Unfolding events in the last seven months particularly in the oil sector show Muhammad Buhari and the All Progressive Congress [APC] government is not likely to pull the needed political will that will take Nigeria out of it current challenges. This is even as Muhammad Buhari and his party had consistently maintained they know the solution to Nigerian challenges and have taken responsibility in solving them.
Seven months after, for a party that was in existence two years before the election, it does appear the party and its leadership lacks the capacity and competence they had accused the People Democratic Party, PDP of not demonstrating under Mr. Jonathan former Nigerian president.
Prior to taken over power, on May 2015, Daily Trust crew were in Daura, at the home of President Buhari where he granted them an interview: “I asked to be the president, so whatever I meet there I cannot complain. I came out and went through the election processes with my party and I know, of course, that there is a lot of work to be done.
“If you reflect on the 16 years of the PDP, I think, it was 16 years of disaster, especially economically and security wise. Economically, if you find out how much the country earned and the state of the infrastructure at the beginning and the state of infrastructure now, then it becomes unfortunate that we found ourselves under the rule of the PDP in this country,” he said at the interview.
On fuel subsidy, Buhari said: “One of the problems I have, other than the military, is the petroleum industry where I served for three and a half years under General Obasanjo. When people start talking about this subsidy I honestly get confused.
“When I found myself as the Minister of Petroleum I set up another refinery in Warri for 100, 000 barrels per day and the Kaduna refinery a 100, 000 barrels daily. Don’t forget that we didn’t stop at building refineries; we built more than 20 depots during my time, from Port Harcourt to Ilorin, Makurdi, Suleja, Maiduguri and Kano.
More than 3,000 pipelines were laid to connect them. A number of stations were also built to take the trailers off the road, save lives and the infrastructure on the road. We did all that in this country and we didn’t borrow any money as far as I know. You can’t defend these corrupt and incompetent people. There is turn-around-maintenance for refineries, you cannot say the refineries are old and cannot produce, Buhari told Daily Trust during the interview.
What has happened, how come that all the knowledge and solution Buhari has on how to address the wrath in the oil sector and bring Nigerian state out of the mess has suddenly been defiled under his watch. How come the man of the moment has suddenly become helpless and the oil cabal continues in their economic rape of the country? What has happen to the political will he showed to Nigerians before he was sworn in as the President?
Speaking during the Nigerian Political Parties Discussion Series (NPPDS) debate series organized by Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) on January 2015 Lai Mohammed said the APC-led government would unbundle the NNPC. APC will put in place Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority to effectively manage the wrath in NNPC.
Does Lai Mohammed remember this day he was making this promise on National Television? Months gone, petroleum sector still poses a huge challenge to APC government, Lai and APC are yet to send any bill to this effect and the wrath in NNPC continues.
On July 2015, Nasir el-Rufai, Kaduna State Governor, at the Wole Soyinka Media Lecture at his 81st birthday in Abuja called for the scrapping of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, saying the corporation has over the years constituted itself as a parallel government. Daily Trust, Premium Times and other local newspapers, radio and television promoted this assertion of his for three weeks.
It is either el-Rufai does not mean what he said on that day or his party APC does not believe NNPC is corrupt. Today NNPC still exist and the challenges of getting the corporation to work effectively under the APC government still persist. What then is the fundamental challenge impeding the APC government from adequately addressing the challenge in NNPC?
In July 2015, shortly after the swearing of President Buhari, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, announced that the Port Harcourt and Warri refineries have successfully begun production, and are expected to optimally produce about 3.5 million litres of petrol daily. Mr. Ohi Alegbe, the Group General Manager and Group Public Affairs Division said in a statement issued.
Shortly after this statement, the taps and pipes in both refineries seem to have gone dry. Nigerian state continues in the importation of the refined product, independent marketers continue to hold the state to ransom, petrol scarcity becomes more severe, queue resurfaces, petrol pump price goes high and APC took to propaganda and blame game.
Unfortunately, Nigerians had thought that APC has the solution to this problem and the days of lies and deceit is over having successfully dislodged PDP from power. Today we are back to where we were despite the reassurance that they shall address the prolonged challenge in the oil sector. We do not believe it was a mistake voting APC, but we will hold the party to account if it fails to demonstrate the political will to crack the cabal that held us hostage for so long.
I am particularly worried; the contradiction between President Buhari and Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, the Minister of State for Petroleum throws Nigerians in the dark. Buhari, the president had in May 2015 in an interview in his hometown said, I do not agree in subsidy removal. To him, the subsidy was unable to be sustained because of corruption and incompetent of the PDP administration.
He further expressed worry, the only thing Nigerians benefit from their God given gift is petroleum subsidy, why remove it he said. Conversely, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, makes no pretense in the APC determination to remove subsidy. He disclosed the APC government’s decision to start subsidy removal from 2016 when he appeared before the Joint National Assembly Committee on Finance, Appropriation and National Planning on the consideration of Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).
He said the subsidy Buhari and APC had assured Nigerians is not sustainable hence should be removed. In another contradiction, Mr. Osibanjo, the Nigerian Vice President in an interview with the CNBC Africa, said APC government would deal with the challenges of Nigerian refineries and addressing the challenges in NNPC before removing subsidy.
Thus, has APC done what the Vice President proposes before it removes the subsidy? The refineries are packed up, and the corruption in NNPC exudes embarrassing odour while APC continues with its capitalist evangelism of subsidy removal.
It appears that APC does not have a practical solution to solving the wrath in the oil sector and has resorted to the easiest approach which lets remove the subsidy and let the worse happen. What APC and its leadership do not know is that, the Talakawas, the Ogbenyes, and the very poor put their lives at risk and voted them believing that Buhari, is a socialist that has shown the political will to return Nigerian state back to the socialist system where state takes responsibility of the welfare of its citizens. The present capitalist evangelism APC is seriously drifting into and preaching wasn’t what Nigerians foresaw and voted Buhari.
Having examined the APC seven months in power, the party is not likely to show the political will to return Nigeria to a focused nation which is vigorously pursuing development. Yes, Nigerians acknowledge their anti-graft war, but they must realize anti-graft war must not stall governance and put the country on hold and stunt all developmental pursuit.
Now that the APC is failing the people, where are its supporters and the Nigerian elite who fought to bring them to power? This is time to put the party on their toes, there is no excuse for failure, the party was not voted to capture power and begin blame game. After all the party promise to solve all problems that have been created by PDP which is why they won the 2015 election.
If APC fails the people, rescinding democracy will set in, the citizens trust and believe in democracy will be dampened. For the poor, the talakawas and many who believed in Buhari if the man with so much cannot do it who will.
Thus, we may all wish for the First Republic leaders to come on board. Unfortunately, our generation will not see such leaders.
May God Help Nigerians!
Audu Liberty Oseni, email@example.com