Since taking office on May 29, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari hasn’t taken the blame for anything.
Buhari started blaming the Goodluck Jonathan administration almost immediately he took office, and with good reason. Jonathan and his associates made a mess of Nigeria and left the dirty work for Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to clean up.
However, when blame shifting becomes a regular occurrence, it becomes whining, and no one likes a whining leader. Since taking office, Buhari hasn’t taken the blame for anything. In June 2015, just days after being sworn in, he blamed the delay in the release of his ministerial list on Jonathan.
“The President did say he would hit the ground running, but he has not been given the chance to hit the ground running because the administration that he succeeded — the Jonathan administration — did not deliver the handover notes until two or three days to the inauguration, meaning that these handover notes were submitted at a time when everyone had been consumed by (inauguration) activities,” Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said on June 13.
“To be fair to him, he would have hit the ground running if the previous government had handed over the notes early. However, the Jonathan government did not even permit any minister to interact in any way with the Buhari Transition Committee. Evidently, we had our hands tied behind our backs until we took over. Thus, there is nothing shady about it,” Shehu added.
Buhari eventually appointed ministers in November, almost six months after his inauguration.
More recently, Buhari blamed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the economic crisis in the country saying that he inherited nothing from the party despite its 16-year rule.
“I want Nigerians to realize that what this government inherited after 16 years of PDP government was no savings, no infrastructure, no power, no rail, no road and no security,” the president said on Monday, September 12, 2016.
The latest edition of the blame game was played when it was discovered that Buhari plagiarized US President Barack Obama’s 2008 victory speech during the launch of the “Change Begins With Me” campaign, thankfully the PDP wasn’t blamed for this.
However, the president still didn’t take responsibility for the mistake, instead he vowed to punish the person responsible.
“PMB has ordered that prompt & appropriate disciplinary action be taken against those responsible for a wrongful insertion in his speech,” Shehu said on September 16.
“There was a mistake by an overzealous staff and we regret that this has happened. Already, a Deputy Director in the Presidency has accepted responsibility for the insertion of the contentious paragraph,” he added.
The issue is, we didn’t vote for an “overzealous staff” or a Deputy Director in the Presidency, we voted for Buhari and he should be accountable to us. The president owes Nigerians a personal apology because the shame this scandal has caused is on us all.
We know the president can’t write all his speeches, but we don’t want to know for a fact that he doesn’t know what’s in them. How do you hope to inspire your followers to change when you can’t even come up with the right words or relate to the ones that have been written for you?
Buhari needs to realize that he’s in charge of this country and we expect to have a Commander-in-Chief not a Complainer-in-chief. No true leader should enjoy shifting blame, and if the president intends to inspire confidence in his followers, he needs to start taking responsibility, for the good and for the bad.
As American essayist, John Burroughs said “A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame somebody else”.