Special to USAfrica magazine (Houston) and USAfricaonline.com, the first Africa-owned, US-based newspaper published on the Internet.
In terms of legacy, I believe that most Nigerians will remember Buhari for the rampant insecurity across the country he has led for 8 years. Especially, his inability to uproot and/or substantially degrade the jihadists and footsoldiers of death and destruction who have since invaded the borders and occupied certain sections of Nigeria!
Nigerians generally held on to some expectation that President Muhammadu Buhari, the former Major-General of the Nigerian Army who enrolled in 1962 — at the age of 19 — into the Nigerian Military Training College (NMTC) was going to move the country onto the path of infrastructural development, security of lives, financial accountability, and fairness to all.
How wrong and far off reality have those become!
Indigenous peoples and communities have been uprooted and bombed and maimed and butchered with such gory, wickedly passion that all persons of true faith demand(ed) that Buhari stepped up to protect all Nigerian citizens from the AK-47 carrying jihadists and their (sometimes dueling) fellow travelers from Niger, Mali, Senegal, Libya, and a number of neighboring countries.
Unfortunately, those squads of terrorism— in some collaboration with their domestic allies have seized ancestral forests, farmlands and homesteads. Their actions have not only imperiled Nigeria’s national security architecture, they have turned many parts of the federal republic of Nigeria into killing fields and wastelands of insecurity and medieval mayhem!
Consequently, the Buhari years have been, for millions of Nigerians, the longest 8 years of any elected President of Nigeria. Initially, it started with substantial goodwill and hopefulness in the possibilities of a country severely undermined and battered by the continued, corrosive and overwhelming impact of corruption in high places and at smaller positions and local zones of influence.
Buhari, a former military dictator, was sworn in 8 years ago, on May 29, 2015 and promised to work towards a better economy, more secure, less corrupt and peaceful country. The man was reelected in February 2019, to serve another four years that will end on May 29, 2023.
Evidently, he has been failing on all the major reasons and the promises he made to all Nigerians. He had significant support, despite allegations of rigging and videos of underage voters especially the third time he contested for president, in the 2015 general election. He edged out then incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Dr. Jonathan still seems very uncomfortable with the fundamentals of the rough and tumble of Nigeria’s politics.
It’s quite telling that the greater the evidences and videos of ghastly scenes of murderous attacks across Every section of Nigeria, the louder Alhaji Lai Mohammed (Buhari’s Information Minister) and Garba Shehu exclaimed that Nigerians are impatient and know that things are getting much better than what they are seeing!
I wonder how anyone could argue on national and international platforms that the combustion, commotion, clashes, killings which the eyes and lives of the individual Nigerian witness and experience, daily — from Sokoto to Nembe, Aba to Zaria, Ibadan to Itigidi, Sambisa to Ujari— do not “really” reflect what we “think” we saw. Which calls in the great words of the philosopher Groucho Marx who famously said: Should I believe you or should I believe my lying eyes? Uncle Lai, no pun intended, our eyes are not lying!
The bitter truth remains that despite the propaganda, Nigerians have endured 8 long and difficult years of insecurities, religious and ethnic conflicts, banking fiasco and truck loads of palaver.
It’s been for a majority of Nigerians, 8 years of bitter and bloody encounters across Nigeria’s hijacked, deadly highways and trains. It’s been 8 years of Nigeria’s pandemic of fear and nightmare of violent death lurking nearby!
It’s been 8 years of painful, brutal slaughter of the natives and indigenous peoples and communities, particularly in Nigeria’s Middle-belt of Benue and Plateau states. Many of them have been uprooted and bombed and maimed and butchered with gory, demented, wickedly passion. That’s why all persons of true faith demand(ed) that the Buhari regime stepped up to protect Nigeria and Nigerian citizens from the AK-47 carrying jihadists and their fellow travelers from Niger, Mali, Senegal, Libya and a number of other neighboring countries who are knocking down the borders of Nigeria.
It has been 8 years whereby Borno and parts of the North East of the country with major Muslim populations have faced untimely deaths in the hands of other Muslim fighters and “bandits”. They have occupied and
seized ancestral forests, farmlands and homesteads. I understand that those jihadists and their sponsoring allies are transforming those real estate into camps and planning bases for their attacks. At a related level, they create some wastelands of insecurity, increasing instability, demographics disruption, poverty and constipation and convulsions across all sections of life in most of Nigeria.
The outgoing president failed Nigerians in the area of security.
The legacy challenge and the problem remain the facts that Nigerians gave Buhari their trust, their sacred votes and their last drip of hope. He disappointed them with a poorly conducted, flawed and currently disputed presidential election.
Under the Buhari presidency and the economy, the Naira has lost so much value, exponentially to date, that it exchanges in the market at almost N800 to $1 (one dollar)! Hence, in one of his moments of candour, Nigeria’s President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, said during his February2023 campaign rally in Calabar, Cross River State, for the nomination of Buhari-led party (All Progressives Congress): “Today, they moved the exchange rate from N200 to N800. If they had repaired it, if they had arrested this, we won’t be where we are today, we will be greater. They don’t know the way, they don’t know how to think, they don’t know how to do.”
Buhari, who ruled Nigeria with an iron fist from December 31, 1983 to August 27, 1985, said at his APC party’s campaign event in February 2023: “Please in the name of God, be patient with us and forgive us. Tell your friends, brothers, sisters and children to continue to vote for APC, Tinubu will continue from where we stop….”
The truth remains that Nigerians have realistic concerns regarding corruption, last-minute, eye-popping supplementary budgets, banking fiasco and several other problems during this last year of the Buhari presidency.
Goodbye, to the Buhari presidency — a presidency of small things, of petty malice and ancient grudges, of crass nepotism and clannishness, of moral corruption and assorted inequities, of impunity and incapacity!
•Dr. Chido Nwangwu, author of the forthcoming 2023 book, MLK, Mandela & Achebe: Power, Leadership and Identity., is Founder of the first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper on the internet, USAfricaonline.com, and established USAfrica in 1992 in Houston.He has appeared as an analyst on CNN, ALJazeera, SKYnews, and served as an adviser on Africa business to Houston’s former Mayor Lee Brown. Follow him on Twitter @Chido247