As President Muhammadu Buhari longs for home, many Nigerians are wondering what worthy legacy he would be leaving behind after eight years in the saddle as Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic.
When President Buhari was elected in 2015, after defeating the then incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan, many hoped Nigeria was on its path to Eldorado.
Many Nigerians were optimistic that having succeeded after his fourth attempts at the presidency, and due to his perceived anti-corrupt image, Buhari was perhaps, the best man for the task of repositioning the country, after years of mis-rule by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led government.
Having ruled Nigeria as a military dictator between 1984 and 1985; he became the first opposition leader to win a presidential election in Nigeria.
As he itches to return to Daura, his village in Katsina State, many Nigerians are wondering what legacy he would be leaving behind.
During his campaign in 2015, he stoutly promised Nigerians security, to fight corruption and a buoyant economy.
Even though his first four years in office offered little, there were those who had hoped that perhaps, things would change in his second term after winning a re-election.
But what many Nigerians have seen in the last eight years is a sharp contrast between what was expected and what was served.
Few weeks to the end of Buhari’s administration those cardinal campaign promises appear a mirage.
Experts say Buhari’s administration policies have negatively impacted virtually all sectors of the country.
In the last eight years, the economy has gone into the doldrums, while cost of living and inflation is at an all-time high.
For example, between 2015 and 2020 the average income per person (adjusted for purchasing power) slid from $5,400 to $4,900 a big year.
The share of Nigerians living on less than $1.90 a day, which had fallen from about 43% to 37% in the previous five years, increased to almost 40% in 2019, before covid-19 hit.
According to the World Bank, in its latest 2022 poverty and prosperity report, Nigeria contributed three million people to global extreme poverty, while the country is home to a large share of the global extreme poor.
In 2018, Nigeria surpassed India as the world’s poverty capital, with around 87 million people living in extreme poverty, compared with India’s 73 million.
According to the World Poverty Clock, the latest statistics of Nigerians living in extreme poverty was pegged at (70,677, 758) representing 33 per cent of the population.
Under Buhari, insecurity has worsened in the last eight years across Nigeria. Terrorists in the North have assumed a frightening phase, while spreading to other parts of the country.
In 2015, upon assuming office, Buhari vowed to tackle the Boko Haram insurgents, who at the time had taken over several local government areas in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.
He vowed to crush Boko Haram within three months and recover all the territories they had seized.
Few weeks left to the end of his final second term, insecurity has worsened beyond the Boko Haram insurgency.
Virtually all parts of Nigeria are currently battling one form or another of violent crimes, evidence that the President has failed to keep his promise on security.
The Global Terrorism Index (2019) ranked Nigeria as the third-worst nation prone to terrorism with no improvement since 2017.
Few days ago, hundreds of Nigerians were killed in Southern Kaduna, without any appropriate response from the country’s security agencies.
Benue, a North Central state, has borne the brunt of intractable insecurity in the country. Thousands of indigenes and residents of the state have been killed by invading AK-47 wielding herdsmen.
Experts say part of the reason for the worsening security threat is impunity and failure of Buhari’s administration to probe successive killings.
Also, the administration has been accused of recklessly borrowing without anything tangible to show for it, which has raised the country’s debt profile in recent years.
His supporters insist that there has not been a more concerted effort at reviving and upgrading the country’s transportation infrastructure since independence, than that of the current administration.
They say simultaneous projects are being executed and completed in the road, rail and air transport sectors.
But there are those who would also say that the country is more divided now than before.
According to a recent survey, Buhari’s apparent mismanagement of Nigeria’s diversity has fueled distrust, further polarised the country and made more citizens lose hope in the country, a new survey has found.
The survey revealed that more than half (53 percent) of Nigerians agree and strongly agree that Nigeria is polarised in the context of faith, ethnicity, and religion.
Although, observers have expressed mixed reactions about Buhari’s legacy, Mahmud Ajeigbe, who was the director general of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Council in Kwara State, said that Buhari would leave many Nigerians in poverty when his tenure ends in May 29.
Ajeigbe, noted that President Buhari would be leaving the country in a huge debt burden, noting that the situation created by his administration worsened insecurity, economy, and corruption indices since he assumed office in 2015.
According to him, “Compare the debt burden from 2015 to what we have now; of course, it is higher. Secondly, look at poverty. What N10, 000 could buy for you a year ago, it cannot buy for you now? It’s so clear that this government will be leaving this country in poverty. Ask yourself; are Nigerians better off now than in 2015?
“Is it in the economy? Are we better off than what we had in 2015? Insecurity in the North-East and other regions; has insurgency, banditry and kidnapping which have become the order of the day gone?
“In fact, banditry and kidnapping have become a major profession for those who engage in this evil act. Crimes and other social vices have increased. For corruption, do we say corruption has been reduced?
Speaking further, he said “You have a situation whereby the poverty index is increasing. The purchasing power of the naira currently has also become a big problem. What you could spend N30, 000 on before won’t be enough to purchase the same now.”
However, Oduntayo Olemu, political analyst said the Buhari administration has also recorded some success in the last eight years that should be commended.
“I know our expectations have not been met that much, but let’s look at where we are coming from. In 2015, Boko Haram was controlling several communities in the North, there were suicide bombing every day that is not the case now.
“Look at the infrastructures, he has tried to build rails, roads. Look at what they are doing with rail in Lagos and some other states. Look at agriculture in the North; it is now a source of revenue for the country.
