Apparently disappointed by the state of the economy, disregard for court orders, massive unemployment and many other things affecting the country, Olubunmi Okogie, a cardinal and archbishop emeritus of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, warns that the President Muhammadu Buhari is going a wrong way
OLUBUNMI Okogie, a cardinal and archbishop emeritus of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, on Sunday, January 24, asked President Muhammadu Buhari, to lead by example on all fronts or risk plunging Nigeria into a state of despondency.
The cardinal, in a statement by Gabriel Osu, director of social communications of the Diocese, accused the president of acting disdainfully towards the judicial authorities while millions of Nigerians were made to face unimaginable social problems.
Okogie said: “He (Buhari) must retool, refocus and aggressively face the social, economic (fiscal and monetary) problems we have head-on, without letting the anti-corruption drive look like a political distraction.
“A snail-paced and disordered methodology in governance, his apparent disdain for judicial authorities and decisions, a lost today and found tomorrow 2016 Budget debacle, and a rather rudderless and confused Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, with an unclear monetary policy strategy (inevitably increasing the economic uncertainties being faced by Nigerians), have set alarm bells ringing in my mind and in the minds of many discerning Nigerians.
“Indeed, his perceived discordant relationship with the leadership of the Legislature has many naysayers chuckling and remarking that President Buhari’s government is heading into his comfort zone, a one man show.”
The cardinal also noted that “a lot of Nigerians are beginning to feel that Buhari is fast transforming this nation into a police state where the president, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Department of State Security, DSS, rule the day.
“What they say is given lurid headlines in the media, and it seems to all that some of the defendants cum accused persons are being tried in the press with in-formation conveniently slipping into the hands of the press, presumably from the security agencies, even before such people have been charged to court.”
He also frowned at the president’s disregard for the court orders on the bail grant-ed to Nnamdi Kanu, director of Radio Biafra and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and Sambo Dasuki, a retired colonel and former national security adviser, NSA, he retorted that the president was setting a bad precedence by disobeying the court orders.
“Unfortunately, democracy is difficult and this government must realise that democracy pervasively coloured with impunity, arbitrariness and highhandedness, cannot be used to fight and correct the financial impunity and reckless abandon of the previous administration, even if it is more difficult to do so; the rule of law must be obeyed and be the order of the day.
“If Buhari wants to leave a creditable legacy come 2019, he should retool the bureaucracy. For instance, the roof of the Central Bank is leaking water.
“Governors, who arm-twisted Okonjo-Iweala into signing out our reserves held by the Central Bank, are today ministers in the All Progressives Congress, APC, government.
“We are still talking about change and corruption when old things refuse to pass away! These political gimmicks can only carry away gullible or naive Nigerians. President Buhari should beam his flashlight on policies and programmes that will lift up the masses,” Okogie said further.
The cardinal reminded the president of dying industries, which he said needed to be urgent revitalisation. He said the budget ought to aid solutions to the mass unemployment, rural-urban migration, skewedness in the distribution of income, abject rural poverty and industrialisation of rural economy. But regretted that it was not been so.
Besides, he asked the government to stop its change mantra because he had not seen any change.
“Our Change must change something. How could we continue to talk of change in a static system? How could we be talking of change when the same crew are governors, ministers, senators, and members of the House of Representatives? This is a cyclical devolution of power to the same people who are never out of power!
“What sort of change is the president talking about? When will the youth take over when even a governor does not take a bow and go? When shall we plan for the replacement of delinquent leadership? This is what constitutes change. Change is not changing from Jonathan to Buhari.”
He said further: “Change is behavioural and pervades all levels of society including the family, the church, the mosque, schools, market women and business men. When we talk of change, we talk of positive-salutary, healthy growth and development oriented change that cuts across the entire gamut of the society.
“What sort of change is this that ignores the glaring unequal distribution of national income? It is absurd that the same government that is unable to pay N18,000 per month to the lowest grade of labour can afford to pay N1.8 million per month to anyone in the economy. Why must tax payers’ money be used to feed Mr. President and his family?
“Why must the tax payers’ money be used to buy brand new exotic vehicles for the legislature, judges, ministers and governors when they are heavily paid?
“Why don’t they use loan finance or mortgage finance to buy their cars and houses? This is also a form of looting and it is the cause of grounding the economy and calling in an IMF spin-doctor all the time.
“Precisely two years ago this same President Buhari rejected off-hand this use of a spin doctor to heal the ailing economy. He preferred the use of counter-trade and inward looking policies like cutting down costs and flamboyant exotic life styles.
“Today, I am not so sure we have the same Buhari. I do hope he has not changed all the colours of the rainbow. The ruling elites are living a luxurious lifestyle while the masses are in abject poverty and yet we are all Nigerians. Enough of this change-conundrum,” Okogie warned.
— Jan 25, 2016 @ 16:20 GMT