Appraising Buhari’s government
SIR: If most Nigerians are asked to do an appraisal of all the governments that have ruled Nigeria, the unmistakable verdict would label the present regime as the worst. But there was a particular situation the present regime met on assumption into office. A major part of Borno State was occupied by Boko Haram. The first thing Buhari did was to take the battle to the insurgents by shifting the army base to the hot spot. Although all the formerly occupied territories were recovered by the Nigerian army under Buratai, most of the bandits only moved their bases to other areas of the country.
Another reason of animosity against the regime is the problem of herders, especially their new militant status which spurred clashes between the local farmers and herders leaving many people dead. On this point, the Buhari-led regime has a question to answer especially about the militarisation of the herders during his regime. Next is the issue of nepotism first highlighted by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in one of his numerous letters. President Muhammadu Buhari was accused of appointing only those from his region into key positions. As typical of him, he never gave any response to the allegation which everyone must have interpreted as a subtle acceptance of guilt.
Nigeria is made up of many component parts and appointment into any office is made based on this consideration so that no part may feel sidelined in the Nigerian enterprise. That the Buhari-led regime has clearly upstaged this provision is tantamount to dipping its fingers directly into the citizens’ eyes and it became another issue for which the presidency could not claim to be blameless. But if the truth be told, even though the present regime might have done more than those before him, the northerners have always dominated Nigeria’s juicy positions.
Despite the regime’s promise to tackle corruption, corruption seems to have seized the current regime by the jugular as it seems completely overwhelmed. The nation’s continued borrowings became a major source of concern to everybody while most of the projects for which the funds were invested leave much to be desired. Of course, there were some of those projects which are clearly visible in terms of infrastructure and other social welfare schemes such as the trader moni and the school feeding programmes. A common argument, however, is the relevance of infrastructure in a nation plagued by so much insecurity.
Still, the present regime will spend only eight years by next year.
By suspending its own key officers such as the former Secretary to the government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, the EFCC chairman, Magu and most recently, the Accountant General of the Federation, the government has displayed its zero tolerance for corruption, a clear departure from what obtained in the past when corruption grew with leaps and bounds and was completely shielded from the public.
Jide Oyewusi, coordinator of Ethics Watch International, wrote in from Lagos.