Buhari Commends Nigeria’s Democracy, Leaves The Country Worse Than He Met It 

By Lateef Adegbite

President Muhammadu Buhari who may not have seen anything good in Democracy as a former Jackboot military Head of State in Nigeria appears to have realised that ‘’it is the best form of government’’.He has every reason to commend Nigerian Democracy because without it h could not have become President for eight years after already serving as a military Head of state.

The Katsina state born Nigerian President, who is counting days in office, to hand over to the next Nigerian President, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state of the ruling All Progressive Congress., APC may have sent message to those who still do not believe in Democracy   both within and outside the country to have a rethink. He insists that’ ’Democracy is a good thing’’, as somebody like him who is who from the military side could be’’ President for two terms’’.

The Nigerian President who may not have seen anything good in Democracy in the past because ‘’political contestants regarded victory at elections as a matter of life and death and were determined to capture and retain power by all means’, citing rigging and thuggery may have come face with the problems championed by his own party

 He may have benefitted from the election rigging and thuggery in the 2015 and 2019, Presidential elections,that he could go back to the drawing board to see what can be done to eliminate the problems in Nigerian polity.  .The fallout was the introduction of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System, BVAS, and electronic transmission of results.

Prof. Yakubu : Chairman, INEC

. The ruling APC, which is his party, had fought against  it   but the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, under the Chairmanship of Professor Mahmud Yakubu, which has the backing of the Ppresident, to use the technology stood its ground to use that it has come to stay.  

 Despite the introduction of the BVAS, in the conduct of elections in Nigerian, the technology appears not have completely eliminated rigging or political thuggery, according to local and International Political Observers.   The  February 25, 2023, Presidential  and National Assembly elections   as well as the governorship and the state Assembly  elections, on March 18, 2023, in 28 states of the Federation and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, supervised by the Administration, according to reports   have been chaacterised by rpolitical  thuggery in several parts of the country.

 The thuggery was said to have been more pronounced in Lagos, home state of Tinubu, the President-elect and Adamawa state. The situation in the north eastern state of Adamawa was so bad that  Hudu Yususa-Ari, the State Independent Electoral Commissioner, REC, and security a Chiefs  were said to have supported  the ruling  APC, governorship Candidate, Senator Aishatu Binani Dahiru.

The Department of State Security, DSS, under the close watch of Yusuf Magaji Bichi, had revealed that that the APC , Candidate paid two billion naira to the state  Electoral umpire, officials   to  win their support in order to be declared the winner of the  governorship election. He had her way but was frustrated by the people  who protested against the injustice to Ahmadu Fintiri, the incumbent  governor.   

The involvement of the Adamawa REC, in the Adamawa governorship election crisis may have exposed the President’s party  as being involved  in election rigging and thuggery, confirming his believe as a former Head  of State  that ‘’political Parties   Candidates jostling for elective office  rig based on resources available to them’’.This may have justified why Senator Binani, the Adamawa, APC  governorship Candidate could  buy over the state INEC  REC.

  Another major worry which the Nigerian President  was said to have identified with  the Nigerian Democracy  in the previous Democratic  dispensation  was that  has the   National Assembly Lawmakers,  had preoccupied themselves   with ‘’determining  their salary scales, fringe benefit and unnecessary foreign trips ,without taking into consideration   of the state  of the economy’’  but appear  worse under the APC  government. More worrisome was the fact that the Administration, has left the country worse than he met it in the areas of corruption, fraud and indiscipline.

 Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and Culture had said that 55, persons stole N1.34 trillion from the country’s treasury between 2006 and 2013 under the PDP, government.

 Many had expected him to block all the loopholes exploited by  the political appointees and top government officials to steal  to steal from the government treasury but not  much appear to  have been domne by the Administration as the number of the official thieves have increased over the last seven years.The case of Ahmed Idris, the Account of the Federation who  was indicted for fraud worth over N8 billion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,  EFCC, under the Chairmanship of Abdulaziz Bawa, speaks volume.

 Cases of Abuse of office and insubordination to superior Authority by political appointees who have contacts in the Presidency and illegal dealings in foreign exchange dealings appears to have become a common thing under the Buhari Administration.

 Until her removal from office, Hajia Hadiza Bala-Usman, a former Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, was insubordinate  to Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers state and immediate minister of Transportation. 

.The Nigerian President, who  as a military Head  of State had said that  the military  has  come  ‘’to largely  depend  on internal and external borrowings  to execute  government  projects’’ , may have taken advantage of his position as an elected President and with  the party controlling the majority in the  National Assembly, to sustain his government  on external borrowing  with’’ its attendant domestic pressure  and the country’s soaring debts’’.

A source at the ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning told The Value News that Buhari’s second term in office has been characterized by borrowing from multi-lateral Financial Institutions: Paris Club of creditors, London club of creditors, and multilateral creditors, including the World Bank and the Asian country of China Development Bank.

Patience Oniha, Director General, the Debt Management Office, DMO, was said to have   predicted that going by the rate at which the Nigerian government is borrowing money from multi-lateral Financial Institutions to execute capital  projects, by May 2023, which is he handover date,   the country’s debt  profile may hit N77 trillion .

The Nigerian Employers Consultative Association, NECA, which appear worried over the rising debt profile of the country on a monthly basis, has urged the President who has only 38 days   to complete his second term in office and return to Daura, his home town, which is about eight Kilometers to Niamey, Capital of Niger Republic, ‘’to act fast and arrest the country’s drifting economy burdened by heavy internal and external debts.

Hajia Zainab Ahmed, minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning may have shocked Nigerians when she revealed that the government spends a huge chunk of its oil revenue in servicing the country’s public debts.

 Take for instance between January and November 2022, the Nigerian government was said to have spent 80.6% of its oil revenue in servicing its internal and external debts borrowing.   .  Data obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, under the close watch of Godwin Emefiele, shows that in 2021, the Buhari government had spent more money in external debt servicing s and payment than any other previous Administration.

The apex bank, had revealed   that the government spent a whopping sum of $5.77 million to service the country’s external debt alone. The bank had confirmed that it was the year that the Nigerian government had borrowed the highest amount, N7.3 trillion to bridge its budgets deficit. Last January the Femi Gbajabiamila, led House of Representatives has  approved Buhari’s request to borrow N1 trillion from the CBN.

L The news making the rounds was that over the last seven years, the Buhari’s Administration has spent a whopping sum of $14.37 million to settle the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, IMF, among other debt obligations.  Recall that Buhari as a Jackboot Head of State in 184, had frowned that the Late President Shehu Shagari’s Administration, had spent 44% of the country’s lean income to service the country’s debts.         

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