Our Reporter, New York
Veteran journalist and author, Sonala Olumhense says that the government of Muhammadu Buhari has failed because the president thought he could govern by issuing directives as he did as a military Head of State.
The journalist made the remarks while fielding questions at the online interview programme 90MinutesAfrica hosted by Rudolf Okonkwo and Chido Onumah on Sunday.
General Muhammadu Buhari was elected president in 2015, defeating the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan whom many Nigerians accused of corruption.
Buhari promised to eliminate corruption, revamp the economy and defeat the Boko Haram terrorist group ravaging the North-East. But seven years later and less than a year to the end of his term, those promises have hardly been kept.
“If you analyze Buhari, you will see that he is still trying to rule by giving directives. He keeps saying he has given the service chiefs directives or he has directed them to do this or that. This is basically how he has proceeded. But in a democratic system, it doesn’t work that way. You discuss and enact policies. It is by means of policies that you govern in a democracy. But Buhari has no policies,” Mr. Olumhense noted.
The journalist also stated that President Buhari’s failure to appoint an economic adviser on assumption was borne out of the belief that he can solve the nation’s problems with the “immediate effect” approach.
“He didn’t appoint an economic adviser because he felt he could solve the problems with immediate effect by issuing edicts, by orders and by directives. Nothing in government works like that. Government works according to a plan. The President doesn’t have to stay awake finding solutions to problems. The government hires experts to do these things so that he can come up with plans to resolve previously identified problems.
“But in this system, there is no such thing. In fact, there is no government. What we have is a system that puts people in places and then they go away. The president doesn’t see these Ministers for the purpose of sitting down to discuss things. Holding the Federal Executive Council meeting for a few hours on Wednesday afternoon does not substitute for those sessions in which documents are reviewed and project plans are examined.
“So projects never have deadlines such that you know that a project that is kicked off today will be completed, in say 18 months. That 18 months’ time is not just a month, it should be a date. President Buhari doesn’t do that. So everything just runs into each other, the problems grow and nobody is in charge,” Olumhense reiterated.