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People Politics and Policy

How did ‘Strongman’ Buhari Become Laissez-faire?

On his visit to Dapchi, Yobe state where 110 girls were abducted from a secondary school, president Muhammadu Buhari said his government has shown better sensitivity to an abduction than his predecessor’s. For his dance moves at a campaign rally the day after the Chibok abduction in April 2014, Goodluck Jonathan was widely shamed and slammed, even if the then president had visited the site of the Nyanya bombing which occurred same day as the Chibok abduction.

So when the campaigns went into overdrive towards the end of that year, Buhari was sold as the necessary strongman whose no nonsense demeanor and military discipline will make terrorism and Boko Haram history while restoring order and regularity to the office of the president.

Three years after, Nigeria does not have a dancing president but neither has it one who has dealt the promised fatal blow to terrorism. The country has continued to experience deadly attacks from the group costing lives in civilian and military counts, just as in the past. While some territories have been recovered and semblance of normalcy returning to some communities, it has been anything but the complete or technical victories frequently proclaimed over the past months.

When the fatalities from killings by some herdsmen in different parts of the country are factored into the computations, the present administration’s score on internal security does not appear any better than its predecessor’s. From Benue to Taraba, in Plateau and parts of the South East, at least 100 persons have been killed by attacks from herdsmen with some occurring even while president Buhari is on a visit to the state. That was surely not the expectation from a strongman president, neither was the disobedience of Ibrahim Idris, the Inspector General of Police, on a directive to relocate to Benue state  in January. With the other events that have sailed past the attention of the president in his time in office – Maina, et al – the image has been more of a laissez-faire leader who has been content to only identify goals without providing a clear guide to attaining them, or with any interest to follow up with much supervision.

Apparently, Nigerians still believe in a strongman president as a Pew Research survey shows them as having the greatest confidence in Russian dictator Vladimir Putin in comparison with citizens of other countries of the world. Whether they  would support the subversion of other nations by meddling in their elections or attempting suicide on their soils is unknown. But Nigerians would certainly take a leader who is aware and active over one who constantly expresses surprise about the state of affairs under his care.

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Featured image source: Daily Trust | Follow @inquizimedia on Facebook and Twitter

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