Nigerians score President Buhari low after two years in office

Nigerians score President Buhari low after two years in office

Its a mixture of sweetness and doses of bitterness as Nigerians speak on two years of democracy under the All Progressive Congress government

By Gbenga Odunsi

Both Nigerians and the international community had high hopes when President Muhammadu Buhari became Nigerian president in May 2015, AljazirahNigeria recalls.

Buhari replaced ex leader Goodluck Jonathan whose efforts to combat Boko Haram many regarded as feckless and whose administration organizations and public figures alike routinely panned as corrupt.

Jonathan’s government performed so poorly that the Nigerian people just wanted change right away and across the country.

To convince Nigerians it could change the nearly hopeless situation and offer a better deal, the All Progressive Congress (APC) unveiled an ambitious manifesto, arguably one of the most elaborate in Nigeria’s political history. President Buhari promised in his inauguration speech that he was going to take on the big issues: terrorism, corruption and power cuts were soon to be a thing of the past.

Angry reactions

Aljazirah Nigeria reporter went around the city of Abuja to gauge people’s reaction concerning the APC led administration’s second year in office.

AljazirahNigeria investigations reveals that many Nigerians now see the APC led government as a hoax. Interestingly, other  commend the efforts of President Buhari on his anti-corruption campaign.

An engineer who simply gave his name as Tony, described Buhari’s second year in office ‘as an average success.’

He advised the president to put in more efforts to stabilize the Nigerian economy.

“President Buhari can boast about his successes against corruption and Boko Haram militants – but the Nigerian economy is still struggling as oil prices have fallen and import costs have soared”

A resident, Ahmed Ideyi said the APC led administration has been a joke, and scam on the Nigerian populace.

He placed emphasis on human rights and freedom of speech violations which are still under threat in Buhari’s government.

“Buhari’s administration is a joke. Nigeria operates a democratic form of government. It is funny that our president uses security agents to arrest anyone who criticizes his government. In as much as he has tried in the areas of terrorism, freedom of speech is still under threat, and this automatically nullifies and negates his successes in other areas. There is still much work to be done by the president”.

Emeka Odinachi , a banker described APC second year in office as a setback for Nigeria.

“The situation does not look much better when it comes to Nigeria’s economy. The country’s main source of income remains oil and gas. The value of the local currency, the naira, has crashed in value at local currency exchanges.  Inflation is increasing and rebels are continuing their attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta.  Buhari took office promising to advance the country’s fight against corruption and terrorism, but his management of the economy might ultimately determine the success or failure of his presidency”.

Devil in angelic form?

A market woman, Rose Adeniyi complained bitterly about the economy which is biting harder by the day.

She described Buhari’s government as a ‘devil in angelic form.’ According to her, Nigerians want to know why Nigeria keeps borrowing like a drug addict when ‘we keep hearing of recovered loots from corrupt office holders.’

“The economy is very bad. It gets worse every day. Nigerians want to know what Buhari intends to do with recovered loots. He keeps borrowing money here and there like a drug addict. Nigerians can’t afford to pay hospital bills and parents are crying out loud on how to pay their children school fees. I think he should just step down as he is not living up to his campaign promises”.

While the government has consistently assured that it is working hard to grow the nation’s economy, many have insisted that the administration has no clear-cut policy initiative to stem the high level of inflation and falling value of the naira against the United States dollar.

An entrepreneur who gave his name as Mr Banji, noted that the APC government is facing its most devastating crisis in the economic sector where revenues have plunged, and a foreign exchange crisis is in full swing, pushing the economy to a recession.

“President Buhari should think of the Nigeria problems at hand, planning for the future generations, not future election in 2019,” he says.

We have performed- APC

Meanwhile the party under scrutiny says it has met the expectations if Nigerians.

The National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, said recently that the government and the party have reasons to celebrate if the situation of Nigeria is looked at “closely”.

Abdullahi, in an interview with journalists yesterday in Abuja said President Muhammadu Buhari promised to focus on three key issues; fight against insecurity, a renewed battle against corruption and economy.

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The APC spokesman said there might be temptation to say that nothing had been achieved because of the difficulties being experienced by Nigerians, media report indicated.

He, however, said that the fact that no part of the country was now under the Boko Haram group which has also released over 100 among the Chibok girls kidnapped three years ago, was worthy of celebration.

He said corruption, which had been considered a ‘normal’ practice in the past, is now being tackled head-on as more achievements are being recorded following introduction of the whistle-blower policy by the federal government.

“Two years down the line, what is the size of Nigeria territory occupied by Boko Haram? Zero, including the dreaded Sambisa forest. For us, this is a remarkable achievement and we believe that in that respect, President Buhari and the government of APC have justified the purpose of coming to power. Yes, many of the Chibok girls are still in captivity, but some of them have been recovered and more are still being recovered.

“For the parents of those recovered, you cannot tell them there is no reason to celebrate. For those who had to abandon their families and homes two years ago because of the menace of Boko Haram and have returned home today, you cannot tell them that there is nothing to celebrate.

“Let us take the issue of corruption….you hear people talking about whistleblowers, people talk about huge amount of money being recovered, people being dragged before the court and former governors being remanded in prison custody for corrupt practices. You hear about former ministers being held in detention and prison for corruption. These are things that were almost impossible two years ago. The challenges are still there, but this is the progress we have made in two years.

“For us, we would also like to argue that there is the tendency to look at the APC from the perspective of the federal government. But the performance of the APC as a party is the aggregate of the performance of our 24 state government. You go to each of our 24 states and you will find out from the people the progress that has been made in two years in those respective states.

“So, when you want to assess whether the APC has delivered or has justified our being in existence, then you have to look at the totality of the federal government and the 24 states that are being governed by the APC. So, we believe that we have a lot of reasons to celebrate. The reality which we have acknowledged is that the economic recession has created difficulty and those hardships still exist and nobody has ever denied that reality.” To tackle the challenge of youth unemployment, Abdullahi said it required a new and comprehensive approach.

“You hear about NPower which is what is being done at the moment among others. Like I said, unless we go back to the nature of our education that retools young people for a different kind of occupation, we will continue to deal with this. So, I believe that it is not something that we can say we have solved in two years.

“It is a problem that needs to be dealt with, but when you are operating an economy in recession, it is even more difficult to manage the impact that some of these things can have. But you will agree with me that if the President promised three things and he has delivered well on two and he still has two years to go, I think he has done well,” he said.

 

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