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Against Sai Baba

Feyi Fawehinmi
Feb 21

Let me start by being upfront about my biases/feelings so no one’s time is wasted

Sai Bye Bye, hopefully
President Buhari, by his own admission, dislikes the Nigerian elite. I consider myself, by the grace of God and sheer good luck and some hard work, to be a part of the elite (I desire that as many more people as possible can have the kind of luck and opportunities — and better — I’ve had in my own life). So the feeling is mutual — I dislike him even more than he thinks he dislikes me.
I have also grown to dislike him on a personal level. To me, his hypocrisy is glaring to see now. I recently had a small bet with a friend that Buhari won’t campaign in all the 36 states of Nigeria. To my amazement, I lost the bet (thank God it was for a small amount of money). That the man who has treated his fellow citizens with open disdain over the last 4 years could summon the energy, when it came to campaign time, to start talking to the media and touring the country, is amusing to say the least.
Even though the election on Saturday is his to lose, I’m hoping and praying he loses and is sent back to Daura to continue his retirement that was interrupted by the presidency 4 years ago.
What’s Beef?
President Buhari sees the world as it is and tries to manage it that way. This is my biggest problem with him and is why I think you should not vote for him.

A perfect summation of this was at the recent town hall meeting moderated by Kadaria Ahmed.

She asked him a question about education and his views were revealed. According to him, primary education is the responsibility of the states and so if things are going wrong there, Nigerians should shout and hold their governors. It is this world view that has turned him to the harbinger of poverty and will continue to make him so if he gets a second term.

To him, the current situation where states handle primary education and then transfer the kids upwards to the federal government to take over their education from secondary (unity schools) and then university is how the world is. His job, therefore, is to manage things as he received them. He of course thinks that he is a better manager than other people who came before him since he is clothed in immense integrity.

But he is wrong.

The capacity of states in Nigeria to deliver primary education is wildly different. What Lagos can do is very different from what Yobe can do. Yet we know that the early years of a child’s education are the most critical and shape that child’s life forever in a way that, by the time they get to secondary and university, there is nothing the federal government can do to reverse any damage done to them. And that’s if they even get there, as I’ve written about before.

The current situation is the world as it is. But there is a strong argument that the world as it is should not be so. The federal government has better capacity and ability to mobilise resources, local and international, such that if we want every child in Nigeria — whether in Lagos or Yobe — to have the best possible start in life, the responsibility for primary education should rest on the FG or at least the FG should have a big role to play in it. That is, the world as it is should be changed. But Buhari, due to a combination of personal laziness and a chronic lack of vision, can never see this. His job is to manage things as they are and let others do their part.

Education is not the only area where this seeing the world as it is manifests in him. Consider the forex crisis which he triggered in 2015 and which eventually crippled the economy and led to a recession. Before the APC won the election, This same Emefiele, as CBN governor, had allowed the naira adjust from N159/$1 to N179/$1 and then to N199/$1 in response to the change in external circumstances. And then Buhari took over. The president went around the world proclaiming he would not ‘murder the naira’. And the naira was held at N199 while the black market was running riot and overheating.

But notice what Buhari did not do. He did not say that the naira should be N50/$1. Nope. He did not say that it should go back to N159/$1. Nope. He simply saw the world as it was when he took over and held on to it. Surely if moving from, say, N199/$1 would have killed the naira, surely taking it back to N100/$1 or lower would have given it more life? Nope. He just takes what you give him and then manages it — with integrity, of course. He cannot conceive of how things got to where they are or what the next level should be. No vision.

How about the fuel crisis that began in late 2015 and went on for months till the second quarter of 2016? Again, this was about him seeing the world as it is. I was in Nigeria in early 2016 and that fuel crisis remains the worst I have ever seen in my life. I was sitting in a restaurant with some friends when we were told to leave — at 8pm — because they wanted to turn off their generator to save fuel. Radio st