• Sunday, July 14, 2024
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Government by intentions: How Buhari’s failed promises ruined lives in Nigeria

Will Buhari be humiliated out of office?

In the last seven-and-half years, Nigerians have come to realise who their president really is, considering the much hype about his strong personality, integrity and sense of accountability.

Faced with the hydra-headed socio-economic challenges, the electorate in 2015 believed all that the All Progressives Congress (APC) sold to them.

Almost eight years and two tenures down the line, Nigerians now know better and are living in regrets.

The regrets are emanating from the failed promises of the present administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The realities of the campaigns in 2015 and 2019, which were based on the two mantras; ‘Change’ and ‘Next Level’, saw the president and his party APC reeling out promises upon promises that are yet to be fulfilled in barley eight months to the end of his eight years in office.

Rather than fulfillment, Celestine Eronmosele, director at Mandate Protection Vanguard (MPV), once took time to itemise the failed promises of President Buhari in The Cable, which amounted to 62, according to Eronmosele.

Titled; ‘Behold the 62 failed 2015 election campaign promises of Muhammadu Buhari and APC’, Mandate Protection Vanguard extracted the APC’s promises as published in reputable newspapers such as Premium Times, The Cable, Next Edition, Sahara Reporters, Vanguard among others, and analysed how President Buhari failed in fulfilling them.

From ban on government officials from going abroad for medical treatment, state police, public declaration of assets and liabilities, National Gender Policy and offer of 35 percent appointment to women, creation of three million jobs per year, among others, MPV highlighted the 62 failed 2015 election campaign promises.

Apart from the campaign promises, the Buhari administration has continued to promise an end to the insecurity that has ravaged the country under his watch.

He has on many occasions held of security meetings. He has threatened fire and brimstone on several occasions to deal with those behind insecurity, yet, he has never succeeded in moving even a needle. His administration had severally threatened to name the sponsors of terrorism in the country. Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and Culture.

In February this year, the minister told the world that government had uncovered 96 financiers of terrorist groups Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP).

He claimed that about 123 companies and 33 Bureau de change were linked to terrorists in addition to 26 suspected bandits/kidnappers and seven co-conspirators he said were identified.

According to him, “Analysis has resulted in the arrest of 45 suspects who will soon face prosecution and seizure of assets.”

But to date, the government has failed to mention any name, despite a welter of reactions from individuals and groups, challenging the government to publish the names.

The nation’s economy is in tatters, and has been so since he took over the mantle of leadership in 2015. Despite his assurances and reassurances, the economy has continued to remain prostrate. Many critics say that Buhari is ruling by propaganda.

“It is only Buhari and those who work with him that live in denial of the excruciating pain Nigerians are going through in all fronts. Poverty is walking the streets; terrorists have almost taken over the country; insecurity has destroyed farming in the country and the level of corruption in the country has gone above the sky. In this administration, government officials have become so corrupt that they now accuse termites and snakes of eating up money after they had emptied the treasury. In all departments, this government has been unkind to Nigerians,” a public affairs analyst told BusinessDay on condition of anonymity.

Government borrowing has assumed an alarming proportion; while it appears that there are plans to continue the borrowing binge.

Prices of foodstuffs have skyrocketed, electricity supply is at a low ebb, unemployment rate is alarming, the value of the naira has dropped beyond imagination and rate of armed robbery is alarming, to mention but few.

The average prices of household items across major cities in the country have surged by over 100 percent in the last one year, causing inflation to accelerate to 19.64 percent in July, the highest since October 2005.

Food inflation accelerated to 22.02 in July, according to data from Nigeria’s Bureau of Statistics.

Before this administration came to power in 2015, the price of a bag of rice was N8,567; now the price is N27,000. A bag of beans sold for N23,000 now it sells for between N40,000 to N50,000.

Similarly, other sectors appear to be in chaos, in the last seven months universities in Nigeria have been shut due to strikes embarked upon by the Academic Staff of Universities (ASUU).

Universities were also closed for nearly one year in 2020 due to strike by the Academic Staff of Universities (ASUU).

The Naira was N199.0151 to the US Dollar now it is N414.924 at the official rate, while in the parallel market it is beyond N570 to a dollar. Petrol pump price was N97 per litre and now sells for N165 per litre.

There is a general assumption among Nigerians, that there is no hope, and that there would be no changes in the next few months before his tenure elapses.

Sam Onikoyi, Nigerian researcher in Belgium, also thinks that the huge sufferings in the country today are because of the unfulfilled promises of the government.

“Take for instance the promises of ending fuel subsidy and improving electricity power generation, if the ruling party had focused on just these two, the country will not be in the forex woe it is now. Have you considered the air fares today? Sadly, we lost all the gains of high global oil price to the senseless funding of subsidy”, he lamented.

