I am seeing a lot of posts from those who claim they are pro Buhari and anti-Buhari. The anti-Buhari seem to only highlight his errors with both real and fabricated facts. For the pro-Buharis, they believe stating only his positive achievements (as though no mistakes were made or even being made by the PMB government) is the way to go.
What is lost in translation between these two extremes is what should be our main Focus: NIGERIA. Our country should be the main focus and as such we should be Pro-Nigeria. I am pro-Nigeria. That means you will be able to see the positive things PMB has done for Nigeria, but also see his errors and misjudgments as they have not helped Nigeria. This essential OBJECTIVITY is what is missing from both extremes of Pro and anti-Buhari brigades.
Nobody (and I repeat nobody) who is pro-Nigeria will look at the PMB government and say there have been no mistakes. Also, nobody who is pro-Nigeria will say the PMB has achieved nothing in its 3yrs of existence. Both propositions will be lying and dishonest to the extreme.
What we need is a Pro-Nigeria position. Opposition for the sake of it is foolishness. Nobody and no party has a monopoly of knowledge or solutions for our Nation’s problems. As with many other democracies; many patriots feel (in an ideal world) they should be able to combine attributes from different parties and politicians to create a new politician that will be the best for their country. Imagine a politician with the relative integrity of Buhari, the detribalised and action speed of Obasanjo, the attention to building a consensus of Jonathan and the frugality of Yaradua. This clone that combines all these attributes will be best for Nigeria at this time. But that is in the realm of imagination.
So being Pro-Nigeria means you are duty bound (if you are Pro-Buhari) to highlight not just his successes; but the areas he is failing (or has failed) so as to ensure the next four years do not repeat the mistakes of the past. After all, how do you correct something if you do not accept it is incorrect in the first place. How do you make a different policy choice, unless you accept the current one is inadequate? Stating the errors of PMB administration is the best Pro-Nigeria step to take. I love my children, but I am equally happy to highlight the areas they need to adjust in their approach to life to be even better than they are. That does not mean I do not love them. Listening to someone like Festus Keyamo defend PMB can be heart-breaking. He just could not get himself to admit that PMB has made some mistakes. True friends are not YES men. They are able to accept that lessons have been learned from errors thus assuring us that the future will reflect different choices.
I can list the many achievements of PMB and I can also list his many mistakes and errors. Both lists could be perfectly correct. We need to be mature in our political discussions. That is why in my posts over the last few weeks, I have stated that my final decision whether to support PMB or not for 2019, will depend on who the other candidates are. I am not a PMB or nothing person, but I will also not want my beloved Nigeria to move from the frying pan into the fire with an even worse candidate. So, I am still open-minded. I truly believe this is the position of 50% of Nigerians. You will have the 25% who are anti-Buhari regardless and another 25% who are Pro-Buhari regardless.
Loving our country and putting her first demand that we are objective in our analysis and not pretend Buhari has been all bad as well as not saying he has been all perfect either. I will be more comfortable with PMB and his 2019 ambition if he can come out to itemise and accept some of his errors, admit them and say he will work to make sure they are not repeated in future. That will assure me he has learned from past mistakes. But with praise-singers all around him; I fear he may be living in a bubble devoid of reality.
When the Americans were on the outskirt of Bagdad, Saddam’s generals were still assuring him that Iraq was winning the war against the allied forces. That is what happens when you are surrounded by people who do not tell you reality as it is but tell you what they think you want to hear. We should love our country enough to reject such parochial disposition.
According to Festus Keyamo’s last interview, I saw; Nigeria was already sliding into depression from late 2014 under Jonathan administration. All the signs were there he said. I happen to agree with him. But PMB inherited an economy sliding into depression and felt the best approach is not to appoint Ministers for SIX months leaving the economy without political direction. THAT WAS A MISTAKE. Then, only to appoint after six months ministers that could have been appointed in six hours. They were the usual suspects of recycled politicians. The delay was bad signaling to Investors.
