By Jude Ndukwe
It is now a common fact to the world that Nigeria is broken! Since 2015, under the current presidency of Muhammadu Buhari, the nation has managed to trudge on, not forward as would ordinarily have been expected, but backwards. Her condition, which probably needed mild analgesics to properly guide her track on the continued path of progress, has been made worse since the All Progressives Congress, APC, took over power in 2015, and she is in a very serious state of coma that it would take a highly qualified surgeon with the humanness of a mother, heart for the people, and a verifiable track record, to reverse, stabilize and put back on the path of recovery, growth and development.
It has never been this bad in Nigeria! From grave security lapses to the economy, flagrant disobedience of court orders and disrespect for citizens’ rights, to unemployment, fall in standard of education, health, infrastructure and such other key indices of human and societal development, the nation is simply in shambles under the Buhari government.
Just the other day, specifically on Sunday August 12, 2018, soldiers had cause to openly protest against their superiors in Maiduguri, threatening to shoot them over redeployment matters. They were frustrated with the way security situations are being handled as it relates to their postings.
Ordinarily, soldiers would not have been so riotous as they were in Maiduguri on that day but for the reality of the grim picture of a completely broken down security architecture that has allowed Boko Haram insurgents regroup and become more daring and deadlier as they kept sacking military formations with relative ease, killing many of the soldiers with some of the survivors reechoing what Nigerians already know, that is, that the troops are ill-equipped and exposed to the superior firepower of the terrorists.
On Monday, July 2, 2018, a similar protest was also embarked upon recently, only this time by police officers posted to Maiduguri, over unpaid allowances, lack of accommodation among other issues bordering on their welfare. Just like their counterparts in the military, the protesting police officers shot sporadically into the air causing passersby to scamper for safety.
Ugly developments as these are incontrovertible proofs that our security architecture and situation have both degenerated to a near-irredeemable state. Little wonder, for a long time, some terrorists operating under the guise of herdsmen have freely unleashed terror on Nigerians across the country without let or hinderance, leaving behind them tears, sorrow and blood, as our security forces look on helplessly and powerlessly as if under a spell. It is even most alarming that despite the claims of responsibilities for these attacks even on national television, no one seems to be prosecuted today for those multiple heinous crimes committed against our people including hapless women and children, some of whom were ripped open from their mothers’ wombs as they awaited their days of birth oblivious of the dire security situation that would cut short their expectations!
Rather than adequately equip our security forces so that they can perform their constitutional roles, the ruling party’s preoccupation seems to be the use of these security forces to achieve selfish and sinister political motives and unleash them against innocent civilians who dare speak against them or hold a divergent view from theirs as witnessed in the illegal and barbaric invasion of both the National Assembly and the Benue State House of Assembly by some security forces almost simultaneously.
On health front, while cases of polio have resurfaced, Lassa Fever has killed more people than it ordinarily should have done if we had a more focused and coordinated government in place. A majority of Nigerians have wondered what would have happened if it was the Buhari administration that was in place when the Ebola virus hit the country few years ago. It is almost certain that with the events of today, a good number of Nigerians would have died from it.
The economy has not fared any better. Despite the claims that Nigeria has exited recession which the country was plunged into under the Buhari administration, the reality on ground proves otherwise as the hardship in the land is so palpable it can never be mistaken for prosperity as claimed by the spin doctors of the ruling party. The prices of food stuff have skyrocketed and have refused to come down; cost of transportation has remained so high; basic household items have also gone out of the reach of the masses as prices have increased astronomically as a result of the combined effects of fuel price increase from N87 to N141 and deep fall in the value of the Naira from about N190/$ in 2015 to about N360/$ today, all under the Buhari presidency!
A report released by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, in January, show that a whopping 7.9 million Nigerians became unemployed between January 2016 and September 30, 2017. At an average of 6 persons per family, it means that about 47.4 million Nigerians have lost their sources of livelihood, a population far more than that of The Netherlands, Belgium, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina put together! Factories are closing down in droves and the stock market keeps crashing on a regular basis as investors’ confidence in the nation’s polity and economy keeps waning radically due to the lack of focus and obvious ineptitude of government. Still under Buhari, Nigeria just officially overtook India as the world headquarters of extreme poverty.
Upon all these, and apart from the civil war era, Nigerians have never been so divided in their history as they are now having been led by the president’s unfortunate division of the country into 97% vs 5% sides. Rather than heal the situation, President Muhammadu Buhari has made it worse with his highly nepotistic appointments, statements and policies which many see as favouring a section of the country against the others.
As it stands today, Nigeria is grounded! She is pauperized, broken and wounded! She is in urgent need of a surgeon who knows how to resuscitate a dying patient to bring her back to life, bandage her wounds and give her hope that, in spite of all she has gone through, hers is not a completely hopeless one as long as she is conscious enough not to repeat her mistake of 2015 but move away from her oppressors who have been busy maligning and blackmailing others rather than face the urgent needs of State.
No doubt, with what he has been able to achieve as president of the 8th Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, a medical doctor by profession and an astute politician who has proved to have more than the ability needed to work with people from different backgrounds, diverse affiliations and protect all interests no matter how divergent they are, fits the bill of the surgeon that Nigeria needs at a time like this.
Having suffered gruesome political assaults himself, Saraki understands the need for Nigerians to be allowed to enjoy their freedom as enshrined in our constitution. He sure knows the importance of obeying court orders, and he is one man who has used his office to sound several warnings about the dangers of allowing the nation to drift as it has done today.
However, his admonitions were mistaken for inimical dissent and he was made to suffer for it, marked for destruction. But events of today have proven him right as Nigeria grapples for life. Having defeated his traducers at the courts even up to the Supreme Court level, and emerged victorious against all their shenanigans, Saraki suddenly became the beautiful bride of his oppressors who were believed to have induced him with mouthwatering juicy offers. However, Saraki had concluded that he had had enough of sharing the same table with a party that has supervised the killings of Nigerians in droves, a majority of the survivors who go to bed hungry on a daily basis and left to the whimsical and capricious dictates of their murderers despite the billions of dollars the presidency earmarks for security on a regular basis.
No amount of inducement would stop him. Saraki’s mind was made up. He had to leave and wash his hands clean of all the evils the APC has brought upon the land. And in collaboration with other Nigerians of good conscience and spirit, he is one man, one trained surgeon that a battered Nigeria needs to better and restore her back to succor!