He argued that if electricity supply is stable, fuels price competitive with supplies boosted by three to four refinery options in the country, prices would be stable and Nigeria would be able to check inflation.

“My relations are going through hell everyday to get to work, and even to move around within the suburbs. There is huge pressure from home to bring more people over here in Europe because Naira is has lost value upon value, insecurity has taken an unprecedented dimension and infrastructure is failing, rather than been updated”, he said.

But Ferdinand Iweh, an economist and agro entrepreneur, noted that no campaign promise can ever be fulfilled when over 40 percent of youths are unemployed and small businesses cannot thrive because of insecurity and stifling taxation across all government levels.

“What happened to the jobs they promised, what about the ones they claim to have created and which youths have such jobs engaged? With the high rate of unemployment, the government has failed and youths will keep being the victims if they listen to them again,” Iweh said.

Read also: Buhari brought religion, ethnicity and sectionalism to a level that is almost destroying Nigeria – Bishop Ighele

Omobude Agho, a former coordinator general of Edo Civil Society Organisation (EDOCSO), told BusinessDay Sunday that in light of the worsening insecurity, deplorable state of roads across the country, poor power supply among other prevailing problems, the President Buhari administration is below par.

Agho noted that the only major feat the present government was able to achieve since its inception in 2015 up to the present time is to play the blame game on the Peoples Democratic Party, the main opposition party, for Nigeria’s woes.

“Genuinely, I am one of many Nigerians that is disappointed and completely given up on President Muhammadu Buhari’s ability to do anything. We have entered electioneering and that means his tenure has ended. So, all that matters to them is campaigns and lies they plan to tell Nigerians.

“There is nothing this government can do anymore. There is nothing to hope in this government. During his more than seven years in office, he didn’t achieve the things he promised. He didn’t even achieve his intentions that were expressed in his body language which, according to his people, show there will be signs of hope. So, there is absolutely nothing he achieved in all he promised.

“Today, take a look at the electricity sector, bad roads, rising insecurity challenges among others. I ask again where are the things he achieved apart from shifting the blame to the other party which he is still doing till date,” Agho said.

Corroborating, Yusuf Isiaka, a Bureau De Change (BDC) operator, said: “We have not seen anything he did apart from putting us in more troubles. Nigerians clamored for change and he has changed our situation from bad to worse, and this will make it difficult for the next president to immediately make positive impact and remedy the situation.”

Speaking with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, a member of the ruling APC, advised Bola Ahmed Tinubu, presidential candidate of the party, not to carry Buhari along in his campaign as any attempt to play a good party man by speaking to Nigerians about Buhari would affect him dangerously.

“I am a member of the APC and at the same time I am a Nigerian. There is no sensible Nigerian today that will say in sincerity that President Buhari has done the job well. So, I will just advise Asiwaju never to mention Buhari’s name to Nigerians during the campaign. Even Asiwaju knows that the man just occupied the position for the sake of it. It has been seven years of disaster in Nigeria, or call it wasted years,” he said.

Analysts say part of the reason why President Buhari failed is his refusal to constantly appraise the performance of those he appointed into positions. They said the government appears helpless on the challenges facing the country.

Gideon Ayogu, an Abuja-based political strategist, said that the Buhari administration had failed in all indices and refused to work towards fulfilling his campaign promises, despite the trust he got from millions of Nigerians who were sold on his much-vaunted anti-corruption persona and status as a military veteran.

“Nigerians were sold on his much-vaunted anti-corruption persona and status as a military veteran, two qualities needed to stem the haemorrhaging Nigerian economy and push back Boko Haram and other extremist groups already occupying territories in the twilight of President Goodluck Jonathan’s first full term in office.

“However, those hopes have been dashed, with Buhari’s administration turning out to be an abysmal failure in virtually every scorecard one decides to rate it by,” Ayogu said.

According to him, “To begin with, the Nigerian economy is worse off; with double digit inflation further impoverishing Nigerians and the attendant clueless management of the nation’s fiscal policy rendering the Naira, the national currency, nearly worthless.

“Unemployment has also skyrocketed, while an intractable disagreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has kept varsity students at home for over seven months.”

Speaking further, Ayogu stressed that insecurity has assumed an alarming dimension, with armed groups kidnapping, killing and maiming Nigerians at will and rendering commuting in highways in various parts of the country and even rail transport a high-risk endeavour.

“Corruption too has risen to unimaginable proportions under Buhari’s watch. Today, the complicity of state and non-state actors has seen Nigeria consistently lose billions of dollars in crude oil theft which the government appears helpless in reining in.

“Also, theft of humongous sums of taxpayers’ money have been reported, most of them carried out by serving public officials in the current administration,” he added.