By Omeiza Ajayi
President Muhammadu Buhari would go into next Saturday’s Presidential Election, banking on what he calls his unassailable records of achievements and perhaps, his near cult followership in some parts of the country, especially in the areas Nigerians now refer to as the “core” North.
During his electioneering campaigns in the build up to the 2015 general generals elections, the president had promised to focus on three areas viz; security, economy and anti-corruption.
The president believes that he has done very well to merit a second term in office. In fact, in some cases his aides have been quoted as saying that the president has fulfilled all his campaign promises!
On Security, President Buhari has said the Boko Haram terrorist sect no longer holds an inch of Nigeria’s territory.
His handlers also say he has handled the herdsmen-farmers clashes as best as possible and that other crimes like kidnapping and armed robbery have gone down courtesy of the ingenuity of their principal.
On the economy, the president is quick to remind Nigerians that the economy is now on the rebound, haven taken Nigeria from recession. His opponents would however say he was the one who pushed the country into a recession, a clapback often dismissed by the president’s supporters who strongly blame the poor state of the economy to the 16 years of PDP rule.
The government says it has done well, saying inflation has fallen for the fifteenth consecutive month while the nation’s external reserves are at their highest levels in five years, currently double the size of October 2016.
Other achievements stated by the presidency, include the revitalization of 14 moribund blending plants under the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, and the tripling of revenue to the Federation Account from solid minerals. lt said the revenue tripled from N700 million in 2015 to N2 billion in 2016, and again rose to N3.5 billion in 2017. The presidency also said its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which was launched by Mr Buhari in April 2017, has stabilized the macroeconomic environment; achieved agricultural and food security and has also ensured energy efficiency especially in power and petroleum products. It also said the E RGP has improved transportation infrastructure and industrialization primarily through the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
It said in May 2018, the administration launched the Presidential Infrastructural Development Fund PIDF under the management of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority. The fund is kicking off with $650 million.
In power and railway, the Buhari administration says it has blazed the trail and believes that Nigerians would do well to also remember all human development programmes like the Social Investment Programmes SIP.
On anti-corruption, the president has promised to continue to be a nightmare to looters and that he has helped Nigeria to recover a lot of stolen funds. Despite misgivings by some stakeholders on his method of fighting corruption, the recent statement by his closest rival, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP could boost the chances of Mr Buhari at the polls.
Atiku had at an interface in Lagos reportedly said he would not sell public institutions to his family but that it would not be out of place to sell them to his friends. At another forum, Atiku said he could consider amnesty to repentant looters who would be willing to return to the public coffers what they stole. In a country where many people read headlines without sitting to read an entire story or base their decisions on certain considerations, Buhari’s handlers seem to be gaining a lot of political capital from this issue.
The projection by some pro-Buhari analysts is that if the president wins the Northwest and Southwest, then he is sure to win the polls. With voter apathy in other areas, the election may have been won and lost if there is a massive turn out of voters in those two zones.
Deputy Director General of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Arch Waziri Bulama recently said the party is very strong throughout the country and “at the moment we have sitting 22 state governors, six in the North West, six in the South West, four in the North East, four in the North Central, one each in the South-south and South East”.
We are very strong in these states and very strong in all the remaining 16 other states, he declared.
Speaking further, he said; “I do not want to say anything bordering on region and any identity politics. The APC is a national party, very strong throughout the country but most dominant in the North West and South West and more clearly we expect to have more votes there because of the presence of the governors and because the two zones have the largest number of registered voters. While the North West has 20 million, the South West has 16 million registered voters. We are not taking anything for granted. We are going to fight for every available vote”, he vowed.
The issue of integrity is one that Buhari’s handlers have never failed to latch onto. In fact, it is the first talking point of an average Buhari follower. Since the two main contenders are of the same ethnicity and religion, Buhari’s supporters say their principal towers above any other candidate when it comes to integrity.
By Saturday, Buhari and his supporters would be hoping that his famed integrity, his sefl-acclaimed unassailable records of performance as well as his acclaimed cult followership in a section of the country would switch the electoral tide in their favour. May the best man win.