SaharaReporters examines some things President Muhammadu Buhari criticized before he was elected but has failed to improve himself.
The ruling party, the All Progressives Congress defeated the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2015 presidential election that ushered in President Muhammadu Buhari.
Before the election, which was the first that saw the incumbent president losing to an opponent, APC leaders capitalised on many of the failures of the PDP-led government of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
In their campaign promises, the APC declared that insecurity, poor economy, corruption, weak naira amongst other nation’s difficulties would be successfully tackled if they won.
It is almost six years that Buhari has been at the helms of national affairs, but the headaches it assured his administration would cure have worsened under his watch.
Here are a few of the issues that Buhari and his APC condemned during Jonathan’s government and have deteriorated under him.
Unarguably, Nigeria’s major problem at the moment is insecurity. During Jonathan’s reign, Boko Haram terrorists were the main problem. They launched attacks against churches and public places which they executed through suicide bombings, planting of explosive devices, and shootings. The height of it was the abduction of about 276 female students in Chibok, Borno State on April 14, 2014.
Buhari campaigned vigorously that his APC-led administration would crush terrorists when he assumed office. However, Boko Haram insurgents have remained audacious in their assaults. They never lack the effrontery to attack Governor's convoy and military bases times on many occasions.
Apart from Boko Haram, other criminals have been terrorising the peace of the country. For instance, under Buhari’s watch, killer Fulani herdsmen and bandits cannot be tamed by the security agencies.
They even now negotiate with the government as abductions and other atrocities they engage in threaten the sovereignty of the country.
The country has experienced horrible incidents like the abduction of 110 Dapchi girls in Yobe State on February 19, 2018; 344 Kankara boys in Katsina State on December 11, 2020; 27 Kagara boys in Niger State and 300 Jangebe girls in Zamfara State on February 17 and 26, 2021 respectively.
Then late Thursday night, March 11, gunmen attacked the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, in the Igabi local government area of Kaduna state, kidnapping 39 students.
Digging deep into the security lapses under President Buhari would reveal the killing of farmers by Fulani herders at Yewa Local Government of Ogun State in which lives were lost, farmlands destroyed, women raped and people displaced.
The massacre of 76 rice farmers by Boko Haram in Zabarmari, Borno State on November 28, 2020, was among other callous attacks of criminals against the masses, that the government could not handle.
Kidnapping has now become rampant across the country and many roads are unsafe.
Buhari protested against the removal of fuel subsidy by Jonathan in 2012, which would have pushed up the price of fuel from N65 to N141 per litre. The demonstrations across the country compelled the then-president to reverse the decision. All through Jonathan’s administration, petrol was never sold at N100 per litre.
Buhari promised to reduce Premium Motor Spirit to N40 per litre, but he took Nigerians by surprise by increasing it to N145 in 2015. Recently, he announced the removal of fuel subsidy that he protested against in 2012. Presently, the fuel is sold officially at N162.
As an opposition figure and presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) aiming to get the PDP out of power in the 2011 election, Buhari said "if anybody tells you he is subsidising anything, he is a fraud."
However, about one year into office as Nigeria's president, Buhari agreed to fuel subsidy removal which was still not achieved.
A report in 2019 by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a global accounting and consulting firm said the Buhari government spent N1.2 trillion as subsidies on petrol consumption between 2015 and 2018.
Under ex-President Jonathan, the nation’s economy was the largest and fastest-growing in Africa, but Buhari pledged to establish a market-based economy. Buhari said such an economy would be run with a clear definite regulatory framework and effective enforcement mechanism. He further assured that this would help Nigerian people to participate and engage in productive economic activities, to renovate the economy.
Now, according to a prominent non-partisan private sector organisation, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), the Buhari administration has plunged the nation’s economy into rising inflation, contrasting GDP, unsustainable borrowing, the dwindling value of the naira, falling industrial capacity utilisation and frightening unemployment figures.
In the last five years, Nigeria’s economy has been left with a prostrate and deficient economic condition. It can be said that the billions of naira expended by the government, supposedly to contain the economic shock as a result of the immediate aftermath of the pandemic had no significant result in alleviating the country’s poverty status.
Buhari in his campaign promises said he would create 3 million jobs yearly. At that time, during Jonathan’s administration, precisely in the 4th quarter of 2014, the report put the total number of unemployed citizens at 4,672, 449.
Since Buhari took over the affairs of the nation, the unemployment indication has increased by 43.72% to 11,549,310 in the 4th quarter 2016; by 53% to 17,671,142 in the 4th quarter 2017; by 18.43% to 20,927, 648 in the third quarter 2018 and by 10.79% to 23, 187, 389 in the 4th quarter of 2020.
Bloomberg said, “Unemployment in Africa’s the largest economy surged to the second-highest on a global list of countries monitored by Bloomberg.
“The jobless rate in Nigeria rose to 33.3% in the three months through December, according to a report published by National Bureau of Statistics on its website Monday. That’s up from 27.1% in the second quarter of 2020, the last period for which the agency released labour-force statistics.
“A third of the 69.7 million-strong labour force in Africa’s most-populous nation either did nothing or worked for less than 20 hours a week, making them unemployed, according to the Nigerian definition. Another 15.9 million worked less than 40 hours a week, making them underemployed.”
'Naira Equal To Dollar'
At a presidential rally of the APC at Dan Anyima Stadium, Owerri, Imo State a few weeks to the 2015 general elections, Buhari promised that he would ensure that the naira was equal to the dollar in value, if voted into office.
“It is sad that the value of the naira has dropped to more than N230 to one dollar; this does not speak well for the nation’s economy,’’ he said.
Now, the nation’s currency has deteriorated in value under his watch. One dollar is exchanged for 411.63 which has wreaked havoc on the nation’s economy.
Ban On Medical Trips Abroad
Buhari frowned on the Jonathan era of seeking medical trips abroad. He promised to place a ban on such medical tourism and also build a world-class health care system when in office. He said the country had been wasteful with such trips, thus vowed to put an end to it.
Getting to office, Buhari himself embarked on such trips for long periods. In June 2016, President Buhari flew to London to be treated for an ear infection.
Dr Osahon Enabulele, vice-president of the Commonwealth Medical Association, while condemning the act said it was a "national shame" that Buhari went to the UK for treatment when Nigeria had more than 250 ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialists, as well as a National Ear Centre.