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Buhari faces spreading opposition as Nigerian economy slumps

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Yusuf Rabiu went door-to-door urging people in the northern Nigerian city of Kano to vote for President Muhammadu Buhari in last year’s elections. Now he’s regretting his decision.

“We expected him to solve our economic problems,” Rabiu, a 36-year-old hat seller, said at the city’s Kurmi market as a group of friends nodded in agreement. “I didn’t know voting for him would mean more hunger, more suffering.”

After ending the 16-year reign of the People’s Democratic Party last year in what won praise as a peaceful transition of power in Africa, Buhari is facing a firestorm of criticism. Even some of his ruling party members have met with their erstwhile opponents about forming a new party to challenge him if he seeks re-election in 2019, according to two people familiar with the meetings.

For Buhari, who ruled as a military dictator in the 1980s, 2016 has been a tough year. He pledged the naira currency would become as strong as the dollar — it hit record lows after the central bank removed its peg in May and currently trades at 316 to the greenback. Gasoline prices that were to be slashed by two-thirds have risen about 67 percent since he took office. Now Africa’s second-biggest economy is heading toward its first full-year contraction in a quarter-century, while inflation is at an 11-year high.

Broken Promises
“He made a lot of promises that people bought into, and some of these he has denied or failed to keep,” Clement Nwankwo, executive director of the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre in the capital, Abuja, said in an interview. “The fundamentals were bad when he took over but not as bad as they’re today.”

Even Buhari’s wife, Aisha, has lost patience. She told the British Broadcasting Corp. on Oct. 14 that she wasn’t sure if she would campaign for his re-election, saying a small clique of people controlled his government and appointed most of his cabinet.
Upon taking office, Buhari was dealt a very poor hand: a collapse in prices for crude, the West African nation’s main export, and production cuts caused by militant attacks in the oil-rich Niger River delta. In the far northeast, the Islamist militant group Boko Haram terrorised the population with kidnappings and suicide bombings.

His six-month delay in naming a cabinet created uncertainty about his administration’s fiscal and monetary policies. Then, as the naira tumbled on the parallel market, Buhari slapped an import ban on 41 items, damaging manufacturing and trade.

Brent crude, which compares with Nigerian oil grades, rose 0.6 percent to $55.68 as of 7:54 a.m. in London, the highest since July 22, 2015.

“They met a bad situation and they made it eminently worse,” Junaid Mohammed, a former lawmaker from Kano who’d been critical of Buhari’s predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, said in an interview.

Keep Faith
Sensing the dwindling support, Buhari urged Nigerians on Dec. 12 “not to lose faith in the ability of this administration to make a difference in the lives of our people.” Two days later, while presenting 2017 budget proposals to lawmakers, Buhari pledged to act to “pull the economy out of recession as quickly as possible.”

On Sunday, Buhari ordered the attorney-general to investigate allegations of corruption by some of his top aides, presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said, without naming them.

Buhari’s decision to choose loyalists from his mainly Muslim northern region for important security and cabinet positions has stoked resentment in the mainly Christian southeast, fueling secessionist demands, and complaints in the southwest ethnic Yoruba heartland that was key to his presidential victory. Out of 17 top positions in the army, navy, air force and other security agencies, three are from the south.

Mounting Disquiet
Mounting disquiet in the coalition that propelled him to office erupted in October when Bola Tinubu, who helped mobilize support for the president’s campaign in the southwest, published a statement attacking the APC’s chairman John Oyegun, a Buhari ally. Tinubu was supported by ex-Vice President Abubakar Atiku, who also backed Buhari in the election.

Time is becoming Buhari’s biggest enemy, according to Manji Cheto, senior vice president for West Africa at New York-based Teneo Intelligence.

“Effectively, he’s only got next year to turn things around before the election cycle starts,” she said by phone. “Next year will be a breaking point for a lot of Nigerians, particularly if we get a spike in gasoline prices and food inflation keeps rising. In that case, I don’t see how they’d be able to keep people off the streets.”



42 Comments
  • Ibu Anyi Danda

    Biafra is spirit, any body that goes against it is finished. All Hail Biafra.

  • Uwaoma, Chigozie

    Buhari, in actual sense, is not a president of Nigeria but a president for the fulani/north.
    His tribal sentiment, religious sentiment and highhandedness as well as nefarious activities even the incarceration of opposition point to the fact that Nigeria, as a country, may soon become a history.

