Written by the Editorial Board of The Guardian Newspaper
Nigeria would be better off if President Muhammadu Buhari would concentrate on what his government should do to lead the country out of the current economic crisis instead of wasting precious time on blaming past administrations for the current woes of the country. The past, no doubt, cannot be ignored for the seeds of the current problems were sown then. But President Muhammadu Buhari should galvanize the country into wealth-creating productivity, stimulate the economy to get more people employed and spend time on rebuilding the broken walls.
Certainly, this is what Nigerians elected him to do.
What has even been more worrisome is the fact that he was quoted as responding the other day that he would continue to blame past leaders and indeed the political party he ousted from power. This is no longer acceptable at a time the people look up to the president to take the nation out of the abyss into which, certainly, the last administration had plunged it
In Abeokuta for a ceremony some days ago, President Buhari, represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF), Babachir Lawal again blamed past leaders for the country’s woes saying they lacked “foresight, uprightness and managerial skills”.
“If our leaders had demonstrated the foresight, uprightness and managerial skills of Chief Bisoye Tejuoso our economy would have been better. Our past leaders refused to save and diversify the economy.” True. But Nigerians already know this.
What is more, sooner than later, the Buhari administration would face the same scrutiny and verdict of the people. Which is why it is important to enjoin the president to concentrate the business of leading Nigeria at this time when the economy requires creativity and resourceful leadership instead of whining. Nigerians also needs some inspiration.
People, would like to be comforted by inspirational words and actions that will engender a glimmer of hope, that all will be well, after all. At this time, Nigeria needs a president who would tell the people how he intends to remove all obstacles to industrialization in Nigeria. Nigeria needs a leader who would tell the people how he intends to deal with the issues of “ease of doing business”.
In international rating by the International Finance Corporation and others, Nigeria ranks a dismal 181 out of 189 countries surveyed for “Ease of doing Business”. This means that despite all the assurances and hundreds of seminars and panel reports on how to reform the public service to deal with obstacles to business startups such as registration, land acquisition, rule of law and compliance with extant rules, nothing has changed. Besides, critical infrastructure needed for industrialization such as good roads and stable electricity supply are unavailable at the moment. That is also why lamentation and stale prescriptions should be left to the people and non-governmental organizations. When leaders in office do nothing but blame predecessors and even the people for poor performance, who would the people blame or who would the people look up to?
Therefore, President Buhari has his job well cut out for him. Besides, he should not allow the people who supported his emergence as leader to question the basis for their trust, for Nigerians and indeed, world leaders, believe that the nation could not have asked for a better leader at such a critical time as this.
There have been enough plaudits on the commitment of his government to tackling the challenge of Boko Haram insurgency in the North East. There are clear indications that the insurgents are already weak but the storm is not over yet. Not only that, there is no doubt that the Buhari government is serious about fighting corruption despite criticisms of lopsidedness in the execution of the fight. So, no one doubts that work is ongoing.
There is, however, concerns about building institutions that can sustain the fight within the public service where corruption is endemic. In other words, while the anti-graft war is admirable, it is not profound enough.
President Buhari should, note that Nigerians also perceive that he is too rigid and want him to be more adept at managing all the variables of a complex federation beset with underutilization of human resources. He should deepen the people’s understanding of the philosophy of his government beyond the blame game. He should re-connect with and engage the people in a way that will send them a message of hope.
The president should put an end to the era of lamentation and begin not only the re-organisation but also the inspiration of a true Nigeria.