One year after, Nigerians score Buhari, APC
Exactly a year today, Nigeria witnessed a change in government at the federal level, when President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC took over the mantle of leadership from Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP in a historic handover ceremony at Eagle Square in Abuja to usher in the ‘Change’ era. Buhari had contested in four presidential elections. He lost to President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003, lost to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua in 2007 and also lost to President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 before his triumph at the 2015 polls. Nigerians told The Guardian their views on the government one year aftre. CHUKS NWANNE reports.
‘Honestly, i’m not surprised’
(TV Show host)
Change? Honestly, I am not surprised. Not because I did not support APC, but because I realise the problems of Nigeria are complex. It did not take a day or even 16 years of PDP rule for us to get here. So, naturally, except one is using magic, it will take time. I’m glad the APC government, though very quick to condemn the past administration, is actually building on the foundation set by President Goodluck Jonathan. This sort of continuity is important for us to move forward. The issues are there and glaring – from the economy to security – things have fallen apart and the centre cannot hold. Now is the time for Mr. President to lead, by serving with humility. He needs to face the task at hand and act decisively. We are tired of the rhetoric of ‘wailing and wailers.’ We don’t want ‘CHANGE;’ we want results!
‘They were unprepared’
President Buhari and the APC underestimated the scope of the challenges they inherited. They were unprepared and started with blaming the last administration, forgetting they were elected on their promise of change— change from poor to good and good to better. So far, they have done a terrible job. Although fighting corruption is admirable, but the economy should have been given an urgent attention. Inflation is at an all time high and for the first time in six years, the country experienced a negative growth. Buhari has failed to stop the killer herdsmen or make any statement on it. This is in sharp contrast to the Paris terror attack, when he was quick to tweet his solidarity with France.
The way forward is for Mr. President to restructure his cabinet; he needs to rid it of incompetent propagandists. He has more media advisers/aides than economic advisers. He has rewarded the party loyalists and those that brought him to power, and now is the time to get competent Nigerians into his cabinet; propaganda can’t fix the economy.
‘He has a misfortune of coming to power when there is a global oil fall’
(Lagos-based PR Practitioner)
I think the President has done well, considering the type of country he inherited a year ago. Any honest assessor will agree that the country had become a failed state literally with the level of insecurity, political, social and economic problems inherited. The government has a misfortune of coming to power, when there is a global fall in the prices of commodity, especially crude oil, which is our mainstay. In one year, we have seen a bold attempt to fight corruption and Boko Haram has almost been defeated. Other criminal non-state actors, who had free reign before, are being confronted with superior firepower of our security agencies. The collapsed state institutions are being rebuilt, especially the anti-corruption and security agencies. The judicial sector is also being reformed and new judges being injected into the system.
True, on the economic front, Nigerians are suffering and we can’t also remove the present economic problems from the mismanagement of the past; we couldn’t save in five years of plenty for a time like this. In 2008, prices of commodities and crude fell badly like we have now, but because President Obasanjo built huge foreign reserves and strong Excess Crude Oil Account (ECA), Nigeria had a very strong cushion and fall back position; that was when crude was selling at an average of $35 per barrel. A government sold crude for consistent five years at over $100 dollars, yet not an extra dollar added to foreign reserves or the ECA. The current government of President Buhari is working to change the structure of the economy and diversify it from reliance on oil revenue. It will take at least the life cycle of the tenure of this administration before we can begin to see the positive impact of the good work being done now such that Nigeria won’t go through this cycle in future.
‘Where are the true friends of Buhari?’
Ibrahim Kabiru A
I write this with great pain. Where are the great economists of yesterday? Where are the true lovers of Nigeria? Where are the true friends of Buhari? Have we lost them to partisanship? As mortals, we are not infallible. To err is human, to accept our error is noble and to right the wrong nobler.