Yes, the Forex market was already boiling by the time PMB took over in 2015 with Naira sliding in value. But rather than allow the Market to correct itself as Jonathan had allowed; PMB decided to stifle demand for FOREX through a series of Administrative actions that made life hell for Nigerians and made Naira lose even more value. This political interference was not in the interest of Nigeria and was a mistake. The government seems to be doing the right things now gradually in the forex system. But I have never heard PMB or any of his supporters admit that the 2015 policy was wrong.
I can go on to education and show how the structural damage and inefficiencies in the system are not being addressed. In 35yrs, there has been only one nationwide inspection of our secondary schools to check the quality of the teaching which was done when Dr Obi was the Minister under Obasanjo regime. So, increasing funding to education now is simply giving more funds to perpetuate dysfunction. Then the curriculum is out of sync with the modern world. There is a need for fundamental change in the national curriculum. Only a good education turn normal citizens into human capital. This is not being addressed by PMB so far, that to me is a failure.
But PMB has also achieved a lot in his three years. The President has used his more prudent approach to spending to grow our External Reserve. This is commendable and puts us in a better position to deal with any shock in the global economy in the years ahead. There is a more negative disposition towards Corruption. This is needed. As a general posture, corruption is now perceived as more of a negative than before in Nigeria. This is the right message to craft. Even though successful prosecution has been few; I will still commend PMB on his war against graft. It has been a success in comparison with his predecessors.
Greater Diversification of the economy. PMB has succeeded in diversifying our economy better than any government since 1999. Although this has yet to feed into the good feel factor for many Nigerians, it is work in progress and commendable. Growth in Agriculture has been exemplary and commendable, almost unprecedented. I know personally, the successes scored by the government in expanding our agricultural base and outputs. There appears to be better success with the fight against terrorists compared to Jonathan’s regime. Although let down badly by his service chiefs and IGP in my opinion; Mr President has however done well to invest in and Marshall the resources needed to prosecute the war against terror and violence.
I can go on and on about PMB’s successes. But in the end, being Pro-Nigeria means we must demand assurances that the next four years (if he wins in 2019) will reflect on many lessons-learned from this current administration. This will only happen if we see sufficient humility to accept his errors and reassure us how he will learn from them and do things differently if re-elected. Blind and unqualified support for PMB or any other candidate for that matter in my view is unwise at this stage. If there is a list of PMB’s successes, there must also be one for his failures. That is how life is. One does not cancel the other. It simply means we need to know what has been learned from the mistakes of this first term that will be corrected in the second term. This is not too much to ask. Without pointing out mistakes; how will PMB know what to correct in the next four years. Simply singing his praise is bad for him and ultimately bad for Nigeria. More of the same alone will be a disaster without tweaking and change of approach in many areas.
I know objectivity is lacking in our polarised polity. So, I accept to be criticised by BOTH Pro and Anti Buhari brigades in equal measure. That has become the sad reality of our public discussion. But I am Pro-Nigeria and I will do what I feel is best for my country when the options become very clear to see. I, however, feel it will be in the vital interest of the PMB administration to insist his spokespeople admit mistakes that were made and the corrective measures that have been put in place or will be taken whilst pointing saliently to the obvious successes of his administration.
So if in the end, I support PMB (after seeing all the alternatives); it will not be unqualified. It will be on the basis of continuing with his successes while addressing the areas of weakness that I will be pointing out. This is what being Pro-Nigeria is. How he needs to change his strolling posture and show more dynamism and speed of action. How he needs to make all his appointees more accountable and sack those not performing. Supporting PMB will not be because I feel he is the best Nigeria can offer, but it will be because I feel he is best in the field provided to us. These are not the same considerations. PMB will not be helped by those who simply sing his praises as if the rest of us are blind to his obvious mistakes. We all need to be Pro-Nigeria.
Nigerians did not vote for a perfect individual. They just need to know that you can see the imperfections we all can see and how you are going to mitigate them and move our country forward. So, let us be Pro-Nigeria and challenge all those who aspire to lead us in the interest of generations to come. God bless Nigeria.