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PMB: Slow but steady

AS the Muhammadu Buhari presidency clocks 100 days in office, it is interesting to note that the actions of the government which is yet to appoint Ministers and other top officials of government is no longer the focus of negative criticism by Nigerians who think and expect that things should be done differently from the way President Buhari have chosen.

The subtle criticism that were building has petered and given way to admiration and awe at how the slow and steady approach of the President is yielding results and heralding Change. The point to note is that it is too early to start to take stock of a government that has a four year mandate when it has barely been in the saddle for only a mere hundred days. The journey of four years however can be evaluated in terms of its future progress and ending by what has happened in the first one hundred days.

Looking at the one hundred days of Muhammadu Buhari, it can be said that he has started well and is doing well, laying a solid foundation for the future of his government and the country at large.

The pressing national issues on which President Buhari contested and won the 2015 presidential elections were national security, anti-corruption, economy and unemployment, power and infrastructure and education.

In the area of national security, the President has displayed tireless energy in this area with the result that the greatest scourge of national security, notably the Boko Haram insurgency in the country is in recession as the Nigerian Armed Forces with the support of the armies of neighbouring countries have gone on the offensive against these killers. In the first few weeks after his inauguration, President Buhari travelled to Cameroun, Niger, Chad and Benin Republics to dialogue with the leaders of those countries on how to contain and defeat the insurgency. The result is that the Nigerian leader succeeded in building a broad sub-regional coalition that has pledged to cooperate to defeat the terrorists. Today, as that coalition has commenced its work, the Boko Haram is being buffeted on all fronts. And for good measure and to underline the fact that he brooks no nonsense, PMB has told the Nigerian Armed Forces that they have three months to end the menace of the terrorists. This means that all things being equal, by the end of 2015, the more or less decade old Boko Haram insurgency would be a thing of the past.

It should also be noted that the international coalition against Boko Haram includes such countries like the US, UK, France and ECOWAS member states who have all pledged to help uproot the insurgency. Other manifestations of insecurity that threaten the nation like armed robbery, kidnapping and cult- related violence would also receive attention. In this area, the President has ordered that the Nigeria Police authorities recruit an additional 10,000 policemen to beef up its ranks in the task of national policing.

The second priority area is anti-corruption. The effort of PMB here is salutary and already having impact before any shots are fired. Since Buhari took over, the various anti-corruption agencies notably the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have woken up to their responsibilities of arresting, summoning and questioning persons who have engaged in corrupt or questionable acts. It is no longer business as usual.

Under Buhari’s watch it is becoming clear that all acts of fraud and stealing of public funds would be investigated and the culprits brought to book and the monies or properties retrieved. President Buhari recently promised that in a few weeks, public investigation and trial of those who stole from the national treasury or appropriated funds belonging to the Federal Government would commence.

Also PMB’s anti-corruption campaign is having the crucially- important effect of changing attitudes and perception about corruption in our society. It is becoming clear to many people especially young Nigerians that corruption or defrauding of the nation for individual benefit is a crime for which the perpetrator deserves punishment.

To revamp the economy and create employment requires that government invest in industry and infrastructural development and this would require funding. Therefore if a fraction of the huge sum stolen under the watch of the previous government is recovered, the present administration would have at its disposal much-needed funds for investment purposes.

President Buhari would surely improve on power generation and supply in the country. Adequate power both for domestic and industrial use is a must for any modern economy and society and he has publicly expressed anger and regret at the fact that Nigerians do not enjoy adequate power.

To improve the sector, he has commissioned studies by experts into the problem and ordered that a probe be instituted into why efforts by previous administrations to generate and supply adequate power failed and what became of the huge sums of money spent.

Under his leadership in the past one hundred days, the situation of near darkness that faced Nigerians have given way to rays of light, a sign that things would be better when the full complement of his plans come on stream.

Education is another area where President Buhari would have to do much work. As in other sectors, his integrity, honesty and leadership and his abhorrence of corruption are qualities that would compel education managers in the country to sit up and do their job. Corruption which has permeated all aspects of life in the nation is also at the root of the rot in the education sector. If diversion of resources meant for education is stopped, and mangers in the sector do their job the way it should be done, the present worrisome devaluation of education at all levels would be gradually reversed.

Mr. Louis Okoroma, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Lagos.

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