By Stephen Ubanna
Elder Statesman and former President Olusegun Obassanjo, a rtd Army General, appears not to have seen anything good in the President Muhammadu Buhari, a rtd Army General, Administration. An aggrieved Obasanjo who is worried that Nigeria under the Buhari led ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, government has become a failed state, fears that it might distintegrate as it is currently ‘’ badly divided’’ but blaming it on the’’ mismanagement of the country’’ .
The former Nigerian President may have drawn the attention of the members of the various socio-cultural groups in the country like the Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo and Pan Niger Delta Forum, about the dangers ahead when he recently delivered a speech titled ‘’Moving Nigeria Away from Tipping Over’’, at a Consultative Dialogue in Abuja , the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
The Ogun state born retired Army General and politician, who could not hide his feelings was emphatic, ‘’I feel sad and embarrassed at the way the country was been run by the ruling APC.He may have alluded to the fact the party has destroyed the sixteen years legacy of the Opposition People’s Democratic party, PDP, by turning the Country into a debtor nation and taking bad economic policies that are based on what is based on the global economy .
Take for instance the recent increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit , PMS, popular, Petrol from N143.00 to N151.00 per liter, depot price and increase in electricity tariff. Taking a closer look at the number of times the Buhari Administration has increased the prices of petrol and Automotive Gas Oil, AGO or diesel, this may be the fifth times going by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Authority, PPRA records between 2015 and now.
The government may have bowed to pressure of the 11 major Petroleum Products marketing Companies and the Electricity generation, Transmission and Distribution Companies to increase the depot prices of petrol and diesel becauses as well hike electricity tariff. The Petroleum Products marketing Companies may have given the government the impression of the losses being incurred due to fall in the prices of Crude oil in the International market due to the Wuhan Town in the Hebei-Province of the Asian country of China emerged coronavirus or COVID 19.
In proposing for the hike in depot prices of the Petroleum Products sold at the filling stations across the country Abdulkadir Saidu, Executive Secretary of the PPPRA, had said that ‘’after a view of the prevailing market fundamentals in the month of June and considering the marketers’ realistic operating costs, as much as practicable, the agency had no option but ‘’to advise for a new PMS pump price band of N151.00 depot price per liter of petrol.
The PPPRA, Executive Secretary, who has great influence on the Buhari Administration in increasing the pump prices of products over the last five years, had pointed that ‘’the ex-depot prices include the statutory charges of bridging fund, maritime transport average, National Transport Allowance and administrative charges.
Obasanjo may have alluded to the Buhari mismanagement of the country’s economy to the decision ‘’ to stop the subsidy payment regime as he had said that downstream sector of the nation’s oil industry will be full deregulated’’. He was said to have made it clear last June that the prices of all Petroleum Products which includes Petrol and electricity tariff, would be determined by market forces, following the removal of the oil subsidy by the government.
In spite of effort being made by top government functionaries to assure Nigerians the pains of the petrol and electricity tariff increase was for a while, the explanation appear to have made any appreciable impact on the people.
Many believe that the Buhari led APC, government decision to deregulate the nation’s oil sector was borne out of the mismanagement of the nation’s economy . They may have corroborated former President Obasanjo’s claim that Nigeria is fast drifting to a failed and badly divided state, economically as ‘’it is becoming a basket case and poverty capital of the world’’.
More worrisome was the already known fact that the country is firming up as an unwholesome and insecure country. Recall that an aggrieved Obasanjo had said that ‘’these manifestations are the products of the recent mismanagement of the diversity and socio-economic development of the country.
He had said that the Buhari government ought to have successfully dealt with the internal issues of terrorism in the north eastern states of Adamawa, Borno an and Yobe, banditry in the north west, kidnapping , human trafficking , drug barons , money laundering Corruption and other organised rimes, in the country ,but for lack of unity in the coountry.
Although, the former Nigerian President is not happy over the running of the country by the Buhari led APC, government, he may have told those that cares to listen that ‘’there is still a ray of hope that the country can be saved from disintegration’’.
Obasanjo’s recent remarks about the counry disintegrating may have hit hard on the government that the Katsina state born Nigerian President may have called on Gabriel Olonisakin , an Army General and Chief of Defense Staff and the Service Chiefs to mobilise their full military strength to curb the activities of the bandits , cattle rustlers, gunrunners and other criminals in the north west and other parts of the country.
Tukur Buratai, a Lt. General and Chief of Army Staff, may have gotten the message loud and clear that he has gladdened the heart of Nigerians when he promised that the Army will go tough on the outlaws in the north western states of Kaduna, Katsina, the President home state of Buhari, Zamfara and Sokot.,
True to his words, he was said to have launched Operation Sahel Sanity, OSS, to deal with the bandits, cattle rustlers, kidnappers and the gun runners in the north west. He may have sent a signal to the outlas that it is no longer going to be business as usual as the troops would be in the war -thorn north west till December, 2020, in order to rid the region of the outlaws beating the drum of disintegration in the country.