I am not aware that President Muhammadu Buhari has specifically targeted that his first 100 days in office are to be marked with or by certain specific celebration for mention, as has been the tradition with previous governments in the country.
By tomorrow the government would be 100 days in office since it took over from the failures of the administration of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan. The level of decay in the economic, social and political infrastructure in Nigeria in the last government was so colossal that it would amount to great political risk for the new government to presume that it can do any magic with specifications within short a time as in 100 days.
The level of national decay and malaise will require time, action and dedication to correct and as such in my view, 100 days are only enough to show indicators of motion towards the rectification of this endemic national mess put in place by the PDP and its incapable government.
Even as the president to the best of my knowledge wasn’t predisposed to making 100 days on the saddle a landmark issue, I am of the opinion that it is important to take a stock of what in my view have been the major directions of state in the correction process which no doubt even Olise Metuh, who has found a new job of saying something even if with no meaning, is agreeable to the fact that the nation is on course.
The major campaign template of the APC and its candidate was change. Change in three or four fundamental areas. War against corruption, war against insurgency, rectification of power supply and above all reinvigoration of the concept of rule of law which means everyone will be subject of the law, equal before the law and thus re-establishment of law and order in the way every Nigerian does things, especially those in positions of authority.
It is the erosion of law and order that led to the impunity, which gave rise to unprecedented corruption in the country to the extent that Nigeria topped the list of corrupt nations across the globe. Ex-president Jonathan told us that stealing is not corruption and little wonder it was that officials of his government took turns in pilfering every little thing that was pilferable.
Theft became the rule rather than the exception and Nigeria was predicted by the intelligence communities outside of it to likely collapse in 2015. God saved the situation by empowering Nigerians to stand the pressures of oppression and political emasculation and today a new government is almost 100 days old.
On the four cardinal promises and objectives of this government, I have seen signs of change; true change in all, especially in three. Across the country today, power supply has increased tremendously. We were used to electricity supply for four or five hours a day. Today, the minimum that we get is 15 hours in some cases much longer period. The fact that power supply has increased means that the way of life of the people is enhanced and cost of doing business across the different social strata in the country has been drastically reduced. The implication of this is that standard of living is likely to rise.
Power generates and boosts productivity in every economy. In Nigeria its absence was responsible for the collapse of what I call the real sector, comprising technicians, artisans and other low and middle level intensity occupations that employ more than half of the population. My hope and prayer is that this achievement is not only sustained but also built upon so that by the time the government will be one year in office, traces of power failure would be noticed possibly in very few selected places if not completely wiped out of Nigeria.
I have also seen in very clear terms a renewed effort at reducing corruption from our national life. I have seen public servants behave orderly. My friend in one of the ministries told me that for the first time in six years, their ministry received allocation for overhead; a necessary component of the recurrent expenditure profile that the previous government corruptly eliminated. One would ask therefore that how was government business running in the absence of provision and releases for overheads?
Government officials are afraid of perpetrating corruption because the cost is increasingly becoming too high. If the president does not steal our funds, so also the VP, it will be risky for a minister or permanent secretary to go into thievery. This is how a system works. Every government official, especially those at the top who went to brief the president and his vice came out of villa convinced that that problem in Nigeria was leadership and here is one in place.
Stakes for corruption are higher. Those who dare wish to indulge are at liberty to but the implications are high and it will appear like there is nowhere to run to. This is change. A change that Nigeria so desperately desires and we are getting the hope we are getting there. The prayer is that the stakes are made higher so that those who may wish to take the risk would understand the implications of the cost benefit analysis.
Insurgency is equally visibly being attended to. Since the coming of this government my trips to Kaduna, Zaria and other parts of this country, especially in the north have been made easy. The nightmare of road blocks is over and the spate of attacks by insurgents gradually under control.
The last government played politics with the lives of its citizens. Nigeria was so fractured along minor fault lines unfortunately and by implication impacted negatively on even the perception of the major actors of state in their comprehension and approach to the war on insurgency.
That has given way and what we have now is constructive engagement and the battlefield in the North-east is continually shrinking by the day. My hope and prayer is that the efforts are intensified and sustained while at the same time the endemic social upheavals that gave rise to this unfortunate insurrection are addressed by the centre and the unit governments. Investment in education is top on the agenda and at no matter what cost. We have seen the cost of the lack of education; we cannot afford not to address it.
In summary therefore, I have seen, so have millions of other citizens, the tremendous improvement in the major areas of promise made by this government. Public service is gradually regaining its lost grounds, law and order substituting impunity and arbitrariness while the war against insurgency is no more a sensational national political issues and a conduit for expropriation. The approach is seriousness.
I hope that with the stabilisation gradually being achieved, investment in basic social infrastructure like education, healthcare, transportation and railways would be attended to so that by the time we come to speak about the government in May 2016, the story would be more elegant. I do not regret voting for change and I’m sure millions of other Nigerians.