  • Uduehi

    The President, a persona of high integrity and morally impeccable, has the credentials of a good leader. All that is required is forming a formidable team of economy managers mainly to steer the nation from the current recessed status to the right path of development and growth. An economy that was badly mismanaged for decades will take almost a century to be revamped. This postulation is premised on doing the right things. We should not expect an immediate turn around within a twinkle of an eye.

    • yusuf Mikail

      Wrong. Our President is not a good Leader. A good leader should be able to assemble a formidable team and quickly.
      A good leader takes responsibility. A good Nigerian leader should be pan-Nigerian.

    • chuks

      i do not know what your definition of a good leader is,a good leader should be one who has the capacity to bring the people he is leading together and not a tribalist. A leader who have enough intellectual con taint as to be able to know what is the write direction to take his people to economic prosperity and happiness,not one who has no academic certificate.Since 1999,we always hear the excuse from our elected presidents that the economy was mismanaged by previous government,which is why we voted for change,in this one now, is there anything we can say the government has done,a year and half.The corruption fight they are using to deceive you and me has it yield anything,even the man who he is using to fight the corruption is himself indicted of corruption,his secretary the same,so is it not thief steal another thief recover and steal back.

  • Auta62

    Neither the President nor his so called amorphous Economic Team, as of now does have any solution to the nation’s economic woes. Nigeria will continue to groope in economic darkness until PMB and his APC party leaves the political stage for more matured and experienced political class that understand the dynamics of governance takes over.

    • Wole

      The same matured and experienced political class who failed to plan for the crises ahead. stupidity

    • Wole

      Keep deceiving yourself, looking for whom to blame for the economy that depend solely on oil from one zone of the country and no other source of income and foreign exchange. The militants say no more oil and the price has crashed in the international market. Poor Buhari, he is the one to receive all the bashing for numerous past visionless leaders who abandoned the God’s given potential in agriculture and put all their noses and mouths in oil from Niger delta..

  • Omolaso

    Buhari is a JOKE !!!!!! Nigeria is a JOKER

  • Omolaso

    Buhari will get Nigeria nowhere in as much as the CABALS are in charge of his government They wanted the statuscuo to continue and that is where we are now .No matter how good your economic plans are if you have fraudsters , forgers, and looters all around you you will get no result. PMB needs to unplug his hears to listen to the people. He must stop thinking he is the only saint in Nigeria !!!!!!

  • Okoro Tonye

    Recently, their new mantra is to say “we did not create the hardship “. Let no Nigerian be deceived by this irresponsible catch-phrase.
    BUHARI AND HIS APC are squarely responsible for the present hardship experienced by Nigerians.

    • Wole

      This is sheer ignorance of the enormity of the problem facing the country. Looking for scapegoat cannot help this country, because past leaders failed to plan for the raining days. Today, there is no politician or political party in this country, neither PDP nor APC that have quick solution to Nigeria economy woes. We failed to plan, hence we have planned to fail. Whoever wins in 2019 have no magic to perform. We better get that into our hard skulls.

      • real

        There are thousands of plans from various government sitting on the shelves collecting dust. planning is not our problem. our problem is leadership, lack of implementation and enforcement. There are hundreds of small things that the president could have done to being to move the economy forward. one small thing would have being mandating all discos to meter their clients, then ensure that gas was supplied to gencos. That would have slightly improved the power supply and reduce cost for everyone.

        • Wole

          The lack of planning is a result of leadership crisis at all levels – federal, state, LG.
          The people are sabotaging the economy, that is where we are not getting gas to our power station. They are blowing up the pipelines and compounding hardship on Nigerians. The country is under a curse placed on it by its people.

          • HeOjAy

            In the USA even with exploitation of the shale oil it is not completely controlled by the National govt as such there is equitable distribution of the return between the States where the oil is found and the central govt. Others continue to use areas of their comparative advantage to sustain itself.

            So long as there is this robbing Peter to pay Paul kind of administration in this country called Nigeria you cannot rule out sabbotage. This is what caused Sudan to split.

            You cannot use the resources of Akwa Ibom, Abia, Bayelsa, Delta & Rivers States to make Abuja more beautiful than these States from whom this revenue is taken. Can you compare Abuja to Lagos. There are States in the North that have better infrastructure than the oil producing States yet contribute nothing to the centre.

