Nigerian politicians are known to make glib promises, and after some time in office, award themselves overwhelming pass marks. President Muhammadu Buhari, who leads the All Progressives Congress, APC, Federal Government, is not an exception.
In his Sallah message to mark the end of this year’s Ramadan, he claimed that Nigeria was “better” than he met it in 2015. He asked “those criticising the administration” to be fair in reflecting on the situation in 2015 and now, especially in the North-East.
The answer to that is all too evident: Boko Haram and other Islamic terror cells have expanded their territorial presence. In 2015, they were hemmed into the Sambisa forest. But today, apart from the three North East states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, Boko Haram has recently planted their flags in parts of Niger and Bauchi states and are threatening Abuja.
The Buhari administration’s score in terms of security has been disastrous. Never in our history has our security architecture demonstrated debiliting incapacity to protect the territorial integrity of the country and safeguard the citizens. Under Buhari’s watch, the bandits have practically overwhelmed Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kaduna and Katsina states, and parts of Niger State.
Also, militants masquerading as herdsmen have successfully implanted themselves in forests all over the Middle Belt and the three Southern geopolitical zones. This is what is driving the armed attacks in the South-East and South-South and creating ethnic tensions in the South West. There is no part of the country that is not under security threat, which was not the case before this government came into office.
Buhari’s claim flies in the face of his recent call for the movement of USA’s AFRICOM headquarters from Germany to Africa and for America and Britain to support efforts to contain our security challenges. These calls would not be necessary if the picture that he paints existed in reality.
We concede to the president that a lot of efforts have gone into infrastructural renewal, especially roads and rail. The modest gains in the agricultural sector have been eroded by the loose handling of militant herdsmen incursions into farms, forests and highways, driving farmers and indigenous populations away from their normal farming activities. This administration has not only desisted from declaring them as part of our security threats, it has scored a huge deficit in containing them.
It is not the place of politicians to award themselves marks. That is the prerogative of the people. Whoever marks his own papers will get straight “A’s”.
Nigerians feel a lot worse than they did in 2015.