Buhari’s tenure ends in 100 days | The ICIR

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IN line with the provision of Nigeria’s Constitution, President Muhammadu Buhari will end his second and final term in office on May 29, which is 100 days from today.

Buhari assumed office on May 29, 2015, after defeating the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, who sought re-election for a second term.

He is the country’s eighth and 16th leader (military Head of State between December 31, 1983 and August 27, 1985, and as elected president between May 29, 2015 and May 29, 2023).

The president rode to office on his pledge to tackle insecurity and corruption, and revamp the economy.

The ICIR reports that Buhari inherited a nation battered by insecurity and widespread corruption.

Failure of Jonathan’s government to contain deadly attacks in the North, including Abuja, Kano, and the North-East by the Boko Haram belligerent group, made Nigerians prefer Buhari.

As a former Head of State, many citizens believed he possessed the requisite pedigree to tackle the insurgency and other festering menaces in the country better than Jonathan, branded by many as “clueless.”

Waning popularity

The ICIR reports that given the country’s multidimensional and worsening insecurity, unprecedented division and hardship faced by most citizens under Buhari’s watch, the president’s popularity has dwindled, especially in the North, where he was much loved. 

In January 2023, protesters barricaded roads in Kano State and reportedly stoned the president’s helicopter when taking off from the state to Abuja after an official visit. Kano is the hub of socio-economic activities in northern Nigeria.

There had been similar protests before and after the Kano rage.

In October 2020, Nigerians protested the brutality of a department of the Nigeria Police Force – the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

The protest snowballed into wanton killings, destruction, and looting of public and private property across the country.

The most significant episode of the killings was those reportedly carried out by the military at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos State.

In October 2022, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced the government’s decision to make the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes cease to be legal tender.

The apex bank was to introduce new notes replacing the old ones on December 15 of that year.

Introducing the notes has, however, brought hardship to Nigerians because the new notes are very few in circulation.

The ICIR reported some of the pains Nigerians face in their bid to get the cash.

Protests have erupted in Lagos, Delta, Ondo, Oyo and other southern states, a few days to the 2023 general elections, scheduled for Saturday, February 25.

Besides, many lawyers believe the Buhari-led government’s insistence on implementing the policy has put the president in contempt of the Supreme Court, which ordered that the old notes co-exist with the new ones in the interim.

It is not the first time legal luminaries and other Nigerians would accuse the president of defying court orders. Some of those instances are listed here. Another landmark judgment ignored by the Buhari government was its failure to release the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, after the Appeal Court freed him in October 2022. The government claimed the court only freed but not acquitted him.

Some governors loyal to the president are now opposed to him over his insistence that the naira swap (redesign) must stand. Some of them are Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), and Yahaya Bello (Kogi). They have all vowed that the president’s directive on the naira redesign would not stand. The presidential candidate of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, is also not pleased with the timing of the policy and its accompanying crises.

Increased hardship, insecurity

Many Nigerians believe Nigeria has been more divided under Buhari, and that insecurity has deteriorated.

Prices of foods and other essential commodities have skyrocketed under the president as the effects of rising inflation bite harder.

Debt profiles are rising by the day. Each Nigerian will owe nearly N400,000 when the president leaves office, with the country’s debt profile expected to spiral to N77 trillion.

Until recently, when the security forces began to sustain success in neutralizing insurgents and bandits who kidnap for ransom, criminalities, including those of the terrorists and bandits, croppers/herders clashes, and activities of secessionists had threatened the nation’s existence.

Deadly attacks on the Abuja-Kaduna train, Kuje Correctional Facility, and a more audacious strike on the Presidential Guards Brigade – all in 2022 – were a watershed for a comprehensive military onslaught against non-state militias and other criminals in Nigeria.

Insecurity has no doubt forced many companies to shut down, with many Nigerians losing their means of livelihood. In one of its reports on the impacts of insecurity on businesses in the country, this organization reported how Nigeria’s giant industries were disappearing.

This may have contributed to how 133 million Nigerians live in multidimensional poverty.

Another major thing Nigerians will live to remember the president for is how the nation’s universities suffer during his era. The ICIR reported how the Academic Staff Union of Universities shut down the institutions for over 600 days under the president.

Corruption

Government officials have been involved in corruption cases as the Buhari administration struggles to fight the menace.

Sacked Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, was charged in court for allegedly stealing over N100 billion.

The former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, was also sacked because over allegations of corruption and other infractions.

President Buhari pardoned the former state governors Joshua Dariye (Plateau) and Jolly Nyame (Taraba), who were serving jail terms for corruption cases.

The ICIR reports that the government has yet to get individuals behind the reported corruption at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), among others, punished.

Some of Buhari’s achievements

Buhari’s government has invested heavily in health, road and rail infrastructures and security.

Though they have been laced with criticisms of shoddiness and inequity in their implementation, the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP), Household Uplifting Programme (HUP), and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) are among the government social investment initiatives to alleviate poverty.

The Buhari government has almost completed Second Niger Bridge, conceived by the late former President Shehu Shagari in 1979. More than any other government, his administration has impacted rail infrastructure.

Among the laws he signed are those of local government and judiciary autonomy, the Electoral Act (2022), and the Petroleum Industry Act.

For the first time, Nigerians will go to the poll and have their votes transmitted online to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) server through the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS). The BVAS makes election more credible, free and free. The Electoral Act makes it possible.





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