Nigerians are assessing Buhari’s one year in office and most are not impressed. Here’s an article by Elvis Osung, a leadership strategist on what he thinks about Buhari’s performance in his first year in office.
General Muhammadu Buhari assumed office as president a year ago amidst great excitement and expectation from Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora but sadly 365 days after, the euphoria of a new leadership is changing to despair for many and blind hope for a few.
The inauguration speech which portrayed the president as belonging to everybody and nobody has been in contrast with subsequent actions, inactions and words of the president. This has proven that the section of that speech is not a reflection of the president’s personality or true intent but rather a figment of the speech writer’s imagination.
Amidst the plethora of daily economic and security challenges faced by Nigerians in the past one year, the presidency considered it expedient to entertain citizens with a list of abstract events termed as its one year achievements.
In response to the infamous list of 75 achievements released by the presidency as published by News Agency of Nigeria, I have decided to present a few reasons why the current leadership has lost touch with the people.
These reasons are multifaceted and cut across areas of the economy, anti-corruption, the judiciary, economy, security, national Image and unity, they are as follows:
• Buhari’s one year in office has left the economy in a wobbling state. Nigeria’s economy is like a rudderless ship was partly caused by a delay in assembling an economic team by the presidency.
• The several unnecessary dramas associated with the budget preparation (missing budget, padded budget e.t.c) and passage represented a lack of coordination in the executive arm resulting in further delay in reviving the economy.
• The astronomical margin between the dollar rate fixed by the federal government and the parallel market has been inimical to business operation.
• The seemingly endless losses recorded (1.15 trillion lost in Q1) in the Nigerian stock exchange is not good news to local and foreign investors.
• Several companies have either folded up or chosen to downsize leading to countless job losses and increasing hardship.
• For the first time in 12 years, the country’s GDP has dropped to a negative value (-0.36%) in Quarter one of 2016.
• The unemployment rate in the Nigerian economy climbed to 12.1 per cent in the first quarter of this year (Q1 of 2016)
• The hike in fuel price and its resultant effect on increased standard of living.
• Inflation has risen to double digit under his leadership (13.7% Q1 of 2016).
• JPMorgan Chase & Co. excluded Nigeria from its local-currency emerging-market bond indexes tracked by more than $200 billion of funds, after restrictions on foreign-exchange transactions prompted investor concerns about a shortage of liquidity.
• The seeming fight against corruption has become a device in the hands of the federal government to distract the populace from their everyday difficulties by keeping them entertained with endless figures of unsubstantiated missing money and unquantified recovered loot.
• The EFCC has not been able to secure a court sentence in any of the high profile cases, the only sentence so far administered in corruption cases have been in the court of public opinions.
• Due process has not been followed in the trial of corruption cases as people have been detained endlessly without trial.
• Corruption charges have majorly been used as a tool to fight and weaken the opposition.
• Allegations and proven petitions against associates of the president have been treated with levity.
• The flagrant disregard of court orders by agencies domiciled in the presidency especially the EFCC has been a cause for concern.
• The Media has been used as a tool to bring the third arm of government to disrepute when cases are not decided in favour of the interest of the executive arm of govt.
• The attempt to lampoon the Judiciary into submission is contrary to the principle of separation of powers.
• The obvious inaction of the presidency towards the carnage committed by Fulani herdsmen in Agatu emboldened the herdsmen to repeat such dastardly act in Nimbo and other communities.
• While Boko Haram is considered to be technically defeated it still has not seized to attack soft targets.
• The inability to rescue over 200 Chibok girls after promising to do so in 3 months as president.
• The renewed hostilities in the Niger delta region leading to drop in daily crude oil production.
• The spate of inconclusive elections in Bayelsa, Kogi and recently Rivers State leaves a lot to be desired from the Independent National electoral commission (INEC).
• Statements credited to the president have been divisive showing a bias and a disregard for the equality of Nigerians (the famous 5% and 97% statement comes to mind) the presidency has not even dimmed it fit to retract such statement.
• The president has travelled on foreign trips 29 times in the past 365 days but has not been on official visit to more than four states in a country he is leading.
• The appointments of the president in the period under review have been done with no consideration given to federal character (28 out of 53 appointments have gone to the Northwest, Northeast 8, North Central 5, South west 5, South South 6 and South east 1).
• The body language of the president of running a non inclusive government has led to renewed calls for self determination by several regions who feel sidelined in central leadership.
• Nigeria’s image globally has been grossly affected by the president’s remark at foreign trips. When he is not alluding to the criminality of Nigerians he is accepting an appellation of his citizens being fantastically corrupt.
• In his visit to his Benin Republic in August 2015, while addressing the Nigerian community in Benin Republic who asked if they could come home and contribute to moving the nation forward, he responded thus “stay where you are, don’t come and add to our problems”.
• In his Visit to France September 2015 he said ministers are noise makers on French tv, little wonder most of his ministers have been inactive in communicating their plans for their sectors of the economy.
• The reduction in generation of power has been adversely felt by the populace culminating in a 0 mega watts generation sometime in march 2016, this drop in power generation has resulted in total black out for weeks unending in several areas.
• The rising cost of overhead for small and medium scale enterprise that have to generate their own power in the absence of none.
The list of uninspiring decisions or comments by the presidency is not exhaustive or limited to these aforementioned.
The presidency should see this response as a necessary feedback which is essential in order to restrategize and change approach towards alleviating the sufferings of the masses.
In conclusion, the words of British Lord Denning who said “you cannot assess yourself by yourself, let others be the judge” comes to mind.
If the federal government had achieved anything in the past one year that improved the lives of majority of Nigerians, they will not need a long epistle to convince us, the people will infact be the ones rolling out drums to celebrate the achievement of the federal government and how their life has changed for better.
For now, the promised change is still a mirage; we hope and pray the next 365 days is better than the previous one.
Elvis Osung is a leadership strategy analyst and a development knowledge facilitator who is passionate about capacity building through public speaking and mentoring. He is an engineer. Connect with him on Facebook.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.