Ponder over this: No money is being saved with the increase of fuel price from N86.50 to N145 because at N86.50 no subsidy is being paid. The CBN regulates the Forex market. If importers are asked to source Forex from the Parallel market, then naira will crash further and the price of N145 per litre will be unrealistic. If what importers need is Forex, do state government receive monthly allocations in dollars? Are workers paid in dollars? If not, why can’t the CBN sell Forex to importers in exchange for naira, which is our local currency? Kachikwu’s Forex argument just doesn’t gel.
Why do we confuse 2016 with 2012? Then it was subsidy, this time no subsidy is being paid, no money is being saved. So, everything about this 67 per cent increase in fuel price, which is the highest marginal increase the world over, is an ill wind that blows no good. Today, the rate of inflation is 13.7 per cent making life worse for our people, posing huge threat to the performance of the budget of ‘Change’ and greater threat to national peace. If you love Nigeria, speak up now. If you love Buhari, please speak up.
‘He has disappointed the majority’
So far, Buhari’s government has disappointed the majority of Nigerians. All the promises are yet to be realized; none of the projects has been undertaken, and things are rather getting worse. From power, economy, fuel, employment to school feeding, none has materialised.
For me, the way forward is for the government to take Nigeria’s problems one after the other. They should finish one before jumping to another.
‘Buhari sas had a slow start contrary to expectations of Nigerians’
The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has had a slow start contrary to the expectations of Nigerians, who wanted a quick fix of an economy that was already battered, following indiscriminate and reckless spending by past governments.
That said, I’m convinced that at the Federal level, President Buhari has done immensely well to show example in terms of how government should function. He has laid a very solid foundation in the fight against Nigeria’s greatest menace, which is corruption. When this succeeds, especially if the government wins the war against corruption, Nigeria will be in good stead for growth and prosperity.
‘There is no clear direction’
None of my expectations has been met and there is no clear direction after one year. On the economic aspect, industries are not stimulated or revived and mass unemployment still looms, while power supply has gone worse. Where are we heading to in this country? How long will it take for this change to come? God bless Nigeria.
‘What we have today is not unexpected’
Michael Chika Umudu
What we have today is not unexpected. During Buhari/APC campaign in 2015, much was talked about cleansing the country of corruption, systemic mismanagement and hardship, thereby restoring the country to the path of prosperity to ensure life in abundance for all Nigerians. The former General declared that his past as a dictator was over and that he’s now a democrat, who aspires to deepen democracy.
I trusted Buhari’s promise to fight corruption, owing to his record. Indeed, unlike most other Nigerian leaders, he has shown that public office is not primarily for money making. But I was seriously in doubt of his capacity to manage the economy. Yes, he made a lot of promises in this regard, but failed to present an articulate economic plan.
I was equally in doubt about his change to a democrat, owing to the fact that he had in the past destroyed democracy. One year on, economy has been on the downward trend. Though oil revenue has gone down, but that does not suggest recession. The 2016 budget shows that Nigeria still had enough resources to move on, if effectively managed. Most key campaign promises are not met. The pump price of PMS has been increased instead of the promised reduction. There is no indication yet that the government has solution to the economic challenges.
‘A weird, ugly mixture of oligarchy and plutocracy’
I think it’s a more of the same elitism in government that has continued; a weird and ugly mixture of oligarchy and plutocracy that can only take shape in this country. The way forward in Nigeria is to have a fearless government willing to take on the oppressors in our society and redistribute the wealth!
‘They are clearly overwhelmed’
Osagbe Rose Graham
(UK-based Media Practitioner)
The federal government is seemingly working, but with the shape of our democracy, things are significantly complex. Quite obviously, the government of President Buhari ascended to power without envisaging the massive rot on ground. They were clearly overwhelmed, when the reality of things stared them squarely in the face. But this does not pass for an excuse because if you have been planning to lead a people, you should be able to know their problems, understand them and strategise a possible solution to salvage them from their economic quagmire.
