THREE days hence, Monday, May 29, 2023, President Muhammadu Buhari will hand over power to the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, at the Eagle Square, Abuja.
It has been a very harrowing time for the ordinary people who have had very little to smile about. A president who swept into office in 2015, having benefited from the free and fair election ensured by his predecessor, President Goodluck Jonathan, is handing over in chaos due to an election in 2023 widely described as the “worst” in our history. Yet Buhari termed it his “proudest” achievement.
Buhari did not live up to expectation over his three-point agenda – security, economy and anti-corruption. He said he recruited 60,000 new soldiers but he did not tell us how many troops we lost to insecurity, especially Boko Haram terrorism. Boko Haram has been decimated, but new terror groups have emerged, notably, the ISWAP jihadist terrorists and the murderous Bandits.
Fulani herdsmen militias which have continued to massacre people unchecked, especially in Southern Kaduna, Plateau State and Benue State, were never officially designated by the Buhari government as part of the threats to our security, let alone tackling them. They enjoyed special protection and a free hand.
Though we exited the economic recession of 2016 and 2017 and the COVID-19 pandemic, no serious economic agenda was deployed to lift the lives of the people. Poor revenue profile, unprecedented oil theft and our inability to meet our daily OPEC oil quota, forced the Buhari regime to depend heavily on borrowings and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN’s, “ways and means” to pay its bills.
Even at that, the regime wasted a lot of money on questionable “conditional cash transfer” schemes that should have been better invested to boost productivity. The anti-corruption agenda of the regime lost steam a few years on, and the Buhari regime is now seen as one of the most corrupt in history.
One of the worst legacies of Buhari’s government was the extreme nepotism and disdain for the constitutional principle of Federal Character which demands balance, equity and the avoidance of sectional domination. Under Buhari, troops massacred people on religious ground (the Shiites), ethnic basis (alleged Biafran separatists) and demand for better governance (the Lekki Toll Gate Massacre).
The media were intimidated and muzzled, the judiciary was harassed, while the Ahmed Lawan-led National Assembly acted as a rubber-stamp. The shadow of the state loomed large.
Buhari, however, made some impact in infrastructural development, completing the railway and highway projects started since the Obasanjo regime, especially the Second Niger Bridge and the Lagos- Ibadan Expressway. Many airports were upgraded.
The regime recently released a 91-page catalogue of what it said were its achievements, but which hardly impacted the lives of ordinary Nigerians. We are unable to award the regime a pass mark.