Buhari: The good, the bad, the ugly 

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Portrayed as a fraud. Painted as a failed leader by others, there’s more to President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure than meets the eye. Charged with the titanic assignment of bringing Nigeria back and on track, his ascension to the 001 seat in 2015 highlighted the arrival of a new era. 

No living politician enjoyed the overwhelming support, love, care, concern, etc., like Buhari. However, the time he spent in power has proven to be an anticlimax. Rightly so? 

President Buhari’s biggest flaw, his Achilles Heel can be summarised in one word: Narrow-mindedness.

His failure to recognise, acknowledge or accept ideas other than his own even when reasons suggest, proved to be his greatest weakness. In addition, he’s a staunch critic who sees no good in his political rivals, except for former President Goodluck Jonathan who will later hand him power on a silver platter. From labelling fuel subsidy a “Fraud”,  blabbing Jonathan’s efforts on his fight against Boko Haram insurgency, to touting ASUU strike as something that could be resolved in a blink of an eye.

When he was declared winner of the 2015 presidential election, nothing but the second return of Jesus could elicit such a nationwide reaction. 

The good:

From his inaugural speech, Nigerians both at home and in the diaspora were swept in joy. More interesting, was his (in) famous line which rekindled our hope, “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody.”  

He added, “My appeal for unity is predicated on the seriousness of the legacy we are getting into. With depleted foreign reserves, falling oil prices, leakages and debts the Nigerian economy is in deep trouble and will require careful management to bring it round and to tackle the immediate challenges confronting us, namely, Boko Haram, the Niger Delta situation, the power shortages and unemployment, especially among young people. For the longer term we have improved the standard of our education. We have to look at the whole field of medicare. We have to upgrade our dilapidated physical infrastructure.”

“The most immediate is Boko Haram’s insurgency. Progress has been made in recent weeks by our security forces but victory cannot be achieved by basing the Command and Control Centre in Abuja. The command centre will be relocated to Maiduguri and remain until Boko Haram is completely subdued. But we cannot claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage by insurgents.”

Throughout the inaugural speech, President Buhari was full of himself, firing shots across his bow which almost suffocated the guilty minds. 

The bad:

The first signs of bad was Buhari’s procrastination, complacency, blame game and failure to take responsibility. His greatest strength, which is the use of rhetoric to scare and naturally bully the guilty minds, slowly grew to become one of the biggest reason for his fall. Initially, he has established himself as someone who’s strategic, prowess and predatory. 

However, it later became clear that he’s devoid of such qualities, even more obvious after it took him over six months to appoint his ministers. When he eventually did, some dead people made the list of the appointees. Concerns began to leak out around his leadership’s identity and undefined style. Doubts began to set in. 

His lackadaisical approach continue to grow, but to doubt Buhari at that material time was a heinous sin. Nigerians continue to play the sport of attacking ringworms while leprosy festers. Blaming the Sarakis, Dogaras, etc., in the NASS floor as saboteurs of his government. This threw the reelection bid of Saraki, Dino, Isah Hamma under the bus in the 2019 election to pave a clear pathway for Buhari. 

The ugly:

Nigeria’s Jekyll and Hyde performances under Buhari grew out of control. While Buhari struggled to explain the abnormal nature behind his government’s inconsistent performances, his puzzled supporters appeared equally as confused. 

His record in infrastructure development is good without being impressive. And, better not to visit the issue of insecurity which assumed many dimensions (banditry, kidnapping, etc), corruption/looting in billions, high unemployment rate, exorbitant cost of living, fuel scarcity, the marathon ASUU strike, eight months old. Cutting the long  story short, the most anticipated “Jarmiya” and the aspirations to see Nigeria back and on track during “Mai Gaskiya” went up in flames. 

There were a series of decisions that had  repercussions. They include as the border closure, adopting the economy of ‘borrow-and-spend’, unaccounted CBN loans, etc. A disturbing reflection of his tenure was the gruesome murder of innocent souls by the bandits, rampant ransom demand by kidnappers, attack of the Abuja-Kaduna train, Abuja Central Prison, and the presidential convoy. 

Is Buhari unfortunate? 

The economic recession, the coronavirus pandemic, oil doom, etc., could all be attributed to his below par performance. However, even at that, with good economic policies, shrewd investment in the critical areas, he can do more, even better, had he accepted responsibilities and moved on.

Final days:

To borrow a word from the intimidating Mike Tyson in Dark Trade, “The leader’s always by himself in a time of doom;” as is Muhammadu Buhari. 

As Nigerians started counting down to just some days to the general elections, the frustration of the “talakawa” like a rolling ball, is just getting bigger and bigger. 

First, it was in his home state of Katsina and later Kano where he was jeered and stoned, which summarised how everything had turned ugly for him. Uglier still, was his inability to understand the frustration of Nigerians. The love and support he enjoyed in those days had ebbed away. 


Nigeria had deteriorated in and around Goodluck Jonathan’s final years as a president, which Buhari recognised. 

He did fairly good in the security sector at his first tenure, but his second tenure spiraled into chaos once more, as he was eventually unable to liberate the country from turmoil. 

Although it didn’t sit well with my spirit that he was jeered and or stoned, Buhari of the masses failed to love them. He dropped the most critical ball that saw him claim victory against a sitting president. And, it hurts to love and not be loved in return.

Shu’aib writes from Hardawa,

Misau LGA, Bauchi state, Nigeria, via 

[email protected] com

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