By Carl Umegboro
SIR: The response by the presidency to the message by the Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry, Rev Fr. Ejike Mbaka through a press statement issued by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity) is not only unhelpful, it misses the point. Such a rejoinder when the nation is under a siege with the blood of innocent citizens being wasted on daily basis across the states, and sadly with impunity leaves much to be desired of the government.
Mbaka, hitherto a supporter of Buhari right from his campaign for the first term, recently became embittered over the state of the nation. Aside openly expressing his disappointment, he demanded that the president resign or be impeached by the National Assembly. The presidency, in response, went out of control by linking his disappointment to contracts deals he solicited unsuccessfully as a reward for his support.
Honestly, the stinker from the hallowed office of the president against a clarion call on the government to sit up and face its responsibilities diligently is to say the least, regrettable. The presidency goofed.
The Nigerian Constitution in Section 14(2)(b) makes welfare and security of the people the primary purpose of government. In other words, irrespective of the causes of hardship and chaos, peoples’ well-being and safety remain the benchmark to measure the success of any administration. There is no justification for the presidency to react the way it did considering that the clergy has selflessly supported the administration from the beginning.
By the way, what is wrong if the clergy introduced contractors to the government for patronage which is the pattern, not only in the country but beyond the shores of the country? Did the cleric ask presidency to move public funds into his account? It would have been a different ballgame if he had demanded for money for his support and prayers. But this is not the case but introduction of some persons known to him for patronage.
It is absurd that the presidency would leave the colossal crises that have continued to waste innocent blood on daily basis for media propaganda which changes nothing. Whether Mbaka solicited for contracts or not, the country is on fire. Nobody can pretend about it.
No doubt, the Buhari administration has laid solid foundations in some critical areas particularly in the area of infrastructure. Save for some critical errors particularly in the selection of service-chiefs and almost all key appointments from one region, he has generally done well. His administration has blocked leakages from the treasury through the Single Treasury Account (TSA). Also, Ghana-must-go bags which used to be a constant factor at the National Assembly have disappeared. Again, the administration should be cheered – for the first time in history, citizens under SME (Small-and-Medium Scale Enterprises) have been accessing loans from federal government without tips or the usual ‘man-no-man’ syndrome.
The Covid-19 pandemic that even shook strong economies of the world did the worst by compounding the hardships already in the society from policy reforms, as many lost their jobs as countless businesses closed down after the lockdown.
Buhari should possibly seek external support as the crisis is going out of hand. People are hungry and suffering, and even farmers cannot freely go to their farms. In fact, the system requires radical actions now. This is the reason that as 2023 draws closer, it is germane to begin to think deeper about leadership of the country. The numerous crisis demands a leader with vast experiences on management to succeed President Buhari.