There’s been quite a celebration since Buhari won the election two weeks ago and many Nigerians are looking forward to his inauguration.
People have faith in him apparently and hope that things will change when he starts to run the country. This is actually a good thing.
But some people think the incoming president is overrated and that not much will change in the next four years. Perhaps they’re right.
Naij.com columnist, Adedayo Ademuwagun, explores four reasons why Buhari might not deliver.
1. His party
The APC is not so different from the PDP and some people already fear that they’ve kicked out a set of bad, corrupt leaders only to enthrone another set of bad, corrupt leaders.
Buhari might not deliver because of the party he’s in. Buhari himself is a reputable person, but there are lots of people in the party who are known to be corrupt people and who failed their people when they were in government.
For example, Segun Oni fraudulently won the election in Ekiti years ago and was sacked by the court in a widely controversial election. Everyone knows that Tinubu is a powerful politician but also a corrupt one. These are people who helped this man become president. How in the world do we expect him to deliver with these people pulling the strings in the background?
These people are disreputable people who have no business in the power but should be in prison. It’s like putting a man in white in a pool of thick mud and expecting him to come out with something clean. The ironic thing is Buhari wants to fight corruption. If he really wants to do that, he must start from within his own party.
2. His leadership
The president of Nigeria isn’t the president of any party or group. We need a president that can act decisively. We need strong leadership in Aso Rock. That’s one thing that’s clear. We need someone who can lead the way forward and take decisions in the collective interest of the Nigerian people, not in the interest of his party or ethnicity.
We need a president who will fire someone when it has to be done, who will move to solve problems and show the people some real leadership with an impact so strong the people can feel it even in the grassroots.
Buhari has proven over time that he lacks strong leadership. He was effectively a figurehead when he ruled in the 80s. Everyone knows Idiagbon was the one calling the shots. People already think if he wins, the vice president may be more active than him given his leadership history.
3. His precedent
Buhari’s got a bad precedent. He’s inheriting a dysfunctional system and he knows it. People expect him to fix the whole thing shortly, but that’s not going to happen soon obviously.
When Jonathan came in, he was in the same boat that Buhari is in right now. He inherited a government that struggled to make an impact, a government stifled by systemic corruption and inefficiency that have built over decades. He didn’t bring corruption or insecurity and all those stuff. Those things had been there or had the foundation before his advent. He simply took the fall for the problems.
He made some progress and tried to do some reforms and make things better. For example, he set up new universities to cater for the ballooning number of young people who want to get a university education. He also tried to create jobs and support young people through things like the YouWin program. The president should be commended for things like these that he did.
But the problem is those things pale very much when considered alongside the extent of the problems he inherited, so the problems simply overshadowed his good works and then the rest is obvious.
Jonathan is stepping down from that position and Buhari will feel the heat. There’s Boko Haram, there’s the economy. People who have so many expectations of this Buhari government, such that he’ll have to perform highly well to meet even half the expectations of the people.
It could be predicted that in four years from now Nigerians will come after Buhari and yearn for him to go home after four years when they grow dissatisfied by his performance.
4. His popularity
Jonathan won the election by a landslide partly because he was the most popular candidate on the ballot that time. From the east to the west, people loved this new man who wears a hat and seems to have a history of good fortune. But after a few bad policies, he lost a good deal of that popularity and a lot of people who used to root for him began to resent his government.
That’s because his popularity was superficial. It lacked substance. It wasn’t built on solid rock. It was built on good luck and all that kind of stuff. That’s sinking sand.
Buhari’s popularity is clearly superficial too. It wasn’t that long ago that people used to dislike Buhari. Three times he ran for president and failed every single time. He just didn’t have the people’s backing.
But things rapidly changed after the APC merger and then the APC went back to the drawing board and repackaged him as a revolutionary who will change the country. It was just really well timed, because at the time people just wanted the PDP to go and they wanted someone else to lead. So the APC groomed Buhari to fill that need.
Buhari himself couldn’t have won the election were it not for the circumstances that worked in his favour. One, Jonathan’s popularity was declining. Two, the PDP had become a real mess and people badly wanted to kick them out. Three, things didn’t seem to be looking up for most people and they thought that a change in government would improve things. So the whole thing was just fortuitous for him.
A few years down the line people will probably grow disillusioned about the man and his popularity will fade. Then he won’t have the people’s mandate. He’ll spend the rest of his tenure struggling to keep his public image good just as Jonathan did, and he might start to falter. Then the people will begin to oppose and it might hinder his work. It happened to Jonathan. It could happen to this the new president too.