            The better this country is restructured politically nothing will ever work.

            Let the North go back to their groundnut & cotton farms, the Southwest to their cocoa farms, the South-east to their oil palm farms & live the black gold to South-south. All other resources are sustatainable but crude oil is not. When this resources gets exhausted this region will suffer.

            Let other parts of Nigeria stop exploiting the South-south. The corruption in this country is as a result of this singular resource.

        • Apostel

          It is not due to Buhari, it is in our character. Just see how Nigerians praise looters like Ibori, mama piss, drunkard Jonathan, Saraki and all the other criminals. As long as we point our fingers to other, we don’t deserve a better life.
          Tell me why other countries can do that, only Nigerians permanent fail, even in doing the smallest thing.

      • Osanebi Osakuni

        Hahahaha! Most of you now resort to telling half truth. What plan did Nigeria fail to put in place. You all supported these idiots when they resisted the sovereign funds concept. The have no more lies to tell. The situation on ground is far worse then our yesterday. OBJ as bad as he was met Nigeria in worse situation with oil price half what it is today. There was no blame game then. The Finance Minister that worked with him served Dr Goodluck as well. Nigeria can never be the same again until the country is to politically restructured.

        • Wole

          Keep deceiving yourself, looking for whom to blame for the economy that depend solely on oil from one zone of the country and no other source of income and foreign exchange. The militants say no more oil and the price has crashed in the international market. Poor Buhari, he is the one to receive all the bashing for numerous past visionless leaders

          • Osanebi Osakuni

            Hahahaha! My daily campaign is for us to take our resources. We have shouldered parasites enough. Restructure or nothing. Just wait!

          • Wole

            Make una have mercy o. Without oil, recession is here for longer

          • Osanebi Osakuni

            We will go through the pains to achieve what we want

          • The Trib3sman

            Abi ooooo……

          • chuks

            illiterate fool,do you know how bad the economy of united state of america was when obama took over from George bush,did you ever hear him complain.He promised to turn things around and give Nigerians good life base on which he was elected,it is obvious he is not fit for the job and it will be irresponsible of you to try to defend him.

          • Powerlessconscious

            Illiterate calling someone illiterate. When we warned you not to bomb pipeline, what did you say? You thought is only other of Nigeria that will suffer. You can continue PDP education bestowed in you to analyse. The president is doing fine. You are the product of your decisions.

          • Wole

            You are a bigger fool for comparing Nigeria economy with the biggest economy in the world, USA. This is the stupidity of an average Nigerian which the politician exploit on daily basis. Even when USA is in recession, they are far better than all the countries in Africa

          • Cheta God

            Wole no time for quarrelling. All we are saying is that given the problems today, the govt is not taking the right steps towards addressing these problems.

        • The Trib3sman

          do not waste your time with these people. They will always find excuses to give. They are like their masters. When they came in and things appeared good, they called it body language. When thing started to change, they began to blame past governments. It is in their nature to give excuses.

      • The Trib3sman

        Your comment is empty and almost insane. Buhari and his abettors told Nigerians that Nigeria was on the path to destruction and they want to come and fix it. Many Nigerians believed and today, they have received. Let them have a feel of why this man was rejected by his own team in 1985.
        Nigeria was working under Goodluck Jonathan and his capable team. Infrastructure was being upgraded across the country. Jobs were being created. Our economy was active and progressive. Even then, as usual, we wanted more.
        And so the likes of Tinubu and the others set forth with their agenda to damage the Jonathan’s government and they succeeded, largely because GEJ did not do enough to repel them. All that is history now. Buhari and his people should deal with the mess that they have created.

        • Wole

          You will do better than GEJ campaign manager. Where were you when he was campaigning for his fruitless ambition of 2nd term. Where are now the infrastructures Jonathan was upgrading and building, I guess they followed him to Otuoke, that is why we are not seeing them. For nuisance like you who pretend not to know that the economy depend on the Niger delta oil alone, the best answer is to leave you to your self imposed ignorance. If the militants in Niger delta refuse Nigeria to take oil and price in the international market remain low for a log time, Nigeria has just begun recession. That is the fact. The economy is weak because our foreign exchange earner is mainly crude oil and we import almost everything. I hope you understand the importance of foreign exchange to this type of mono-product import-dependent economy. If you don’t know, I leave you to your ignorance and GEJ defeat hangover fever you are still going through.

