Monday, 29th May 2023

Buhari: Seven years, the journey so far

By Terhemba Daka, Abuja
05 June 2022   |   4:02 am
On May 29, seven years ago, Muhammadu Buhari took the oath of office as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces after many years of failed attempts, with a promise to serve Nigeria and the people faithfully and in all spheres of the nation’s life.

Muhammadu Buhari . Photo/Twitter//ProfOsinbajo

On May 29, seven years ago, Muhammadu Buhari took the oath of office as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces after many years of failed attempts, with a promise to serve Nigeria and the people faithfully and in all spheres of the nation’s life.
President Buhari concluded the first four years, and expectedly, the citizens, in a show of confidence and trust, renewed his term for another four years. Many Nigerians had high hopes and expectations, especially as the country was faced with sundry challenges, including insecurity that had conspired to touch its foundation. Seven years down the line, the question on the lips of many Nigerians have been, how far has President Buhari used the goodwill of the people in the area of performance, what has been the impact of his administration on the people and what has been his achievements and failures as he begins the final year of his second term as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
While many Nigerians have patted him on the back, opponents believe that his electioneering promises have not been fulfilled.

However, some observers believe that a lot of things have drastically gone wrong in the last seven years, particularly in the areas of economy, education, security, and in virtually every aspect of the nation’s life.
Others argue that the Buhari administration has not done enough to justify the overwhelming support given to it by Nigerians to salvage the country from its woes.

Many further argue that in seven years, the pains have been so excruciating that Nigerians are simply gasping for breath while many citizens are now unemployed in record numbers. They contend that Nigeria is now more indebted than at any time in history, peace has eluded the country and the nation is in crisis due to insecurity and many other conclusions.
However, his presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, giving a detailed overview of the strides made in seven years of the administration and termed one-stop-shop of the achievements of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, said: “Revisionists would want to look at security challenges, which are being robustly tackled, alone. But we look at the entire gamut, and honest and fair Nigerians will admit that a lot has been done, and a lot more will still be done in the 12 months ahead.”

The Presidential Spokesmen highlighted the strides in infrastructural development; roads, bridges, rail, air and seaports, housing; oil and gas reforms, digital economy, mines and steel development, agriculture, education, health, creative industry, and sports, among others and came up with the conclusion that the Buhari administration represents service to the people, and nothing else.

The presidential spokesman said under President Buhari, Nigeria has seen the most ambitious legislative programme in its history as several landmark bills have been passed or amended in the last seven years in order to have positive impacts on the fight against corruption, insecurity, economy, and electoral process. 

These include Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022, which repeals the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended, and provides a comprehensive legal and Institutional Framework for the prevention and prohibition of money laundering in Nigeria, while also conferring on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the legal status of the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering. 

Others are Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Bill, 2022, which makes comprehensive provisions for the seizure, confiscation, forfeiture, and management of properties derived from unlawful activity as well as Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, an Executive Bill, signed into law in 2019. The Bill facilitates the identification, tracing, freezing, restraining, recovery, forfeiture and confiscation of proceeds, property, and other instrumentalities of crime, as well as the prosecution of offenders in criminal cases regardless of where in the world they might be.
Legislations specifically enacted to address the challenges of insecurity include Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022, which repeals the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 as amended in 2013, and provides for the effective implementation of international instruments on the prevention and combating of terrorism and suppression of the financing of terrorism as well as Act establishing the Police Trust Fund, which will improve funding for the Nigeria Police Force (2019) in addition to Nigeria Police Act, 2020 – the first comprehensive reform of Police legislation since the Police Act of 1943. 

On February 25, President Buhari signed the long-awaited Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2022 into law, saying the new law contains salient and praiseworthy provisions that could positively revolutionise elections in Nigeria through the introduction of new technological innovations that would guarantee the constitutional rights of citizens to vote and to do so effectively.

He said the law would not only improve and engender clarity, effectiveness and transparency of the election process but also reduce to the barest minimum incidences of acrimony arising from dissatisfied candidates and political parties.

“These commendable efforts are in line with our policy to bequeath posterity and landmark legal framework that paves the way for credible and sound electoral process that we would all be proud of,” he said. 

Aside initiating and implementing National Social Investment programmes (NSIP) with the focus on poverty reduction, the government also started the N2.3 trillion National Economic Sustainability Program (NSIP) to address the disequilibrium caused by the reverberating negative consequences of COVID 19.

The NSIP, under the supervision of the Vice President, was to address ten core issues including extensive agricultural program, mass housing, installation of solar home systems, strengthening if social safety nets, survival funds and promotion of domestic gas utilization, amongst others.

On the fight against corruption, the President has taken some steps by collaborating with the National Assembly to strengthen anti-corruption laws aimed at curbing the menace. For instance, Buhari signed the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Bill as well as the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill into law to deter prospective looters from tampering with the nation’s commonwealth.

Over 600 persons have so far been convicted for corruption as several others are currently undergoing litigation and over N500 billion loot recovered under the Buhari’s government. Two prominent former governors were convicted and jailed for being culpable for corruption charges. Some kleptomaniac civil servants are currently having a date with judges for the financial malfeasance.

The administration has made some indelible marks in delivery of infrastructure projects. The President has been able to walk his talk by ensuring the completion of some of the capital projects he inherited from his predecessors and initiating and implementing others, now either completed or under construction.

On security, the government has proven that it is battle ready to ensure that all nooks and crannies of the country are safe. To that effect, President Buhari has directed massive recruitments into the nation’s security forces beginning with 40,000 personnel into the Police Force. He has also procured state-of-the-art equipment for the nation’s Airforce just as he ordered the commencement of community policing for local intelligence gathering.

The timely deployment of state’s power of coercion with the use of all military equipment acquired by the government to combat terrorism and other criminal activities across the country will no doubt restore normalcy.

The administration has also made some indelible marks in delivery of infrastructure projects. The President has been able to walk his talk by ensuring the completion of some of the capital projects he inherited from his predecessors and initiating and implementing others, now either completed or under construction.

Worthy of mention among the life impacting inherited projects already completed by Buhari’s administration are the Abuja-Kaduna and the Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Warri, Lagos-Ibadan rail lines. The Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Warri rail line was completed after 33 years.

Those nearing completion are the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the Second Niger Bridge and the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway. Buhari also executed outstanding projects initiated by his administration in aviation and built ports across the country.

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