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Opinions of Thursday, 10 December 2020

Columnist: Ibrahim Mustapha

Should President Buhari resign?

There have been persistent calls from various angles for President Muhammadu Buhari to take a bow and resign due to the deteriorating insecurity bedevilling the country.

The first group to ask for Buhari’s resignation is Northern Elders Forum (NEF), followed by other socio-cultural groups.

In 2015 when President Buhari and his party (APC), were looking for votes and the country was grappling with myriad security and economic challenges, their campaign promises were premised on securing the country, fighting corruption and fixing the economy.

The enthusiasm and expectations that greeted his first coming were high. Although it took him six months to constitute his cabinet, Nigerians had confidence that Buhari administration would be the best thing to happen to their democracy.

To the satisfaction of Nigerians, the war against Boko Haram insurgents improved significantly. The bombing of places of worship, markets and motor parks were contained and drastically reduced. The people of Northeast who were held hostage by the dreaded Boko Haram heaved a sigh of relief, as the group were pushed back and their negative operation limited to soft targets. Our battered economy improved before it was hit in the third quarter of 2016 with the recession.

Notwithstanding, the government, through its social investment programs such as N-power, Trader-moni, school feeding stimulated the economy and development. The war against corruption took an impressive turn with many corrupt people arrested and their illegally acquired assets recovered or seized. At least, Buhari first tenure deserves a pat on its back for delivering on its campaign promises.

The second coming is markedly different. The president seems to have lost it. His popularity has continued to wane on daily basis. Many Nigerians who thought he would be the Messiah have given up His die-hard supporters have started expressing anger and frustration with the way and manner which he is piloting the affairs of the country.

This cannot be unconnected with the rising cases of insecurity, poverty and hunger in the country with the government looking helplessly on. The North which gave Buhari the highest votes both in 2015 and 2023 election is bleeding. Bandits and kidnappers have overrun the region.

The recent massacre of over 43 rice farmers in Zabarmani has proven that the war against the insurgents is far from over. What Nigerians keep hearing from Mr President is that he has been giving directives to the service chiefs to arrest the situation and do the needful. While Mr. president claims to have absolute confidence in his service chiefs, most Nigerians have long passed a vote of no confidence in them due to the escalation of attacks under their watch.

Constitutionally, President Buhari was elected in 2019 to serve for another four-year term. Buhari is neither terminally ill nor has he committed impeachable offences to warrant his impeachment or resignation. Instead of calling for his head, Mr President’s appointees should save his neck by buckling up. Let them tell him Nigerians are suffering with insecurity spreading like bush fire.

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