Nigeria: Buhari's Five Years in the Saddle (II)

President Muhammadu Buhari, national assembly (file photo).
1 June 2020

TAKING it from the regime's three-point agenda: revival of the economy, securing the country and fighting corruption, it can be safely said that nothing has really changed (except in many cases for the worse).

The economy was sagging when he took over in 2015. It went into recession later that year and marginally broke the surface in late 2018.

The nation has gone back to the debt trap under this regime, and more borrowing is likely to continue in the post-COVID-19 pandemic economy.

Perhaps the area the Buhari government has made some impact is the anti-graft war.

Though corruption is still very endemic in government, there is a great awareness of an ongoing anti-graft war, with many former governors jailed and lots of stolen funds recovered.

The regime has failed to tackle the nation's security challenges. Before Buhari took over, Boko Haram Islamic terror was the main problem facing the nation. Today, the Islamists are still active. More armed groups have sprouted in the North West ("bandits"). The armed herdsmen who used to kill and destroy farming communities in the North Central, have now moved into all the three geopolitical zones of the South.

The tension is rising, with foreigners streaming in and setting up camps in the forests all over the South, thus stoking fears of jihadist attacks on communities.

Apart from the nepotism the President personally promotes through his appointments in clear violation of section 14 (3) of the Constitution, the tacit condonation of these violent herders by this regime is the unenviable legacy for which it will be remembered.

It is unacceptable to forcefully take people's land and give to a specific ethnic group, thus making them indigenes in other people's lands. This issue is antithetical to Buhari's pledge to secure the country. It is capable of breeding warlords and endless bloodshed.

Various regions are already setting up their own security groups to confront the invaders because of loss of confidence in our armed forces, police and security agencies who have not even for once officially identified the armed herders for the terrorists that they are.

The only way that the Buhari government can redeem the situation is to quickly flush out Boko Haram, the bandits and armed herders. The foreigners among them should be deported to their countries. The President should also eschew nepotism and respect the Constitution.

Under him, the feeling of mutual antagonism among the various divides of the nation has reached unprecedented levels.

No country can ever be great with such quantum of mutual hatred among its citizenry. It is only a united citizenry that can build and share national prosperity.

It is the sacred duty of leadership to promote factors and policies that unite the people and focus them in one progressive direction. Let this be Buhari's primary focus in his last three years in power.

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