On the 29th of May,2015 I listened to the inaugural speech of president Muhammed Buhari as a democratically elected president of Nigeria.His speech was hopeful,thoughtful and its emphasis was on “Accountability in Democracy”.
Democracy is the most universally desired form of government.It is simple for the citizens to understand and appreciate if the actions and policies of the operators are conscientious and based on “Accountability to the Citizens”.
The pillars of Democracy are periodic free and fair elections,including free and fair elections within the political party and the principle of the Rule of Law.The assesment of its operation is defined on the basis of its accountability or non-accountability to the citizens.Interestingly,there is a continuous symmetrical relationship between the pillars of Democracy and its operartion.In other words,the pillars of Democracy can be destroyed when its operation is not accountable to the citizens.Conversely,the operation of Democracy with its accountability to the citizens can restore the pillars of Democracy.
As Nigerians commemorate Democracy Day in Nigeria, it is simple to understand that there is no accountability in the administration of president Buhari.The absence of accountability in the administration of Buhari is already eroding the pillars of Democracy in Nigeria.
The presidential campaigns in 2015 desrcibed Buhari as “mr Integrity” and his programmes emphasised the need to “Change Nigeria and anti-corruption crusade”.Unfortunately for president Buhari and his praise-singers,science and reasonable thoughts have demonstrated repeatedly that you cannot achieve any of these without accountability to the citizens in a Democracy.Authoritarian regimes will usually adopt state-propaganda and coerce the citizens to accept the “Leader as God sent,as mr.Integrity with great achievements for the country”.This is the exact position of Nigeria,today,29th May,2018 in marking three years of Buhari in office and Democracy Day in Nigeria.
The hypocrites and praise-singers of Buhari have no capacity for a reasonable response or intellectual discourse of contrary opinions to their state-propaganda.Their usual response is to abuse Nigerians that are objective in their assesment of the state of the nation.In addition,they are quick to draw a comparison of 16 years of PDP government in Nigeria.The fallacy of their usual comparison is obvious and debase, including characters like Mallam El-Rufai , the current governor of Kaduna state dwelling on the same PDP 16 years with APC three years when himself was a member of PDP and a member of PDP government for twelve years before he joined the APC.
President Buhari and his praise-singers have refused to accept that you do not need 16 years to be accountable to the citizens.A patriotic government and a leader that is conscious of Integrity and determined to effect a “Change” can achieve this from day-one of his inauguration as a democratically elected president.
The failure of the present government in Nigeria is anchored on Buhari and the absence of accountability in his Democracy .Few examples as enumerated below are sufficient to explain the failure of the administration arising from the absence of accountability to the citizens of Nigeria.
1.President Buhari appointed his cabinet members almost 6 months after his inauguration as elected president.He appointed chairmen and members of the federal boards and parastatals with some dead members after 2 years of his inauguration.
2.The appointment of service-Chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police have no regard for the principle of federal-character in the constitution of Nigeria.
3.The report of the committee headed by the vice-president of Nigeria to investigate the circumstances of over 13 billion Naira discovered in an apartment in Ikoyi,Lagos state,cannot be released in the 3 years of this administration.
4.Special Adviser to the president,mrs Uwais ,on 15th February 2017 confirmed to the Nigerian public that there was an embezzlement of Social Investment Funds in some states in Nigeria.Up till now, the states and the amount stolen are not known.
5.Buhari government has been claiming free feeding of about 8.2 million Nigerian school children.The states are unknown and the schools are unknown.The pupils being fed with billions of Naira remain anonymous.
6.The government cannot state the total amount that is used for the payment of fuel subsidy and Nigeria parliament is not aware of the amount because it is not captured in the budget.
7.$496 million withdrawn from the excess crude account by president Buhari without the authorisation of the National Assembly.Even infants know that the fund in the excess crude account is for the three tiers of government.
8.Inspector-General of Police continuous snubbing of the invitation of the senate is a clear danger to Democracy and an affirmation of a government that is not accountable to the citizens.How do prevent and fight crime if the IGP is not accountable to the parliament and to the citizens.
9.All Progressives Congress,(APC), a party led by President Buhari inability or refusal to conduct free and fair congresses is an erosion of internal democracy and a basic pillar of democracy in Nigeria.How do you give democracy and development to Nigeria when you cannot deliver internal democracy to your political party.
10.The so call,”five star hospital” built in Edo state by former governor Adams Oshiomhole and commissioned by president Buhari is still under lock and key in two years after the commissioning.Nobody is ready to account to Edo people and Adams Oshiomhole who invited president Buhari to deceive Edo people over the true status of the hospital is being paraded as one of the champions of APC.
You cannot describe a government as transparent without accountability to the citizens.Integrity can only be placed on transparency and accountability.From the few examples above,the title of “mr Integrity” being ascribed to president Buhari can only bear the version of an authoritarian regime where the leader is always described as God sent and He/She is always the best in the country.
President Buhari and his government do not require 16 years to be accountable to the citizens of Nigeria.The failure of Buhari administration and the absence of accountability in his democracy have no relationship with the 16 years of PDP government in Nigeria.
Nigerians are aware of this failure and they have the capacity to differentiate performance and incompetence.My advise for president Buhari is that he should save his name and the future of Nigeria by striving for the only achievement that is left within his reach.He should shun the desperation of his praise-singers and refuse the talks of hypocrites to rigg elections.If he can do this, by the next Democracy Day in 2019, his name will be mentioned on a positive note for contributing to the sustenance of Democracy in Nigeria.
Dept of Political Science and Public Administration,Igbinedion University,Okada,Nigeria.