As a deeply concerned citizen of my dear country, Nigeria, and a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), I am constrained to document this on the developments in my country over the last three years.
Once again, Nigeria is at the crossroads. We have again arrived at a critical juncture in the life of my country such that there is an intense feeling of anxiety and apprehension over how the current government of the APC is managing the affairs of the country. Unfortunately, I am an active member of the party.
With the election of Muhammadu Buhari of the APC as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2015, the citizens were extremely joyous in the belief that the era of bad governance which has for decades been responsible for the unbelievable underdevelopment of a resource-rich country like Nigeria has been swept away by the symbolic broom of the APC.
But we were wrong. No sooner had President Buhari taken the reins of government than we began to witness the appalling leadership we experienced under the past PDP government for 16 years.
Instead of the CHANGE promised by the APC government, Nigerians have been treated to the same level, if not a worse form of poverty, impunity, corruption, nepotism and insecurity.
All through its campaigns, the APC promised to reverse the misfortune of Nigerians in three major areas: Security, Economy and Corruption.
Suffice to say, however, that in the last three years none of these core national issues has been addressed in a manner that will convince the citizens that the ruling party is indeed the messiah that the country deserves.
Under the APC-led government headed by President Buhari, Nigeria has witnessed more deaths from activities of insurgents in the North-East and herdsmen killings in the Middle-Belt region and some parts in the south of the country.
The message from government officials is that the violent extremist group, Boko Haram, has been “technically defeated,” the real picture out in the affected areas says otherwise.
The group has over the years become more daring as they keep unleashing deadly attacks, killing soldiers and civilians on a regular basis. This is unfortunate and regrettable.
Under President Muhammadu Buhari, this has happened this year so far. We are not even counting the deaths of previous years. These links are from reliable sources.
Farmers and herders clash. At least 86 people are dead – https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2018-06-25/nigeria-deeply-unfortunate-killings-as-86-reported-dead – 06/25/2018
Herdsmen kill 19, including twin priests in Nigeria – https://www.catholic.org/news/international/africa/story.php?id=77249 – 04/26/2018
Herdsmen kill a man, wife, two children in Taraba state – http://punchng.com/herdsmen-kill-man-wife-two-children-in-taraba/ – 04/05/2018
Herdsmen kill 27 in a fresh attack including women and children – https://leadership.ng/2018/03/07/herdsmen-kill-27-fresh-attack-benue/ – 03/07/2018
And still much more undocumented
The question is: how long would this have to continue under President Muhammadu Buhari? How long would innocent citizens be tortured and killed by Fulani herdsmen under his authority as the chief security officer of the country? How long will this religious war would continue?
In the three States of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa where the insurgency is concentrated, there are an estimated 1.7million internally displaced persons in the refugee camps scattered around the States.
Armed herdsmen are also on the rampage. At the last count, there are 170,000 refugees, most of them farmers displaced by cattle herders, in Benue State alone, not to talk of Plateau, Nasarawa and Taraba States.
Almost on a daily basis, they launch attacks in the villages at any time of the day, killing everyone in sight – men, women and children, burning down houses and taking over their ancestral land. The number of deaths resulting from herdsmen attacks in the first four months of 2018 was put at 901.
Indeed, genocide is the perfect word to describe what is going on in the Middle-Belt region of Nigeria.
My first-hand experience with herdsmen attack was when they unleashed terror in Oke-Ako, in Ikole Local Government at 8 pm, they came into my Local Government in Ikole while people were sleeping and did not depart our farms without taking the lives of innocent citizens, and one of those killed was a political associate, Lekan Arosanyin.
Same herdsmen were on my farm at Origo in Osun State, thank God no life was lost but all my irrigation equipment was destroyed while we ran for safety. Where are we headed as a nation? Where is my political party leading Nigerians?
Just few days ago, a bright and promising life, Bunmi Ojo was cut short in Ekiti. I am not blaming the president for his death but it is the responsibility of the president to put appropriate measures in place to secure lives and property if Bunmi can be gruesomely murdered by yet to be identified assailants just like this, who is next?
