The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammed Buhari emerged the ruling seat in May 2015 with enormous promises to bring change to the Nigerian economy. The campaign promises were so promising that majority of Nigerians began chanting Buhari’s praises in every corner of the country and to everyone who cares to listen, in 2015, it was ‘Sai Baba’ all over the country. ‘Baba’ won the election and emerged the throne only to wait for six months before he declared the members of the Federal Executive council.
I wondered what kept him so long to declare the Federal Executive Councils members. Despite the long time it took him to appoint his ministers, they have not stand out in terms of performance. The country’s education sector is still in a comatose state, it still lacks stable and reliable electricity, the security agencies are yet to conqueror the doom of the country, the country still don’t have good medical facilities.
Although, the Buhari-led administration has achieved little progress in the agriculture sector and infrastructural projects. The country’s agricultural export has increased over time compared to the imports, so, the trade deficit has improved. This administration has also launched some initiatives; the school feeding which has feed million of school pupils across the country. The N-power has empowered more than 250,000 youths in the country, yet, unemployable. With all these ‘achievements’, the disappointment lists are enormous. Checking through the campaign promises, more than 75% of the promises have not been achieved.
POOR ECONOMY WITH HUNGRY CITIZENS
One of the promises of this administration is to place the country as one of the fastest growing emerging economies in the world with a real GDP growth averaging 10% annually. Unfortunately, since 2015 the economy has experienced nothing except recession and dragging growth. The administration promised Nigerians an average of 10% annual growth, but the economy has only grew to 1.8% in third quarter of the year 2018 and the annual growth rate in Nigeria averaged 0.63% from 2015 to 2017.
In 2018, Brookings Institution reported 87 million Nigerians are living in poverty, the country overtook India as World’s poverty capital. Pathetic! The number of Nigerians in poverty has increased by 6 people every minute. The suicide rate increased during this administration, people fell into depression and lost hope in living. The Lagos lagoon became a place to end life, even seemingly ‘well-to-do’ people were committing suicides. That year, no one dares walk aimless on the bridge, else, people will gather round you to avoid another disheartening story.
In the bid to reduce the unemployment rate in the country, the Buhari-led administration promised: Empowerment schemes to employ 740,000 graduates across the 36 states and the Federal Capital territory. Three million jobs per year and 720,000 jobs by the 36 states in the federation per annum (20,000 per state).This government has been in power for almost four years, yet, the unemployed Nigerians continued to increase over the years. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, unemployed people increased from 3.3 million to 20.9 million Nigerians in 2018.
In 2015, when Buhari took the helms off affairs the unemployment rate stood at 8.05%, however after two years it skyrocketed to 13.06% and 13.41% in the year 2016 and 2017 respectively. The change this administration promised to bring in the unemployment issues in the country has not been seen, instead there has been a rapid increase in the rates.
One major campaign promise that is widely attributed to the reasons enough Nigerians hailed Buhari is the fight against corruption. Unfortunately, his anti-corruption policies is a sham and one-sided fight. In his tenure, there has been a lot of corrupt practices by political officers especially by the members of his party and he has chosen to be silence. The country continued to climb higher on the corruption perception index. In 2016, the country ranked 136th most corrupt country out of 176 countries and ranked 148th out of 180 countries in 2017.
The president overlooked Babachir Lawal who claimed to spend N32.2 billion to cut grass in the IDP camps, he was just fired; no trial. Also, the governor of Kano state, Ganduje was caught on two videos allegedly receiving bribes. He has refused to appear before the Kano assembly after several calls, to make matter worse, the judge in the state put an end to the investigation.Again, the President decides to be silent over such glaring accusations. How can a man that claims to fight corruption be silent on such issues? The president is just a partisan; he can be silence over corruption allegations against the officers of his party but can go viciously after members other party.
Before taking over from the former president, Goodluck Jonathan, President Buhari paraded himself as the terror to Boko Haram. He promises to end the incessant killings, instead of an end, Nigerians are experiencing more killings by the terrorists, Fulani herds men and bandits. In January 2018, Fulani herdsmen killed over 70 people in Benue state, these pastoral men go about holding guns instead of sticks and they kill at will. The president has refused to declare them as terrorists, these ‘blood-suckers’ have displaced more than 80,000 people in Benue state.What about the red cross girls killed by Boko Haram? Their death could have been averted but the government was slow to act but swift to send numerous soldiers to Osun state during election.
Many times the presidency claimed to have defeated Boko Haram and each time the terrorists respond with an attack to show they are around. In 2018, Buhari claimed that he disbursed N1 billion to purchase weapons for the military base to fight off Boko Haram. Sadly, in same year, hundred soldiers were butchered by the terrorists in their own camp. How did they invade the camp uncaught? Are there no security systems to alert the soldiers about intruders? If the defense agency can’t defend itself, then I am awe of the country we live in. The security challenges have become a global shame to the country, no safe haven in the country anymore.
Also, one of the promises Buhari made to Nigerians is that there would be a ban on all government officials from seeking medicals care abroad. He broke the promise to end medical tourism in the country. The president spent 104 days in London for medical vacation – nearly four years in office – yet to build a hospital that has sound health facilities. It is not surprising that he could not receive the medical treatment here in the country, not for lack of expertise but the country lacks improved health facilities. The president’s daughter, Zahra Buhari once revealed a shocking information to the news-sphere that despite the N3 billion allocated, the Aso Villa’s hospital lacks paracetamol. If the clinic situated in the presidential suite lacks paracetamol, how can the state hospitals in the country enjoy health facilities?
In conclusion, despite all the campaign promises, what has been the situation of things for the past three years? Is the economy one of the fastest growing economies in the world? Do we have sound health facilities in the country? Can Nigerians sleep with both eyes closed? Is there perfect freedom of press in the country? Are women largely included in governance? The answer to these questions is NO!This is what Nigerians get for trusting and chanting ‘Sai Baba’ in 2015.
As my people will say; orisa bi o ba le gba mi, se mi bo se ba mi, meaning; deity, if you can’t fight my cause don’t leave me worse off. Buhari couldn’t give the change promised, it would have been better to leave the country the way he met it than to make it worse off. Nigerians are expecting the invisible hand of change for more than 3 years but all they got is chains.
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Omolola Lipede (The Talking Pen) is a contributor to The African Progressive Economist and the opinions expressed here are her own. She is currently an Economics post graduate student at the University of Ibadan.