to ravage farmlands in Nigeria and nothing can be done about it. Benue State has passed ‘Anti-grazing law’, Miyyetti Allah is threatening fire. President has refused to say a word against it. No arrest has been made so far. And the ordinary farmers have endangered species in their own land.
The fourth security challenge is the level of kidnappings and killings going on across Nigeria which is simply scandalous. It is very common to read stories of kidnapping and killings in newspapers with reference to Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti, Rivers,, Kogi and Kaduna States. It is not restricted to the highways anymore. Last two weeks, a brother of the Chief of Staff to the governor of Kaduna state was kidnapped right inside Zaria city. And no one has yet been held responsible to account for this high level of insecurity.
It is a worrisome trend that the Nigerian Police and other law enforcement agents are unable to handle effectively. This is a big failure to the present administration.
President Buhari’s much-lauded war on corruption is one area in which his hard-core supporters continue to defend him. In many respects, the defence is entirely understandable: at no point since its establishment in 2003 has the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) been seen to be so active in pursuing alleged perpetrators of graft as it is at present. Yet, there has been no high profile conviction till date. We only hear about arrest, interim forfeitures of huge cash and properties but no conviction.
Within these lie many of the president’s men who ought to have been shown the way out of government if it were to be Europe and United States. For example, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Malami had his hands dirty in many corrupt cases: Early this year, he forced the EFCC to transfer the case-file of the Malabu Oil deals to his office. Ever since, the case-file is gathering dust in his office shelf without any further action from him. Secondly, he was found to have given clearance to Abdulrasheed Maina (wanted by EFCC since 2015) a former deputy director pension commission to resume as a director in the federal ministry of interior. Malami admitted to the Senate sub-committee probing this Maina-gate that he acted in consultation with Aba-Kyari Chief of Staff to President Buhari and Minister of Interior General Danbazzau. In all of these, President Buhari pretended not to know what is going on. No person has been indicted or fired for this terrible embarrassment to the administration. It is business as usual.
- Another case was the conflict between minister of state for petroleum resources Kackwu and NNPC GMD Baru
- DG of DSS (Daura)’s letter to the Senate against the confirmation of Ibrahim Magu as EFCC chairman.
- Babachir Lawal/Ayodele Oke’s corruption charges
It must be stressed here that Maina was not the first person who was fired for corruption but brought back to government. Here are few ones:
- AbdulRahman Danbazzau was fired as chief of army staff for corrupt practices in arms purchase. Instead of dropping him, Buhari appointed him as minister of interior.
- Mohammed Barkindo was removed as NNPC MD by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua for stealing huge kickbacks from oil and gas. He was sponsored by the government as Secretary General of OPEC.
- Assistant Commissioner of Police Zakari Bui, a man accused and dismissed for aiding Boko Haram kingpin kabiru Sokoto to escape from detention, was reinstated and promoted by the present Administration.
- Ahmed Gambo Saleh, Registrar of the Supreme Court, He stole N2.2bn belonging to the Supreme court and was caught red handed and fired. Today Ahmed Gambo Saleh has been appointed the secretary of the committee monitoring corruption trials.
- Timipre Sylva has over 46 houses seized by the federal government which have now been returned to him because he is an APC stalwart.
Almost three years into this administration’s tenure, many, indeed most parastatals are still being run by those appointed by the last administration. No less a person than Col Hameed Ali, the CG of Customs had to say recently that 50 percent of Buhari’s government is PDP. Boards are yet to be constituted for almost all the federal agencies. Is it that the President doesn’t know or doesn’t care? For over two years even ambassadors to various countries are just reporting. What does it take to make appointments in Nigeria, a country that is full of talents across virtually local government in the country?
Permanent Secretaries, Executive Secretaries, Heads of Agencies and Directors alongside their Deputies in Federal Government are the richest and owners of expensive houses and hotels in FCT & beyond. Many of them own filling Stations and businesses littered around the country. These businesses were established from stolen funds that were released for projects meant to impact on the lives of the common man. These set of people have also developed the culture of not allowing any of their children to school in Nigeria. They are draining our national wealth to other countries in the name of giving their children good education.
These individuals have taken over the contractors’ space. They incorporate businesses from their own offices without going to Corporate Affairs Commission. They award contracts to themselves and their cronies. In order to cover their tracks, they work in synergy in the same manner the State Governors do under Governors Forum. They are so powerful that they have formed layers of protection under the guise of Association of serving PS, Directors, Deputy Directors, etc which can be used to save anyone of them that fall into the dragnet of Anti-graft Agencies. This is because, the fall of one of them always expose many others. With their counterparts at state level, they are the custodians of 85% of our Annual Budget releases because they are the Chief Accounting Officers of all the MDAs. They are good in assisting the thieving politicians at the Ministries and State Government.
For all the huge number of failed projects, abandoned and unexecuted projects, this set of people have the copies of every document and the figures used under their care, For all the stolen or missing trillions of Naira in this country, they aided the thieves and also took their own share. The level of their desperation is such that they can kill even the President just to maintain their lifestyle.
If Nigeria will be great, this people must be checked. This is to say corruption in MDAs is far greater than any other Arm of Government.
We the people must fight it now. We must expose them now
Because of the massive crash of crude oil prices, Buhari’s government was compelled to embark on massive economic diversification in Agriculture and solid minerals. It made bold attempts in reducing youth unemployment through its N-power programmes, and these are yielding good results. Despite the high level campaign and sensitization in agricultural production especially in rice, cassava, yam and other farm produce, government did not pay attention to the following:
- Increasing prices of commodities despite their availability at the market. This is the absence of Price control board or commission that will regulate, control and manage prices, markets, and warehousing of commodities.
- Worsening unemployment especially among the youths. Expansion in agriculture and new openings in solid minerals have not been able to absorb millions of jobless youths because there is a disconnect between government programmes and those looking for jobs.
- Government has not been able to sit with organized private sector to curb excessive profiteering through constant upward price adjustment, not as a result of high cost of production but because of the need to make more profits as the year is drawing to an end.
State of Health
Very soon Nigerians will go to Government hospitals and will not see a Doctor. Statistics from University Teaching Hospital (UCH) Ibadan shows that the health crisis in Nigeria is unprecedented as the mass exodus hits alarming proportions. Already it takes an old patient two hours (three hours for new patients) to see a doctor on the average:
– Over 100 doctors have resigned from UCH this year
– 800 Doctors have resigned from Lagos State hospitals over 2 years. 100 this month alone
– Kebbi State has been unable to employ a single Doctor in 2 years despite multiple adverts for employment
– Over 200 Doctors and nurses have resigned from Ladoke Akintola Teaching Hospital this year
– Nigeria has 80,000 registered Doctors. More than 50,000 are practicing abroad
– 92% of Nigerian Doctors in Nigeria are considering finding a job abroad
– 70% of Nigerian Doctors are making plans to leave for foreign lands and are taking exams to that effect
– 236 Doctors wrote Primaries for West Africa College of physicians in 2017 to gain admission to Nigerian Teaching Hospitals, 5 years ago over 1000 wrote the same exams. 660 wrote PLAB to practice in the UK over this Primaries exam. Over 1000 have registered for the next PLAB.
Across the nation the story is the same. And the scary part is no one seems to be bothered.
In conclusion, Buhari’s administration has a mixed performance of success and failures. On balance, the administration came at a time the oil fortunes took a nosedive which, to a large extent, made it to fall short of its promises but was nevertheless marked by some little achievements.
Many thanks for your kind attention
Pastor Adedeji Adeleye Media Chairman of OneVoice Coalition