BusinessDay
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Six years of APC in the saddle: Whither the rosy promises?

Before the 2015 general election, it was Muhammadu Buhari all the way. In fact, at a point, the name became a household name, especially for die-hard supporters, who threw their all into making sure Buhari won the election.

After his failed attempts at winning the 2003, 2007 and 2011 presidential polls, three biggest opposition parties – the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) came together and formed the All Progressives Congress (APC) in February 2013.

Desperate to win the 2015 presidential elections, the party made all manner of promises, including ban on government officials from going abroad for medical treatment; generation, transmission and distribution of at least 20,000 megawatt of electricity within four years; making naira stable at the international market; amending the Nigerian Constitution to ensure devolution of powers, duties, and responsibilities to states in order to entrench true federalism; ending gas flaring and ensuring sales of at least half of gas produced within the country, among others.

Regrettably, six years down the line, Buhari and his party have failed to even deliver on the three cardinal points of reviving the economy, improving security and fighting corruption, which were the main thrust of their campaign.

But the presidency has reeled out Buhari’s achievements in different sectors in celebration of his sixth anniversary: They are: infrastructure, power, housing, agriculture, education, health, asset recovery, security and justice reform, diplomacy and international relations.

In agriculture, for instance, the presidency noted that the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria, launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 17, 2015, has made more than N300 billion to more than 3.1 million smallholder farmers of 21 different commodities (including Rice, Wheat, Maize, Cotton, Cassava, Poultry, Soya Beans, Groundnut, Fish). When you put this in context, it means empowering 3.1 million smallholder farmers would invariably improve food production, but the reverse has been the case as food inflation keeps hitting the roof. In the last two years, more farmers have been killed more than any other time in the history of the country.

To say the least, President Buhari’s six years in office has been hell on earth. It is nothing to write home about as woes, anguish and insecurity has become the order of the day.

Obviously, Buhari’s government has clearly demonstrated that it lacks the capacity to bring governance closer to the people. The economy is not shaping up. Key economic indicators show that inflation rate has moved 9.00percent in 2015 to 18.12percent in 2021; unemployment rate from 8.19percent in 2015 to 33.28percent in 2021; debt profile from N12.60trn in 2015 to N32.92trn in 2021; exchange rate from $1/N197 in 2015 to $1/N410 in 2021; foreign reserves from $28.57bn in 2015 to $34.27bn in 2021 and GDP growth rate 2.79percent in 2015 to 0.5percent in (Q1 2021).

Nigeria’s unemployment rate has been described as a ‘time bomb’ waiting to explode. But the stark reality is that the time bomb has since exploded before our very face in the form of terrorism, banditry, armed robbery, cultism, kidnapping, rapists and ritualists.

Every part of the country is facing one form of security threat or the other. For instance, in the North-East, it is terrorism, North-West is banditry, while in the North-Central, it has been Fulani herdsmen killing hapless farmers, especially in Benue State.

In the southern part of the country, South-East precisely, it is attack on police stations, INEC offices and correctional centres, in the South-South; it is more of kidnapping and cult clashes. In the South-West, it is communal clashes.

The recent attack in Igangan, a community in Ibarapa North Local Government of Oyo State, where over 20 people were killed, was one of such clashes.

As a retired general, many Nigerians had thought that with Buhari at the helms of affairs, the security challenges undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence would have effectively been nipped in the bud. Alas! Six years after, Nigerians are asking: how did we get to this state of hopelessness? Unfortunately, this ugly situation has largely scared away foreign investors.
Corruption under this government is mind-boggling. A president, who is serious about fighting corruption, championing transparency and accountability in governance, should have sent a strong message to some officials of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) accused of looting and financial rascality.

Under this administration, the country’s external and domestic debts have continued to rise with no commensurate improvements in the quality of life of the people. According to the Debt Management Office, external debt has risen exponentially to hit $33.34bn by December 2021 compared to $10.31bn in June 2015.

No doubt, Buhari’s six years in office is something Nigerians will not forget in a hurry because of the untold hardship many have been subjected to. They argued that the remaining two years look bleak and uncertain.

The question many now ask is: can he redeem his image with the two years left in his tenure? Can he listen to voices of reason and truly be a president for all Nigerians? Can he assert himself as the president and Commander-in-Chief and stop playing aloofness in matters of national importance?

As it stands, what Buhari will be best remembered for are hunger and destruction of life and property. The hue and cry in the land is quite alarming. This is certainly not a legacy any sane man would want to be remembered for.

Therefore, the president should, as a matter of urgency, use his remaining two years to redeem himself by rising to the occasion when the need arises, listen to voice of reasons and be prompt and decisive in dealing with criminal elements bent on destroying the country. He should look into the wanton killings, especially those ones being committed by his fellow Fulani people. At this challenging time, he should be in the fore front of uniting the country. In fact, now is the time for him to sit up and call the shots.

Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) made lots of promises to Nigerians, including restructuring of the country to give every section of the country a sense of belonging. The Nasir el-Rufai Committee has since 2018 submitted its report. He should go ahead and implement the report. Not doing so will not only bring him in a bad light, but also as a man who lacks integrity and courage.

As the ninth National Assembly gears towards passing the Electoral Act Amendment bill before going on its long recess in July, Buhari owes Nigerians a duty to sign that bill into law. It is high time credible and competent men, women and the youths in Nigeria occupied exalted positions and not charlatans.

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