By Ononye VC
The Financial Times has lampooned the administration of President Muhammdu Buhari. In its latest publication the newspaper based in London, England, lambasted Buhari’s administration, noting that Nigeria has sleepwalked closer to disaster under him.
“Campaigning has already begun for presidential elections that in February 2023 will draw the curtain on eight years of the administration of Muhammadu Buhari, on whose somnolent watch Nigeria has sleepwalked closer to disaster”, David Pilling the author of the article titled ‘What is Nigeria’s government for?’, said.
In the article, David accused Buhari of not finding the solutions to the country’s economic quagmire, insecurity and electoral malpractices having spent two terms.
In his words: “Buhari has overseen two terms of economic slump, rising debt and a calamitous increase in kidnapping and banditry — the one thing you might have thought a former general could control. Familiar candidates to replace him, mostly recycled old men, are already counting their money ahead of a costly electoral marathon. It takes an estimated $2bn to get a president elected. Those who pay will expect to be paid back.
“There are some promising candidates. If Yemi Osinbajo, the technocratic vice-president, were miraculously to make it through the campaign thicket and emerge as president, the hearts of Nigerian optimists would beat a little faster.
“But that may be to underestimate the depth of Nigeria’s quagmire. The problem is not so much who leads the government as the nature of government itself.
“Nigeria’s administration is fuelled by oil — though not its economy; more than 90 per cent of output is generated from non-oil activities. But for decades, the business of government — whether military or, since 1999, democratic — has been to control access to oil revenues and earn patronage by spreading petrol-dollars to federal and state supplicants.”
Reacting, Garba Shehu, via his Twitter account wrote a letter to the editor of Financial Times, addressing the points highlighted in the article.
According to him: “We wish to correct the wrong perceptions contained in the article “What is Nigeria’s Government For,” by David Piling, Financial Times (UK), January 31, 2022.
“The caricature of a government sleepwalking into disaster (What is Nigeria’s government for? January 31, 2022 ) is predictable from a correspondent who jets briefly in and out of Nigeria on the same British Airways flight he so criticises.
“He highlights rising banditry in my country as proof of such slumber. What he leaves out are the security gains made over two Presidential terms.
“The terror organisation Boko Haram used to administer an area the size of Belgium at inauguration; now, they control no territory.
“The first comprehensive plan to deal with decades-old clashes between nomadic herders and sedentary farmers – experienced across the width of the Sahel – has been introduced: pilot ranches are reducing the competition for water and land that drove past tensions.
“Banditry grew out of such clashes. Criminal gangs took advantage of the instability, flush with guns that flooded the region following the Western-triggered implosion of Libya.
“The situation is grave. Yet as with other challenges, it is one that the government will face down.”