President Buhari presenting one of those budgets before the National Assembly
Counting down from today, Sunday, December 8, 2023, President Muhammadu Buhari has just, and only, 141 days to tell Nigerians goodbye – ceteris paribus. That will be May – the Fifth Month of the Year of our Lord Jesus Christ; 2023, and it shall be the 29th day of that month that President Buhari shall be handing over to his successor at the Eagle Square, in the City of Abuja – again, “all other things remaining equal”.
He shall thereafter, by the grace of God, be joining the league of Ex or Former Presidents. And out there, waiting to receive him shall be Four of his original and traditional constituent members – Generals Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and Abdulsalam Abubakar, plus one other; that the four mentioned above would have referred to, at one time or other as “a bloody civilian” – Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan.
The man – President Muhammadu Buhari, told Nigerians very recently that he was in hurry to leave the Aso Rock Villa for Daura; his hometown in Katsina State. But more importantly, according to him, he would not be missing anything in Abuja that would compel him of coming back to the Capital City of Nigeria in hurry.
I think that may likely be good news to Nigerians, because if the truth must be told, his departure from the presidency and Abuja; to a very large extent, shall remain one good riddance to bad rubbish. Nigerians shall not be missing him as President of Nigeria, for many reasons.
One, the man Buhari, is old enough to deserve a continuous resting off his labours for Nigeria. On this alone even, Nigerians never expected him to return to Abuja for any contribution to the Think-Thank Rolling Machine of solving the country’s problems.
Two, Nigerians’ brought Muhammadu Buhari to judgment and found him wanting in most things – most things across the line of all his promises, from 2015, till date. Some even are giving greater thought to his days when he evaded Nigerian gloriously serene democratic home and dismantled all beautiful structures of that Home – speaking of the time he came in through the vehicle of coup-de-tat, form December 31, 1983, to August 27, 1985.
Three, his monetary policy, mostly as reflected in his Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN]’s operation remains one big and major disaster even as this piece is be written. His CBN policy has been seen as bad model for dud mediocrity, absurdity and deadly, by monetary institutions all over the world. For a long time to come, Buhari’s monetary policy’s prosecution remains a model in mockery. And you don’t have to blame those that mocked us, because every decent Nigerian don’t understand where Godwin Emefiele; the Governor of CBN, imports his ideas of running Nigeria from
Let us consider one more reason why most Nigerians shall never be missing Buhari, amongst many others, before drawing the curtain on today’s exercise. And please, let us take this as number Four.
President Muhammadu Buhari, from the beginning of his [second coming] administration  to the end , packaged, presented and operated the most corrupt Budget in the annals of Nigeria’s history. All through his 8 years tenure the man never pretended, not even once; in the matter of budgeting, of being anti-corruption personality despite of the picture he painted for himself in the past.
Muhammadu Buhari, instead, showed to Nigerians a mind that thrived in the prosecution of corruption – using the Budget as a template for this exercise, thereby leaving him as a very poor case study in fighting battles against corruption. Let us dwell on this on the Budgetary matter, from 2015 to 2023, a little more.
The Nigerian national Budget Buhari operated from May 29, 2015, when he took mantle of democratic leadership was an inheritance from President Goodluck Jonathan. And of course, that budget would have come with its flaws, though nothing was mentioned of it. And the silence about that inherited budget, in my candid opinion, would have emanated from the fact that Buhari did not appoint cabinet – Ministers, until 6 months after he was sworn-in as President.
However, Buhari put together his own Budget for Nigeria in 2016, and that budget came with some notorious fallouts. And President Buhari pretended that padding of that of that budget rattled him some much, he complained about it in Saudi Arabia when he was addressing the Nigerian community in that country during his state visit there. Listen to what he said:
“The culprits will not go unpunished. I have been a military governor, petroleum minister, military head of state and headed the Petroleum Trust Fund. Never had I heard the words ‘budget padding,’” Buhari reportedly said during his official visit to Saudi Arabia. “Our minister of budget and national planning did a great job with his team. The minister …was working night and day to get the budget ready, only for some people to pad it. What he gave us was not what was finally being debated. It is very embarrassing and disappointing.”
Despite the threat, Buhari did not bring anyone out for punishment in 2016, nor has there been any record of punishment melted out to any of his appointees [Ministers and members of the Civil Service] from that year  till date.
In 2019, the president wrote to the Nigerian National Assembly, warning the latter to desist from the habit of colluding with the MDA of inflating budgets – a habit that continues as this piece is being written. Buhari knows that the National Assembly turned deaf ears to his letter, probably for the reason; that the latter understands the game that both – the Executive and the National Assembly, have a conspiratorial agreement to dupe Nigerians yearly on this Budget matter.
Still on the disaster of fraudulent budget under discussion, the legacy of Muhammadu Buhari remains solely one identifiably confirmed fact: a Budget of Padding [from the Executive] and Inserting [form the Legislature – National Assembly], and this occurred every year; from 2016 till 2023.
Let us take a very keen note and observation of the last Budget Muhammadu Buhari presented to the National Assembly, which has been passed by the latter and signed into Law by the former. We cannot resist crying for Nigeria after keen observation.
President Buhari’s Ministers were the first in accusing each other, publicly, of Budget Padding, at the National Assembly. This was when the Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development [Sadiya Umar Farouq] accused the Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning [Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed] of padding her ministry’s budget to the tune of over 262 billion Naira.
Then, after the first exposure, many padding were later exposed by the National Assembly until the Minister of Finance publicly – with unacceptable explanations though, admitted to padding the 2023 budget to the tune of N1.7 trillion. With such deadly revelation, nothing has been heard from our “Holy” President.
This admission did not ruffle Buhari into defending himself as Anti-Corruption Czar. He waited until the National Assembly Inserted its own version of a little over One Trillion Naira, without the whole House sitting as a Committee in crosschecking the Appropriation Committee’s work before sending it to the President for assertion. And our President signed it into Law.
What and how are Nigerians to conclude other than to say that Muhammadu Buhari started with Padded Budget in 2016 and ended with Padded Budget in 2023. May his name be blessed in the specialization of padding and always inserting of Budgets. And can this be called corruption? Only posterity, at the documentation of the Buhari’s era, can say.
This is one of those issues coming under discussion tomorrow morning, under the segment of The Guru, at Lagos Talks 91.3 FM, as from 0930 hours.
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Godwin Etakibuebu [The Guru].
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