“The People Around Buhari’ Excuse By Moses Ochonu

  • TheTick Times Tuesday Sep 27, 2016

First, they said it was too early to criticize PMB for non-performance. Why not wait a year before criticizing, they said. Thankfully, a year has since passed and things have worsened, so that excuse has expired.

When “too early to criticize” wore thin, the Buharists transitioned to another excuse: 16 years of PDP damage cannot be fixed in a year, they said; never mind that at least 40 percent of the people in the current administration have origins in the PDP and participated extensively in this 16 year destruction they speak of.

It is September 2016 and the economy lies comatose, rendered dysfunctional by a combination of outmoded economic thinking, arbitrary statism, and panicky policy flip-flops. It is increasingly clear now that it’s not the 16 year PDP plague or the low oil price, or Niger Delta Avengers, that has taken Nigerian into recession. Rather, It is key decisions taken in the early days of this administration and stubbornly maintained against wise expert counsel. These foundational knee jerk measures are responsible for the recession as Emir Sanusi of Kano correctly stated. Although some of these policies have been reversed, their debilitating aftermaths persist, deepening the recession.

Even the current hyper-inflationary trend, which is epitomized by the almost tripping of the price of rice between May 2015 and now, has been clearly shown to be partly the result of the arbitrary and thoughtless banning of rice importation before mechanisms have been established to ensure adequate and competitive domestic rice production. We have Feyi Fawehinmi to thank for his clear-eyed analysis of the rice price debacle and the administration’s culpability in it.

With these developments, the “16 years of PDP damage” excuse is no longer credible. Predictably, the Buhari propaganda machine has unveiled yet another excuse for our bumbling president. The latest excuse is what I call “the people around Buhari” alibi.

Everywhere you go in Buhariland, that is what Buharists say incestuously to one other. Buhari means well and has great plans for the country, they say, without outlining what those hidden plans are. It is the people around him that are selfishly sabotaging his efforts, they add.

Belief in this fiction is proportional to the depth of support for Buhari. It is no surprise then that Buhari’s northern base is the cradle of this excuse. The north is where you will encounter it with the greatest fervor and vehemence, and in its various iterations. Even in the north, this belief that the current calamity is not Buhari’s fault but that of “the people around him” is held most doggedly by the talakawa and non-elites, who retain their near-deifying admiration for Buhari and still see a messiah in him, despite the evidence of his incompetence and apparent ignorance of enlightened principles of governance, statecraft, and problem solving.

This excuse is the easiest to demolish. It is irrational, lacking any logic. The so-called people around Buhari are people that Buhari himself appointed and chose to surround himself with. They serve at his wish. No one held a gun to his head to force him to appoint them. Conversely, no one is forcing him to keep them if they are not doing the job for which they were appointed. He could fire 
them today, but he chooses to keep them. That’s entirely on him. The people who are not in his administration, people he leaned on to become president, whom we are told are now sabotaging him, are these people above the powers of the president? Is Buhari impotent against the influence of these people? If he is, he is unfit to be president.

If this administration were performing, I doubt that Buharists would be saying “ahh look at how the people around Buhari are performing.” No. They would say “ahh, Baba is performing.” So, like all the previous excuses that have gone out of circulation, this one too was cooked up by rabid, secretly embarrassed and disappointed supporters of the president who do not want to publicly acknowledge that we have been scammed and are now saddled with an intellectually incurious president who cavalierly parceled out functions to random party men and women and then withdrew into Aso Rock’s inner recess to enjoy the perks and aura of the office of president.

The Buharists cannot bring themselves to acknowledge the truth of Buhari’s incompetence and cluelessness, hence they would rather blame everyone and everything but the president himself for the economic collapse he and the APC brought on Nigeria.

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