Saturday, 24 October 2015


Barrister Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim, CFR
The coming of President Muhammadu Buhari was very well celebrated in Nigeria and the entire global community. Equally celebrated is the new concern for good governance and better behaviour of public officers. Everyone is happy and ready to receive the message of hope under the platform of CHANGE. I hasten to add here that CHANGE was my campaign slogan in 2003 in the contest for the governorship of Ondo State, which was declared open by then General Muhammadu Buhari, now President Buhari. Specifically, my campaign slogan was CHANGE 2OO3.

By now, President Buhari must have come to terms with the fact that his mandate cannot possibly be immediately realised. What he met in Aso Rock is certainly different from the Nigeria he had in mind. It’s certainly not the same Civil Service. The structure he met is definitely more volatile than the structure of yesteryears. Most important, there is no money like before!

The President came with his last energy to fight corruption. But by now, he must be getting to know that in this part of the world, corruption is computerised. He must have asked himself many times: Where do I start from?

He ran to the Judiciary to ask for support. For eight years, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was asking for a separate court for the trial of corrupt persons. He got nothing. Mr. President set up Professor Sagay’s commission, thinking it was all about getting it right with the right people. While still waiting for what to do, he went to the Nigeria Bar Association and begged lawyers not to defend corrupt public officers. As usual, the lawyers replied that an accused person is innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction! So what is a court of competent jurisdiction?

The President, not finding the respite he wanted, and time being an enemy, went to the accountants and begged for help. They told Mr. President that the accounts must be balanced. If the accounts are not balanced, accountants can do something. But with a balanced account, the entry is closed!

Mr. President took time to prepare himself on the best way forward. And as the end of five months in office was fast approaching, he remembered his promise to Nigeria- Ministers must be ready by September!

At the peak of the United Nations meeting of the Security Council, the issue of which gate to use to enter the venue almost made the President miss the meeting. This is despite the fact that Nigeria has established an office in the United Nations since 1990. Our representative did not know which gate was appropriate for our President until the gate was closed!

As the President proceeds to govern Nigeria, these ‘LITTLE’ problems continue to surface. They are far from the real problems he has come to solve. But what can he do? When our oil money was traced to a certain bank, Mr. President was so excited. He was about preparing a letter of request to bring the signatories from London where they are resting to sign off the account. The President was told that the principal signatory to the account was down with last-stage cancer!

If it were in the days of Buhari as military Head-of-State, the said minister would have been home in twenty four hours, even with cancer times two! But since the President promised to be a true democrat, human rights are another issue. Best of luck Mr. President!

The problems of Nigeria that Buhari has come to solve are wicked problems. They include unemployment, the insurgency of Boko Haram, struggle over resources, praxis of corruption, infrastructural decay; specifically the issue of darkness and systemic collapse, all of which commutatively point to ‘a failed state.’

The problem comes from the collapse of trust between government and the people. Government doesn’t trust the people and the people no longer trust the government. People say sometimes when government says ‘good morning,’ it might mean ‘good night!’ Please check your watch!

Institutional void prevents investment from global investors. It is important to note here that local entrepreneurs are also divesting at a very high rate. Government alone cannot provide jobs. Even the few people that government employed are not being paid their salaries. Government staffers are working for eight months without salary!

Who breached the Pyramid of Trust? How gigantic are the wicked problems on Buhari’s hands? (nationalmirror)
Jimoh Ibrahim writes from the MBA class of the University of Cambridge