Buhari: Working magic in body language
THE saying that action speaks louder than voice still holds, at least in the current dispensation of governance in the country. President Muhammadu Buhari has barely made any remarkable policy statement since assuming office on May 29, this year.
He is yet to unveil his much-awaited cabinet. Not many, perhaps except Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai and a few inner caucus members, know anything in his mind regarding governance and choice of appointees.
Yet, a few things are already falling into place. Many things are beginning to take shape. Many civil and public servants, as well as politicians and indeed Nigerians are keying in and cow-towing to his body language, especially his stance on corruption.
Suddenly, there is remarkable and never-expected improvement in electricity supply across the country, at least on the average. Now, officials of the JENCOs and DISCOs attend to customers with courtesy and dispatch.
Whenever there is a fault, they sure fix it as it should be; unlike before. All since two months ago. Is it that more power plants have been added to the existing ones to increase generation that has led to the general improvement in supply? Certainly No! Suddenly, the moribund petroleum refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna are coming back to life.
What magic had Buhari done for this to happen? Suddenly, most filling stations that hitherto hoarded fuel are selling, though sometimes above the stipulated prices.
Now, we hardly hear marketers threatening government with stoppage of importation of products over ‘bogus’ unpaid claims. They rarely hold government to ransom any longer.
What happened? How did it happen? Many Nigerians ask: ‘So things can work in this country?’ And the answer is not far-fetched. How has the President, in the space of just about two months, been able to make these marketers to ‘understand’ and make fuel available? What is his magic wand? Probably none, beyond the fear of the consequences of short-changing the country and Nigerians.
For all we know, former President Goodluck Jonathan, as a person, was a good man. At least, that is what we are told. He meant well for the country and Nigerians.
That much has been said over and over. He was content with what God has deposited in him, was not too ambitious or politically desperate, as most Nigerian politicians.
These he had said himself or exhibited by conceding defeat, willy-nilly, in this year’s election even when the final results were still being awaited.
At least, some of the improvements Nigeria and Nigerians are enjoying today bear his footprints, although some would never want to acknowledge so.
But what he didn’t do and which led to so much rot in the system was put his foot down in policy enunciation and execution in particular.
To many, he lacked the political will to assert authority and make people queue behind him. And this is where Buhari is already making the difference. As head of state in the early 1980s, when indiscipline was the order of the day, the War Against Indiscipline (WAI) was set up to take care of the malice.
Now, with corruption looming large at all levels and facets of society, he has set up a Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption to advise the administration, and obviously himself, on the prosecution of the war against corruption and the implementation of required reforms in Nigeria’s criminal justice system, as well as develop comprehensive interventions for achieving recommended reforms.
The Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation and Open Society Foundation have established the Anti-Corruption and Criminal Justice Reform Fund, to be managed by Trust Africa in support of government’s efforts to implement key components of the action plan and the work of the committee.
Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, said of Jonathan in an interview with Zero Tolerance magazine, a publication of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC): “There were forces around Jonathan, which he himself did not understand and that is why I stressed that you’ve got to choose your circles of advisers very carefully, when you are in charge. “He was caged; things were going on that he did not know about.”
The hallmark of good leadership is being assertive and having the political will to sanction erring subordinates. It is making examples of deviants and showing that a barking dog can bite.
Once these ingredients are missing, governance, and by extension government, becomes a bazaar. And that appears to be what it was for much of the last six years, with all manner of people dipping their hands into the commonwealth.
Now, the guilty are afraid. The news of their forthcoming prosecution has made some of them scampering for safety valve or possibly soft landing. Just as his body language is exuding confidence locally, it is also trickling into the international arena.
Apart from neighbouring countries that have expressed commitment to partner Nigeria in the fight against terrorism personified by Boko Haram, some western countries, including Britain, and the United States (U.S.) have renewed intention to assist Nigeria and indeed West Africa uproot the menace.
After a long time, Nigeria appears to be on the right track again. Now, deviants are afraid of the consequences of not playing according to the rules. Looters, known and unknown, are looking for cover. Once again, Nigeria is running. it is a deserved breath of fresh air for many Nigerians. • Ijediogor is News Editor, The Guardian On Saturday