By Nwabueze Akabogu
On May 29, 2015, when President Muhammadu Buhari assumed the mantle of leadership as Nigeria’s fifth democratically elected President amidst pomp and circumstance, there were high expectations by the Nigerian people that at last someone had come to rescue his people from perpetual bondage.
President Buhari’s historic ascendancy to power was arguably made possible through his populist campaign programme of action coupled with his personal attributes as a thoroughly disciplined and incorruptible retired Army General who expectedly would courageously clear the monumental rots in the Nigeria nation. The Nigerian people in their euphoria of Buhari’s emergence as an anti-corruption and anti-indiscipline crusader were full of high expectations that the new government would deal decisively with the multifarious and seemingly insurmountable challenges confronting the nation as he promised during his campaigns that brought the ruling party-APC to power at the Federal level.
One year on after his assumption of office not much seem to have been achieved in terms of meeting the yearnings and aspirations of the people by way of improving on their living conditions. If anything, the people presently seem to be worse off than before the 29th May 2015. The living conditions of the people, some say, have deteriorated rapidly due to the prevailing economic crunch in the country. Regrettably however, the government appears to be helpless in initiating people-oriented policies that would urgently mitigate the excruciating pains and sufferings of the Nigerian masses.
It is needless to emphasize the point however, that the Buhari’s government had indeed recorded tremendous successes in the area of stemming the tide of the Boko Haram insurgency mainly in the North East region of the country. On the negative side however, is the current alarming scale of militancy in the Niger Delta region which has constituted a great threat to the continuous survival of the nation as a corporate entity. To further compound the worsening security situation in the country is the highly dreaded armed Fulani herdsmen who in recent times have been wrecking terrible havoc on many communities across the nation with the attendant high casualty figures often trailing their mindless mayhem on the people. Equally worrisome is the current upsurge in the agitations for self determination by the Indigenous people of Biafra or IPOB whose leader Nnamdi Kanu is currently under incarceration by the Federal Government. The current insecurity situation in the could, certainly portend danger to the corporate existence of Nigeria as one united country, hence everything humanly possible should be done urgently by the Buhari administration to avert the looming catastrophe already knocking at the doors of the nation.
The current policy of the government to embark on military crackdown on the Niger Delta militants as well as other restive youths and aggrieved sections in the country could be counter productive which will not serve any useful purpose but rather is bound to further aggravate the highly tense situation which had been building up to a breaking point. The only viable solution to the current quagmire in which the nation unfortunately has found herself therefore, lies in urgent dialogue with all the stake holders who have one form of misgivings or the other about the Nigerian project. National dialogue in the present circumstances is the only panacea that would guarantee peaceful co-existence among all the ethnic nationalities that make up the nation called Nigeria and anything short of a peaceful approach to the highly explosive situation could spell doom to the nation as time is no longer on the side of Nigeria to continue as one united country. The time to act therefore, is Now and any further delay in resolving the lingering problems confronting the nation could be extremely catastrophic and irredeemable.
One year after his tenure, President Buhari appears to have deployed all the weapons in his arsenal towards crushing the monster of corruption. But regrettably neglecting other burning issues currently confronting the nation that require urgent solutions. No doubt, the war against corruption has gathered momentum and already yielding huge dividends as high profile corruption cases involving top brass in the military establishment as well as top political office holders are currently under investigation, while some others are already facing trials in various courts in the land.
This is obviously a great achievement on the part of Buhari’s administration as certain personalities hitherto considered as sacred cows or untouchables are now being called upon to account for their alleged misdeeds while in office. It is apparently in the spirit of the relentless war against corruption that President Buhari during his recent visit to Britain where he attended an international conference on corruption did make an important policy statement to the effect that he would use the occasion of the democracy day on May 29, 2016 to announce to the world the identities of all those that had returned looted funds from the Nigerian treasury as well as the details of the money so far recovered from these unpatriotic Nigerians.
It is however, worrisome that the President during his broadcast to the nation to mark the democracy day as well as to celebrate his first year in office merely announced to the nation that the Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed would later give the details of the looted funds and assets so far recovered from the corrupt officials.
•Akabogu writes from Enugwu-Ukwu, Anambra State.