Two events which used to engage the minds and attention of Nigerians are currently taking place. One is the African Cup Of Nations,a football tournament. The other is “Big Brother Africa“, a reality tv show about young men and women who try to win a prize for doing nothing. For the first time, the people are unaware of nor do they care about those events.
And they say that Mohammadu Buhari has everything to do with it. Let’s see how. Nigerians ,for instance, are not surprised that 37 days after he was sworn in for a second term, president Buhari, is unable, some say, unwilling, to form a government. Preferring, instead, to rule according to his often invidious whims.
There are two main reasons that Mr Buhari’s is able to get away with this anormaly.
First, deja vu.
In 2015, it took Mr Buhari six months to hatch a cabinet, a delay that earned him the monika, Baba Go Slow. And what a cabinet it was. And the ministers spent the most of 4 years blaming the government they replaced.
In 2015, Mr Buhari’s inaugural address was lifted from a 1963 speech by Charles de Gaulle in which he parroted that “I belong to nobody”, etc. On May 29 this year, Mr Buhari didn’t see the need for an address. His giddy spin doctors told a perplexed nation that the “address” will come on June 12. Again, nothing and nobody was surprised.
Mr Buhari is the most predictable president Nigeria has ever had. The majority expects him to do a bad job and he is excelling at it. They expect freedom to erode and now even judges live in fear.
And so, in the second month in his second term, Mr Buhari hasn’t really governed. Even when he says something like Buhari vows to “end banditry once and for all”, nobody listens. Mr Buhari offers nothing new nor anything to admire.
The second reason: Nigerians are beyond caring.
“Sniper” a very deadly insecticide is the weapon of choice among those who prefer suicide to living in Buhari’s world. Some state governors have reportedly banned the sale of the poison. What they don’t know is that “Sniper” doesn’t cause suicide; socio-economics does.
I hear the federal government intends to criminalize suicide even though it has never been legal in Nigeria. Last year, a doctor parked his car and jumped into the Lagos Lagoon. When the Marine Police fished out a corpse, it turned out to be someone else. The doctor was found later. His body ,that is. Needless to say ,of course ,that the Lagoon is the final resting place for thousands of those to whom lives no longer matter.
Last month, June, a pastor with dwindling tithes and offering staged his own kidnapping in Ekiti state, West Nigeria. His faithfuls were going to come up with N3 million until the truth came out. Some women sell babies to buy food with the active cooperation of the husbands. What else can they do?
And the railway lines in the South are packed with refugees from the North fleeing violence and hunger. Those housed in IDPs don’t get anything and they come down south and sleep in the open. Those young among them try kidnapping. And the girls, prostitution. Life as they knew it has been distorted forever.
In Katsina state, Mr Buhari’s home, a small king has just spent more than 50 days in captivity. Authorities won’t say how much was paid as ransom. The police are often integral parts of the sordid arrangements.
Nigeria’s media reported on Wednesday, that bandits attacked a local government in Katsina, killing 17. In broad daylight!
According Yusuf, an eye witness, “the bandits stormed the area around 2p.m. on Wednesday afternoon and started shooting sporadically. I peeped outside and I saw them attacking one Malam Isiya’s shop. All those they found in the shop were killed.
“Enough is enough of these incessant attacks and killings. We are ready to lead the officials of the security and government to the hideouts of the bandits. We know their hideouts. But they should be well prepared and equipped to confront them.
“I have over 40 orphans I cater for. The government should come to our aid by finding a lasting solution to these incessant attacks and killings.”
The authorities are helpless. I have just read a report that the Zamfara state government has “secured the release of herdsmen and women arrested by local vigilantes”. This can only mean that Myetti Allah has intervened on their behalf.
In the South South, that you could be kidnapped is the new normal. Those are perpetrated by locals ,cops and herdsmen. When some are arrested, they blame Mr Buhari’s economic plan or a lack thereof.
The economy doesn’t look like it won’t worsen. Nothing is now heard of the fantom economic team that Vice President Osibanjo heads(headed).An example of the the ailments:
When you feed your debit card to cash machines, banks take your money without giving you cash or they decline the transaction outright. The banks blame it on “networks”. And it has become normal.
Finally, even with a cabinet in place, nobody expects miracles from this government. And for some reason, nobody cares. It is that tragic.