Some staunch supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari are becoming frustrated and rethinking the roles they played in helping the president to power amid increasingly excruciating economic and political crises rocking the nation.
The supporters believe Mr. Buhari had so far failed to demonstrate that he has the wherewithal, and even the political will, to resolve the multifarious challenges the country is facing.
On Wednesday, Feyi Fawehinmi, with Twitter handle @Doubleeph, well known for his pro-Buhari/APC stance, surprisingly expressed disappointment in the administration, and apologized to his followers for convincing them to vote for Mr. Buhari last year,
“It is possible that I convinced a couple of people to vote for Buhari and the APC,” Mr. Fawehinmi said in his published article in The Scoop. “I owe them an apology. The instincts of these people is to run with their expired ideas directly in the face of all the contrary evidence i.e. the 21st century. In fact, they are not interested in evidence, they are so convinced of their own foolishness. A bunch of undercover communists and unreconstructed socialists.
“I have nothing in common with such people and yet I somehow donated money to them and canvassed people to vote for them. I will freely say that this is one of the biggest lessons I have learnt in my life so far.
“If I convinced even 10 people to vote for Buhari, then I owe them an apology. For not properly interrogating the people who offered themselves as the solution to Nigeria’s problems. Not because it would have made a difference but because it was the right thing to do. Nigeria was always the point.”
Regretting that he failed to deeply interrogate Mr. Buhari’s personality and capacity, he added, “If enough of us had done this, perhaps the APC would not have the confidence to be walking away so blatantly from the product it sold during the campaign as it is doing today.”
He said bringing respite to Nigerians had become a seemingly intractable challenge for Mr. Buhari’s Government “unless oil prices go back up significantly, there is really nothing coming out of the government that gives you any confidence they know what they are doing.
“The ‘smart’ people who were supposed to lead sensible reforms and drive the change agenda have been reduced to actors in a silent movie.”
He said the government had become a source of shame to him, as it now offers daily “a dose of high drama” in place of “a change agenda that was promised.”
“I feel sad and ashamed at the way things are unfolding…The government that promised change is now so bound up in politics that changing anything is practically impossible even when they know the thing is not working.”
Mr. Fawehinmi was reacting to threat by Agriculture Minister, Audu Ogbeh, to “shut” fertilizer firms found to be exporting their products instead of producing for the Nigerian market.
Threatening to shut businesses, Mr. Fawehinmi said, was capable of bringing humanitarian disaster upon Nigeria.
Mr. Fawehinmi’s article went viral and became a topic of intense debate on Twitter, with many users expressing “respect for the courage” to “tender his public apology.”
On Facebook, Oluseun Onigbinde, the Lead Partner of Nigeria’s budget and public policy analysis platform, Budgit, shared a quote from Mr. Fawenhinmi’s article, and, then tendered an apology too.
“Maybe I have not been bold to say it here,” Mr. Onigbinde wrote. “To put my entire reputation online for anybody when I am not guaranteed access to tell you my mind, I won’t do it again. I apologize too.”
“We will continue to help this government in the way we can because Nigeria First. We just need to be honest that we exaggerated the expectations of Buhari but it was two poor choices we had. We have to admit how to fix that.”
Then a commentator on Mr. Onigbinde’s update said, “A debate and a solid economic plan among others, should be a must for all candidates in the next general election. No more packaging!”
Besides the economic crisis the country is experiencing, which has been blamed on low oil prices, Mr. Buhari’s government has been severely criticized over the secret and illegal recruitments into the Central Bank of Nigeria, and the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
For a government that came to power promising to fight corruption, many Nigerians consider illegal recruitments as a breach of trust.
Weeks ago, some activists marched against the illegal recruitments in Abuja, accusing the government of corruption and nepotism.
Also, Mr. Buhari’s rating has dropped significantly following his failure to release comprehensive details of assets and liabilities he filed at the Code of Conduct Bureau.
On September 3, 2015, in the face of widespread criticisms, the presidency, through Garba Shehu, a presidential spokesperson, released a few details of assets and liabilities filed by President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Eight months after, the CCB said it had completed its verification of the assets, but the presidency has so far failed to release the details.
A few days before the government’s first anniversary, the presidency and the ruling All Progressives Congress denied that Mr. Buhari ever promised to deliver on some of his campaign promises within his first 100 days in office.