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Two years of mixed fortunes

TODAY, May 29, 2017 is the second anniversary of the assumption of power by the Muhammadu Buhari  government, elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He had campaigned on a three-point agenda: fighting insecurity (especially the Boko Haram insurgency), waging a war on corruption and revamping the economy.

With Boko Haram ringed round in the Sambisa Forest by the former President Goodluck Jonathan regime, Buhari has dislodged and left it factionalised and depleted with nowhere to run. The regime has successfully negotiated the release of over 150 abducted Chibok schoolgirls, but the insurgency is still a major security concern in the North East.

The regime’s initial belligerent approach to the Niger Delta security issue had stirred renewed militancy, but with a change of style to dialogue the threat has subsided and the economy is, consequently, on the rebound.

A terrible security threat facing the nation is the rage of armed militants masquerading as herdsmen, killing people and destroying communities and farmlands throughout the country. The Buhari regime’s apparent disregard of the threat is a major failing which it must tackle head-on.

The war on corruption has also recorded a number of milestones, with the recovery of over 60 billion Naira from alleged corrupt officials, many of whom are being prosecuted. The introduction of technology and measures like the Whistle-blower Policy have reinforced the fight, though some regime officials have equally been indicted.

The regime has not done well in tending to the economy. For over eighteen months, there was no policy roadmap for economic recovery. The nation groped in the dark and depended heavily on borrowing to fund the 2016 and 2017 budgets.

However, the picture appears to be changing for the better, with the launch of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERPG) and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework to streamline federal expenditure over three years. With improved oil prices and relative peace in the Niger Delta, the economy is expected to exit  recession by the third quarter.

The Buhari regime must firmly address issues of lopsided appointments and its poor attitude to inclusive governance, which is largely responsible for the Biafra separatist agitation.

The recent Executive Orders signed by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo is a bold indication that the Buhari regime is now ready to come to grips with solving problems that make governance ineffective.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s ill-health, which has been a source of great concern, might define the shape of things in the next two years, particularly in terms of preparations for the 2019 elections within the ruling APC.

But with a capable Acting President in the saddle, we are optimistic that even the current speculations over plots by faceless individuals to topple our democratic order will once again be overcome.

We wish all Nigerians Happy Democracy Day.


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