According to Adichie, arrests made in connection with the anti-graft war have been selective and have mostly targeted people opposed to Buhari’s government.
The article reads:
“Mr Buhari ascended to the presidency with a rare advantage — not only did he have the good will of a majority of Nigerians, he elicited a peculiar mix of fear and respect.”
“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.”
“Because for the first time, Nigerians had voted out an incumbent in an election that was largely free and fair. Because Mr Buhari had sold himself as a near-ascetic reformer, as a man so personally above board that he would wipe out Nigeria’s decades-long corruption.”
“He had an opportunity to make real reforms early on, to boldly reshape Nigeria’s path. He wasted it. 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.
“But the real test of his presidency came with the continued fall in oil prices, which had begun the year before his inauguration. And banning goods has historically led not to local production but to a thriving shadow market.
“His intentions, good as they well might be, are rooted in an outdated economic model and an infantile view of Nigerians. For him, it seems, patriotism is not a voluntary and flexible thing, with room for dissent, but a martial enterprise: to obey without questioning.
“Since Mr. Buhari came to power, villages in the middle-belt and southern regions have been raided, the inhabitants killed, their farmlands sacked. Those attacked believe the Fulani herdsmen want to forcibly take over their lands for cattle grazing.
“It would be unfair to blame Mr. Buhari for these killings, which are in part a result of complex interactions between climate change and land use. But leadership is as much about perception as it is about action, and Mr. Buhari has appeared disengaged.
“It took him months, and much criticism from civil society, to finally issue a statement “condemning” the killings. His aloofness feels, at worst, like a tacit enabling of murder and, at best, an absence of sensitive leadership.
“Nigerians who expected a fair and sweeping cleanup of corruption have been disappointed. Arrests have tended to be selective, targeting mostly those opposed to Mr Buhari’s government. The anti-corruption agencies are perceived not only as partisan but as brazenly flouting the rule of law.”
Buhari’s anti-corruption war has been frequently criticized for apparently targeting only members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).