President Muhammadu Buhari

TODAY, Friday, May 29, 2020 is the fifth anniversary of Muhammadu Buhari’s ascent to power as an elected President. We will assess this era by examining the two sides of the coin. First, the obverse side: What are the contributions the administration has made towards leaving Nigeria better than they met it?

The first is continuity of governance. The President and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had been caught several times saying that their government inherited “nothing” from previous administrations.

Despite that, this regime has practicalised the positive value of continuing some of the good policies and programmes inherited from previous regimes. These include massive investments in the agricultural sector which kicked off under former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Buhari has thus rekindled popular interest in farming. This has boosted our local production, especially of rice.

This regime which prioritises the anti-graft crusade, deployed technological tools such as the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information Systems, IPPIS; Bank Verification Number, BVN and Treasury Single Account, TSA; all of which started in the tenure of the previous administration, to fight the war.

Also, though belatedly, this government is looking at October 2020 as the date for the implementation of the Oronsaye Report of 2014 to drastically reduce the number of Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, to cut government recurrent spending. We hope they get it done.

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This regime has made a strong impact on the nation’s infrastructural development. Huge-scale road, rail and bridge projects are ongoing in all geopolitical zones the country.

This is not surprising. Buhari did the same thing as Executive Chairman of the defunct Petroleum Trust Fund, PTF, under the late General Sani Abacha.

Worthy of particular mention is the Second Niger Bridge, which successive Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, regimes used to campaign for votes but abandoned. Buhari is bringing it near completion.

This regime has also through the instrumentality of the Godwin Emefiele-led Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN; maintained a stable foreign exchange regime, which is good for trade. The same stability subsists in the fuel supply sector, thus saving Nigerians the agony of fuel shortages.

In addition, Buhari had the courage despite the recession, to set up the Social Investment Programme, SIP. It has among other components the Conditional Cash Transfer (for the poorest and most vulnerable) and the School Feeding Programme.

The implementation of this policy has been shrouded in controversy due to lack of transparency. Perhaps a future regime could look into Buhari’s SIP and do the needful.

The reverse side of the coin is a whole lot more crowded. The question here is: in what ways has Buhari’s coming made Nigeria worse than he met it? Buhari and his All Progressives Congress, APC, had campaigned on the Change mantra. How much has changed (for the better)?


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