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Buhari, the visiting Catholic Bishops and the ‘gospel truth’


Joining the Presidential campaign train for the third time in 2015, Muhammadu Buhari made a promise to change the old order in Nigeria, promising to revamp the economy, fight corruption and increase the standard of living.

With his integrity and his track record of anti-corruption at stake, many Nigerians fell hook, line and sinker with the Buhari campaign promises and voted him into power.

Almost three years down the line, the country is yet to feel the impact of the promises made by the then opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, APC. The party and the Buhari Administration have found it easy to blame the immediate past government of Goodluck Jonathan for every wrong step taken so far than doing justice to the mandate given to it by the Nigerian people.

No doubt, the Buhari Administration has intensified battle against corruption, the measures put in place, have not enjoyed popular support as they have been dubbed one sided especially by the opposition PDP. The party says its members are the only ones at the receiving end, a claim which the ruling APC has denied over time.

The Buhari Administration is not helped any further as the Transparency International recently busted Nigeria’s bubble when it released corruption index, which showed that Nigeria had gone up as one of the most corrupt countries in the world emerging 148th out of 180. This is in indeed a slap on the face of Buhari, who is a a crusader of anti-corruption.

The Federal Government had however disproved the outcome of the rating by Transparency International on Nigeria as baseless and lacking in fact and figure.

Back home, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria took the bull by the horn at a recent visit to the Aso Rock Villa where they told President Buhari minds of many Nigerian, saying  the enormous goodwill with which he assumed office in 2015 was fast being depleted by some “glaring failures” of his government.

Their address, at the visit, copies of which were made available to journalists, was jointly signed by the immediate past CBCN President and Archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Kaigama, and the Secretary, who is also the Bishop of Gboko, William Avenya.

“There is no doubt that when you came into office, you had an enormous amount of the goodwill of Nigerians, since many saw you as a person of integrity, who would be able to bring sanity into a system that was nearly crippled by endemic corruption.

“Nearly three years later, however, one has the feeling that this goodwill is being fast depleted by some glaring failures of government, which we have the moral responsibility to bring to your notice, else we would be failing in our duty as spiritual fathers and leaders,” the Bishops told Buhari.

In what was perceived as an indirect response to the clergy men’s observation, Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello, said people were not happy with Buhari, because some looters couldn’t pay tithes. What a response by a supposed ‘errand boy’ of a governor.

It is indeed a surprise to many Nigerians that a serving governor has now turned a President’s Spokesperson.

Without wasting time, the clergy men reacted immediately, noting that  the Kogi governor is also a disappointment to the teeming youths, as he is the youngest among his counterparts, accusing him among others, of still owing salary of up to thirteen months.

Bello was to later apologised to the clergy men saying his comments were misinterpreted to be a reaction to their visit to President Buhari. Many however wonder if he was in a better position than Garba Shehu, Femi Adesina and Lai Mohammed to play the role of a Presidential Spokesman.

From all accounts, the Buhari Administration is not attending to matters of high priority to Nigerians as the country continues to wallop in abject poverty.

The United Nation has projected that Nigeria would soon overtake India on the poverty index at the rate its economy is growing in year 2020.

On the economic front, Nigeria is said to have moved twenty-four places up in the ease of doing business in the world. But this is not reflecting in the day-to-day life of the average Nigerian.

For whatever reason, the Kogi governor has, to the displeasure of many Nigerians, elected to do the ‘dirty job’ for the Buhari Administration. On several occasions, he has vowed to see that Buhari returns to power come 2019 by all means possible.

How he intends to achieve this and for what benefit, remain a matter of conjecture.