The Founder of Latter Rain Assembly and former vice presidential candidate, Tunde Bakare, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has been unable to deal with the root causes of Nigeria’s challenges.
Mr Bakare spoke during his State of the Nation address on Easter Sunday titled ‘The Conspicuous Handwriting on the Wall.’
“I am compelled to cry out because of the intent of the president as contained in his tribute dated October 14, 2019, in honour of my 65th birthday, PMB wrote to me: ‘We have shared ideas on how to engender a better country and formed a tag team for political power. May the ideas germinate fully, proliferate and give us the country of our dreams,’ said Mr Bakare, who was Mr Buhari’s running mate in 2011.
“I am compelled to speak out at this point because, given the state of the nation, the legacy of President Muhammadu Buhari is in grave danger of being confined to an unsavoury side of history. I am indeed compelled to speak out because Nigeria is in a state of emergency.”
Mr Bakare recalled that when Mr Buhari took the oath of office in 2015, he summed up his election campaign promises in three pivotal agendas, namely: Security, Anti-Corruption and Eco Diversification with a focus on job creation.
“I applauded this three-point agenda because the focal areas should have provided an opportunity for the president to address Nigeria’s fundamental issues given that they point to the foundational deficits in our polity, namely the deficit of a government structure that can guarantee the security of lives/property, the deficit of a moral compass and national value system that can eliminate corruption from our national psyche, and the deficit of an economic structure that can unleash the potential of Nigeria’s diverse zones.”
Mr Bakare said Mr Buhari’s first term saw him grapple with the collapse in oil prices and Nigeria’s first recession in about 25 years.
He noted that despite the false starts, the administration succeeded in bringing Nigeria out of recession and made some gains in security, job creation and anti-corruption, achievements which were largely responsible for him being re-elected.
“Laudable as these achievements are, the current state of the nation is a clear indication that these efforts have been insufficient in dealing with our national problems; they have been unable to address the underlying problems of the Nigerian nation.
“At best, these efforts bought the administration some time to stabilise the nation’s condition from a volatile state, as pain relievers can help stabilise a patient in critical condition so that the underlying condition can be treated.
“The major limitation of the PMB administration has been the failure to appreciate the fact that the problems of Nigeria are more deeply rooted than these honest efforts can reach, and that what is required is a holistic and systematic approach to governance.
“After winning re-election in 2019, rather than do a deep dive to address the fundamental causes of our national malady by dealing with the root causes of insecurity, corruption and joblessness, the PMB administration decided to treat more symptoms by broadening its agenda.”
Mr Bakare said years after the government assured Nigerians that Boko Haram had been “technically defeated,” Nigerians are once again “confronted with entire villages being overrun”.
“We are inundated with report after report of soldiers being ambushed and killed and hostages being beheaded and kidnapped,” he said.
“While I commend the bravery of our armed forces, the worsening security situation is an indication that our approach to security governance is simply superficial and inadequate to deal with the root causes of the problem.
“Nearly seven years after the shocking kidnap of the Chibok Girls, 112 of them are yet to be rescued, while Leah Sharibu, kidnapped in Dapchi in 2018, remains in captivity and is now reportedly a mother of two.
“The start-up kidnap industry has secured funding and has now scaled; from Dapchi to Kankara and from Kagara to Jangebe and elsewhere, we have experienced the cycle of abduction of school children, alleged ransom payments sometimes in the hundreds of millions of naira.
“Nigerians are then left wondering which school will be next. If our schools degenerate into kidnap hotbeds on this administration’s watch, not even the school feeding programme can encourage over 10 million out-of-school children to enrol in a school.
“In fact, the number of out-of-school children can be expected to rise with the swelling ranks of pupils whose parents are scared to return them to their schools for fear of abduction by terrorists and bandits.”