“If you are talking about legacy, any of those can be legacy. He signed the amended Electoral Act into law. I know he could have done more, but think we should appreciate Buhari, Nigeria’s problem is enormous”, he said.
Meanwhile, Public affairs analyst, said there was noting to celebrate in the eight years of the Buhari’s administration, adding that there would hardly be any legacy to remember him for.
He added that the administration failed despite enormous expectations from Nigerians, Stressing that part of the reason was inability of President Buhari to appoint experts into this administration and evaluate appointed officials.
“There is really no legacy, I can point, if you know any tell me. Except you want to remember the scarcity of the naira.
“Buhari after contesting for several times and finally winning in 2015, appeared overwhelmed with the enormous task of ruling Nigeria, and he did not help himself by the kind of people around him. His policies where unfriendly anti masses. Look at the shutting of border, the currency redesign which led to several people dying. Those are what we would remember Buhari for.
“I think part of reason for his failure are the Ministers.
“The Ministers are behaving as if they are not there to serve Nigerians; they are for themselves and it is because they know they can’t be remove.
Moses Onodua, a public affairs analyst, said President Muhammadu Buhari will be remembered as the man that came with so much promises and assurances of a better and prosperous Nigeria but, sadly, he will be leaving behind a country that is being ridiculed on the world stage.
Onodua opined that the president is leaving at a time Nigeria has fallen to a low level in every area, adding that the only good legacy Buhari is leaving behind is that Nigeria is still one on paper but massively divided in reality.
According to him, today, Nigerians are more divided; poverty and insecurity are on the increase, our roads are death traps, air transport is out of the reach of average Nigerians, petroleum products are rarely seen in the stations and Nigerians are now more divided based on ethnic and religious differences.
“He promised to eradicate insecurity but we are facing more security challenges than ever. He promised to revamp the economy but he ended up creating more economic problems for every Nigerian to the extent that we now buy Naira with Naira.
“He promised infrastructural development but he ended up leaving poor infrastructures such as roads, hospitals, schools and many others. He promised educational development but he ended by ensuring that our universities got closed for almost a year. He said fuel subsidy was a scam but ended up paying more subsidies and at the end we didn’t see the fuel to buy in petrol stations. What a legacy?” he said.
Speaking on the incoming administration’s competence to address the myriads of challenges, he said Bola Tinubu, the president-elect must hit the ground running as soon as he takes over the mantle of leadership as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria because the expectation of Nigerians on the new administration is very high.
He urged Tinubu to quicly assemble a winning team that will be fast about setting up and implementing policies that will enhance unity, development and restore Nigerians’ confidence.
“President Buhari promised so much and ended up dashing our hopes. This is the huge burden on the shoulders of the incoming administration. They have no option than to perform. They must assemble credible team of technocrats and professionals to run this nation.
“The nation is sick and needs highly qualified and skillful personnel to lead the recovery process. The president-elect, Bola Tinubu, is someone that has the ability to assemble quality people and my expectation is that he should not fail Nigerians at this crucial stage of our national life,” he said.
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Alice Ogboi, a school administrator, said that the Tinubu administration must clear the mess the APC government has put Nigeria into in the last eight years.
“If what I hear Tinubu say that he would continue from where Buhari would stop, is anything to go by, it then means hope of a better Nigeria is not in sight. Every truthful Nigerian will agree that something bad happened to the country in the last eight years.
“It is not difficult to know a bad or good government. From the word of mouth of citizens you get all you want. Most Nigerians are happy today that President Buhari is leaving office. Do they see a brighter future after Buhari? That is a different question. But the people just want him to go. That shows you the kind of experience they have had,” Ogboi said.
A concerned citizen who spoke on condition of anonymity said that although the administration could be commended on infrastructure, the level of bloodshed and poverty in the land has made a nonsense of whatever that was achieved.
“The level of bloodshed under this government has been so much that sometimes I wonder what manner of people that are in government. Look at high unemployment rate; high poverty rate; our huge domestic and foreign debts; it is just sad that Nigeria has such a crop of leaders. Yes, infrastructure-wise there has been a sparkle here and there, but generally, it is a bad experience. And what baffles me is that those in government carry themselves as if all was well,” the concerned Nigerian said.
Recently, following the renewed killings in parts of the country, some clerics under the umbrella of Northern Christian Elders expressed concerns over the renewed killings in Benue, Taraba and Southern Kaduna. They wondered if the gale of killings in the north would be President Buhari’s parting gift to Nigerians.
Matthew Kukah, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, had also said Nigerians should reclaim their country and take it back to where it was before outgoing President Buhari came to power eight years ago.
The cleric had also said the incoming administration must prioritise the task of creating hope in Nigeria and working to rebuild the country int
He said it was the hope of Nigerians that the next government will identify the establishment of a strong foundation of social justice, equality, and respect for human rights in Nigeria instead of choosing to focus on the mere construction of physical infrastructure, but rather
According to him, “I am hopeful that you will appreciate that the most urgent task facing our nation is not infrastructure or the usual cheap talk about dividends of Democracy. These are important but first, keep us alive because only the living can enjoy infrastructure.”
He said, “For now, the most urgent mission is to start a psychological journey of making Nigerians feel whole again, of creating a large tent of opportunity and hope for us all, of expanding the frontiers of our collective freedom, of cutting off the chains of ethnicity and religious bigotry, of helping us recover from the feeling of collective rape by those who imported the men of darkness that destroyed our country, of recovering our country and placing us on the path to our greatness, of exorcising the ghost of nepotism and religious bigotry.”