The government has so far performed below the people’s expectations. But, in fairness, it is no fault of theirs. The only blemish for which the President can be blamed is the obvious fact that political appointments have been lopsided since he assumed office. The President needs to be seen to carry everyone along, considering the enormous scale of our diversity.
Having said that, the one thing we can uphold the government of President Buhari for is its high level of moral standard, which cannot be said of previous administrations. The voice of the people, they say, is the voice of God. Nigerians appear to love their president and are praying for him. It is hoped that he succeeds in laying a solid foundation on which prospective leaders can build.
‘Buhari Needs To Gainfully Engage The Army Of Unemployed’
(Publisher, Houston, Texas)
Citizens of Africa’s most influential country of 183 million will agree with me that Nigeria’s problems are compounded by the extraordinary scale of outright theft of oil and gas money by government officials, corporations and small mercenary/militant groups. Remarkably, mainly colorful and inflated accounting books were kept by these conniving gangs; full of financial shenanigans and misleading numbers, but very small money and whole scale environmental destruction of the Niger Delta and parts of the south east.
To understand some of the factors, which impacted the first year and will affect this second year of Muhammadu Buhari, you have to seriously examine some situations.Firs is the dramatic drop in the price of a barrel of oil from the $100 per barrel in mid-2014 to the mid and high $40s during his first year. The exponential loss of exchange value for Nigeria’s national currency, Naira, has been catastrophic, as the daily operational reality for the unemployed, working class, middle class, business/employers, importers, exporters and even the very rich in Nigeria.
The higher and tripled price of fuel for cars at the gas/fuel stations as stipulated by the Buhari administration, has escalated inflation and impacted the transportation of foods and essential commodities. Buhari needs to gainfully engage the army of unemployed Nigerian youth, rebuild the country’s transportation and petroleum infrastructure, repair the dilapidated shacks, where Nigerian kids go for their education and update the non-equipped death beds in dirty, strange places called “hospitals.’
While Nigerians and other accountability agencies commend Buhari for probing and collecting billions of dollars from the stinking, plundering and primitive impunity of the gangs and some “steakholders”— especially from the Jonathan and Obasanjo presidencies — they ask a follow up question: how much has been collected and what is it being used for?
As Buhari begins his second year in office, the question amidst the dramatic interplay of the current opportunities for a national rebirth, is whether rise to the challenge of history to be recorded as a man, who had a rare second chance and truly turned Nigeria away from being the playground of economic leeches, political gangsters, irreligious murderers, social swine.
‘A colossal waste’
Nze Ugo-Akpe Onwuka (OYI OF OYI II)
(International Coordinator, Igbo Youth Forum)
It’s very important to note that assessing this government is on its own, a waste of time as there is no tangible thing to point out as any achievement so far. It might sound harsh, but that is the gospel truth. The Nigerian masses have been fed heaps of propaganda instead of dividends of democracy; every campaign promise denied. Knee jack decisions taken in the economic sector has left Nigeria gasping for breath. Bloodshed is more or less part of the national agenda, with Boko Haram still kills, maims and sacks communities. Fulani herdsmen are raping, looting slaughtering and walking around unhindered; innocent South Easterners are targeted and shot like game and the government sips on blood red wine and smiling with their lips smeared with the blood of the innocent.
Indefinite detention, the trademark of tyrant, has sprung up again and the list of those being illegally held in detention is gradually growing under this government in just one year. Unrewarding pleasure trips abroad has taken its own toll on the nation’s treasury, even as the government screams about running a lean government. The naira has crashed hopelessly, and the financial state of Nigeria could be said to be critical. I will sum up by saying that Buhari and APC have failed woefully!
‘NoBody but the devil is at fault’
God knows our way forward. The Bible says, ‘if my people who are called by my Name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will l hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land,’ (Second Chronicles 7 vs 14). And another scripture also said that, ‘Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people,’ (Proverbs 14, vs 34). The country belongs to God. So, let us call upon the Owner of this world. Nobody but the devil is at fault. Nigeria must survive.