It is not a secret that I supported PMB in the 2015 Presidential election. I was a big fan and supporter of the President. While I became disappointed earlier on in this administration, but I felt maybe things will change with a bit more time. However, I grew increasingly disillusioned by the direction of the government and its self-mutilating tendencies. So, I have not seen any reason to support PMB re-election ambition at the moment, although that may change. I will need to see a few changes in approach and tone to be convinced things will be any different if re-elected in 2019.
My main concerns with PMB and his government are:
1. Inadequate communication of the context of what the government has been doing. Lack of a central Policy Team to harmonise policy decisions on a unified basis. Lai Mohammed is a good political spokesman but a terrible Minister for Information. The President’s spokesmen also seem to make matters worse with their style of communication. We all know communication is not PMB’s best asset, hence we expected he would appoint the best people with the gift of the gab and knowledge of public relations, not just media relations.
2. Simply blaming the previous administration for everything. It began to sound like excuses after a while. No acceptance of responsibility for its own actions. The more focus is given to what the previous government did, the less we see and know what this government is doing. Change the narrative.
3. Not acknowledging the mistakes of the current PMB administration. We do not expect perfection, but without acknowledging errors, the government loses the power to convince us they can fix the issues. You cannot fix a problem you have refused to accept exists. There are lots of people who wish this government well, but are shocked that there has been no admission of errors or unmet Manifesto promises. How can we be assured you will do better if you do not acknowledge what you did not do too well in.
4. Not accepting there is a problem with the slow pace of this government in comparison to the urgent actions expected by Nigerians. The government did not behave like it has a Four year mandate. Six months to appoint Ministers in an economy on a downward spiral is negligence and unexplainable. One can be forgiven to think this government was voted in for a ten year term given the crawling pace of every decision taken. Things have been done at too slow pace. This is made contrastingly obvious by the energy and responsiveness we see from the Vice President anytime he acts as President. It shows what is possible.
5. The government has failed to score some obvious quick wins of low hanging fruits of policies that will generate support and goodwill from Nigerians. Yes there has been a lot of good work done by this government; but to an average citizen, things have got from bad to worse in their daily experiences. They are not getting the acknowledgement of their suffering from the government.
6. The President has not been seen as being able or willing to hold any of his team to account. No queries, no sacking, no consequence for bad behaviour or disobedience to his orders, no new thinking or innovation, etc. The president just appears to be stuck in the past and removed from reality.
7. No overarching Vision for the country has been given by the President. Where are we going as a nation? What is the big picture? Stumbling along will score some successes, but that is no replacement for an overarching plan.
8. Over-Politicisation of issues. Corruption for instance is a PDP and APC problem. It is a Nigerian problem. Making corruption look like simply a PDP issue is wrong and insulting our intelligence. This erodes credibility when we all know the thieves that have joined APC from PDP being shielded and made to look like saints. Some of the biggest looters of the last two decades are now in APC and many of the current ones are the staunchest supporters of the President. Balance need to be brought to this fight against corruption; but most importantly, its root causes need to be addressed.
9. We know the President cannot do everything, how about his team. His inability to assemble the best brains in Nigeria is a concern. Recycling the same old and tired politicians is not building confidence in his ability to bring a good team together in the interest of Nigeria. We need to be innovative and strategic. This is the only we can leverage the advances in science and technology to grow rapidly. More educated and creative hands are needed in government. These same political dinosaurs will not deliver the change needed for our nation.
10. Imperviousness to common sense Public concern about perceived nepotistic tendency and behaviour. Even if it is not true, the President could have taken steps to reassure the public on the one-sidedness of his security appointments for instance by making changes. In politics perception is everything. The President has failed to reflect an understanding of genuine public concerns in his actions on security matters. Reassurance is part of the job of the President, but it seems he does not care about what Nigerians think. At least that is the vibe we get.
The needs of the nation require urgent and agile transformational leadership. The sedentary pace and posture of the President is out of place. He does not seem to have the energy, speed and nimbleness needed to respond to the needs of the nation in a fast changing world. We need energy and enthusiasm that will motivate a nation. PMB looks healthier and sharper than last year, but there does not seem to be any change to his responsiveness to the needs of a nation in pain. Hopefully, it is not too late to change.