By Auwal Umar
The books of history and religion are replete with facts of many apostles of Allah, their companions, their followers, other great personalities, as well as some pious predecessors who audaciously confronted the most brutally imposing rulers of their times. Prophet Moses’ Pharaoh is the most prominent example from the time immemorial to date. Two days ago, an erudite Sokoto-based Islamic scholar, Prof. Mansur Sokoto, chose that path of honour that commensurates with the position of Islamic scholarship regarding the tear-shedding condition of insecurity and unprecedented carefree attitude about the general plight of the masses.
In the lecture, the Islamic cleric gave an overview of the multifaceted ways the occupant of the number one seat, the assumed Messiah, betrayed the mandate entrusted to him by the Nigerian masses. You may recall how President Buhari shed tears each time he was on the losing side at the polls and showed sympathy with our plight during the previous dispensations. Due to his long-standing and seemingly unfading popularity, people from every nook and cranny in the North supported him.
Prof. Sokoto recounted how an old woman of 100 years or thereabouts was optatively praying: “O God never take away my soul, lest I die without voting for Buhari to the presidential seat.” Some in the North died due to wild celebrations for his success. He commented on the support he enjoyed from some Islamic clerics, with some of them publicly invoking the wrath of Allah upon those that refused to vote for him. These bespoke the unalloyed love President Buhari enjoyed.
During the lecture, Prof. Sokoto brought to the fore some of the campaign promises Buhari used to make. He always assured the northerners and Nigerians in general that he would equate the value of Naira to a Dollar, improve the quality of education at all levels, reduce the pump price, among many other sugarcoated promises. Before Prof. Sokoto went on squarely to shed light on the height of insensitivity of President Buhari, he commended his efforts for restoring peace in the North in his first tenure before the worst came to worst. Specifically, the following are some key takeaways from Prof. Sokoto’s lecture.
Discriminatory and lopsided treatment against the North
As highlighted in the lecture, despite all the support president Buhari received before and after getting elected, he scrapped the pilgrimage subsidy. On every predicament that befalls the South, the President and his aides will quickly make a press release and take necessary actions but act quite differently when there is a similar occurrence in the North. Recently, 42 passengers were ruthlessly burnt down to ashes by bandits, but their lives were not worth a word of sympathy from the President. On the following day, ignominiously, the President headed to Lagos for a book launch by Bisi Akande. Ironically, there in the book, many blows of satire were landed on his face, which he might be unaware of. Again, bandits launched a series of attacks for four consecutive days, killing an APC gubernatorial candidate. A Kaduna state law-maker and a Katsina State Science and Technology Commissioner also fell victim to the same fate. Additionally, the former President, Shehu Shagari, lost his life, but President chose to go to the funeral of late Abiola’s wife. Even Prof. Ayo Banjo, treated with reverence, was quick to disown some facts credited to him in the book that seemed to be more important than the lives of charred passengers.
Misplacement of priorities
Buhari’s government is very good at misplacing its priorities. He borrowed a large sum of billions to share with some ghosts and nonexistent beneficiaries. Such funds can be used appropriately to address many problems bedevilling the nation. Had the amount, vainly shared with less visible economic impact, been channelled for the general fixing of the power sector, the impacts from all its veins would have been visibly seen. Resident doctors’ lingering problem of strikes can be a thing of the past if just four billion naira would be dedicated to their cause. That is without talking about the flashy presidential weddings that gulped many billions in a day.
Failure of the government to address cattle rustling dilemma
The cleric hints at a crucial point that needs special attention. He lamented that many Fulanis’ cattle were stolen with no action taken against the theft, and the entrepreneurs of doom and downfall might have capitalized this. In other words, the problem of banditry is probably the result of retaliation by the aggrieved Fulani youth whose cattle were rustled, and the government failed to call the culprits to book. Such instances of “I don’t-care attitudes” by Buhari’s government can’t be numbered. If the government were seriously proactive on the issue, the chances are that we would not be in the present situation.
Wrong advisors and mediocrity
Despite the inexplicable delay of six months to appoint ministers, President Buhari picked one of the worst sets of cabinets, some of whom are unheard of even in the mass media. The President neither gave room for workable advice nor appointed competent hands to handle the job. Moreover, he does not listen to the voices of the experts, journalists, activists and Islamic clerics.
The cabinet goes unchecked
Once you are appointed to serve in Buhari’s government, you can do whatever you like because no one would hold you responsible for your actions or inactions. Buhari hardly gets his cabinet reshuffled because he does not care for accountability. If you were to assess his cabinet by any reasonable standard, the result would surely be awful. As a result, his cabinet members are often unruffled and well aware that they would be sacked only if they clash with some untouchable cabals.
Corruption, impunity and an unworkable justice system
Prof. lamented the high level of corruption in the government, with government officials routinely stealing public funds, with no fear of facing the consequences. He labelled the justice system under this administration as unworkable. Unfortunately, the arrests of kidnappers, bandits and insurgents always resurface on social media, but you never hear of them being sentenced. More often than not, some criminals confess their crimes not under duress but because of frailty in the justice system. And yet, they still go scot-free.
Yawuri students still in captivity
A responsible government can never be in peace when just one of its citizens is in danger. One cannot begin to imagine the unspeakable horror of being held captive by those filthiest beasts, rapists and defilers. The worst thing now is that government does not even talk about them, much less of their potential release from their captors. These innocently helpless students have been in captivity for five months in this horrific condition. There are other similar scenarios in Niger and many other northern states.
Powerful task force on security
The cleric recommended that the government set up a team of presidential task force similar or even more robust than the Covid-19 task force to tackle insecurity head-on. The team should include experts, intellectuals, journalists, traditional rulers, elder statesmen and politicians to provide strategic advice and technical know-how.
State governors should be granted the power to act on the security of their states
Although state governors nominally bear the ceremonial titles of “Chief Security”, their power to act on security issues is limited. Thus, Prof. Sokoto advised that laws should be enacted to enable governors to act and direct the security agencies at their disposal. However, it is a bitter truth that no matter how willing a governor of a crisis-ridden state is, he is not much different from his poor citizens.
The need to be more pious
Finally, the Islamic cleric emphasized the need for the President and the rest of us to be more God-fearing in all our doings. May Allah reward Prof. Mansur Sokoto for his invaluable words concerning the reality and the sorry state of the nation, amin.
Auwal Umar wrote from Kano. He is a graduate student at the Department of English and Literary Studies, Bayero University, Kano.