By Abike Dabiri-Erewa
I, like many others, have witnessed first-hand the progress of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari. He is fighting corruption, tackling insecurity, and investing in vital infrastructure like no other President in the history of Nigeria. That is why for the past few months, I have been proud to support Together Nigeria, an advocacy group for the re-election of President Buhari.
We gathered last week to launch Together Nigeria at State House, with the support of Her Excellency, Dr. Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, wife of the President of Nigeria. We were thrilled to welcome former Nigerian football stars, Daniel Amokachi, Peter Rufai, Garba Lawal, as well as some Nollywood royalty, including Chinedu Ikedieze (a.k.a Aki), Jide Kosoko, Oga Bello, and artists Olu Maintain, Korede Bello, Jide Kosoko, Iyanya, Joke Silva and DJ Jimmy Jatt and many, many more.
These celebrities, like millions of others, have declared their support for President Buhari’s re-election and Together Nigeria, because they are immensely proud of the work that he has done since 2015, and they want to see this continue.
In his speech, the Nollywood Filmmaker Desmond Elliot said “Mr President has started the good work, Mr President will end it well.” Olu Maintain went further in his passioned speech, saying President Buhari is “incorruptible”. “Corruption is a plague that has infected this country for decades. This is the one man that has taken up the mantle that corruption in this country has to stop. This man has made it his overall principle to fight this, he has fought this effectively for his first term, let us give him the mantle to now rebuild this economy in his second term”.
When President Buhari came to office in 2015, the various Ministries, Departments and agencies of the Nigerian Government had over 17,000 accounts in commercial banks across the country. The level of waste in charges and fees, and scope for corruption and abuse, was breath-taking. President Buhari responded with the full implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) system, a unified banking arrangement to consolidate and manage government cash resources.
Not only has this saved some N4 billion monthly in banking charges associated with indiscriminate borrowing, but for the first time, it gives the Ministry of Finance complete overview of cash flows across the entire Government. And this has ran alongside President Buhari’s pioneering Whistle Blowing Policy, which has recovered N7.8 billion and undertaken 791 investigations into corruption.
President Buhari has also made great strides towards restoring economic growth in Nigeria and building a globally competitive economy, having succeeded in securing Nigeria’s place as one of the World Bank’s top 10 most improved economies in the world for ease of doing business in 2017, moving up 24 places in its ranking during the year.
And these economic gains have been invested in improving the lives of all Nigerians. The Buhari administration has dedicated a significant proportion of the budget to the provision of basic infrastructure and capital projects.
This has benefited Nigerians in all parts of our country. Funds have supported the construction of roads in each of the six Geopolitical Zones, from the Kaduna Eastern Bypass in the North West, to the rehabilitation of Enugu-Port Harcourt Road Section III in the South East.
But President Buhari’s achievements extend beyond the economy. The Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programme is the largest and most ambitious in Nigeria’s history. It has fed over nine million primary school pupils and paid out over N66 billion to states participating in the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme.
At our launch event, President Buhari commended the hard work of the volunteers, and gave thanks for the support he has received during his re-election campaign. And the President is right, thanks to the hard work of teeming and passionate supporters we will continue to educate the world about the good work of Nigeria’s federal government and the achievements of President Buhari.
Over the past three and a half years, we have come a long way in realising the potential of our rich nation, but I do not deny there remains more to be done.
The global collapse in oil prices a year before President Buhari took office in 2015 had a severe impact, and many Nigerians still feel they have less money in their pockets – to invest in crops, to send their children to school, and to put food on their plates. We must do more to help bring all Nigerians with us on a journey to prosperity, to change the situation in our country for the better.
In the months ahead we must secure the future, our future, by voting President Muhammadu Buhari, a man who can truly bring Nigeria together and continue the journey he has started towards a safe, fair, and prosperous Nigeria.
Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa is the First Ambassador of Together Nigeria, and Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora.