In Praise of Muhammadu Buhari

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No administration in Nigeria from 1999 to 2015 came close to the achievements of the Muhammadu Buhari government within four years of its first term in office. Errors and mistakes were made by the Buhari government; this is normal in a large and promising democracy, but the government has done very well in the two fundamental areas upon which it rode to power — put a stop to official corruption and neutralize Boko Haram senseless war. The administration has also done excellently well in other areas including the economy.

Nigeria’s daily crude production rose by 9% – 2.09 million bpd in 2018; foreign reserves have peaked at nearly $45bn, the highest in about four years. Real Gross Domestic Product growth stood at 1.81 per cent in the third quarter of 2018. Nigeria has moved from a deficit to surplus in its trade balance. The Buhari administration has reinvigorated the agricultural sector. Today, massive rice imports have virtually stopped. The nation is saving nearly N24.7 billion monthly with the full implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA). The Buhari administration social investment programme is one of the best in Africa. Through the N-Power scheme, 500,000 graduates have been employed to date. The School Feeding programme is feeding 9,300,892 pupils in 49, 837 schools in 24 states across Nigeria, and empowering 96,972 cooks – isn’t this beautiful!?

Another significant step forward by this administration is PresidentMuhammaduBuhari’s drive to close Nigeria’s significant infrastructural deficit by completing abandoned projects and also strategically initiating and executing new ones. Many of Buhari’s adversaries who are accusing the President of not carrying out many white elephant projects should hide their heads in shame. Buhari has wisdom and has the country at heart. Buhari refused to behave like the typical Nigerian politician, who once in power; abandons and rubbishes projects started by their predecessors and embark on new duplicates. This why Nigeria does not need an Atiku presidency- we cannot return to past.

There are over a thousand abandoned federal government projects in roads, healthcare, education, water resources, electricity, among others, littered nationwide. President Buhari is completing them. Furthermore, under the Buhari administration, the national capital inflow has increased. The Nigerian Stock Exchange has risen to 40,000 points for the first time since October 2014. The non-oil sectors exports are up 70% year-on-year and manufactured goods exports are up 22% year-on-year. Power generation is at an all-time high of 7,000mw from a mere 2,000mw when Buhari took over. Some 25 major highways across the six geo-political zones are being funded with the N100 billion Sukuk Bond. The Lagos-Kano Standard Rail Gauge is on. Lagos-Ibadan and Kano-Kaduna sectors will be ready in 2019; the entire stretch will be ready in year 2021. Coastal Rail covering 15 cities from Lagos to Calabar is in the pipeline.
The $45 billion foreign reserve is a big plus for the Buhari government, because most of our previous governments lacked control and ability to save. The Buhari government was able to control wasteful and reckless spending. The massive road and rail projects are for posterity as the benefits would be enjoyed later. Having a President that detests corruption is a huge image promotion for Nigeria and confidence-builder for investors and relief for the masses, knowing that the nation’s wealth is safe and will be used to advance their cause.

Politically, despite these sterling performances of Buhari within his three years plus in power, we cannot conceal the fact that Buhari is human, he has made mistakes as well as committed errors but they are correctable. One cannot satisfy everyone. Although in governance, it is essential to put everyone in the picture.
In recent times, the APC has made some inroads into its weak base- the South-South and South-East, thanks to some big catch, like Godswill Akpabio, Uzor Kalu and the Buhari appointees from the regions. APC’s acceptability in these regions has improved. This will help the party in getting more votes in those regions compared with what the party got in 2015. The North-West is Buhari and Buhari is North-West. Buhari’s degrading of Boko Haram and Atiku’s near absence in the cause of rehabilitating the North-East will haunt Atiku. The Southwest, Northwest and Northeast with the highest number of voters are Buhari/Osinbajo strongholds.
The giant strides of the Buhari government are unbeatable. He has successfully steered the country out of the mess made from 1999 to 2015. It is still a long way ahead but the country is moving in the right direction.
––Zayyad I. Muhammad, Jimeta, Adamawa State