By Suleiman Umaru
The last few days appear to have unsettled President Muhammadu Buhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General, Administration as Attahiru Jeja, a Professor and former Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Enock Adejar Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, cried out about the state of the nation.
Professor Jega, who had midwifed the 2015, general elections that brought the Katsina state- born Nigerian politician first as an elected Nigerian President in 2015 and his subsequent reelection in the 2019 elections, appears to have passed a vote of no confidence on the retired Army General and the 36 states governors of the Federation including the Local government Chairmen across the country.
The former INEC , Chairman, who is a card carrying member Of the Peoples Redemption Party, PRP, first registered by late Aminu Kano, during the second Republic and re-registered under the current political dispensation, had said that ‘’our governments at the Federal, state and Local governments level have failed. The former Bayero University Don had said on Sunday, April 3, 2022, that government officials at the Federal, state and local governments have long ‘’abandoned governance’’ to pursue their pecuniary interest. He has urged Nigerians ‘’to go back to the drawing board’’, stressing that the challenges of the country may seem difficult but ‘’it is not impossible to solve it’’.
It is not surprising why the Professor’s Party is into merger talks with other political parties, to wrestle power from the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, and forestall the opposition People’s Democratic, which had ruled Nigeria for 16 years, from being returned to power in the 2023, general elections. He has told those that cares to listen that ‘’there would never be any appreciable development of the country without good people driving good governance at all levels of government’’
Obasanjo, who has ruled the country as a former military Head of State as an Army General and an elected President for eight years, had lamented that the security challenges of the country under the Buhari Administration is very worrisome. The former Nigerian President had said that the situation is becoming more overwhelming as people are no longer safe on the roads, in trains or at the airports because of fear of Bandits Group attacks. Only recently, a scheduled Abuja –Kaduna train services was attacked by Bandits around Kaduna, killing eight passengers on board and injured unspecified number of people. But the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, Authorities may have shocked Nigerians when it revealed on Sunday, March 3,, 2022, that that 21 passengers of the ill-fated train are still missing following the attack a week ago, an indication that they may have been kidnapped by the trigger -hungry bandits.
Recall that days prior to the train attack, the Bandits had also attacked the Kaduna International Airport despite the tight security and killed one of the guards on patrol at the time of the attack. The worsening security challenges in the north west states of Zamfara, described as home of the bandits, Kaduna, Katsina, Buhari, home tate , Sokoto and the north central state of Nigeria, which have gradually halted economic and social activities may have emboldened a group of religious Leaders under the Aegies of Pastors United for Change, under the close watch of one Apostle David Adeniran, to call on the Nigeria President , in his capacity as the Commander-In-Chief, C-In-C, of the Nigerian Armed Forces, and the military Authorities, to launch massive attack and bombing of the bandits hideouts in their camps in the forests in the north west geopolitical region and Nigeria state to give the people a breather. The Clergymen had enjoined the Nigerian President ‘’to order immediate deployment of the newly acquired Tucano jets from the North American country of the United States to dislodge he bandits from their hideouts in the forested as earlier suggested by Nasir El-Rufai, a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, during the Obasanjo Administration and now governor of Kaduna state.
They noted that many lives have been lost in Kaduna state and other states in the north west including the north central state of Niger and must be stopped. The Arewa Consultative Fforum, ACF, the north socio-political organization, has asked the Buhari led APC, led government , to look at the possibility of engaging ex-servicemen , the Civilian task forces, and whatever is available to secure all the vulnerable Communities in the north against attacks by bandits and terrorists.
Murtala Aliyu, the ACF, General Secretary may have spoken the mind of the Group when he said that ‘’all is not well in Nigeria’’, stressing that the survival of the country must be paramount’’. He had enjoined the security agencies ‘’to ensure that lives and property of the citizenry, laws and order and Freedom of Expression are protected.
Given the frequent attacks of communities and killings in Kaduna state , which has been extended to attack on scheduled train services, may have informed why El-Rfai, has threatened ‘’to bring in Mercenaries, and use them to fight the Bandits in the state if the Katsina sate born Nigerian President fails to tackle headlong the cankerworm’’.
An aggrieved El-Rufai, had accused the security agencies, particular, the Army, Air Force and the Nigerian Police Force, NPF, of their reluctance ‘’ to tackle the bandits in the state, even when they know where they are’’. The Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, had accused ‘’the ruling APC and the security agencies personnel, of ‘’fueling and aiding insecurity which had degenerated to acts of terrorism ravaging the nation today’’.
Usman Alkali Baba, the Inspector General of Police, who had led a patrol team, along the Abuja-Kaduna road, clearly shows how bad the security situation in Kaduna state had become in the recent time. In going out for the operations, he was said to have made adequate arrangement ‘’to secure the busy Abuja-Kaduna train route and other routes in the different parts of the north from future attacks by bandits and terrorists. At present, Farouk Yahaya, a Lt. General and Chief of Army Staff, may have been encouraged by the Bandits train attack, to deploy more troops ‘’to the area to boost security’’.
Adeboye , the RCCG, Cleric, may have taken a departure from the views being canvassed by Prof. Jega, former President Obasanjo and the United Pastors Group for Change that he had taken a look at the Federal government’s repeated complaints of oil thieves, nothing that’’Nigeria might go into bankruptcy if the trend is not checked’’.
The Pentecostal Pastor had asked while preaching last Sunday ‘’who are those stealing the oil, and where is the money going?. He did not stop there as he was said to have sought to know the foreign nations buying the stolen oil from Nigeria. His major worry was that many of these foreign buyers of the stolen oil from Nigeria may not be friendly nations.
The Clergyman was said to have also raised concern about the country’s economic future, warning that the country’s debt service ratio might pose a threat to the economy for decades. He had revealed that over 90% of Nigeria’s revenue from oil sales is used ‘’to service the interest accruing from the foreign debts . ‘’We are borrowing more’’. That much was collaborated by Patience Oniha, Director General, Debt Management Office, DMO.
. Recall that in giving the 2022, budget break down, last January, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning had said that the government had set aside N3.61 trillion for debt servicing. In 2021, the Buhari Administration had spent $2.12 billion in servicing external debts alone as against $1.56 billion in 2020.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, had declared that Nigeria had contracted the huge foreign debt obligations from Paris Club of Creditors, London Club of Creditors, Multilateral Creditors, Promissory Note Creditors which are the refinanced uninsured trade arrears and Bilateral and Private sector Creditors. According to the Godwin Emefieled led CBN, Nigeria external debt had stood at $29 billion as at December 2020.
But Mrs Oniha the DMO, Director General, had said that the country’s total public debt may hit N45 trillion before the end of the 2022, Fiscal year with the more borrowings by the Federal government which had been approved by the National Assembly. The DMO, boss, had revealed that the amount represented the total external and domestic debts of the three tiers of government, including the FCT. The DMO, helmsman, had said that the increased public debt included new borrowings by both the Federal and state governments. She had explained that the new loan stocks were raised mostly from different sources which included issuance of Eurobonds, foreign Sukuk and Federal government bonds.
Buhari may have thrown the country into huge foreign debts ‘’to fund critical infrastructural projects’’. The DMO, helmsman, may have shocked Nigerians when she disclosed that ‘’the country do not have ‘’debt problem but revenue problem’’. The message was very clear that there is nothing wrong in borrowing by the Federal government to fund basic infrastructural facilities in the country.