People often ask why I criticize President Mohammadu Buhari the way I do. They say that my blunt criticism of the president is harsh considering the fact that he inherited a failing economy and weakened security. This line of thought has been the usual sing-song of those trying to hold briefs for the president despite the fact that he has been in charge of Nigeria’s affairs for almost four years. What these people, subtly though, are saying is that four years is not enough to reverse a country’s fortune.

I disagree.

Well, here is a heresy; President Buhari did not inherit a failing economy. Rather, the president failed the economy by not appointing any Minister till almost six months after he was sworn in, saying that he can run his government without ministers and referring to ministers as noisemakers with claims that civil servants were the ones doing the job. When he did, critical sectors like the ministry of finance were given to amateurs and within few months, we landed on the thorny laps of recession. But instead of finding solutions, they blamed the past government as usual and when it was not enough, they told us that “recession is just a word”.

Those who demand pity for the president, banking on the alleged inheriting of a bad economy are missing the point, which is that the president promised to do better, to bring fresh air and sanitize the system. It was on the backs of those promises that over 15 million voters queued under the sun, basking on his plethora of promises, pretend integrity and on the belief that old men do not lie and thumbprint for the president. A whole lot of them have been disappointed.

President Buhari campaigned in 2014/15 on three cardinal points: Provision of at least 3 million jobs per annum, fighting corruption and providing security. However, if we are to take the president on the issue of jobs, especially as the recently released data by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics indicated that under the president, over 20 million jobs were lost in 3 years, we will have to spend the whole day.

In terms of promising and failing, I think the president deserves a medal. Yes, he serenaded the country with tales of how as a retired general in the military, he will lead from the front. Instead, the president led from the back of presidential jet flying, junketing the globe in search of better healthcare for himself while those he swore to protect became objects of target practice for bandits, terrorists and security agents alike. That is why the president’s interview on Arise TV on Monday was embarrassing and unpatriotic.

Apart from the side tales of claims by Thisday, the parent company of Arise TV that they were not allowed to enter Aso Rock with their cameras, but that presidential aides made use of cameras in Aso Rock to record the interview, edited a critical part of it and sent to them to air, the president showed that what matters to him first is his ambition and not the welfare or the security of the citizens.

While answering questions from Kayode Komolafe, the deputy editor of Thisday on why he has not changed the service chiefs due to the fact that they have reached their constitutionally approved age of 60 and have proven to be grossly incapable of handling the Boko Haram menace, the banditry in North West and general insecurity, the president replied that he is waiting for the appropriate time to effect such changes so as to not create competition within the services due to ambitions. He agreed that their performance has been disappointing but said he can’t change them because he does not know the ambitions of those who would replace them.

Fellow Nigerians, the president’s assertion, in simple terms, means that as long as the incompetent service chiefs remain loyal, they will keep their jobs. Keeping their jobs also means that the insurgency in the northeast, the kidnapping and banditry in the northwest and the economic sabotage in the south south will continue because the president is afraid of the ambitions of those who will take over command of relevant services. How the military is aiding economic crimes in south south, especially Port Harcourt is a topic for another day in the era of integrity and corruption fight.

When the president says that you don’t remove failing service chiefs during emergencies, does he mean electoral emergencies? Because, if in a state of emergency, the heads of security services are not performing leading to several deaths of the citizens that he swore to protect, wouldn’t it be nice to have them changed? Is it possible that the president values his re-election bid more than the lives of Nigerians?

In a comprehensive report published by Ahmad Sakilda, a freelance journalist with extensive knowledge of Boko Haram operations, he stated categorically that 2018 was the worst year for the Nigerian Military as several of their bases were easily overrun with thousands of soldiers killed.

According to Sakilda’s report “Some of these attacks were so overwhelming that the bases were overrun with hundreds of casualties. According to multiple media reports, not less than 1,000 soldiers were killed in 2018. These casualty figures do not include soldiers killed in Niger Republic, Yobe, Adamawa and in Southern Borno. “In fact, there have never been a year soldiers were killed more than in 2018; not even 2013 and 2014 did we see the kind of casualties we experienced today,” said another soldier who doubles as a medical doctor in Maiduguri.

2018 was also the year that huge funds were allocated to the military yet the military lost woefully to the insurgents in the same year but the president does not see the need to change the service chiefs even when they have reached their age for compulsory disengagement?

Salkida reports that “ In the midst of these setbacks, military fat cats are feeding exceedingly well on account of the war. On 28, December, 2018 the Defence and Foreign Affairs of the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA) based in the United States stated that “the conduct of the war in the North (East of Nigeria) is tied to the corruption in the military, and (President) Buhari – ring-fenced by his own team – is unable to tackle the issue”. ISSA, the Washington-based non-governmental organization with a worldwide membership of professionals involved in national and international security and strategy, stated that massive corruption among top military chiefs appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari is the reason Nigeria is losing the war against Boko Haram.

“According to the report, the only significant engagement which the Nigerian military leadership seems determined to fight “is to stop the leakage of information about massive corruption, running into the equivalent of several billions of dollars, in the purchase by senior military officers of major military capital goods and military consumables, including the troops’ own food.”

What could be gleaned from the Salkida’s report and the president’s interview is that as long as the president’s personal ambition is protected, those who elected the president and upon whom the president is basing his re-election bid on will continue to be killed, maimed and rendered homeless while the president smiles.

Fellow Nigerians, you are in safe hands.