This government, by its lukewarm response, continues to annoy a vast majority people. More often, it has carried on as though its main purpose of existence is not to ensure the welfare and security of the citizens.
Although there are occasional statements from its officials announcing the arrest of those suspected to have carried out of these heinous crimes, none so far has been prosecuted, let alone convicted.
It appears that this government is only paying lip service to the issues concerning the security of the citizens; we have more than enough evidences to draw this conclusion.
Apart from the insurgency and unrelenting herdsmen attacks, kidnapping for ransom and armed robbery, there is a growing band of vicious militias unleashing mayhem in Zamfara and Kaduna States which the security agents have not been able to contain.
The level of insecurity in Nigeria today is something that not been experienced since the end of the civil war in 1970.
In my own opinion, I would like to say that Nigeria needs urgent foreign help in this regard as the government in power has shown that it lacks the capacity confront insecurity headlong and most of our security outfits have been over politicized and therefore no longer professional.
As it is with insecurity, so it is with impunity and corruption. The APC descended heavily on the past ruling government for its inability to mount a serious fight against corruption, but we see today is not different from what was witnessed under PDP government.
There is a lot of corruption going on in this government such that people have already concluded that the ruling party deceived them with the CHANGE slogan that echoed all through its campaigns. In my own opinion and in the estimation of most Nigerians, nothing has changed.
Many top officials of this government have been fingered in corrupt practices, but the government ignored these allegations and, instead, has been focusing its attention on members of the opposition by accusing and prosecuting them for acts of corruption in different courts across the country.
While I am not against the prosecution of past government officials who embezzled our national resources, I will be more delighted to see that the same strength being used to fight the opposition is also used to deal with those corrupt elements within my party APC and the government of President Buhari.
Without a doubt, there is an unmistakable double standard in the way this government has been conducting the war against corruption in Nigeria.
For example, it took intense public outcry for President Buhari to dismiss the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir D. Lawal, who was indicted for using his office to steal government funds, although the SGF was sacked, government is yet to summon the courage to arraign him in court as it has done other members of the opposition, from all indications, this government will never prosecute him.
On the table of Mr President, there are a handful of petitions alleging corruption against very senior officials of the presidency, including his Chief of Staff, Alhaji Abba Kyari, but Mr President has refused to act on the petitions.
The recent governorship election in Ekiti State has proved beyond doubt that this government is as corrupt as its predecessors, if not more.
It was convenient for Mr President to deploy 30,000 policemen, soldiers, NSCDC, and other government security forces to conduct the governorship election in Ekiti while such force is not available to areas with security challenges. It appears to me that it is all about politics and power.
Nigerians expected this government to demonstrate a firm commitment to free, fair and credible election by arresting all those involved in electoral malpractices including the buying and selling of votes during that election.
Instead, a government that promised that it is not going to be “business as usual” was caught neck-deep in electoral fraud.
Top politicians of the ruling APC and their agents distributed cash at the polling booths in full glare of journalists and security. This is not exonerating the PDP in the same vote buying show of shame.
If APC had kept her promises at the national level, it would have been easy for Mr President to campaign for our candidate in Ekiti based on issues, in the absence of any positive issues to campaign on; we could only result to voter inducement.
Electoral fraud is the worst form of corruption that can ever be imagined, and any government that constantly lays claim to integrity will never be associated with it.
As 2019 approaches, the president needs to change tactics and face the job of nation-building instead of concentrating his efforts on intrigues and politics.
APC rode into government on a platform of integrity, I doubt if this can be our major selling point this time around. There is a lot of atrocious conduct in this government.
It is high time the international community and true friends of Nigeria began to take a hard look at our government, and the leadership style which does not seem to augur well for our country.
During this trying period, the country certainly needs urgent help in embracing best practices so that we can truly earn our place in the comity of respectable nations.
Olajide Akinyemi Jr
Ward 3, Irode/Temidire
Former Governorship aspirant under the platform of the APC