  • Wole

    Attempt to politicize the crises facing the country today simply depicts a sheer ignorance of the enormity of the problems facing us. Looking for scapegoat cannot help this country, because past leaders failed to plan for the raining days. Today, there is no politician or political party in this country, neither PDP nor APC that have quick solution to Nigeria economy woes. We failed to plan, hence we have planned to fail. Whoever wins in 2019 have no magic to perform. We better get that into our hard skulls.

    • Noyiagbon Anthony

      You are beginning to sound like PMB who thinks that he is the only saint in Nigeria. What do you mean by “ignorance of our problems”. You are probably the only ignorant adult person in Nigeria of today; because even primary school children can tell Nigeria’s problems. What we lack is leadership with capacity, character and will to fix the challenges. Should you continue to fail because your father failed, or decide not to give your children good education because your father failed you? Please spare me with this endless excuse that past leaders failed to plan for the raining day. Tell Nigerians one thing this govt. has done to move the country forward. What current plan does the current govt. have to assuage the error of no plan as you claimed. Wole, tell Nigerians the short, medium and long term plans of PMB. Even though they are, the govt. is not walking the talk. APC is just full of much talk: Excuses.

      • Wole

        Keep deceiving yourself, looking for whom to blame for the economy that depend solely on oil from one zone of the country and no other source of income and foreign exchange. The militants say no more oil and the price has crashed in the international market. Poor Buhari, he is the one to receive all the bashing for numerous past visionless leaders who abandoned the God’s given potential in agriculture and put all their noses and mouths in oil from Niger delta.

  • real

    This is what we get when we elect a president that is from the stone ages. This is a president that didn’t present any plan or thoughts on solving Nigeria problems. It is very clear that he had no idea on what to do and how to do it. His biggest problem was not acting fast and allow this ministers to do their jobs. Nigeria needs new leadership, not the corrupt old guard that continue to loot the country and never do anything.

  • sammy728

    What people failed to recognized is, there is no quick solution to the current problems. 56 years failure to develop and maintain infrastructure that could have propel the country to greatness cannot be rewind by one man in a short period. Not in support of all that PMB is doing or stand for, but open to overlook it because he is not looting the treasury to enrich himself. Hunt by the palace coup and stabbed in the back from IBB cohort in the 80s, he surround himself this time around with people he think he can trust when he sleep, even though most of them lack the knowledge, skill and exposure to face the challenges of our time. Wrong! Don’t know what can work in Nigeria, it seems to be a lost course but God knows there is hope. One thing is certain, the people making noise about new mega party, or what have you, are looters, they do not have d interest of the common man at heart. It will be a great mistake if we, d people think the solution lies with them.

  • Cheta God

    The problem with us in Lagos and the S/W in general is that we embrace any jargon in vogue until new ones resurrect. Instead of addressing the issue we start the use of these words : looters;corrupt;drunkard; wailers, etc . Lets us end this blame game. We made the terrible mistake of believing that a 74 year old man with a questionable WAEC certificate will lead us in the 21st century. Now our stupidity has dawned on us. We should accept that a mistake was made and see to ways of addressing same instead of the blame game.
    The govt was not ready for governace period. Instead of assembling abundant capable hands to address the economy , Buhari descended into nepotism and religion to staff his administration, leaving our economy in the hands of amatures. If we hate Okonjo Iwuala because she served GEJ, there are others who could have done better than the woman who was nominaed for the finance portfolio for personal reasons.

    Buhari and APC should wake up. No more blame game. GEJ has moved on. Nigeria should move on.
    May God Almighty ave Nigeria from evil men and amateaurs.

    • Wole

      Keep deceiving yourself, looking for whom to blame for the economy that depend solely on oil from one zone of the country and no other source of income and foreign exchange. The militants say no more oil and the price has crashed in the international market. Poor Buhari, he is the one to receive all the bashing for numerous past visionless leaders who abandoned the God’s given potential in agriculture and put all their noses and mouths in oil from Niger delta region.

      • Cheta God

        Wole the elections are over. Nigeria is in deep shot. Like or hate Buhari, the truth is that he does not have the capacity or capability of leadership in the 21st century. A mistake has been made. Let’s move on.

