Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who watches Mr. Buhari?

“For four years, Mr. President, the nation has accorded you such servile obeisance on the understanding that you inherited a weak state and that anything after Abacha was tolerable. The people were optimistic that you had the credentials to lead them to the Promised Land. What will now pass as your mystical image of a great achiever and statesman prevailed on even the doubting Thomases to believe that you were divinely anointed. But barely two years into your first term, it was clear to even your most jaundiced admirers that you are not after all the Messiah this nation has been waiting for.“

The Devil Is It, Mr. President; (An Open Letter to President Obasanjo—January 21, 2004) by Dangiwa Abubakar Umar, Rtd Col.

If one removed Abacha from the quote above and added Jonathan, changed the date and we are still in the same spot we started in 1999. So this is my admonition.

 I will not insult my president, I will also rally around Mr. President; because first he is my president, he represents an office, an institution and more. However, I will look at this administration with a lens tagged “critical thinking googles” (recall those Abacha googles).

 Let me quickly add that praying for PMB, GMB, President Buhari or the APC or Nigeria to fail is like praying for a bus conveying you and your family somewhere to have an accident. Buhari cannot fail exclusively in Katsina, Zungeru, and the North or in Ogun or Abia states. His failure or otherwise is a collective. It’s bound to affect Nigeria, and Nigerians.

 In the last four years a president has seemingly acted unconcerned, while his body language remained coy. He has largely been unaware; appointments were either from the land of the dead or of the living dead. There were several travels and not exactly much in terms of rewards; entertainment were a many, when it was not in the ‘oza room’, it was those rats that were not scared of the stern-faced Aso Rock security details.

 When the Aso Clinic was not equipped, the so-called fabled kitchen cabinet, aka the cabal were the epicenter of one drama or the other.

 We spent, and are still spending time chasing the last administration. They failed, we agreed, brought you on board to correct, and chart a new course but my president and his teeming supporters don’t understand that coffee poured in water cannot be retrieved. For the solutions we craved, we became the new bride of the octopus handed problems of insecurity, poor health infrastructure, estranged civil servant relationship, cat and rat legislative/executive bickering, including a continually abused, used and misused judiciary.

 On the corruption front, the Bob Marley tune remained corruption is fighting back. Spare us, Nigerians are difficult people and easily not satisfied but if one man would have won even the skeptics and shut mouths up by applying the Chinese method to corruption, it would have been Uncle Bubu, but it has been night cosmetics and the absence of the substance.

 The last four years’ inactivity prompted the distractions of the Objs, Danjumas and saw a confused PDP mount a near improbable comeback.

When Lai Mohammed was not telling us how much it cost to feed El-Zaky Zaky, Adeosun now of the NYSC fame kept the nation distracted from the hunger. Amaechi won’t let Wike, Fashola and failed contractors were engaged in Davido’s “if I tell you say I love you…” and then the bearded one at the communication end was more concerned with his home state politics. Monies at the sports ministry remained ‘spent and expended’.

 Simply put the last four years has been reactionary. South Africans came to play a qualifier in Nigeria and had they not come with the FIFA approved match balls the match wouldn’t have been played. Reminding me of the late Rashidi Yekini era when they had to cut their tracks to shorts to play.

 So what has changed, what should change, if the handle of this administration was to be corrupt free, from money swallowing snakes to monkey playing with monies in the same shadow to a security mantra that that even the vice president acknowledged that the government is not in control in many places, with Zamfara, Katsina, joining the usual suspects…

 Four years of imaginary rice improvements seen only by Audu, Ngige and doctors are too much or that some health minister asking them to become farmers. How about the science minister whose goal was for us to start making pencils? Why sir, why daddy Buhari did you allow these mediocre make little of the gains that would have left you a legacy.

 So without any fear of being misguided by party sentiments, political folly, personality cult followership and ethnographic sheepish waka; this is what Buhari needs to know.

 Nigeria is currently referred to as the poverty capital of the world, with an estimated 87 million Nigerians living in extreme poverty. Majority of the population are poor and living on less than $1.90 a day. Security challenges, poor governance, corruption, etc, have compounded this socio-economic malady.

 The Nigerian elite are more concerned about their disaffection and the lack of programmes aimed at meeting the basic educational needs of the less privileged stares us all.

Initiatives like Tradermoni is commendable, but it is a drop in the ocean as it was designed to benefit two million Nigerians in 2018 out of the 87 million living in extreme poverty. In 2019, there is no readily accessible data to confirm the number of Nigerians that have benefited from the scheme as well as the modalities for disbursement and the criteria for accessing the money.

 There’s need for immediate action to engender sustainable policies and programmes capable of lifting Nigerians out of poverty. There should be a workable social empowerment and security system that addresses the conditions of Nigerians living in extreme poverty. Investment in human capital development should also be prioritised for easy access to basic healthcare, and other social amenities.

 The rising security challenges confronting the country are largely traceable to the growing level of poverty in Nigeria because a greater number of Nigerians are impelled to seek violent ways to augment their economic conditions or make inordinate demands from government.

 Quis custodiet ipsos custodes is a Latin phrase found in the work of the Roman poet Juvenal from his Satires (Satire VI, lines 347–348). It is literally translated as ‘Who will guard the guards themselves?’ It was also the title of Wole Soyinka’s caustic interventionist missile VIII. This particular one is an admonition and not caustic, I am rather asking those around the president, those who watch and guide him to please tell him the truth.

 I end this admonition humming to Sunny Okosun’s which way Nigeria—

Which way Nigeria

Which way to go

I love my fatherland

I want to know

Which way Nigeria is heading to

Many years after independence

We still find it hard to start

How long shall we be patient till we reach the promised land?

Let’s save Nigeria

So Nigeria won’t die

Which way Nigeria is heading to

Every little thing that goes wrong

We start to blame the goverment

We know everything that goes wrong

We are part of the government

Which way Nigeria is heading to

Inefficiency and indiscipline

is ruining the country now

Corruption here there and every where

Inflation is very high

Let’s save Nigeria

So Nigeria won’t die

Which way Nigeria is heading to

remember that a single step is the beginning of a million mile

Let’s start right now to

rebuild ourselves to make the country smile

let’s save Nigeria so Nigeria won’t die

which way Nigeria

Which way to go. Only time will tell.

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