Buhari regime: Many promises, few achievements

Date:

May 27,2023.

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After handing over power to his successor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on May 29, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), will make a triumphal entry into his home town of Daura, Katsina State. The fanfare in Daura will be akin to the Sallah festive season as the ancient city welcomes its son after eight years of service to the country.

To honour the President, the Daura Emirate Council is organising a grand durbar (horse riding). Dambe (boxing), kokuwa (traditional wrestling matches) and sharo/shadi (Fulani traditional festival) will also form part of the side attractions at Kangiwa Square, venue of the festivities, a Daily Trust report revealed.

When Buhari sits to watch the colourful events, he may wax pensive, reminiscing on the early days of his presidency or pre-presidency, particularly his address at Chatham House, London, which endeared him to the Nigerian electorate.

Promise of hope

On Thursday, February 26, 2015, Buhari, then the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, told a cross section of listeners at Chatham House that his administration would revive the ailing economy, stabilise Nigeria’s security by decimating Boko Haram and crush corruption in all its manifestations.

On security, he said, “Let me assure you that if I am elected president, the world will have no cause to worry about Nigeria as it has had to recently; that Nigeria will return to its stabilising role in West Africa; and that no inch of Nigerian territory will ever be lost to the enemy because we will pay special attention to the welfare of our soldiers in and out of service. We will give them adequate and modern arms and ammunition to work with. We will improve intelligence gathering and border controls to choke Boko Haram’s financial and equipment channels; we will be tough on terrorism and tough on its root causes by initiating a comprehensive economic development plan promoting infrastructural development, job creation, agriculture and industry in the affected areas.

On corruption, there will be no confusion as to where I stand. Corruption will have no place and the corrupt will not be appointed into my administration. First and foremost, we will plug the holes in the budgetary process. Revenue producing entities such as NNPC and Customs and Excise will have one set of books only. Their revenues will be publicly disclosed and regularly audited. The institutions of state dedicated to fighting corruption will be given independence and prosecutorial authority without political interference.”

He also vowed to run a functional economy driven by a worldview that sees growth not as an end by itself, but as a tool to create a society that works for all, rich and poor alike.

The electorate fell head over heels for Buhari. His promises were lofty and timely too. Fatigued from years of Boko Haram bombings and attacks, Nigerians were desperately shopping for a saviour.

However, with the bombing of the United Nations building in Abuja in 2010, multiple attacks on the police, other government security agents, schools, churches, mosques and newspaper offices, citizens no longer felt safe under Jonathan. Between April 2014 when Boko Haram kidnapped 276 school girls in Chibok, Borno State and January 2015, it (Boko Haram) had been responsible for at least 5,778 deaths, according to a study by the Africa Council on Foreign Relations.

The study also revealed that the terrorist group killed over 18,260 people between May 2011 when Jonathan took office and the time he handed over power to Buhari in May 2015. The collective verdict was passed. In the face of an attractive alternative, Jonathan didn’t stand a chance. He had to go!

More so, Buhari’s military background and northern origins reinforced the notion that the retired General would decimate Boko Haram and, like former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, proffer lasting peace to the decade-old militancy in the Niger Delta. Did he?

The Buhari years saw an unprecedented number of military hardware procurement for the Army, Navy, Air force, police and other paramilitary organisations.

Under his watch, the Nigerian Army said it acquired hundreds of new equipment, including VT-4 main battle tanks, STI light tanks, SH2 & SH5 artillery platforms, MRAPs, ARRV and mine sweepers, infantry fighting vehicles, self-propelled Howitzers, armoured fighting vehicles, mountain climber bikes and many others. In 2023, the Nigerian military acquired 700 brand-new troop-carrying vehicles; all assembled in Nigeria.

Since 2015, the Nigerian Navy has acquired more than 400 new platforms comprising 200 riverine patrol boats, 114 Rigid- Hull inflatable boats, two Seaward defence boats, 12 Manta Class/Inshore patrol craft, three Whaler boats, four Barges/ Tugboats, 22 Fast Attack Boats, 14 unmanned aerial vehicles, four helicopters, 14 River Town Class, 14 house boats and four Capital ships.

