By Shafi’i Sheikh Jr.
I tried to resist the temptation to speak on matters that fringe around governance and government policies. This is because there are things that an observer can only see if he resists the temptation to jump into the fray and become an actor himself. But recent happenings have reawakened my enthusiasm to march to the stake like the man my mom had always desired me to be and take the bullet in the chest should the need arise.
In 2015, we supported APC with our sweat and money chanting “change” wherever we found ourselves so much that it caught every household’s mood. Why? Because we thought a Buhari-led government would have no trouble handling the heaps of problems bedevilling our mettlesome Nigeria.
Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of why we-the masses brought Buhari to power in the first place.
First of all, Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil-producing country, was rapidly growing its economy, but the wealth had not been shared appropriately. Half of Nigeria’s population was living below the poverty line. The corruption that was partly to blame was eating into every fabric of Nigeria’s being.
Secondly, the menace of Boko Haram was spreading wider than it started and had already claimed over 20,000 people and forced out some 3 million others from their homes. We accused the previous Goodluck E. Jonathan-led administration of not taking the menace seriously and posited that Buhari, who’s from the region, would do better if given the opportunity.
We, therefore, came out en masse to vote Buhari into power. The 2015 election was and still is of massive significance in Nigeria’s turbulent history because, for the first time in Nigeria’s history, an opposition candidate won a presidential election free and fair.
The president-elect (as he then was) told his supporters that “We have proven to the world that we are people who have embraced democracy. We have put the one-party state behind us.”
“You, Nigerians, have won. The people have shown their love for this nation and their belief in democracy,” He mentioned.
It was the beginning of a new era. Nigeria and Nigerians refurbished a new hope. But these hopes were soon quashed by his incompetence to constitute a cabinet after 100 days in office. It was opined that a leader who couldn’t form a cabinet for that long is ill-prepared for the most important job in the country.
Albeit hinging his voter appeal on waging war against corruption, fighting terrorism, and revamping the economy, the Buhari-led government had nothing to show except a plethora of controversies that embroiled his first 100 days in office.
Today, the government only succeeded in pulling us from the shackles of Boko Haram into a dungeon full of kidnappers, IPOB and the so-called Unknown Gunmen.
Ours is a country where lives are no longer sacred. Education has been exiled, social amenities are declared “extinct”, and food! Well, you’ll have to take a bank loan if you want to eat healthily. These terrorists attack and operate in broad daylight.
Even after the president’s declaration in 2019 that Nigeria has “technically won the war” against Boko Haram, the country is still ravaged by insurgencies ranging from kidnappings to coordinated attacks on security forces and population centres.
The recent attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train is a clear example that Nigerians will not forget for a very long time.
If holiday refers to that time of the year when one usually takes time away from home, work, or business to travel and relax, then this so-called government has betrayed Nigerians and gone on a holiday!
Shafi’i Sheikh Jr. is a student of the Nigerian Law School, Kano Campus. He writes from Jos and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.