UNDER INTENSE PRESSURE, President Buhari, had no choice, but succumb to the request, by resolutions from the House of Representatives, Tuesday, inviting him to the House, to address the lawmakers on the critical state of insecurity in the country. Overwhelmingly significantly, are the very loud voices that insisted on the president’s appearance before the lawmakers, coming from members of his ruling All Progressive Congress, APC.
The lawmakers may have succeeded in getting the president to speak, but what should the president be discussing with them? Same old story and rhetoric that the military was doing its best? The best, which the president himself, the national assembly, security experts, and Nigerians (high and low) have agreed, has not been good enough; in prosecuting the war against insurgent Boko Haram, banditry and kidnapping across the country? And how will the lawmakers engage the president during the session?
As agenda, added to worsening insecurity, there seems to be, almost, total collapse of governance in the country. The country is, presently, in recession, twice in five years of Buhari’s government. Even though, there are projections by the authorities, that the recession will be over in the first quarter of 2021. Terrible times in the country, are presently, hunting the citizens. People now beg to eat and live.
Nigerians, in the same voice, seem not to have faith with Buhari’s government and leadership in the country. The lack of confidence in the president’s leadership is palpable and tick in the air. Some are already, calling for his outright resignation from office as president. Even within his ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, Buhari presently, faces crisis of confidence.
At different forum, high ranking members of his party; some very close to the president, are worried about the government’s handling of the three critical campaign promises of the administration – building a strong economy; fighting corruption; and ending insecurity at record time. Five years on, with Buhari’s government, the three pillars of his campaign promises, have grossly deteriorated and slipping the nation into the gorge.
Nigeria, presently, and obviously, seems to be in want of fresh breath of life, and in want of ideological leadership. Who provides this lifeline, urgently needed in the country? The same old, and seemingly, unproductive team in government? Many questions. The lawmakers need to interrogate these questions and other key national issues, during the president’s visit. And demand clear-cut and convincing answers.
AGENDA for the president’s planned visit to the House of Representatives, may not be exhaustive. But could include what a former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, recently, demanded. That the president’s ability to properly comprehend the current state and mood of the nation; and comprehensively, articulate the way forward for the country, need to be adequately interrogated by the lawmakers.
Oby Ezekwesili, in her official twitter page, called for “independent mental and physical assessment” of President Buhari, to ascertain his ability to govern the country in the face of growing security challenges. As the situation in the country was becoming too critical for Nigerians to sit and watch.
“As an extremely concerned citizen, I hereby demand a medical panel on Buhari since we obviously cannot trust the State House Physician to provide us with accurate information. It is reasonable to demand now for citizens to have full disclosure on the state of health of Buhari.
“I think that at this stage and depth of fragility of Nigeria state, Privacy has to yield ground to our right to know as citizens, the state of health of Buhari. We really must assess the physical or mental capability of the Nigerian President to carry on the duties of his office.
“Citizens can collectively push for an independent panel to help us make the critical medical determination of the state of mind and body of our President, Buhari. The conditions of Nigeria have become too grave for us all to sit still and watch a train wreck in the making”, Ezekwesili stated.
AMONG OTHERS, Buhari’s visit to the House of Representatives, needs to address the economy, along with corruption festering in his administration. Opportunity, such as this, may take a long while to present itself, with what is known about Buhari’s government. Especially, with a president, very reluctant to speak to Nigerians who elected him into office.
It should not be a clapping session by party loyalists. But the serious business of interrogation, and solutions driven discussions. If it become obvious that the president lacked capacity to continue to lead the country out of its enormous challenges, he should be told by the lawmakers.
The president’s session with the lawmakers should be aired live on national radio and television stations. After the session, it should be clear to Buhari’s followers and doubters, what the president is up to, in his leadership in the country. And whether the president is capable of leading Nigeria out of the woods, with his presidency up till 2023, and Nigeria will move forward.
From the view points of the opposition political parties, President Buhari’s ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, is on membership drive across the country, ahead of 2023 general elections; while burning national issues are abandoned and left unattended. They believe, the next general election in 2023, is quite some years away. And the president should focus on good governance and moving the nation forward.