The Nigerian Air Force also procured 38 brand new aircraft since 2015. They consist of 10 Super Mushshak; five Mi-35M helicopters; two Bell 412 helicopters; four Agusta 109 helicopters; two Mi-171E helicopters; 12 A-29 Super Tucano; and three JF-17 Thunder. As of the first quarter of 2023, the Air Force says it is expecting 12 new AH-1Z attack helicopters and 24 M-346 fighter attack aircraft which it had ordered.

More so, the army is currently executing at least nine major security operations nationwide. They include: Operations Hadin Kai, Lake Sanity and Desert Sanity in the North-East, Hadarin Daji and Sharan Daji in the North-West, Safe Haven and Whirl Stroke in the North-Central and Operations Delta Safe and Dakatar Da Barawo in the South-South. More army divisions and special joint military and police task forces covering the country’s six geopolitical zones were also created under Buhari.

Creditably, the International Maritime Bureau revealed that the number of actual and attempted piracy attacks on ships on the coastline fell sharply from 48 in 2018 to six in 2021. At a point in time, terrorists were almost completely routed out of their Sambisa forest stronghold.

In its eight-year score sheet, the Buhari regime cited the Global Terrorism Index 2022 which said deaths caused by Boko Haram dropped by 92 per cent from 2,131 in 2015 to 178 in 2021. The report acknowledged Nigeria’s “successful counter-insurgency operations targetting Boko Haram” as a leading cause of the reduction in terrorism deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.

However, whatever gains Buhari made in weakening Boko Haram were tainted by the bloodbath meted on Nigerians by killer herdsmen who ravaged the North-Central and south-western states. Although Boko Haram killed 19,129 persons under Buhari, herder attacks racked up that figure to 53,418 Nigerian lives lost between May 29, 2015 and October 15, 2022.

Citing figures from the Nigerian Security Tracker, a project of the Council on Foreign Relations of the United States of America, Naija247news reported that the deaths occurred mostly from farmers/herders’ conflict, clashes by religious groups, and attacks by terrorists and bandits.

Also, kidnapping became a thriving industry on Buhari’s watch. Research portal, Dataphyte, calculated that cases of kidnapping of schoolchildren rose by 361.19 per cent during the regime, with 1,010 abducted between 2018 and 2021.

A report by SB Morgen Intelligence revealed that Nigerians paid at least $18.34m to kidnappers as ransom between June 2011 and March 2020. Also, the National Security Summit Report by the House of Representatives revealed that over $2.4m were paid to secure the release of schoolchildren in five separate mass kidnappings in the North-West in November 2020.

In July 2022, terrorists stormed the Kuje Correctional Centre, FCT, killed several persons and freed over 600 inmates, including 150 Boko Haram members. Daringly, terrorists, bandits and South-East gunmen have been ambushing and killing soldiers and police officers, assaulting military formations and police stations. Bandits attacked the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, killed two officers and abducted another; terrorists ambushed a patrol team from the elite Presidential Brigade of Guards; and bandits once shot down a NAF Alpha jet.

Insecurity so worsened during the regime that some state governors defied the current embargo on the issuance of firearm licences and instructed their residents to bear arms for self-defence. Governors Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State and Aminu Massari of Katsina State have made several calls in this regard.

Last October, a former Minister of Defence, Lt.-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (retd.), also reiterated his call on Nigerians, especially residents of Taraba State, to acquire arms and defend themselves and their territories against bandits.

Speaking, Jackson Lekan-Ojo, a member of the International Security Association, Switzerland and a fellow of the International Institute of Professional Security in Nigeria, told our correspondent that although Buhari was fortunate to lead the most sophisticated intelligence and security outfits in sub-Saharan Africa, he failed to commandeer these assets for maximum security gains. Lekan-Ojo also argues that while Boko Haram seemed to have been decimated, it only metamorphosed into other equally dangerous strains.

If security and economy are closely linked, then Buhari’s drawbacks spelled heavy consequences for Nigerians, millions of whom are living below the poverty line.

So-so economic prosperity

At Chatham House, Daura-born retired General promised to run a functional economy and create a society that works for all; rich and poor alike. At the heart of this agenda was his plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty through heavy social investments.

In its eight-year scorecard, the Presidency revealed that Buhari launched the National Social Investment Programme, which contains over 46 million persons from over 11 million poor and vulnerable households. Out of these, it said two million poor and vulnerable Nigerian households currently benefitted from the Conditional Cash Transfer programme, which paid a bimonthly stipend of N10,000 per household. However, the results did not travel so far.

