His acceptability or otherwise will be decided by electorate come February, 2019. This is the time his place in Nigeria history would be determined.
The 76th birthday of President Muhammadu Buhari is significant for two important reasons. One, he will savour the joy of adding another year to his earthly sojourn and thank Allah for journey so far. Two, the birthday may be the last as a President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, next presidential election being in view. If he wins the election (which is more likely) he may yet mark another birthday as the president, but if the reverse is the case (God forbid), this may be the last.
Consequently, as he savours the joy of another year, he should cogitate on his journey in the last four years as the president, and assess his place in history. Assessment of his tenure becomes imperative because of the seriousness General Buhari attached to his ambition to rule the nation as a democratically elected president. It took the president a whooping 12 years before realizing his ambition. Many saw the President as the messiah the nation has been waiting for. Therefore, this piece is meant to look at how far the president has justified the confidence people repose in him by voting him into power in 2015.
To help the president in the enormous task of self assessment, I will like to delve into his inaugural speech of May 29, 2015 and bring out the promises or commitment made by the President to the nation. How far has he justified his mission would determine his place in history assuming this is his last birthday as the president.
The president inaugural speech consisted of one thousand nine hundred and sixty words. It was not paragraphed, this make it difficult to say from which paragraph one is quoting from. Nonetheless, quoting the president on the challenges facing the nation “… at home we face enormous challenges, insecurity, pervasive corruption, the hitherto unending and seemingly impossible fuel and power shortages as the immediate concerns, we are going to tackle them head on.”
Four years on, can we say that save the fuel shortages which the president has been able to tackle, are the other challenges not staring the nation in the face? Is insecurity not pervasive going by the Herdsmen/Farmers clashes, inter-ethnic war, kidnapping and killing of innocent Nigerians like retired Army General Alkali? Is pervasive corruption not protracted under the president watch as exemplified by Maina Gate, Babachair saga, Kemi Adeosun NYSC Certificate scandal, etc? Is power shortage improved on?
The president agreed in his speech that Nigeria under Jonathan produced 4000 Megawatts, is the current megawatt under his watch exceeds 4000 four years on? Minister of Power, Housing and Works, Babatunde Fashola said that megawatt may has been increased to 4,000 as against 4,000 under Jonathan, this is on the pages of newspaper, Save Abuja and some State Capitals, darkness is ubiquitous in the nation.
Elsewhere in his speech, the president said “constitutionally, there are limits to power of each of the three tiers of government but that should not mean the Federal Government should fold its arm and close it eyes to what is going on in the states and local governments. Not least the operations of joint account.” The president averred that “for I will not have kept my own trust with the Nigerian people if I allow others abuse them under my watch”. Can the president say in all honesty that this promise has been kept? This is in view of crippling of local governments by the governors under his watch, misappropriation of bail out and Paris fund, non-payment of workers and pensioner’ salary while the president looked the other way!
The president attested to the progress made by Jonathan administration towards the tail end of its tenure in the war against Boko Haram insurgents. However, he promised to relocate the military command and Control Centres from Abuja to Maiduguri which he did. He equally promised not only to defeat Boko Haram but rescue Chibok girls.
Four years on, has all Chibok girls been rescued, have Dapchi girls not kidnapped in day lights? We have to applaud the government for rescuing majority of both Chibok and Dapchi girls, but those remaining in captivity of Boko Haram like Leah Sharibu and Boko Haram attacks on targets are dent in government image. The killing of over 100 Solders at Metele by Boko Haram was a slap on the Federal Government which claimed often time it has degraded the dreaded insurgents.
The president promised to tackle youth unemployment which he has done through Npower project. He equally promised to “… quickly examine the best way to revive major industries… our railways, road work on railways and roads in various parts of the nation are attestation to the fulfillment on the promises made by the president”.
Also, in his speech, he commended his supporters “resolve in waiting love hours in rain and hot sunshine to register and cast their votes and stay all night if necessary to protect and ensure their votes count and were counted”. With the shenanigans witnessed during governorship elections conducted thus far under President Buhari’s watch, can we compare the atmosphere under which his supporters accomplished the feat he “salute” them for with the one under his watch?
Lastly, the president in his inauguration speech savours the international goodwill that Nigeria enjoys in Jonathan’s last days. The question that comes to mind is that is Nigeria enjoying the same level of international goodwill occasioned by the statesmanship exhibited by President Jonathan by conceding defeat to President Buhari before the last counting of the ballot today and have supranational and national expectations been met?
President Buhari in all honesty has done his bit in moving the nation forward. Whether the bit is enough to lead the nation out of socio-political economic quagmire is another thing. His acceptability or otherwise will be decided by electorate come February, 2019. This is the time his place in Nigeria history would be determined.
Adegbite writes via [email protected]