Well meaning Nigerians were gladdened to see that you had stood for over an hour before the National Assembly and presented the 2018 budget proposal. This is a confirmation that you are now hale and hearty. May the Almighty God give you more strength, wisdom and energy to surmount the enormous challenges besetting the nation.
It will stimulate euphoria in many Nigerians to be all ears that you evaluate yourself by raising questions like: Am I performing? Am I different from my predecessors in the way I manage the affairs of this nation? Are the enormous hopes and expectations reposed in me by millions of people across the country being realized? Are my policies marching my campaign promises? Is the journey I embarked on different from the same road Nigeria was?
Security was the first on the list of your campaign promises. I will like to know out of intellectual curiosity, what type of security have you successfully provided – physical, financial or emotional security? Honestly, none of the above. Although, your effort to provide security, particularly in the North-east, is commendable but you have not obtained a 50% mark.
A reporter sought your view about the dangers and powers of Boko Haram terrorists before you were elected president. You ferociously and disparagingly replied, “What is Boko Haram?” But the big questions are: Is it the same Boko Haram you belittled in the past that you are now unable to defeat? Is it a new brand Boko Haram that is more powerful than the one you disparaged? Have they now metamorphosed into more organized terrorist group than the purported mishmash group? Are they still invincible as they were under your predecessor? Is Nigerian army still underfunded and under equipped? Or are you proving to Nigerians that it is easier said than done? Killings by Boko Haram, armed robbers, unknown gunmen, kidnappers, cultists, still persist and it morphed an average Nigerian into an ogre.
Sir, are you still aware of the shortcomings you vowed to address if elected president? Will I be at fault to say that you have not convincingly distinguished yourself from your predecessors in the way you are managing the affairs of this country. It appears we are still on the same road we were already on. After all, we discharged our civic responsibility out of burning desire to better our lots and that of our future generation.
Under your leadership, the gap between the rich and the poor is getting wider. Daily Trust newspaper of November 16, 2016 reported that 558 Staff of Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) gulp N4.5bn as salaries and allowances annually. Sometimes last year, your attention was drawn to the clandestine and unjust recruitment by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). Only the children of highly influential men were recruited into these lucrative places, and no action has been taken to redress such monumental injustice.
In less than six months in office, you approved the negotiation of new salary increment of NNPC staff which is reviewed after every three years. The salary of staff in ministries and some parastatals – a reservoir for less privileged with a take home pay that can’t afford to put a decent meal on one’s table – is yet to see the light of the day after five years. This deliberate unequal distribution of wealth plunges many Nigerians into desperation. Most of those who resorted to criminal behaviour, find themselves in such desperate situation.
Sir, it has not come to anyone’s knowledge, not even your worst enemy, that corruption will be conspicuously present in your government. Your chief of staff, some of your ministers, state house permanent secretary, former NIA DG and former SGF were accused of all sort of corruption. You initially treated these corruption cases with a kid glove; then you succumbed to a gravitational pressure bearing down on you; followed a suspension and finally sacked the NIA’s DG and the SGF as well but they are yet to be prosecuted while you turned a blind eyes to the rest. Isn’t this a contradiction of your popular quote, “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody.”
Your budget of “change” (2016), budget of “economic recovery and growth” (2017) and budget of “consolidation” (2018) are synonymous with that of the previous regimes in terms of wastages. There are absolutely no discrepancies. “It breaks my heart that at a time when many Nigerians can’t eat we are budgeting (in 2017) N40m to feed wild life animals in Aso Rock,” Said a senator.
Sir, when you were declared winner of 2015 election many thought that who you know syndrome, inequality, selective justice and other menaces would become a thing of the past. Unfortunately the situation persists.