Which Buhari did Bakare know?

Like many Nigerians demoralised by President Muhammadu Buhari’s poor handling of the country’s affairs, Tunde Bakare is done counting on him to bring about the needed progress for Nigeria. But unlike the avalanche of disappointments that Buhari’s lackluster performance had evoked, that of Bakare suggested a total loss of confidence in the capacity of the president.

How? It was too glaring to be missed in a State of the Nation address Bakare made recently, which he titled ‘The conspicuous handwriting on the wall’. The serving overseer of The Citidel Global Community Church, formerly known as Latter Rain Assembly, didn’t only agree that Nigeria is in a critical state and that Buhari has done little or nothing to change the tide but ended up stirring a question that agitates the minds of many Nigerians.

“I am compelled to speak out because the state of the nation does not represent the Buhari I knew when we took the solemn journey towards rebuilding Nigeria.”

In all truth, Nigeria is in a terrible situation, but what is more unfortunate is that the president appears to be missing in action or clueless on what to do. Perhaps this is why Bakare was aghast and wondered if Buhari was still the same man he joined on the ticket for the presidency in 2011 with the hope of building a better Nigeria.

Though it sounds unfathomable given the prevailing state of the nation, you can hardly blame Bakare for looking somewhat confused. When Buhari was rejected by Nigerians in the 2011 presidential poll, he wept bitterly on national television and created the impression that Nigerians lost an opportunity to have the best man in the saddle.

That impression was leveraged on in 2015 and eventually convinced Nigerians to vote for Buhari, thinking that he was the answer to the series of challenges facing the country. But six years in the saddle and Buhari has not only failed to meet expectations but watched things go worse than they were before he came to office.

So, what could have gone wrong? That is a brilliant question but the key to an answer is knowing who exactly Buhari is. I mean the Buhari outside the image that the media donned on him in the build-up to the 2015 election that made him the darling of the electorates who had rejected him on three different elections.

That was why Bakare’s statement got my attention; and, out of curiosity, I have a question for him– which Buhari did he (Bakare) know. Because having an answer will provide a clear perspective on why the state of the nation has been pretty sobering, and on how each passing day continues to present an uninspiring outlook for the country.

As a retired military general, the general perception was that he would be able to resolve the country’s insecurity problem and bring about stability. But that has not only turned out to be a wrong bet, but the menace of insecurity has also spread to hitherto peaceful regions and our schools are no longer safe due to incessant kidnappings. Also, the anti-corruption toga has proven to be in name only and not really put to use given the comfort those facing corruption trial now find in Buhari’s party.

Ethnic fault lines have seen a disturbing surge in the last few years and more than anytime since the civil war, the sound of secessionists is much louder. On the economic front, the president has done a terrible job as shown by the consistent rise in the inflation rate and the increasingly loss of the naira’s value. Talk about the rule of law and human rights and Buhari’s record is not encouraging at all.

Wherever you look, the statistics are just not what Nigerians had hoped for and you cannot but just be disappointed. If Bakare is now saying this wasn’t the Buhari he knew, it will help a lot if he could tell us what we don’t know. Perhaps that may help us understand the basis of his failures and guide Nigerians in future consideration for president.

Of course, we’re stuck with Buhari for at least another 25 months or so, and whatever Bakare says may have little or no effect. However, telling Nigerians the Buhari he knew would unravel a mystery on whether the president is practically not in charge or was just incapable of making things work.

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