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New Understanding Of Why Buhari Failed

By Emmanuel Aziken



Buhari fail

The unusual turnout of travelers at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja yesterday, the last working day of the Muhammadu Buhari administration could be interpreted in various ways by political pundits.

Some could have seen the mass movement through the airport as indicative of the claim that people like Chief Bode George and the former deputy governor of Lagos State, Alhaja Sinatu Ojikutu were making good the threat to leave Nigeria before the ascent of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as president.

Some others could have also seen the exit of Buhari as the end of hope for the country and hence the flood by people to check out through the airports.

However, your correspondent who was travelling through the airport, albeit within the country, saw it as representing the goodwill flowing towards the states as well-wishers of  the new governors rushed to partake in the inauguration ceremonies taking place in 29 states across the country on Monday.

As your correspondent waited to board his plane for his destination the poor state of the air conditioners in the departure hall again brought home the contradictions that have abounded for most of the life of the outgoing administration.

The poor state of the airports, notably the arrival and departure halls of the local airports of course preceded the Buhari administration. However, it is unfortunate that the administration that came with the mantra of change failed to alter the situation.

What was more provoking was that a government that has been unable to manage the airports satisfactorily was on its last working day zealously pushing through an egomaniac programme to launch Nigerian Air.

The outgoing minister of aviation, Captain Haidi Sirika has to almost universal condemnation within the industry forged ahead with the controversial move of setting up the national carrier despite regulatory and legal constraints put in his way.

The contradictory moves in the aviation sector in the twilight of the administration undoubtedly underline the chaos that has been witnessed for much of the Buhari administration with bedlam here and there in different shades of government.

What is remarkable is that Sariki came into government as an egg head, having been a former industry player before joining politics. He also had the added advantage of being a nephew as such of the president.

Though his administration of the aviation sector was initially seen to have been salutary, however, his almost paranoiac drive on Nigeria Air has stupefied many and could end up swallowing whatever legacy he may have achieved in the sector.

Many are fazed that a single man has almost committed Nigeria to a deal that the public is largely ignorant about.

Many industry players have said that instead of pushing government into this deal, that it should have picked from the many private airlines to designate a national carrier to all routes or to the different routes. It could for example designate qualified airlines to service particular routes as a national carrier.

However, apparently drawing on his influence in the government, Sirika has put aside inputs from other experts to project his determination to erect a legacy on Nigeria Air at the expense of the collective good.

If Sirika came as an expert, the confession of another Buhari insider, Adamu Adamu who served as minister of education for the two terms of the Buhari administration may have again exposed the reason why the Buhari government underperformed.

Speaking as he rounded up activities Adamu Adamu said he knew nothing about the education sector prior to his appointment. It can then be understood why protracted crises  in the university system characterized the Buhari regime.

The poor capacity or seeming indifference of the president in recruitment was worsened by his seeming detachment to the affairs of the ministers. Is it shocking that some of the worst ministers were retained for almost eight years simply because the president failed to check on them.

Ministers fought one another and with parastatal chiefs in the battle for space. At one time, the battle even took a physical turn as the minister of digital economy, Prof Isa Pantami was alleged to have thrown the chairman of the Nigeria in the Diaspora Commission, NiDCOM, Abike Dabiri-Erewa out of her office space.

In all these the president kept mum, confessing at the valedictory Federal Executive Council, FEC meeting that he did not interfere with the affairs of the ministers he appointed.

It is the aloofness that nurtured the internal contradictions that we saw in most of the eight years that Buhari served. Ministers and super aides used the name of his government to promote their personal goals at the collective hurt of the citizenry.

It is this poor capacity to manage or draw the line that saw Buhari hand over transition documents to the president-elect but at the same time kept his ministers on their desks working!

The assertion that once Buhari gives an assignment that he does not interfere will not be an excuse to exculpate him from the failures of his government. After all, he was the one who made the appointments and the buck stops at his desk.

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