In mid-April, the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy Steering Committee revealed that about two million vulnerable Nigerians were impacted by its poverty-alleviation projects.

However, the co-chair of the committee’s Technical Working Group, Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, lamented that implementation was below expected levels. The project impacted only two per cent of the 100 million Nigerians the President hoped to lift out of poverty.

Also, unemployment climbed to nearly 37 per cent, miles away from the 17 per cent in 2015, as citizens living in multidimensional poverty now stand at 133 million. But the challenges did not begin today.

In the second quarter of 2016, the Nigerian economy contracted by 1.5 per cent and went into recession; the worst in 25 years. The National Bureau of Statistics said the sharp fall was due to plummeting oil revenues which stood at $26pb and a shortage of hard currency.

It (NBS) said, “This contraction reflects a difficult year for Nigeria, which included weaker inflation-induced consumption demand, an increase in pipeline vandalism, significantly reduced foreign reserves and a concomitantly weaker currency.”

Months prior, oil production, Nigeria’s economic mainstay, fell to 1.83 million barrels daily from 2.13 million bpd in 2015 as militancy flourished in the oil-rich Niger Delta. In 2020, the economy slipped into another recession; its second in just five years.

A November 2022 World Bank report revealed that development progress in Nigeria had stagnated since 2015 when Buhari assumed office. It (World Bank Report) said, “Nigeria’s development progress has stagnated since 2015. Between 2001 and 2014, Nigeria was a rising growth star in West Africa, with an average growth rate of seven per cent per year, and among the top 15 fastest-growing economies globally.

“The rising tide stopped since 2015 due to: (i) a decline in oil prices; (ii) increased insecurity; (iii) a reversal of macroeconomic reforms and heightened unpredictability of economic policies; and—more recently—(iv) the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a result, growth reduced to a 1.1 per cent average between 2015 and 2021. The subdued economic growth, coupled with a rapid increase in population at 2.6 per cent per year, one of the highest of the region, widened the gap in real GDP per capita between Nigeria and its peers.”(www naija247news.com)

Peter Okafor
Peter Okaforhttp://Naija247news.com
Peter Okafor Financial Journalist | Editor | Contributor Overview: Peter Okafor is a seasoned Financial Journalist, astute Editor, and valued Contributor at Naija247news Media Group. With an unwavering passion for dissecting complex financial landscapes, Peter has become a trusted name in delivering incisive and insightful coverage of economic events, market trends, and corporate dynamics. Professional Journey Peter's journey in financial journalism has been marked by a commitment to excellence. Joining the ranks of Naija247news, he has consistently demonstrated a keen understanding of the intricate interplay between finance and the global socio-economic fabric. Expertise: Specializing in financial markets, economic analyses, and business developments, Peter Okafor has honed his expertise over the years. His ability to unravel intricate financial narratives and present them in a comprehensible manner sets him apart in the world of financial journalism. Contributions As an Editor and Contributor, Peter has played a pivotal role in shaping the narrative of Naija247news. His contributions extend to thought-provoking articles, in-depth market analyses, and coverage of key events that impact the financial landscape. Educational Background: Peter holds a degree in Journalism, complemented by specialized courses in Finance and Business Reporting. His educational foundation has provided him with the tools to navigate the intricate world of financial journalism. Innovation and Adaptability: In an era of evolving media landscapes, Peter Okafor exemplifies innovation and adaptability. Leveraging digital platforms and emerging technologies, he ensures that financial insights reach a diverse audience, fostering financial literacy and awareness. Awards and Recognition: Peter's commitment to journalistic excellence has not gone unnoticed. He has been the recipient of several awards, recognizing his outstanding contributions to the field of financial journalism. Vision for the Future: Looking ahead, Peter Okafor envisions a future where financial journalism continues to empower individuals, shape economic policies, and drive positive change. His dedication to staying at the forefront of financial news underscores his commitment to this vision. Connect with Peter Okafor: - LinkedIn: [Peter Okafor](#) - Twitter: [@PeterOkafor_N247](#) In the dynamic realm of financial journalism, Peter Okafor stands as a stalwart, combining experience, expertise, and a forward-looking vision to illuminate the path of financial understanding for a global audience.

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