President Muhammadu Buhari taking his oath of office the second time at the Eagle Square, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari taking his oath of office the second time at the Eagle Square, Abuja

Last week’s swearing-in of President Muhammadu Buhari, for a second term in office, has formally ushered in the journey to the ‘Next Level’, writes Olawale Olaleye

When President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime took off in 2015, he was very clear about his destination – CHANGE. Although not unaware of some of the roadblocks in their path, the president and his team had identified three crucial roadblocks – the economy, security, and corruption – that must be pulled down to have a jolly ride.

President Buhari didn’t mince words that it was not going to be easy to pull down the roadblocks, the problem, perhaps was that he had no definite clue on how to effectively pull them down and allow for a smooth run particularly, providing the requisite leadership in this instance.

Four years after, the train eventually wobbled to destination CHANGE, however, with none of the three major roadblocks decimated. While some of them escaped the Buhari bulldozer through tact and strategic exploitation of the administration’s gauche approach, some indeed hung onto the tailboard of the train, eager to be part of the next level, while a majority of others successfully made it to the train, curiously, as passengers onboard.

In fact, there’s still a raging debate on whether or not the train that eventually made it to station was switched midway, because another train, which sought to move the passengers successfully to their destination had arrived about the same time, contending that the Buhari train had developed faults on the way and could not have made it to station in record time.

Unfortunately, engineers at the station saw it differently. That Buhari was on the train was all that was needed to acknowledge the fact that he came first and not that a different train brought him and the other passengers. But some of the technical assistants at the station are already investigating the matter and hoping to come up with their findings soon. Until then, Buhari is deemed to have a legal and constitutional right to activate the next level trip. And with his train fully serviced for the new trip, passengers to the next level are also ready to board once the station opens.

As was the 2015 movement, the 2019 campaign was simple and straightforward, although not as they seem. The theme was next level and by implication, it was to consolidate some of the gains recorded between 2015 and 2019, if there was any.

Interestingly, the government has not been comfortable being assessed on the strength of the tripod of security, economy, and corruption atop which it ran in 2015, because in those areas, success has not been as visible and pronounced as it should be. Yet, it asked for more time to consolidate and this request was granted as recorded by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Thus, without assurances of having efficiently addressed the three monsters of corruption, security, and economy, Buhari’s next level campaign centred on five concerns and they are job creation, infrastructure renewal, business and entrepreneurship development, human capital development services incorporating the health and education sectors and of course, political inclusion.

To judge Buhari on the performances of the last campaign promises is to assume he could fail in his next level plan. Look at it this way, insecurity has been on the upswing despite attempts to downplay it. The economy is still punching very hard below its weight while the fight against corruption is generally considered a façade in many quarters with an approach largely considered selective.

But because he has been given the opportunity of a second term, whether or not his election is still in dispute, he should be given yet another benefit of the doubts to address some of these concerns in relation to the clearly identified issues that would make the next level dream a reality.

Although if the argument on how Buhari’s inauguration on Wednesday turned out is to be factored into serious consideration, hope would begin to dim almost immediately, however, the fact that he had announced a low-key ceremony meant notice had been served and therefore, the definition of low-key was entirely at his discretion and that of his team.

Regardless, that a major event as the inauguration ceremony went without a speech is alien to every known political culture here and away and as such, excuses on why that bit was suspended for June 12, do not suffice, because they are not the same. And to also think that provision was made for his speech delivery in the inauguration programme between 11 am and 11.15 am showed that it was a last minute change occasioned by some uninformed reasons.

Indeed, the inauguration ceremony should have been an ideal avenue to make a crucial announcement, including some of the very important but first-line appointments. Sadly, it appeared no lesson had been learnt yet and this might as well be another rollercoaster, albeit different from the 2015 train, which only struggled and wobbled to its destination.

That said, however, the next level train had taken off immediately Buhari was sworn in on Wednesday, May 29, and ready to start picking, first, its staff on the way. There is no doubt that all eyes are on the Buhari/Osinbajo government to either combine change and next level concerns for a more desirable result or fritter away what is left of its goodwill, including this fragile opportunity to right the wrongs of the last four years.

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