‘Lack Of Clear Policy Direction Stunts Movement Under Buhari’
Board Chairman of International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, (InterSociety) Mr. Emeka Umeagbalasi, in this chat with IKENNA ONYEKWELU, explains that the 100 days of Buhari exposes Nigeria’s poor governance foundation, absence of modern development vision.
How would you rate the Buhari administration in 100 days? THE best way to know the level of governance decadence in Nigeria is to compare the country with other countries that Nigeria was far better than in the 60s and 70s.
Using this parameter, you will agree with us in totality that Nigeria is chronically at crossroads with respect to governance confusion, bastardiSation and backwardness.
The best way to rate President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration now is not in the area of infrastructural governance achievement, which is nonexistent; but governance foundation.
As expected and feared by attentive Nigerian public, President Buhari administration has since May 29, 2015 been running from pillar to pole in its governance without a direction. Truly speaking, President Buhari is a direct opposite of a statesman, who builds, binds and facilitates peaceful co-existence, leading to social harmony and integration as well as economic prosperity and greatness.
He clearly represents the opposite. For instance, he has made up to 24 office appointments since May 30, 2015 and not even one of them is from the Southeast zone; thereby grossly violating Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution.
The President has no clearly and constitutionally defined governance foundation and direction and it is a settled maxim in the world of science that something can never be generated from nothing.
Till date, Buhari is constitution-phobia and military decree-friendly. Check out all his appointments and policy decisions; most of them are unknown to the 1999 Constitution, which totally governs the country’s constitutional democracy. In all, the Buhari administration is confused and has no standardized governance direction.
His government is best described as ‘government of media propaganda for confusion of Nigerian masses, and by false governance alarmists.’ Could you Ssome achievements and what have been missed?
Achievements? No, none of such is on the ground. Instead, the Buhari administration has continuously destroyed some noble policies of his predecessor, such as the reported reversal of upgraded colleges of education and appointment of some celebrated personalities into strategic statutory federal offices.
Even in those appointment reversals, he breached statutory procedures and the 1999 Constitution with utmost alacrity. Lopsided and unconstitutional appointments made in AMCON, INEC, DSS, NIMASA, are a clear case in point. Nepotism and favoritism have also guided some of his appointments like in DSS and INEC.
The stark truth is that President Muhammadu Buhari has only engaged in administrative appointments and not governance; therefore, there is no room for itemization of achievements recorded because none is on the ground.
Even the insurgency violence he promised to end in a twinkle of an eye is still raging with over 1000 deaths under two months of his highly divisive presidency.
The most annoying of it all is that even in his infinitesimal public conducts so far, he has grossly observed the rules and the Constitution in gross breach.
In theory, President Muhammadu Buhari can be said to be governing Nigeria with the 1999 Constitution, but in practice, he rules in military style of his dark khaki days. Sustained attempts are on to resort to quasi-military legal system and reckless and excessive use of coercive State apparatuses. What have been missed are in legion.
Till date, he has no Secretary to the Government of the Federation (as at the time of going to press), who ought to be recording and documenting official government conducts and correspondences; no Attorney General of the Federation to handle sensitive legal matters and opinions; and no Federal Executive Council or Federal Cabinet to put governance into full swing and engender a sense of nationality representation and federalism.
Also, no substantive appointments have been made into certain federal executive bodies like INEC, etc; no adherence to geopolitical spread in his appointments in accordance with Section 14 (3) of the Constitution.
The President further goofed by making appointments using procedures unknown to the 1999 Constitution such as those he made in DSS, INEC and AMCON, to mention but a few.
He has put DSS on rampage as instrument of State terror. A retired director of the Service was brought back to active service in defiance of the 1999 Constitution and other relevant laws of the Federation.
What are your observations on the following key indicators: employment, business growth, budget performance, investment and power? In employment, zero growth is recorded so far under Buhari administration.
It is even going to super-zero. Look at the latest development following the presidential suspension of the Comptroller General of the Immigration Service over alleged ISIS insurgency conspiracy.
As reported in the media, a presidential directive has been given for the ongoing recruitment training involving newly recruited Immigration cadets to be discontinued.
The stark truth is that President Muhammadu Buhari has only engaged in administrative appointments and not governance; therefore, there is no room for itemization of achievements recorded because none is on the ground. Even the insurgency violence he promised to end in a twinkle of an eye is still raging with over 1000 deaths under two months of his highly divisive presidency.
Just last March (2014), 15 young graduates attending the Immigration Service recruitment screening exercise died summarily and unceremoniously.
Now, if those in training are sent packing, is the employment growing or dying under Buhari Presidency? Again, it is a global consensus that government is not the highest employer of labour but the private sector.
