June 12: A drowning government running out of time – Seye Olaniyonu

June 12: A drowning government running out of time – Seye Olaniyonu

Officially, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has two years left and if the events of the past 15 days and the recent commemoration of the June 12 anniversary are anything to go by, the administration is going to face tough times ahead.

The government is facing a tough battle on all fronts.

From Boko Haram in the North East; bandits in the North West and North Central; to the Eastern Security Network (ESN) and the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) in the South East.

Worse still, Tompolo has resumed issuing threats in the South South; while the South West appears to be at the threshold of ‘enough is enough’.

Last week, Rotimi Agunsoye, a member of the House of Representatives declared that they, as a government, have failed woefully. Interestingly enough, Agunsoye is not just a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), but one of Tinubu’s boys.

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For politicians in the South West; it is hard to pretend or turn a blind eye to what is going on in the South West. Recently, there was a reprisal attack in Igangan, Oyo State, where marauders killed over 10 persons.

The attack, according to reports, was perpetrated by suspected herdsmen.

June 12

In addition, the government has picked a battle with Twitter, which invariably attracted the attention of the international community.

These events prepared the fertile ground for the rage witnessed in some cities across the country on June 12; though more pronounced in the South West. Nigerians trooped out in their thousands to protest against insecurity and bad governance.

Interestingly, June 12, a symbol of resistance, was adopted by President Buhari as Democracy Day. He was rightfully applauded for the move. However, the gesture by the President is no longer sufficient in appeasing the people; who are now facing hunger, insecurity and a bad economy.

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Unfortunately, the government shamelessly responded to the protests with force.

A look at the reality on ground shows that the protests are not misplaced. The country is facing the grim reality of shortage of food, as farmers are unable to go to work.Over 33% of Nigerians are classified as unemployed by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS); with the inflation rate still above 18%.

The government needs to address these burning issues. No amount of crackdown can resolve the grim economic situation.

Nevertheless, it appears the President is now feeling the heat because he has become more chatty. Two interviews within a week, even though the tone was as scornful as always. But in those interviews, he was able to spill some truths. Perhaps, he needs to talk more.

June 12

Indeed, the governors need to share a good portion of the blame. The judiciary went on strike for months because the governors have refused to implement autonomy for the judiciary. The same governors have run down the local government system.

However, the president cannot assume the role of lamentor-in-chief. Indeed, his party, the APC has 23 of the 35 governors.

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As a leader of his party, how has he been able to influence those governors in his party? What of the governor of his home state, Aminu Masari? Has he been able to prevail on his governor?

No one is asking the president to directly intervene in affairs of sub-national entities. But the truth remains that he sure can influence them. What level of influence is he pulling? What has become of the man whose ordinary ‘body language’ set people to act right? Has he been totally demystified?

It appears so.

The question remains, what is going to be President Buhari’s legacy in his second coming? It can’t be Trader Moni or any of those minimalist interventionist schemes. And if he fails to add another train to the Lagos-Ibadan train; then it can’t be the revitalisation of railways.

The government has two years only to define a legacy. There are very few under-achievements yet to be overshadowed by the general insecurity around the country.

These interviews need to be more often. But more importantly, more action by the president is urgently needed. By and large, this is a drowning administration. The only hope is that it does not drag the country down with it.

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