The second tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari kicked off amidst fanfare on May 29. However, barely two weeks into the second term, the initial fanfare has proven to be a smokescreen for the turbulence ahead. This is, no thanks, to several signs that have brought scrutiny to what really is in store for Nigerians in the next four years.
After the president’s inauguration, Nigerians were eagerly waiting for Buhari's inauguration speech.
Unfortunately, the presidency dropped a bombshell, the president would not be giving a speech as it had been postponed to June 12. While the sycophants of the presidency in the media were quick to applaud this action, however, for a president that rarely addressed the nation in his first term, this excuse is untenable. The fact that the president could not even attend the inauguration dinner even makes the situation baffling.
The fact remains that Nigeria has many issues Buhari is expected to have addressed. Wasn't it right for the president to have at least dignified Nigerians with a speech on these issues? Leaders all over the world are looking for every opportunity to address their citizens and engage them, the British prime minister every Thursday is always on the hot seat at the PMQ. Why then would a man whom we have just entrusted with the next four years of our lives decide not to address us when we have burning issues?
Since the president’s victory at the last presidential election, it seems the security situation in the country has gone from bad to worse. The rampaging herdsmen have become an organized kidnapping machine. The South-western part of the country which was hitherto untouched by the security crisis has now been caught up in the storm.
Sadly, the presidency has not yet come up with a blueprint on how to tackle insecurity. But he has continued to treat the Myetti Allah, which claims to speak for the herdsmen with kid gloves. This has, in turn, led to the criminalization of a whole ethnic group. The Fulani, who have lived peacefully in their host communities, are now viewed with disdain as they are now guilty by association for a crime most of them are innocent of.
This might even further degenerate into a war of attrition and vengeance as frustrated indigenes might start reprisals on innocent Fulani in their domain and the president would do himself and the country a huge favour by arresting this crisis before it spirals into war.
The presidency has also shown its ruthlessness in dealing with dissenting opinions. The crackdown and closure of AIT and Ray Power FM is a testimony. Isn't it comic that the NBC which claims to be an unbiased regulator but led by a card-carrying member of the ruling party closed down a media house for being biased?
The government, having failed dismally in its first term and narrowly winning re-election albeit controversially, is desperate to consolidate its hold on power.
The political class is kept silent by the vindictive anti-corruption war; an example of this is the case of the former governor of Gombe State, Senator Danjuma Goje who had his EFCC case taken away from EFCC after succumbing to pressures from the APC and the presidency to endorse their anointed candidate for the senate presidency.
Having considered the above, anyone expecting the next four years to be a bed of roses for Nigerians is only daydreaming. The next four years would be tough and we must be ready to hold the government accountable.
They try to cow us into silence but we must continue to speak up. Our parliamentarians will once again support anti-people policies of the presidency and we must not be afraid to trigger the recall provision.
We have a task to stop the country from degenerating into anarchy and our only option is to hold the president accountable.
Bright Ogundare is a social commentator and he can be contacted via [email protected]