NIGERIA (2015-2023): THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
By: Augustine Omilo
As the present government of Nigeria headed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure draws to a close in a few days’ time, it becomes imperative for Nigerians and the members of the international community with abode in the world’s most populous black nation to share their experiences during the period under review. The only reason for this remains the need for everybody to appropriately give thumb up or down to Buhari and his team.
It will be unfair for anybody to insinuate that the government of Buhari did not achieve anything positive for the country. These positive accomplishments may not necessarily impress many persons, especially those that are either not aware of them or have forgotten same in a hurry.
To the credit of the president is the fact that he inadvertently recognized the efforts of the previous administrations to tackle corruption in the country, using the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC. Having hinged his campaign promises in 2014/2015 on the fight against this menace, he must be given accolades for sustaining the funding of these agencies in the spirit of continuity in governance. Not only were the Nigerian leader funding the anti-graft organizations, he also ensured that they are still used to tame the excesses of corrupt elements in and out of government.
On the economy, the president also showed signs of clear understanding of the importance of robust economy in a democratic setting like Nigeria leveraging on continuity. In the light of this, even when he had the power to replace Mr. Godwin Emefiele as the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN governor, he chose to re-appoint him for another five years even though he (Emefiele) was appointed by the previous administration led by President Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
Worthy of note also is Buhari’s continued association with professional discoveries by the PDP like Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the current Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Dr. Akinwumi Adesina who is now the Chief Executive Officer of African Development Bank AfDB. These were ministers under Jonathan. Yet he supported them in their quest to serve the world in their present capacity.
Buhari continued the execution of the second Niger Bridge contract from where the previous government left it. Needless to say that the bridge has now been partially completed and commissioned with no federal government officials present at the venue of the commissioning on the 24th day of May, 2023.
However, it is equally important for some folks to point out the areas where the out-going president failed woefully or partially to deliver the dividends of democracy to the citizens. Men and woman with this line of thought are quick to point out the fact that PMB is set to leave the country’s inhabitants poorer than he met them in 2015. Without minding its possibility, this set of people are demanding that Buhari and his political party the APC should take them back where they were as at 28th May, 2015.
One cannot but agree that the cost of living in Nigeria as at now is far beyond what the ordinary citizens can afford. Even though the government puts the inflation rate at over 20%, the reality on ground, especially from the view point of product consumers suggest that it can be as high as 300%. For example, a satchel of pure water that was sold for five Naira (N5) in 2015, now sells for thirty naira (N30).
The number of human beings killed by criminals in Plateau and Benue states alone between 2015 and 2023 can be compared to the number deaths recorded during the Biafra/Nigeria war between 1967 and 1970. This represents a very poor outing for a government that rose to power on the wings of its promise to ‘delete’ insecurity from the memory of Nigerians. While twenty-six villages were displaced by hoodlums in one day in Plateau state recently, the same criminals sent over one hundred and thirty (130) people to the great beyond on the same fateful day.
Corruption assumed a new dimension under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari. Never in Nigerian history was a single civil servant linked to a fraudulent acquisition of wealth amounting to over one hundred billion naira (N100B) as is the case with the immediate pat Accountant-general of the federation, Alhaji Idris Ahmed. In the first place, it is unthinkable for one man to embezzle an amount of money he does not require to survive in his entire life if he was to live on earth without working for one hundred years.
The nation’s unity for which reason General Gowon put his life on the line in 1967 has suffered a worse status since independence. The Federal Character Commission, an agency of government responsible for compliance to equity and justice in appointments into government positions have not been so redundant as it has become since 2015. Many Nigerians from different geopolitical zones seldom accept themselves as citizens of the same country with equal opportunities to live well.
Perhaps as a parting “gift”, the APC-led government is about to leave Nigerians with thoughts suggesting that it purposely came to power with an intention to mess up the electoral process that was beginning to restore the confidence of the people on the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC.