Buhari Govt: The Pains, The Gains

Pic.19. President Muhammadu Buhari signing executive order number 6 at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Thursday (5/7/18). 03616/5/7/2018/Sumaila Ejiga/JAU/NAN

From Editor’s Desk Ambrose Inusa Sule

The late Indian writer, Argun Appadorai in his classic book, Substance of Politics; a comprehensive account of the essential principles of political and organization, presents consistent thesis that the state exists for the benefit of the individual and not the individual for the state.

It is a lucid exposition of the basic ideas of politics, which provides critical as well as factual discussions on the forms of government and inter-state relations against the back-ground of fundamental political concepts such as liberty, equality, law and sovereignty.

In his damning contention, he markedly stated that every nation deserves the government it has.

He wrote this aphorism which is now commonly used to suggest that citizens should get more involved in politics, actively push for more democratic governments and rebel against tyrants.

Before Argun Appadorai, French philosopher and politician, Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821) was the first to succinctly propagate this aphorism.

To say that a nation gets the government it deserves alludes to the fact that every nation is ultimately responsible to itself for how it conduct its own internal affairs. If a nation has a bad government, that’s because the nation, by malice or negligence, has not yet replaced that bad government with a good one.

Succinctly means that blame for Nigeria woes lies with Nigerians to have been electing bad leaders over the decades.

It could be argued that for long, Nigerians have not been allowed to truly elect their leaders. But for the first time in Nigerian political history, it could be said that Nigerians truly elected Mohammadu Buhari as their president in the 2015.

Buhari took office as Nigeria’s President on a wave of optimism that the ex-military leader could revive a nation battered by decades of corruption.

Buhari’s campaign mantra was change to end corruption; he said was ‘killing’ Nigeria. Amongst his campaign promises was to crush Boko Haram whose Islamist insurgency has led to thousands of deaths in the northeast since 2009 and also to boost economic growth.

His emergence and his effort to build an economic bridge to Nigeria’s future, seems to have been truncated due to what many discerning observes considered as his inflexibility, lack of vision and reactive approach to achieve it.

Today, Africa’s biggest economy is on its knees. It was difficult to imagine a scenario that close to four years in office, things seem to be getting worse.

Foreign investors are staying away sake of what some financial experts considered as the policy inconsistency of the government. And today, foreign direct investment in the country was the lowest since the 2007-2008 of global financial crisis.

Nigeria economy is now barely out of recession, fearing that if proactive approach is not made, it may result to depression soon.

There’s no gainsaying the fact that an upsurge of militant attacks has sent crude oil production plummeting to an almost 30-year low. Delays in approving budget weaken an over-valued currency that has caused foreign investors to flee.

The Nigeria’s economy is at high risk to say the least, experiencing its first full recession since 1987. Experts disagreed with Buhari’s continued opposition to devaluation, though he has given the Central Bank leeway to implement a more flexible currency regime.

It is believed by many that Buhari’s woes is due to lack of direction and lack of a well-coordinated economic team to think out of the box on how to get the country out of the present harrowing hardship suffered by Nigerians.

The inevitable failure of policies has created a black market economy. The exchange rate policy contributed significantly to creating the recessionary situation we are today. It has hit manufacturers who could not access forex which has created unemployment.

Across the 36 states of the federation, most of which depend on monthly hand-outs from the federal government are on average of four to six months late salary payments.

After close to four years in office, President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to attain most of his election promises. Most Nigerians are yet to see any real improvement of their living conditions; instead things are getting worst by the day with no hope in sight.

Though, there have been mix reactions amongst Nigerians. Opinion and interpretation of the promise of change by Buhari administration differ. The verdicts of Nigerians on his, indeed often reflect the country’s diversity.

The campaign slogan of the ruling APC party was “Change”. It was true to a large extent that Nigerians were desired a “Change” and voted out the previous PDP government in the 2015 presidential election.

However, close to four years, Nigerians are asking for the ‘indicators of change’ in the economy and more importantly, on how their conditions and livelihoods have been positively affected.

These are legitimate concerns. The hike in fuel price that resulted to mass protests and civil actions led by organized labour, the attacks on oil pipelines by the Niger Delta militants and widely reported killings by the Fulani herdsmen are a major concerns of the ordinary Nigerian.

In addition, the agitation for independent state of Biafra by the Igbo youths in the eastern part of the country has come up as a disturbing development.

How this is managed by the Buhari administration will go a long way in convincing Nigerians that President Buhari is truly for all.

There’s no doubt that fixing Nigeria has never been an easy task, however, the task it set for itself: promoting economic growth, ensuring safety of life and property and fighting corruption.

The loudest accomplishment so far with this government is the defeat of the Boko Haram insurgents and to an extent corruption, though, considered by the opposition party, PDP as selective.

The administration’s resolve to keep the country’s currency steady is another unsung achievement. Admittedly, the rejection of the devaluation option is not popular especially among economic experts that feel the government is pursuing a pseudo-nationalist monetary policy in an era of globalization.

There’s still a level of goodwill towards Buhari and his government, but its dissipating fast. The man on the street is really going through the worst of time.

There’s need for clear policy guidelines and roadmaps to drive the economy. The government needs to communicate its policies and programs to the people. Nigerians need to be well informed about what has delayed the change they have all been yearning for.

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