Opinion: Buhari, is the honeymoon still on?

by Ogundana Michael Rotimi

In spite of the failing campaign promises, after over 50% into the administration and 104 days in London on a medication vacation for an undisclosed illness, Muhammadu Buhari, the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, returned to the country where he has been since 7th May 2017, to a rosy reception.

That was the fourth time President Buhari had embarked on vacation and transferred power to Professor Yemi Osinbajo, his Vice, since the two leaders were inaugurated on 29th May 2015. The first was in 5th February 2016, when the President embarked on a five-day vacation; the second was in 6th June 2016, when President Buhari travelled to the United Kingdom for treatment of what the Presidency described as ear infection; the third was in 19th January 2017, when he went for another medical vacation to London for what his office described as a “routine medical check-ups.”

However, as usual, and expected, his return was not without a jamboree, funfair and celebration as citizens- well-wishers, politicians, family and friends came out against all odds to welcome him back home with so much joy and happiness. It was a moment of relief and sign of hope for Nigerians that have long awaited the return of President Buhari.

Although, he handed over power to his vice president- Professor Yemi Osinbajo while he was away, but then, one cannot confidently say that Professor Osinbajo was able to express the full powers of the president without double checking on his loyalty to the president and also avoiding to be seen as taking advantage of the office to position himself for 2019 or trying to outshine his boss.  In this vein, what appeared to be a technical leadership vacuum surfaced. There was stress, unnecessary clashes of interests from different individuals and groups emerged, chaos threatened to erupt the system and the polity became unnecessarily heated up. Hence, politics trumped governance, emotions trumped critical thinking and individuals’ interests were placed above the collective interests of the nation. Those were what Nigeria and Nigerians suffered for 103 days while President Buhari was away in London; some may want to argue otherwise. This is not to downplay or ignore the massive efforts and roles the Vice President who was the Acting President played in forging the country ahead, keeping it together and trying to carry on in fulfilling the campaign promises of this regime, but it to say, that the Ag, President would have taken some bolder and stronger stands, moves and decisions if he had no one to report to and consider succinctly before taking his actions.

However, that the president is being welcomed to a rosy reception by the people should not be taken for granted neither should it be considered as a convincing affirmation of the positive performance of this regime. Nigerians are characteristically peaceful and loving people; just as no right thinking individual or group would wish the President nothing less but a quick recovery and safe return home to complete the job he signed in for. It was in this vein that the President was received with so much joy and love by the people. It is up to the President to reciprocate the love shown to him and the confidence reposed in him

While Nigerians hope that the president delivers on his campaign promises and bring the expected change he promised; make no mistake, they are quite a lot of challenges that are needed to be taken head on and have to be addressed urgently. Whatsoever the president needs to do within the ambit of the law to address these challenges he has to do them now and fast. The Honeymoon is over!

It`d be erroneous on the side of the president and his team to equate the reception received by the president as a continuous approval of Honeymoon for his administration and its political party.

It`d be erroneous for Mr President to think that he has done so much for the people and fulfilled quite a number of his campaign promises, hence the massive displayed of support he received while he returned home.

I hope Mr President would not be deceived by what he saw today and assume that the Honeymoon is still on. It is long over!

The Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) are on strike among other issues in the sector- massive investment in the education can`t wait, it is important. Medical facilities are failing among other issues to be addressed in the health sector are waiting for attention- Health is crucial. Boko Haram among other issues are threatening the peace and stability of our nation- Security is non-negotiable. The Economy is yet to be out of recessions and quite a lot of people are still out of jobs- the Economy must thrive. Nigerians still live in darkness, power generation and distribution are still very much inefficient- Power can`t be overlooked. These, and much more are some of the issues signalling to President Buhari in confirmation of the fact that the Honeymoon is long over; there is no more time for fete, he must get down to the business of governance immediately.

Finally, just a few months for governance before 2019 politics completely takes over; even though it has already begun. Hence, basking in the ecstasy of a rosy welcome reception by the people would only create more distraction for governance and end up short changing the people. This administration is already far behind in fulfilling its campaign promises, it can`t afford to waste more time. Rather, it must realize that the Honeymoon is over, and now is the time to hasten up on its deliverables before it is too late.

Wishing President Buhari a perfect healing.

Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

Ogundana Michael Rotimi Is A Nigerian Biochemist, Socio-Economic And Political Commentator, And Public Speaker. He Tweets @Mickeysunny.


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