By Peter Claver Oparah
President Muhammadu Buhari is on an arduous task. It is a tough and mine-laden task. He has a demanding mission to clean the Augean stable left behind by the wasteful and prodigal Jonathan regime. He has mountain of debris to clear, he has huge debts to pay, has gargantuan liabilities to settle. He inherited a battered country; a country where the outgoing leadership worshipped and deified corruption and ensured that its tentacles spread to every facet of our national life. He has a task to let Nigerians accept that stealing is corruption, contrary to the ethos of the outgone Jonathan regime.
He has an unenviable mission to set the right moral tone for an ethically rusty and morally depraved nation that is basking on the cusps of bankruptcy. He is doing that despite the syndicated tactics of the corrupt cabal he defeated last March and who feels threatened by his resolve to root out corruption from the body fabric of the country. He knows that when one fights corruption, corruption mobilizes tenfold to fight back and he is up to the task. He therefore sees the noisome distractions, the baleful cries of woes and the impudent charge that he is doing enough two months in power as war cries of the retreating forces of corruption who can do anything to stop Buhari on his tracks and continue the ruination he is tackling.
For most of us who endured the blitzkrieg of a desperate and dying regime and its wolfish ramparts to campaign for, work for and vote for President Buhari, our goals were as clear as our mission. Inherent in the largely-voluntary campaign that saw Buhari defeat an incumbent Goodluck Jonathan regime in a historic March 2015 presidential election and the sweepstake his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, achieved against a clearly-rusty PDP were these imperatives:
i. Plugging the forces of corrosive corruption that was sweeping through every facet of the national life especially during the Jonathan era
ii. Fix the moribund public sector and a fast decaying infrastructure base
iii. Arrest the culture of impunity and carefree governance that dragged the country down the valley of decay,
iv. Mend the strictures imposed on the country by Jonathan regime’s penchant to pander to the forces of ethnic, sectional, sectarian and tribal division and hate
v. Redirect the conduct of statecraft along the lines of honesty, integrity and accountability.
These were the broad outlines that fired the successful Buhari campaign and were borne out of the prevailing feeling of frustration Nigerians had as the Jonathan regime tapered to its anti-climax with a clear dereliction that saw Nigeria flounder so rudderlesly on the verges of collapse.
Contained in our expectations from the Buhari presidency was not the outlandish expectation that Buhari will swarm Nigeria with bread and butter, milk and honey even before he was sworn in and with the pallid state the PDP looting left Nigeria. That one was the fabrication of those that bitterly employed every foul means to stop Buhari and elongate the Jonathan/PDP regime as it dragged Nigeria down the labyrinths of collapse. That itself was a scorn and a fleeting effort to manage their own frustration that Buhari, despite their deadly and expensive efforts, was able to defeat their choice regime.
So they melded such illogical expectations to scoff at the person that visited them with such humiliating defeat. Apart from relapsing to their choiceless state of scoffing at every move Buhari has made to steer the Nigerian state to the paths of rectitude, they have formed the wry habit of distracting with their noises at every step Buhari has undertaken to arrest the drift they frantically worked to sustain. Again, they have turned to secret prayer warriors and have worn out their knee caps in negative supplication to God that Buhari should fail so as to provide them good reason to laugh at Nigerians for so poignantly rejecting their choice regime. They desperately want to prove to us all that Nigeria is irredeemable and so Nigerians had no reason voting out a regime that massaged their corrupt instincts with its feel-good policies that grew corruption and public stealing.
Since he came to power on May 29, 2015, he has plunged headlong into confronting the very decibels Nigerians massively endorsed him to deal with. The pervasive corruption complex that was erected to smash a well endowed country to smithereens has met its match in an unsmiling Buhari who has spared nothing to smoke out the cancer from the Nigerian fiber. The sheer volume and level of corruption that was perpetrated by the previous regime is so overwhelming, as we are seeing with revelations from the initial inquest by the Buhari regime but we have a determined leader that is primed for the long haul it will take to stamp out corruption. Knowing that he would be falling into the trap of the woe-wishers that fervently pray that he flunks on the task, President Buhari has fended off the frantic and syndicated outcry of these forces that he did not rush into appointing ministers and other officials of his government. His is a deliberate and calculated mission
to overhaul the system and imbue it with credible anti-corruption templates that will stem haemorrhage that has so pervasively dealt serious blows to governance in Nigeria before making appointments.
President Buhari has equally moved into dealing with the demons that have stymied the workings of our infrastructure. The power sector, which a minister once said needs spiritual exorcism to function, is powering to life under the watch of a new Sherriff and for once in a long time, Nigerians are enjoying perhaps their longest ever experience of power supply. The ubiquitous generators are gradually screeching to silence and the clear reduction in the cost of doing business in Nigeria is a predictable outcome Nigerians have started harvesting from the gradual return of the public power supply.
The rodents that invaded the oil sector and made it a racketeers’ haven are retreating from the charge of President Buhari. Our refineries that have been declared obsolete and irreparable are getting back to track while the notorious fuel subsidy cartels; pet children of the Jonathan regime, have all chickened out of the space because President Buhari is set to reverse the corrupt order from which they milked Nigerians dry. The cleanup of the rotten oil industry, as well as all sectors of our economy is trending and this will ensure that the country’s resources work for Nigerians and not few freeloaders that live and thrive off the commonwealth. The voodoo economy that Jonathan and his esoteric economic team basked in is being seriously unhinged to pave way for am accountable system that meets the practical reality of our nation.
The ministries and parastatals are undergoing serious reforms to remove the deliberate scrambles previous governments installed to flower corruption and graft. The questioning of multifarious shady deals and taking in perpetrators to question, with prospects of exerting sanctions for culprits is instilling the much needed fear and decorum into the conduct of public service. Government appointees and civil servants are being redirected through the straight and narrow ways; long abandoned to a culture of free plundering for which the country is seriously bleeding today.
These are micro steps President Buhari is taking to ensure that governance is not business as usual, that government comes off more productive for the good of all, that governance tailors towards the common good and fulfillment of the common interest. He has taken painstaking moves to give flesh, direction, content and context to governance hence public officers appointed by him have clear lines of rectitude to follow. He is ensuring that governance will not be just for the sake of it but a result-oriented art to improve the lot of people and country. This is in utter contrast to those that want him to tread the beaten tracks of directionless and corrupt governance that has so far led the country to the woods of despair. The country is undergoing total overhaul in the hands of Buhari. The country is undergoing comprehensive repair and the fruits are beginning to waft out from the stability that is fast returning to the country’s public sector. These are sure ways to steer an adrift country aright and thank goodness, Buhari is doing these, for which we elected him.
—Oparah wrote from Ikeja, Lagos. E-mail: email@example.com