Yet, private sector cannot thrive without full government support and aides through investment friendly policies and creation of investment friendly environment.
Now, tell us, what is the policy direction of President Buhari administration with respect to employment growth in Nigeria? In the country, presently, there are no security and freedom from want and fear that will propel industrial investments and direct foreign investments, which, in turn, will swallow 60 percent of unemployment in the country.
A number of existing multinational companies have shut down and relocated to other countries including Ghana owing to power epilepsy and government corruption and hash trade and investment policies including over taxation, criminal taxation and multiple taxation. Till date, Nigeria has no modern trade and investment or industrial development vision. Skill acquisition policy including macro and micro credit facilities is nonexistent.
The worst of all is that the public funds needed to turn things around are legislatively siphoned and criminally diverted by political office holders. We ask again: what are the Buhari administration’s policy directions towards these?
In the area of agents of industrialization, how many government projects are awarded or ongoing courtesy of President Muhammadu Buhari administration?
Federal Government controls 34,400 kilometers of the country’s 198,000 kilometers of road network and what is the condition of these federal roads? What is Buhari administration policy direction on roads? What about the country’s moribund railway system? Does Buhari administration have any policy direction on it? Are there national carriers for Nigeria?
What is the condition of the country’s 22 local and international airports? Is there any policy direction for them under Buhari administration? In the areas of other social services like health, food production and food security, housing, water, environment, education, physical security and social security, what are their policy directions under President Muhammadu Buhari administration?
On business growth, it has gone super-zero under President Muhammadu Buhari administration with respect to policy direction. In his clear bid to destroy the Igbo nation for voting against him as a protest for steady massacre of her sons and daughters in politically oiled insurgency and other civil disturbances in the North; he has approved the closure of importation using infantile economic excuses like “control of trafficking in hard currencies” or “checking money laundering activities”.
No country can do without importation no matter how rich, particularly as it concerns products not produced locally in commercial and industrial quantities. The simple meaning of “global village” is that no country can stand on its own without others.
To fight money laundering or to get naira to appreciate against dominant foreign currencies, strategic economic policy turnaround is required. President Buhari’s current monetary policy is akin to Uganda under Idi Amin Dada, who pointed a gun on the head of his Central Bank governor and commanded him to make his national currency thicker than that of British Pound Sterling.
During the oil boom of late 70s in Nigeria, naira was strong following oil-economy growth courtesy of sharp rise in the international price of crude oil. Today, naira has depreciated steadily, losing over N40.00 to US Dollar less than three months in 2015.
To make Nigeria strong and its naira internationally competitive, there is need for economic development or industrialization of the country’s 33 solid mineral deposits and agriculture, which must be propelled by purposeful and visionary political leadership. As for power and budget performances, President Buhari has no solution in sight both policy and practice wise.
The Nigerian budget is still dominated by legislative corruption with 70 per cent of same legislated into the pockets of the public office holders, using outrageous overheads, including security votes and remunerated allowances as cover.
The budget policy in Nigeria is also loan and recurrent oriented. Their formulators and implementers are grossly corrupt and deformed. In all, funds needed for public governance are officially hijacked and diverted by most of the country’s public office holders leaving 170 million Nigerians to wallow in chronic penury and political slavery.
If you are to match Buhari’s promises during electioneering campaigns and performance within the past 100 days, what can you present? We are not interested or bothered a bit about what Nigerian politicians say at political campaign arenas because they are commonly called psychology of politics or lies told by politicians at campaign grounds to cunningly get votes of the un-attentive public.
From day one, President Buhari and his APC have no program of governance known to lettered and un-lettered Nigerians, social realities and international governance best practices.
The President and his APC are sticklers of propaganda and alarmist political speeches, with intent to confuse and mislead Nigerians and members of the international community. They condemn status quo policies and actions of the past without proffering solutions or better options.
This explains why Buhari and his co-travelers in APC’s political governance of Nigeria have dusted up dreaded and ill-conceived “anti-corruption” policy of the 80s spear-headed by late Major General Tunde Idiagbon, then Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters.
Yet, they do not understand the modern concept of corruption and its effective control or checks mechanism. Funny enough, the same set of people parroting “fight against corruption” are the same people holding the country to a ransom with half of the illicitly gotten wealth in their hands and those of their cronies.
To engage in corruption, one must be morality corruption friendly and President Buhari, by refusing to make his assets declaration public, is expressly guilty of morality corruption.
He is also a beneficiary of electoral corruption and guilty of political corruption by spending three months in office without a cabinet and running Nigeria as a sole administrator in total disregard of the 1999 Constitution.
In managing modern corruption in a constitutional democracy, preventive measures are highly and internationally recommended. In investigating and prosecuting those indicted, rule of law and not propaganda or trial by ordeal are inexcusably the only way out.