Sunday, September 06, 2015

100 days: The expectations, the frustrations


When he was sworn-in as the president after his
victory at the March 28 election, many Nigerians
heaved a sigh of relief that the apparent slide the
country had steadily witnessed, especially in the last
few years, was at a point of being halted.

Expectedly, the gospel of change preached by the All
Progressives Congress (APC), whose candidate,
President Muhammadu Buhari, had steadily built an
image of an incorrigible leader in a country whose
political leaders have been known for their
opaqueness, was well received by the majority of the
Nigerian people, to the point that some ardent
supporters of the retired general, whose stint as a
military head of state was remembered more for its
no-nonsense stand on corruption and indiscipline,
felt that he would wave the magic wand to correct
the ills of several years of misrule.

So when the president was sworn in on May 29,
many enthusiastic supporters expected that he would
hit the ground running and put the country on a
footing that would spell immediate Eldorado.
But three months into his administration, the
assessment of his administration has been a mixture
of cautious optimism from his supporters and, in
some cases, loud disappointment. And the blame lies
squarely on the shoulder of the president, who
provided the arsenal with which his supporters and
critics alike have held the mirror for his assessment.


For a man that came to power with the promise to
tackle the Boko Haram insurgency within a short
period of time, Buhari's first assignment on assuming
office, sent a positive message to Nigeria's
neighbours, who had borne the brunt of the sect
attacks that it was no longer going to be business as
usual. His diplomatic shuttle to Chad, Niger and later
Cameroun gave a reassurance to these countries that
there was indeed a paradigm shift in Nigeria's
handling of the Boko Haram insurgency.

And to translate his determination to concrete
action, Buhari ordered a change in the security
architecture of the country with the replacement of
the service chiefs as well as the Director General of
the Department of State Service (DSS). Not a few Nigerians believed that in order to achieve any
meaningful result in the fight against insecurity in the
country, there is need to inject of new ideas and
templates into how the security services should
operate. The drastic reduction in the wave of attacks
by the Boko Haram insurgency as well as the reversal
in the occupation of territories by the terrorist group
is, to a large extent, linked to the new leadership of
the armed forces. Though the terrorists have
resorted to suicide bombings of soft targets in order
to instil fear in the people, many observers believe
that the change in tactics by the sect is as a result of
the pressure on them in their traditional areas of


Even at the international level, Buhari's presidency
has brought about a renewed confidence of the
international community in the ability of the Nigerian
leader to do things differently.

Shortly after his inauguration, he attended a meeting
of the Group of 7 (G7) industrialized countries held in
Berlin, Germany and was equally the guest of the
United States government in July. The enthusiastic
reception accorded the president, by the G7
countries as well as the President of the United States
of America, underscores the resurgence of Nigeria in
the comity of nations. The seemingly inelastic
promises by these countries to assist Nigeria, both in
her war against terrorism as well as corruption,
further accentuates the positive perception of the
international community of the Nigerian new

Even though Buhari inherited the leadership of the
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC )
from his predecessor, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, the
renewed vigour of the agency in going after corrupt
officials of government is seen as the direct
consequence of the body language of the president,
who has never hidden his abhorrence for corruption
and corrupt officials. Same would be said to be
responsible for the surge in the generation of power
with the country witnessing an unprecedented level
of power generation even though the government
has not invested any new funds in the sector.

But the modest achievements made by the Buhari
administration are however threatened by the
perceived sluggishness in the pace of governance
and insensitivity to other regions in the appointment
of key officials to positions in government. More than
three months in office, Buhari has been unable to
appoint ministers to form his government. Instead,
he has continued to rely on civil servants to run
government. Some of the negative consequences of
this approach is the lack of clear economic direction
of the administration, which has negatively affected
both fiscal and economic policies.

For a man, who, in his inaugural speech, promised
that he belonged to everybody and nobody, his
appointment of about 75 percent of key personnel
from his northern region has generated resentment
especially from the southern part of the country.
Similarly, beaming the torchlight of anti-corruption
on some Jonathan's officials from one section of the
country has unwittingly created the impression that
he was on a revenge mission and not necessarily
transparently bringing all corrupt officials of the
previous government to book.


Though 100 days is too short a time to objectively
assess a government, the actions of Buhari in the last
three months have elicited mixed feelings of
expectations and frustrations. How he balances these
expectations in the remaining part of his
administration would play a major role on whether
or not his government would be recorded on the
credit or debit side of history.

AbleMoJah® Nigeria.

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