Home News Debate: Is Buhari/APC Characterised By Incompetence?

Debate: Is Buhari/APC Characterised By Incompetence?


By Akanimo Sampson

In the fourth week of last October, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State in Western Nigeria, accused the National Chairman of their party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, of incompetence.

In a statement sent to newsmen on Wednesday, October 24, by his Senior Special Adviser on Special Duties and Strategy, Doyin Odebowale,  Governor Akeredolu said APC primaries exposed the incompetence of Oshiomhole, pointing out that the ruling party’s big chair and former labour leader mishandled the controversially concluded party primaries across the country.

The governor described the exercise as a “political charade” and a revelation of “a shocking proclivity towards banditry and impunity.” He asserted that recent events in the APC had justified his opposition to Oshiomhole’s emergence as the party’s chairman.

If a sitting governor can say such of his former colleague and the big boss of the ruling party, could a profile analysis of the APC help to explain why the Muhammadu Buhari Presidency so far has been characterised by a seeming political failure?

According to grammarians, incompetence is a noun that means the quality or condition of being incompetent, this time, an adjective that means, lacking qualification or ability or incapable.

Already, a global human rights group, Amnesty International, on Monday claimed that President Buhari/APC administration’s failures fuel escalating conflict between farmers and herders as death toll nears 4,000.

For Amnesty International, ‘’the Nigerian authorities’ failure to investigate communal clashes and bring perpetrators to justice has fuelled a bloody escalation in the conflict between farmers and herders across the country, resulting in at least 3,641 deaths in the past three years and the displacement of thousands more.

‘’The government has displayed what can only be described as gross incompetence and has failed in its duty to protect the lives of its population and end the intensifying conflict between herders and farmers. The authorities’ lethargy has allowed impunity to flourish and the killings to spread to many parts of the country, inflicting greater suffering on communities who already live in constant fear of the next attack’’.

Nigeria’s Director of the group. Osai Ojigho, who said these also added, ‘’our research shows that these attacks were well planned and coordinated, with the use of weapons like machine guns and AK-47 rifles. Yet, little has been done by the authorities in terms of prevention, arrests and prosecutions, even when information about the suspected perpetrators was available.”

But the Nigerian Army has not been happy with this. The obviously angry Army said the country’s wing of the global rights group which hitherto has been well respected ‘’has deviated from the core values, principles and objectives of the original Amnesty International domiciled in the United Kingdom.’’ The Army said so on their Twitter Page.

While the heat of the Amnesty report was still troubling the armed security force, former President Goodluck Jonathan fueled the issue the more by saying that it is unfair to blame him for the “failure” of President Buhari to inspire confidence in investors within his first six months in office.

The man wey no like wahala was responding to the comments made by Garba Shehu, one of the presidential spokesmen, when he featured on Channels Television earlier on Monday too, the day Amnesty dropped their bombshell report.

Shehu had claimed that Jonathan directed members of his cabinet not to cooperate with the transition committee and that slowed down the government of Buhari.

In a swift response, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, said in a statement in Abuja, the country’s capital city, ‘’it is unfortunate that the Buhari Presidency will always resort to peddling falsehood as a cover for its failures. It is a settled matter that President Buhari could not form a cabinet for over five months after his inauguration, primarily due to sheer incompetence, lack of preparedness and the fact that he was overwhelmed by the complexity of the office of the President of Nigeria.

‘’In accusing the Jonathan administration of frustrating early formation of President Buhari’s cabinet, by allegedly delaying the submission of his handover notes to the Transition Committee, the Buhari Presidency forgot that the head of the transition committee, Ahmed Joda, had since May, 2015 publicly dispelled such as false and diversionary, noting that the committee got all the cooperation it needed from the Jonathan’s administration.

However, former President Jonathan who spoke through his spokesman,  Ikechukwu Eze, wondered why a government seeking re-election will be looking for a scapegoat. ‘’Our attention has been drawn to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu in which he blamed the failure of President Buhari to appoint ministers until six months after taking over office on the administration of former President Jonathan.

‘’As strange as that particular assertion may sound, it still beggars belief that a spokesman of a President who is seeking re-election would still be looking for a scapegoat for the administration’s failure, at a time he should be showcasing his scorecard. That amounts to merely clutching at straws.

‘’One thing is as clear as daylight: The Jonathan administration has absolutely nothing to do with the failure of this government to appoint ministers early enough to inspire confidence in investors because it is obvious that handover notes from a predecessor does not contain the list of ministers for the incoming administration. However, that is even making light Shehu’s unending embarrassing gaffe.

‘’It is expected that a man who has been around the corridors of power for that long, beginning from when he served as a media adviser under President Obasanjo for years, should understand government’s basic functions and procedures. Handover notes, being transitioning documents, are usually received by an incoming President from his predecessor at the time of change of government.’’

Jonathan said Shehu ought to be knowledgeable enough to realise that handover notes have nothing to do with the appointment of ministers. ‘’It is not a document that guides a President to appoint his ministers. Under normal circumstances, a newly inaugurated President needs the support of his ministers, who would handle different departments of government, to study and understand his handover notes for effective performance of his initial duties.

‘’Those who think like Shehu that a government would not function properly if it does not receive handover notes in time, should be reminded that there is no law establishing the process. It is simply a matter of convenience for an outgoing President to develop handover notes to guide his successor understand key issues and hit the ground running.

‘’In his own case, former president Jonathan magnanimously set up a transition team that produced the handover document which President Buhari received ahead of his inauguration. Anyone who uses handover notes to justify a President’s indiscretion of not appointing ministers until after spending six months in power, is either being mischievous or does not really understand governance processes.

‘’Sometimes, when Shehu speaks, he comes across as someone who is unaware of the fact that, under our laws, an administration is elected for a tenure of four years within which it is expected to have fulfilled its campaign promises, before returning to the electorates for a fresh mandate. In case he does not know, Shehu should be reminded that blaming others for one’s failures is not a prove of performance.’’

Not yet done, Jonathan said it is the duty of every responsible administration to seek to make better the situation it met on ground, adding that ‘’anything less than that is a prove of incompetence for which a failed administration has no moral justification to ask for a fresh mandate.

‘’While members of the current administration continue to blame President Jonathan for their failure to deliver on their mandate, they should be reminded that there are many African success stories that proved that a progress-minded administration has no business focusing only on the past. From the past of a worst genocide in recent history, Rwandan President Paul Kagame did not blame anybody when he took charge.

‘’He simply hit the ground running, and today, we all know where Rwanda stands in Africa’s growth and development index. The story is similar in Cote d’Ivoire where President Alassane Ouattara was able to turn around the Ivorian economy within two years after it had virtually collapsed following the negative impact of the country’s worst political crisis.

‘’As the Buhari government nears its end, the minders of the administration should please tell Nigerians what new projects, programmes and institutions for good governance they have added to those established by the various administrations of the PDP, since they took office on May 29, 2015.’’


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