US Based Nigerian Writer Says Buhari Has Disappointed Nigerians

Chimamanda Adichie
Chimamanda Adichie

Award-winning Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Adichie, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has disappointed many Nigerians, adding that the president wasted the chance to make “real reforms” in the early days of his presidency.

Writing for the New York Times, Adichie said Buhari’s intentions, “good as they well might be, are rooted in an outdated economic model and an infantile view of Nigerians.”

“For the first weeks of his presidency, it was said that civil servants who were often absent from work suddenly appeared every day, on time, and that police officers and customs officials stopped demanding bribes. He had an opportunity to make real reforms early on, to boldly reshape Nigeria’s path. He wasted it,” Adichie wrote.

“Perhaps the first clue was the unusually long time it took him to appoint his ministers. After an ostensible search for the very best, he presented many recycled figures with whom Nigerians were disenchanted.”

The Anambra-born novelist criticized Buhari’s policy of “defending” the naira, which according to her led to the official exchange rate appearing artificially low, while it was indeed skyrocketing on the black market.

“Prices for everything rose: rice, bread, cooking oil. Fruit sellers and car sellers blamed “the price of dollars.”

“The government decided who would have access to the central bank’s now-reduced foreign currency reserves, and drew up an arbitrary list of worthy and unworthy goods — importers of toothpicks cannot, for example, but importers of oil can.

“Predictably, this policy spawned corruption: The exclusive few who were able to buy dollars at official rates could sell them on the black market and earn large, riskless profits — transactions that contribute nothing to the economy,” Adichie stated.

The author was of the opinion that though President Buhari “believes, rightly, that Nigeria needs to produce more of what it consumes, and he wants to spur local production, local production cannot be willed into existence if the supporting infrastructure is absent, and banning goods has historically led not to local production but to a thriving shadow market.”

She also criticized the President’s handling of the herdsmen/farmers clashes in the middle belt region of the country.

Adichie acknowledged that “It would be unfair to blame Mr. Buhari for these killings”, but she frowned at the fact that “It took him months, and much criticism from civil society, to finally issue a statement “condemning” the killings.”

She also cited Buhari’s handling of the case of the clash between the Army and the Shiite group in Kaduna, “when the Nigerian Army murdered hundreds of members of a Shiite Muslim group in December, burying them in hastily dug graves, as well as the killing of members of a pro-Biafran movement “who were protesting the arrest of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, a little-known figure whose continued incarceration has elevated him to a minor martyr.”



    Adichie said President Buhari’s “aloofness feels, at worst, like a tacit enabling of murder and, at best, an absence of sensitive leadership.”

    She further said that the anti-corruption war “tended to be selective, targeting mostly those opposed to Mr. Buhari’s government.”

    She cited an example with the recent raid on judges where the Department of State Security, DSS, “barged” into their homes “at midnight, harassing and threatening them and arresting a number of them, because the judges’ lifestyles “suggested” that they were corrupt.”

    Adichie, while acknowledging that “There are no easy answers to Nigeria’s malaise”, suggested that “government’s intervention could be more salutary — by prioritizing infrastructure, creating a business-friendly environment and communicating to a populace mired in disappointment.”

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