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Mr. President, You Have Failed Us, By Babayola Toungo

President Muhammadu Buhari has failed Nigerians.  Twice.  He has woefully failed the expectations of most of his dyed-in the wool supporters who have supported him through thick and thin from the day he joined politics with the hope that he will institute good governance.  He was seen as a compass for charting a course for the country into the 21st century.  We all believed he is the catalyst for the desired change which Nigerians universally yearned for after the sixteen uninterrupted locust years of the PDP.  Alas, President Buhari failed.  And he failed spectacularly.

I know most of my readers believe the President failed to deliver on the three key issues he promised Nigerians – fighting corruption, economy, and security.  I agree, to some extent.  My opinion on how the president failed Nigerians may slightly differ from those of others.  I agree, he failed, but we also failed.  No doubt about that.

The President failed in my view, by not dealing decisively with those who steered the country towards the precipice before he took over in 2015.  He allowed them to continue operating unchallenged thereby putting pressure on the government on all fronts.  He allowed them access to looted funds, a compromised media and briefcase NGOs.  A combination of these organs with a group of unpatriotic politicians is lethal anywhere in the world.  The president failed his supporters in tolerating crooks to be operating freely without being held responsible for their actions both past and present.

Nigerians voted for Buhari in both the 2015 and 2019 elections because they believed he has the moral suasion and the force of character to bring all those who milked our treasuries dry, instituted impunity and made mockery of the sufferings of the poor to book.  The Nigerian poor voted for a Buhari of 1984 to come and give the country a sense of direction and secure its borders; a Buhari that is deaf and dumb to entreaties from those who break the law with impunity and flaunt their “untouchability” in the face of the aggrieved and injured.  The poor voted for change – attitudinal change and not personnel change.  What we got is an administration held hostage by a few rentier politicians far worse than the PDP pirates.

The president allowed all the monstrous creations of the PDP, some left in the Frankenstein laboratory to gestate and come of age.  Corruption has taken a life of its own while insecurity has become the most lucrative industry in the country.  Kidnapping, oil theft and other associated crimes against individuals and state have free rein.  Though the economy is affected by the larger economic meltdown world-wide, crooks masquerading as businessmen are allowed to run the country aground by speculating against the dollar, helped in no small way by disjointed policies from a Central Bank bereft of ideas.

Mr. president sir, you have failed me personally as an individual who is profiled as a terrorist and a killer without compunction.  While I have been denied the basic amenities that governments ought to provide for the citizens – right to life, education, health and other basic social services – I have also being denied the space to operate my business and to earn an honest living.  As a Fulani man, I have been tagged a bandit, and as a Muslim, I have been labelled a terrorist.  And as a northerner, no more than a parasite.  All under your watch, Mr. president. 

Hate mongers and terror merchants thrived unhindered.  While these groups smile to the banks, their victims are running around looking for the nearest Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp to make it their home.  Livelihoods have been shattered and homes destroyed.  Mr. president all we get from you are clichés without commensurate action.  How did you allow yourself to be overwhelmed by these groups?  How could you sleep soundly knowing that most of your people have been forcefully dragged from either their homes or cars and taken to the bush and are at the mercy of the elements and brutal drug-deranged terrorists?  We have seen how conflict merchants have flourished through outsourcing of terror in the form of kidnappings and mass killings of innocent citizens who you swore to protect.  We have seen how negotiators (more of terrorists’ advocates) prospered while victims and their loved ones are pauperised by being forced to sell their properties.

Mr. president while this semi-urban guerrilla war is taking place a large segment of the society (the Fulani herder) has been pushed to the edge of extinction; at least their livelihood is fast becoming extinct.  The perception today, helped in no small measure by your ambivalent attitude towards the Fulbe, is that the Fulani are fair game who can be killed without any repercussion; they can be insulted, denigrated, maimed, killed, their economy destroyed without your government batting an eyelid.  That they can be denied equal opportunities like every other tribe in Nigeria, and nothing will happen.

Your government has invested billions of naira in supporting private airlines, crop farmers, electricity generating and distributing companies, currently in the hands of private individuals, yet programmes that are designed by your government and are perceived (rightly or wrongly to be beneficial to the livestock sector and by extension the Fulbe, are not allowed to see the light of the day.  The Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) initiative was killed by media blackmail and its successor, the National Livestock Transformation Programme (NLTP), launched with fanfare amidst media blitz, is now looking like a photo trick.  The National Water Resources Bill has been on the shelves in the National Assembly gathering dust because nobody is pushing for its passage.  Why do you easily fall for this simple blackmail when it comes to the Fulani?

Mr. president, my heart bleeds when I think of how you were massively elected by those who want Nigeria to work; the unprecedented goodwill that propel you to office and how you will be ushered out of office in 2023.  I weep in anticipation of the anti-climax that will define your exit.  

Writing this piece is akin to writing a funeral dirge to my father.  I am in pains, Mr. president, I feel let down.  Your presidency has diminished me in every way possible.

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