On Tuesday, May 29, 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari told the world that he and his government had done well in steering the wheel of statecraft in the last three years. He boasted: “This administration came at a time that Nigerians needed change, the change we promised and the change we continue to deliver.”
President Buhari had declared that he had, in three years, recorded achievements in “the three cardinal points of this administration, namely: Security, corruption and the economy.” He was happy with himself, saying, in summary: Boko Haram has been “degraded;” herdsmen’s bloodletting is being addressed; Niger Delta is experiencing peace; Nigeria is being applauded for fighting corruption; money is being saved operating the Treasury Single Account (TSA); money is being recovered through ‘whistle-blowing’ policy; ghost workers are being unearthed and money saved; effort at revamping the economy yielding results; foreign reserves are growing; foreign investments are coming and jobs are being created; the power sector achieved 5,222.3MW generation; there is progress in the transport sector, with rail rehabilitation, and support for education has increased, among others.
For Buhari and members of his government, things are looking up. They believe government has done well. For them, they have fulfilled their own side of the Social Contract. However, the fundamental question to ask is this: Do the feelings of Nigerians in the street tally with the self-glorification of the Buhari government? Put simply, are Nigerians faring better now under the Buhari government?
Inasmuch as one would admit that the Buhari government has done some things right, the truth is that the achievements being trumpeted are not commensurate with the promise the government came into power with. The Buhari government came to power giving Nigerians high hopes, but it has left the majority of Nigerians, after three years, with dashed expectations. While government is rating itself with its own benchmark, the common man knows the real situation in the country, as reflected in the pocket and living standard.
Yes, the government has the right to make claims, just as Nigerians have the right to interrogate these claims. Government can claim that Nigerians are faring better, security-wise, or that the war against corruption is being fought vigorously and has, therefore, earned Nigeria respect, or that the economy is better now. What is on ground, not claims, is what matters.
We have heard about Boko Haram being “degraded,” which President Buhari alluded to in his third anniversary broadcast. The government boasts that no part of the country is under the control of Boko Haram, as against times past when some local government areas were fully occupied by insurgents. This is true. However, Boko Haram remains a headache and a big threat to Nigeria. The Dapchi schoolgirls’ abduction in Borno State proves that Boko Haram might have been scorched, but it is still breathing. Government has not offered convincing explanations as to how a degraded terrorist group snatched more than 100 girls from a school located in a place where there was supposed to be a massive presence of military personnel. How did the bandits pass through villages “policed” by soldiers to a school, abduct students and travel back without anybody seeing them? Such a well-organised and superbly executed operation by a “degraded” terrorist organisation cancels the optimism.
The swift move by the government, which led to the return of the schoolgirls is commendable. However, as long as Leah Sharibu, the only Dapchi schoolgirl not released, is still in the custody of Boko Haram, there is a blight on whatever claims the government is making. Besides, the Buhari government cannot really beat its chest and say security is better in the country at present when it is clear the situation has worsened. The menace of Fulani herdsmen, who are on a killing spree across the country, has called to question the ability of the government to protect life and property. There has never been any time, during peace, when blood has been shed in Nigeria than now. With this, the history of the Buhari government is written in blood because callous marauders are killing innocent and defenceless Nigerians daily, without the authorities finding a solution to it.
We have heard that efforts at revamping the economy are yielding result. Government said money has been saved by the introduction of TSA, without saying at whose expense this has happened. Through TSA, government withdrew all its money in commercial banks and warehoused it at a dedicated account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Government’s further earnings are paid into the account and withdrawals are also made therefrom. The government would never reveal that the policy of mopping up its funds rendered the banks empty. At present, most of the banks are yet to recover from this shock. TSA is a good policy, no doubt. However, it ought to have been implemented in phases, over a period, to give banks some breather and, therefore, evolve better business strategies, going forward.
There are no indices indicating economic growth in the country. There is no visible economic or fiscal policy of government. What the government has done, at best, is monetary policy driven by the CBN. And the monetary policy of the CBN is driving fiscal policy, when the reverse should be the case.
Isn’t it funny that at an “improved economy,” allocations to the states, from the Federation Account, are shrinking whereas oil earnings are increasing. Can government explain this? Indeed, government cannot claim any magic in economy when its debt profile is astronomical.
Taking all these together, the Buhari government has more things to be ashamed of than to celebrate. The government has failed in many spheres. It has many unfulfilled promises. It has not met the expectations of the majority of Nigerians. Therefore, it should not celebrate.
This is for Gov Ugwuanyi
In the last three years, the gospel of Gburugburu has been spreading like wildfire in Enugu State, where Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of the PDP holds sway.
Ugwuanyi, a governor fondly called Gburugburu (All round), has brought his charm, camaraderie and love to bear in Enugu such that indigenes and stakeholders are at peace with him.
His politics of gburugburuism has brought development across Enugu, to the limit of available resources. The governor’s urban renewal, rural development and infrastructure uplift not only resonate but have also caused the reconstruction and construction of roads, rural electrification, human capital development, better health care delivery and empowerment.
What more could one say than to encourage Ugwuanyi to continue his good work, to the glory of God and the development of Enugu State, while commesirating with him on the death of his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Uwakwe Abugu, a good man gone too soon.