By Levinus Nwabughiogu
His campaign promises were predicated on three key issues: stamping out insecurity, ridding the country of entrenched corruption and providing employment for the teeming jobless Nigerians. And so, he set out to work immediately after his swearing in.
Foreign trips: From every conceivable stance, nothing was so worrisome to President Buhari before his election on March 28 than the billowing terrorists attacks on Nigeria. Thus, soon after his inauguration, he embarked on trips to some African and European countries to solicit their help to bring down the Boko Haram insurgents terrorizing Nigeria.
First, he visited the Niger Republic. Then Chad Republic; the G7 meeting in Berlin, Germany; the African Union Meeting in South Africa and the Republic of Cameron. Thereafter, he visited the United States of America, USA, again Cameroon and Benin Republic to round off his collaboration seeking tours within the Lake Chad sub-region.
At the home front, President Buhari took time to distill dirt through the gamut of the nation’s civil service by taking systematic briefings from permanent secretaries of the ministries and other heads of agencies.
Appointment of Service Chiefs: Later, the president made some deliberate political appointments into various offices such as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF and the Chief of Staff.
As a strategy to win the war against insurgency, the president, on July 13, appointed new Service Chiefs. They were Major-General Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin as Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General T.Y. Buratai as Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas as Chief of Naval Staff; Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar as Chief of Air Staff; Air Vice Marshal Monday Riku Morgan as Chief of Defence Intelligence and Major-General Babagana Monguno (rtd.) as National Security Adviser,NSA.
He was to later give the military chiefs a deadline, which terminates this December to win the anti-terrorism war. So far, the war has witnessed some kudos as the attacks according some analysts have reduced.
Ministerial appointments: Following his pledge to appoint ministers by the end September, President Buhari on September 30 sent a list of his ministers to the Senate for screening and confirmation. The exercise lasted for the whole of October and on November 11, he inaugurated the ministers and made himself the Petroleum Resources Minister.
The minister included Chris Ngige (Anambra) Minister of Labour & Employment; Kayode Fayemi- (Ekiti) Minister of Solid Minerals; Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers) Minister of Transportation; Babatunde Fashola (Lagos) Minister of Power, Works and Housing; Abdulrahman Dambazau (Kano) Minister of Interior; Aisha Alhassan (Taraba) Minister of Women Affairs; Ogbonaya Onu (Ebonyi) Minister of Science and Technology; Kemi Adeosun (Ogun) Minister of Finance; Abubakar Malami (Kebbi) Minister of Justice & Attorney-Genera and Sen Hadi Sirika (Katsina) Minister of State, Aviation.
There were also Barrister Adebayo Shittu (Oyo) Minister of Communication; Suleiman Adamu (Jigawa) Minister of Water Resources; Solomon Dalong (Plateau) Minister for Youth and Sports; Ibe Kachikwu (Delta) Minister of State, Petroleum; Osagie Ehanire (Edo) Minister of State, Health; Audu Ogbeh (Benue) Minister of Agriculture; Udo Udo Udoma (Akwa Ibom) Minister of Budget & National Planning and Lai Mohammed (Kwara) Minister of Information.
The rest of the ministers were Amina Mohammed (Gombe) Minister of Environment; Ibrahim Usman Jibril (Nasarawa) Minister of State, Environment; Hajia Khadija Bukar Ibrahim (Yobe) Minister of State, Foreign Affairs; Cladius Omoleye Daramola (Ondo) Minister of State, Niger Delta; Prof Anthony Onwuka (Imo) Minister of State, Education; Geoffrey Onyema (Enugu) Minister of Foreign Affairs; Dan Ali (Zamfara) Minister of Defence; Barr James Ocholi (Kogi) Minister of State, Labour & Employment; Zainab Ahmed (Kaduna) Minister of State Budget and National Planning; Okechukwu Enelamah (Abia) Minister of Trade, Investment & Industry; Muhammadu Bello (Adamawa) Minister of Federal Capital Territory; Mustapha Baba Shehuri (Bornu) Minister of State, Power; Aisha Abubakar (Sokoto) Minister of State, Trade & Investment; Heineken Lokpobiri (Bayelsa) Minister of State, Agriculture; Adamu Adamu (Bauchi) Minister of Education; Isaac Adewole (Osun) Minister of Health; Abubakar Bawa Bwari (Niger) Minister of State, Solid Minerals and Pastor Usani Uguru (Cross River) Minister of Niger Delta.
War on corruption
President Buhari has been very unequivocal against corruption since he assumed office. According to him, the economy has been raped and plundered by the previous governments especially the immediate past one headed by former president Goodluck Jonathan. And so, indicted past officials would be made to account for their stewardship.
To kickstart the investigation, the president empowered the office of the NSA to set up a 13 man probe panel on August 24 on arms and ammunitions purchases by late President Musa Yar’Adua and Jonathan’s regimes. The findings of the panel were earth-shaking.
At the centre of the scary revelations is the former NSA, Col Sambo Dasuki. Charges pressed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC have been taken to the courts.
Economy: Indeed, the economy is down and President Buhari has been making efforts to revive it. First, he insisted on the implementation of the Single Treasury Account, TSA which has reduced even the financial recklessness within the public sector. Through the TSA, the government is also trying to save money for the country to invest in capital projects.
Knocks against Buhari’s regime so far: In all these, the government has got some knocks, bashings especially from the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP. First was the fact that it took President Buhari seven months to inaugurate his cabinet. Most Nigerians who were not comfortable with development linked the delays to the unpreparedness of the All Progressives Congress, APC and inarticulate way of governance by the present government.
Also, another issue that recently became disturbing was the many foreign trips the president has made. Many people, at a time, began to see the trips as too many without corresponding impact on the country’s economy.
Buhari in 2016: The government of President Mohammadu Buhari in 2016 is pexpected to be eventful. This is expectedly so because not in the economic history of Nigeria has a government proposed over N6 trillion as its budget for any fiscal year. Besides, not also in the recent past has a government allocated 30 percent of the national budget to capital projects. It is also expected that the government would create jobs to reduce unemployment in the country.
Speaking at a dinner he organised in honour of the visiting Alumni Association of the Indian Defence Services Staff College, DSSC, Wellingon, led by the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Ghanashyam recently, Buhari said: “We will sit down to see how we can rehabilitate industries. We will do this in order to clear the problem of unemployment. This is extremely dangerous for our country. We are meeting after the budget to see how to revive industry and secure the economy.”