Speaking at various political rallies in January 2015, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, made three categorical promises. He vowed to (1) tackle insecurity, (2) fight corruption, and (3) revamp the economy. Today, it is the opinion of some people that nothing positive has happened under President Buhari’s four years.
When President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office on 29th May 2015, 14 LGAs of Borno state were under the control of insurgents. Fear and suspicion ruled Nigerians in many northern states of the country. Borno, Yobe and Adamawa in were the three most affected states. No one was sure of returning home from the mosque, church, market and other public places because of incessant and volatile attacks lunched with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) by insurgents. The suicide bomb attacks neither had religion nor tribe. We spent several hours to move across short distances in towns and cities where multiple military checkpoints existed to check the violent activities of insurgents.
Today, suicide attacks have significantly reduced. It is only recently pockets of attacks by ruminants of insurgents lurking around the fringes of Lake Chad on Nigeria’s border with Cameroon and Chad. Although the military has not succeeded in completely wiping out insurgency, detractors will say nothing has happened. The Nigerian military would better be appreciated if we recognize the fact that while they are engaging Boko Haram insurgents on the one hand, they also have kidnappings, banditry (especially in Zamfara state), farmers/herders crises and sometimes militancy in the Niger Delta region of the country to confront on the other.
Talking about fight against corruption, not many Nigerians knew about how a few privileged public officers and political office holders stole Nigeria dry until the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) under Ibrahim Magu uncovered the colossal corrupt practice perpetrated by betrayals of public trust. The misappropriation of $2.1 billion (N10 billion) meant for the purchase of arms and its diversion into private pocket through the office of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, under former President Jonathan, is one case far-fetched. Similarly, the prosecution of the former Chief of Air Staff, late Alex Badeh, in a N3.9 billion money laundering case; the recoveries made from the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deizani Alllisson Madueke; and the trial of several other persons who abused public trust are quite revealing. As at this time in 2017, over 500 billion was mentioned by Ibrahim Magu to have been recovered from some looters of the Nigerian treasury.
Aside of exposing these unpatriotic deals by corrupt Nigerians, President Buhari`s coming in May 2015 was a strong and huge wage that halted the hitherto crazy looting of the country’s resources. Perhaps, the detractors are saying nothing has happened in Buhari’s fight against corruption because the number of convicted persons isn’t proportionate to the corruption cases been prosecuted by anti-graft agencies. As an ardent believer in the principle of separation of powers, President Buhari can only prosecute suspects (using appropriate law enforcement agents); with no powers to convict. Unfortunately, many Nigerians see the judiciary as not as helpful as desired in the current fight against corruption. Elongated adjournment of cases by some judges is a major constraint against Buhari`s war on corruption. Three and half years into Buhari’s administration, the use of public office for personal aggrandizement has drastically reduced. Indeed, there is no more “grand-theft” with impurity which characterized 16 wasted years that preceded Buhari’s election in 2015. Yet, detractors find no fault with the retarding role of the judiciary, and would rather make sweeping statement saying nothing has happened.
Under the economy, detractors have fast forgotten that President Buhari assumed office soon after prices of crude oil crashed at the international market. This was closely followed by an economic recession. Yet, Government managed to survive and exited the recession without, for example, borrowing money to pay salaries. To restore Nigeria’s economic growth back to a fast lane, President Buhari`s administration lunched an Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020. This policy had yielded positive results but detractors would remain blind and deaf to every side of the feat. Yes, nothing has happened even with the ‘dyed-in-the-wool’ implementation of Bank Verification Number (BVN) policy which has not only helped to minimize incidence of fraud and money laundry but has also helped to enhance financial inclusion.
Yes, nothing positive has happened but the introduction by Buhari`s administration of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) helped government to discover and close over 17,000 accounts in commercial banks; some of them fake because they were operated by private establishments. E-payment, proper planning and implementation of annual budget, as well as efficient monitoring and auditing of the finances of MDAs are some of the numerous benefits of TSA.
They say nothing positive has happened but government intervention with the N-Power programme, though comparatively insignificant, has taken 500,000 youth off the streets. Yes, nothing positive has happened but the Anchor Borrowers initiative has boosted the agricultural sector of the economy; which according to reports by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) contributed 24.44 percent to the nation’s GDP in 2017.
Yes, nothing positive is happening even when the country`s critical infrastructures that were abandoned for over a decade and half are beginning to receive attention. Even with the completion and commissioning of the Abuja-Kaduna railway line and the recently commissioned new terminals at Abuja and Port Harcourt airports, detractors will say nothing has happened. They will also see nothing happening with the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line; the ongoing rehabilitation of many federal roads in different parts of the country including the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road, the Lagos-Ibadan expressway way, Enugu-port Harcourt road and the second Niger bridge. In a recent statement, the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatude Fashola, said “30,402 persons were employed, in 2018 alone, in the construction and rehabilitation of roads across the country.
President Buhari cannot, as a human being, be without faults. Only God is perfect. We still problems including insecurity. It would not be easy to provide instant solutions to all the challenges confronting Nigerians; some of them protracted due to bad governance. However, the positive things that happened so far can only be ignored by crude detractors such as former President Olusegun Obasanjo who sees no good coming from anyone who refuses to be his stooge. As wise men will say ‘No one can please a man who is not at peace with himself’. May Allah (SWT) guide Nigerians to peaceful polls that are free and fair, amin.