        • Wole

          Cheta, when Jonathan was in power, APC supporters and Nigerians said he was not capable. Now PMB is there, PDP supporters and Nigerians are also saying he is not capable. OBJ was not capable, so who is capable? The truth of the matter is that we are practicing party politics, the idea is that the presidency is not a one-man show and that the party should provide leadership. There is no super man that understand everything. Knowledge is your ability to make reference to others that know and can make their knowledge available.
          Having said that, you cannot run away or hide from the fact that we as Nigerians and our past leaders have made too many mistakes in the past which we are now paying for and we should not make PMB the scapegoat for these messes we have created in the past.

          • Cheta God

            Wole we are singing from the same hymn book. My idea is that GEJ failed and we elected a greater disaster in the person of Buhari. We have to live with our choice. Now seeing the disaster on ground, lamentation is not the way out. Instead we must let the cabal in power realize that nepotism and religious bigotry is not the way forward. The govt must jettison their approach to governance and decide that come Jan only the very best Nigerians should be in strategic positions. Even though the President has a doubtful WAEC

  • vic

    MATTERS OF THE MOMENT:

    RE: BUHARI, THE UGLY FACE OF RECESSION, LIES, DECEIT AND HYPOCRISY.

    BUHARI IS A MAN WHO HAS NO SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY TO THE NATION. HE MADE FALSE PROMISES AND TOLD LIES TO NIGERIANS. FOR THIS ALONE, BUHARI HAS LOST HIS CREDIBILITY AMONG MOST NIGERIANS WHO NO LONGER TRUST HIM AND RESPECT HIM. SO MUCH SO, IF HE STOOD FOR PRESIDENCY NOW, HE WILL LOSE MISERABLY.

    BUHARI FUDGED IN AS PRESIDENT BY HOOK AND CROOK BY TELLING LIES AND DECEIVING NIGERIANS AND IS ENJOYING HIS PRESIDENTIAL POWER AS AN EX MILITARY DICTATOR. AS A PRESIDENT, HE HAS CONSOLIDATED HIS POSITION FINANCIALLY AND HE CARES A DAMN WHETHER OR NOT NIGERIANS ELECT HIM PRESIDENT SECOND TIME IN 2019. IN FACT HE KNOWS, HE WON’T BE ELECTED FOR THE 2ND TIME! THAT IS WHY BUHARI DOES NOT CARE ABOUT NIGERIANS NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT HIM.

    BUHARI IS A LIAR, FOREX FRAUDSTER AND A DECEITFUL MAN, WITH THE WELFARE OF NIGERIANS THE LAST THING ON HIS MIND. DID YOU KNOW THAT BY NOW, BUHARI HAS MADE A TOTAL OF $23 MILLION AS ESTA CODE FOR HIS USELESS FOREIGN TRIPS????? AFTER ALL, IT IS AN EASY WAY TO MAKE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, THAT IS WHY, COME WHAT MAY, HE IS EVER READY FOR FOREIGN TRIPS. AND BY THE WAY, DID BUHARI MAKE ONE DOLLAR EQUAL TO ONE NAIRA AS HE ONCE SAID??
    CLEARLY, BUHARI VOMITS OUT WORDS WITHOUT WITHOUT ANY MEANING.

    BALARABE MUSA, ONCE RIGHTLY SAID, BUHARI IS DEAD ON ARRIVAL, NOTHING WILL CHANGE IN NIGERIA EXCEPT NEW FACES WILL EMERGE ON THE POLITICAL SCENE.

    EMINENT NIGERIANS NEED TO DO MORE THRASHING ON BUHARI LIKE THE EX GOVERNOR OF KADUNA, ALHAJI, BALARABE MUSA DOES FROM TIME TO TIME.

  • Mizch

    In the fake certificate he presented, he didn’t past Arithmetic and Wood Works. How can he add budget figures and fix the economy ? Unfortunately the elite said it didn’t matter.

  • LondonMet

    I wish every Lagos State Governor can continue investing in a different state within Nigeria that has interest in agriculture yearly. In ten or fifteen years time, Lagos can invest in other West and Central Africa countries if their economic policy is conducive. It will lead to high agricultural production and sufficient in Nigeria and excess can be export.

    Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/12/ambode-flags-off-lake-rice-sales-tomorrow/