The national elections of 2015 have come and gone with new leaders now in the saddle. It was a year with a lot of politicking, with the big clash between the changers and transformers. Nigerians bought the change and so Buharians have it. After eight months, Nigerians are yet to figure out what the philosophy, the spirit, the economics and the goals of governance will be for the next 2 years, given that the last one and half year is customarily devoted to electioneering. Thus, there is no clear picture of what Buharinomics would be like neither is there hint on the direction of Buharilosophy.
No doubts, the naira sliding down to 300 naira to a dollar was not an intended plan of the new administration likewise the stifling economy that is scaring investors. Sure, Nigerians asked for the fight against corruption and Buhari has set sight on some targets. Nigeria like most African countries are trying to find their foot in nationhood just because about five to six decades ago when most of them became nations they were still essentially trade posts as set by the colonial leaders. By this, Nigeria is not so different than the “niger area” trade post for the British. Actually, students of history will acknowledge that provision of government services has deteriorated from the 1960s to date, so Nigerians are worse off now than in the 1960s when the fervor of independence was reckoned with a passion to build nationhood.
The December, 31 1983 coup like the 2015 general elections was plotted by Buhari and his fellow coup plotters with a resounding anti-corruption anthem. They employed a successful tactics of pushing for anti-corruption agenda and cajoling the populace that Shagari’s government was the most corrupt ever. In his coup’s victory speech of January 1, 1984, Buhari said, “Corruption and indiscipline have been associated with our state of under-development,” and vowed that his administration will be intolerant of corrupt practices including “forgery, fraud, embezzlement, misuse, and abuse of office.” Following the coup, several Nigerians were locked up with sentences of hundreds of years. However, if we recall, the economy was stifling as it is now in the months that followed Buhari’s new administration in 1984.
Most Nigerians want Nigeria to be a success, however, change will not thrive without a unified, patriotic vision for a nationhood. Nigeria will continue to dwindle, shrink and deteriorate until a visionary agenda that will bring all nation states involved in Nigeria, to align their individual spirit, philosophy and psychology for a bigger nation. Unfortunately previous national leaders have never felt it was important albeit for their own self-interest. The political elite in the Northern geopolitical region of Nigeria may prefer the status quo as they fear the unknown if a new agenda is set in the country. On the other hand, a new agenda may appeal to the power brokers of the Southern geopolitical region, however the mutual mistrust between the major nation states of southern Nigeria (the Igbos and Yorubas) has truncated a unified will from the south.
As we progress in 2016, Nigeria cannot afford to deny the truth that though corruption is a problem, the elephant in the room is the lack of national spirit, philosophy and psychology, which has led to the Niger delta insurgency, Boko Haram, the Biafra movement, and possibly more to come in ensuing years. Buhari has to learn from his mistakes of the past, during his leadership of the country 1983-1985. To continue to dismiss the need to engage the people in discussing an agenda for a national spirit, philosophy, psychology, and form of governance that will make everyone an equal partner, is a dangerous path that deters national progress. The power brokers in government now should know that there is a potential that at the end of the day there can be a repeat of the speech by Babangida in August 27 of 1985 on why Buhari’s military regime was dethroned. In explaining the rationale for overthrowing Buhari’s regime, Babangida said, “regrettably, it turned out that Major-General Muhammadu Buhari was too rigid and uncompromising in his attitudes to issues of national significance. Efforts to make him understand that a diverse polity like Nigeria required recognition and appreciation of differences in both cultural and individual perceptions, only served to aggravate these attitudes.” As Sony Okosun’s music rightly captures, Nigerians would like to know from the new administration “which way Nigeria”?