During the 2015 electioneering campaign period, presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari had flaunted the change mantra: he would right all wrongs wrought on Nigeria by the Goodluck Jonathan administration, he had claimed. In specific terms, he would improve power supply, provide employment for the large army of graduates and give N5, 000 to each of those unemployed; security would be adequately tackled as Boko Haram would be hounded out of existence and social infrastructure provided in good measure.
Fortunately for the APC, many Nigerians at that time wanted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to go. Reasons were the non-availability of petroleum products, irregular and very poor power supply, the orgy of crime and criminality with kidnapping being rife, the advent of Boko Haram and the abduction of 219 Chibok girls as well as government’s seeming incapacity to deal with the tinder box which the country had turned into.
It was, therefore, a welcome relief when Muhammadu Buhari was declared winner of the 2015 election. One year down the line, has this administration justified its existence? Has it lived up to the people’s expectations? What type of change has the Buhari government brought to Nigerians?
On the positive front, the Buhari government realised early enough that the state governments were pauperised and could not pay salaries. As a pro-people government, it quickly embarked on a bailout policy. There is no doubt that helped in rescuing the states from bankruptcy.
On security, it is obvious that the administration has degraded, Boko Haram. In fact, the government has taken the battle to the enclave of the insurgents – to the much – dreaded, once impenetrable Sambisa Forest. The numerous internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been taken better care of even as it is not yet uhuru.
The main victims of Boko Haram are Northerners living in the North Eastern part of the country. Government’s attention and rehabilitation, expectedly, has been focused them. Thus far, those non-Northerners who died and suffered severe losses from Boko Haram attacks, that is, those from the Eastern and Western parts of Nigeria as well as others from the South-South, are unremembered. The Government should do well to support the next-of-kin of dead fellows and wounded ones. Similarly, the soldiers who have been waging these wars against the insurgents do not seem to have been properly taken care of. The plight of the wounded is no better.
On the big issue of corruption, President Buhari through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has dragged numerous high profile persons to courts to either prove their innocence or face the wrath of the law. This move has somehow shown that the era of unbridled corruption and impunity is over. Against the accusation of prosecuting only non-APC members, the President has shown non-partisanship by not interfering in the on-going trial of the Senate President and APC chieftain, Chief Bukola Saraki.
In the area of foreign relations, the present administration has scored high marks, what with the many useful trips made by Mr. President to the United States of America, Germany, United Arab Emirate, France, South Africa, Chad and Benin Republic. The friendly manner in which Mr. President was received by his counterparts in these countries he visited, showed that not only has the image/perception of our country improved at the international scene; in a few years, our economy will witness significant growth.
In spite of the foregoing strides, however, President Muhammadu Buhari and indeed all Nigerians have an arduous task to ensure the stability of our country and secure the happiness of the greatest number of Nigerians.
Sadly, the state of stability, order and of happiness still eludes Nigerians today. With Boko Haram and Shiite Muslims in the North; Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the East, Niger Delta Avengers, the Red Egbesu, Water Lions and Isoko Liberation Movement in the South-South, Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) in the South-West, the unity of Nigeria is only but a mere mental phenomenon.
Buahri must now show leadership by dousing the rising tension in the land. He can carefully do this by applying “diplomacy.”
He must critically sieve the advice by both his official and unofficial aides some of whom are bound, to be driven by selfish, ethnic, religious and or other considerations.
As a matter of urgency, he must fashion out a blue print and begin the implementation of it with a view to cushioning the poverty in the land.
I congratulate Mr. President on his first year in office. I know that no one who truly wants to serve will envy him.
Your Excellency, please remain focused and do not let the dream die!
Udah, a Media consultant, wrote from Lagos