Yesterday, 29 May 2021, marked the end of the second year in the second term of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. And that I’m afraid could be the end of serious governance, not only at the Federal level but practically at all levels of elected representations in the country. With four years as a term, the first 2 years are supposedly used to deliver, what our politicians described as ‘dividends of democracy’. That is, making efforts to fulfill their campaigns promises. This is not always the case, but for the sake of this piece, let’s assume they use the first two years fixing dilapidated or/and constructing new roads; building schools and hospitals, fixing electricity, empowering the youths and generally improving the economy.
But the reality on ground is markedly different from the el-dorado scenario they painted during the campaigns. Be that as it may, the electorates manage to play along until the politicians decided they have fooled around enough and it’s time to cajole the voters again and the vicious cycle begins again.
It’s that time of the pre-election season again that unofficially begins at the mid-term. Instead of delivering progress reports, our elected officials mount the rostrum to start their campaigns for the next elections. And the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, seems helpless in the situation. For inexplicable reason, the electoral body seems reluctant to wield its powers. Nobody is cautioned and the electorates also seem to be willing accomplices as they lap up the empty rhetoric of the politicians. What makes this mid-term to be agitating, is the fact that, Buhari is not expected to come back in 2023. I say ‘expected’, because by the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended, the President can only do two terms, and this is Buhari’s 2nd term.
But stranger things have happened. We might end up having President Buhari again in 2023. Many people I respect, say it’s impossible. Forgive me please, but I won’t go that far. Yes, it’s extremely difficult, dangerous and I might add extremely unlikely, but in this my Nigeria, and with what I have witnessed in the political landscape of this great but cursed nation, over the years, anything is possible. But I will play along with my esteemed leaders and agree that, this is Buhari’s final hurray.
This in effect means that yesterday marked the end of six out of his eight years in office. In other words, he has spent three-quarters or 75% of his time. I will not write here to say whether he has failed or succeeded. All I’m going to ask is, whether it is reasonable to expect that whatever he could not achieve in the past 75% of his time, he will achieve it in his remaining 25% of his time?, especially when in this 25% is campaign time. Not just any campaign, but a campaign that includes looking for a successor, which at the moment, is not visible at all, at least not to us, the uninitiated.
So, we can safely say that the period of delivering ‘dividends of democracy’ is over and the swansong of this administration is currently at play. And it’s not only at Aso Rock that the final act is audible and visible to the discernable. An orchestra takes its cue from its conductor. Our legislators at The Three Arms zone Abuja, the executive governors in Government Houses and States legislators throughout the country, will take signal coming from the Villa as a license to also jump the gun and ride on our emotions and naivety for an exercise that is almost two years away. It’s sad and depressing. And with Nigerians not yet ready to take their destiny in their own hands, the politicians are in a cruise.
The rest of the world may still be in 2021 and its attendant pandemic, but we in Nigeria are living in a separate part of the universe and we have already welcome 2023.