History will be made in Africa’s most populous nation, and the country with the continent’s largest economy today when President Muhammadu Buhari is sworn in as the 16th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Buhari is on course to equaling the record of former Nigerian leader, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who served as a military head of state, and was sworn in the second time as civilian leader of the country.
For Nigerians as a whole, they will have much to celebrate as the inauguration, and that of the National Assembly in a couple of days will mark 20 years of interrupted democracy in the continent’ most populous nation.
Almost at the same venue where he will be inaugurated four years ago, at the Eagle Square in Abuja, President Buhari’s coming to power marked the first time an opposition party would prevail over a ruling party in Nigeria promised the nation three key areas that will form the cornerstone of his administration: security, especially in tackling insurgency; economy and tackling one of the nation’s most dreaded vices: corruption. After four years of his administration, and towards the expiration of his first tenure, Nigeria’s went to the polls on February 27 in what later turned out to be one of the most hotly contested and disputed elections in the history of the country.
Nigerians voters were divided over renewing Buhari’s mandate, or to opt for his main challenger, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. The perceived poor leadership style of Buhari cost him significant number of voters, even in his traditional stronghold of the North West, North East and South West where his main challenger, Atiku Abubakar made incursions. His critics, especially the opposition took the APC-led administration to task, of doing little even in the key areas of their promises to the nation.
The PDP in particular maintained that the security situation has deteriorated under the present administration with herders-farmers’ crises, especially in the food chain of the country which consists of states like Benue, Taraba, Adamaw, Kogi, Adamawa ravaged by Fulani herders who always, armed with sophisticated weapons, killing and maiming hapless farmers.
They also pointed out that because of the government’s poor economic management 87, million Nigerians have been rendered extremely poor, and today Nigeria has infamously assumed the status of the poverty capital of the world, displaying India which has a population of more than one billion, compared to Nigeria’s mere 150 million.
His government was criticized for not doing much on security especially in the wake of growing rate of banditry in the north, kidnapping, robbery, etc.
All said and done, Buhari’s greatest challenge, especiall as he mounts the saddle of leadership for his second term in office is the economy whose picture does not look promising enough. Even the Central Bank warned not long ago that the nation’s economy risks going into recession.
Undoubtedly, Buhari inherited one of Africa’s most buoyant economies in 2015 before it slid into recession shortly after, recording negative growth and stagnation for more than one year. Nevertheless, it is to the credit of his administration that the country was steered out of recession.
However, Nigeria, one of the world’s most promising economies had struggled with trepid growth under Buahari. It a sad commentary that unemployment rate has more than doubled while more people have been driven into extreme poverty, especially in his tenure.
But to the government’s credit, it has done a lot in food production, especially with the introduction of Anchor Borrower’s scheme of the Central Bank of Nigeria. As a result, Nigeria is making great progress in food production especially in the production of rice, beans, maize millet, sorghum, tomatoes, etc.
There has also been remarkable progress in power generation, electricity supply and other core areas of development like railways and road construction.
DAILY ASSET expects the government to sustain these initiatives, especially the programme to ensure food self –sufficiency for the nation in the next few years. There are also high expectations in some quarters that the economy will be brought back on track in the next few years, especially with the efforts being made to win investors’ confidence with improvement in the ease of doing business climate.
It is noteworthy that investors in particular remain keen on backing the government ‘s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan[ERGP], an improved business climate. Experts have maintained that Buhari needs to carry out reforms in the exchange rate mechanism, improve budgetary implementation to propel the economy to grow to expectations.
However, one of the greatest problems facing the new administration, and why most Nigerians are skeptical of President Buhari achieving is his failure to show broad-mindedness ,accommodation, and statesmanship especially in his appointments and conduct of state affairs generally.
While his key appointments including those in charge of defence and strategic establishments are skewed in favour of the far North and a particular religion, and ostracizing other Nigerians from outside his enclave, he is aggravating his narrow prism in the conduct of state matters to his Fulani ethnic stock.
President Buhari has unfortunately degenerated into a leader, who defines Nigeria by serving and promoting the Fulani interests above every other interest.
A few weeks back, the Meyetti Allah which he was a patron was in the front burner of allegations of plans by the Buhari-led government to pay them billions of Naira to enable their members maintain the security of the nation, especially that of the North.
The idea to put it mildly was in a bad taste, and against the collective interest of the nation and underscores how the President can wittingly or unwittingly sacrifice the national interest, including the nation’s security for his parochial interest. With the controversy of the plan to make billions of Naira of tax payers’ money available to his ethnic group, who are seen more as militia behind the herders’ atrocities , especially in the Middle Belt Region of the country, came the controversial Fulani Radio Station, to be established and funded by the Federal Government. This to DAILY ASSET is ludicrous and unacceptable and condemnable,
Even if Buhari wants to improve the of of his people, he should do so within the structures and constitutional framework. Never in the history of governance of this nation, has a leader so identified with his people and even religion without regard to others’ feelings, interest and sensibilities than has Buhari done and continues to do for his tribesmen.
For those who had reservations because of his low performance in his first tenure, his Fulanisation of his government, apologies to Chief Obasanjo, will see more Nigerians losing faith in his administration to make this nation a better place for all Nigerians in his second tenure.
Buhari still has more time to retrace his step and go the path of his predecessors who served this country with sense of patriotism and purpose or go down as one that came only came to serve and promote his ethnic group alone, rather than the entire nation that gave him their collective mandate.