One year of Buhari’s leadership
With one year of Muhammadu Buhari as President of Nigeria, there is no doubt that his administration has rekindled hope and optimism in the country after the rots of monumental mismanagement, corruption, impunity and neglect of infrastructure and social services left by the successive PDP governments since 1999 and the attendant mass poverty, misery and despondency. So far, the premium placed by the present administration on transparency, honesty and accountability in running of public affairs has generated it widespread commendations and support within and outside our polity.
Worthy of note is President Buhari’s impressive anticorruption war, which has been waged with uncommon sincerity of purpose, courage and determination. This has woken bodies like Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) from their slumber. The ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government at all levels are not spared from the anti-graft searchlight of the Buhari government going by the probes of public institutions in critical sectors like oil/gas and maritime.
In fact, never in the annals of Nigeria has a government embarked on a large-scale anticorruption campaign as in the present national leadership in the country with no institutions of government being made to be a sacred cow - be it the executive, legislature, judiciary or armed forces. The ongoing investigation by EFCC into $2.1 billion arms scam shows how pervasive official corruption was in the recent past in the polity, which undermined national security considering its debilitating effects on the war against the deadly Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. However, it is reassuring that with the accountable leadership of President Buhari, there has been a significant upturn in the anti-insurgency operations by the military against the sect in the past one year, with the bulk of the militants decapitated. Clearly, this heart-warming development accounts for the recovery of most of the territories in the northeast of the country and the marked decline in suicide bombings by the group.
Having repositioned the armed forces and law enforcement agencies in Nigeria, for effectiveness with improved funding, there are high expectations that there would be a dramatic decrease in factors threatening to torpedo our internal security like insurgency, militancy, herdersfarmers’ clashes, armed robbery, kidnapping, cultism and vandalisation of critical national infrastructure like oil pipelines and electricity cables. Also likely to affect national security in a favourable manner is Buhari administration’s commitment to address mass poverty, youth unemployment and lack of social opportunities through more than N500 billion social welfare package set aside in the budget of this year. Expectedly, such a huge safety net programme would help, in no small measure, in cushioning the adverse effects of the recent removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government.
Come to think of it, the scrapping of the annual multibillion naira fuel subsidy regime, which in 2013 alone or thereabouts gulped N1.2 trillion, is a courageous step by the Buhari administration considering that the policy was a grand fraud against majority of Nigerians by a cabal who benefitted from it. For one, it does not make economic sense to subsidise consumption like fuel but production (including agricultural and manufacturing sectors), as seen in most developed countries around the world. For another, with the removal of fuel subsidy in Nigeria, it would pave the way for a competitive system that would reduce fuel price in the long run, check hoarding and frequent scarcity of the product, set in motion the machinery for establishment of refineries by private investors and end controversial deals that have cost the country billions of naira like the so-called oil swap. In addition to all these is the fact the funds saved from ending fuel subsidy will now be invested in infrastructure and social services, apart from social palliatives, that will benefit the masses.
Part of the emblematic features of Buhari’s hopeful leadership in Nigeria is solemn commitment to public accountability. This is mostly exemplified by the bold implementation of the Treasury Singe Account ( TSA) by the administration in order to stave off wastes and leakages in the MDAs of government. It is interesting to note that more than N2 trillion has reportedly been netted as savings from the TSA, a gigantic sum one quarter of it usually filtered into individual pockets in the past through embezzlement and fraud. Also noteworthy is the galvanisation of leading revenue generating bodies in Nigeria by the Buhari government like Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) with appointment of honest and capable hands as their bosses.
Within the realm of international diplomacy, the Buhari administration has recorded a remarkable feat in the past one year by restoring Nigeria’s prestige among the comity of civilised countries.
Finally, with one year of Buhari’s leadership, Nigerians, regardless of the prevailing economic challenges facing them, are implored to reflect on the gains so far, mindful that to destroy is easy but to rebuild is excruciatingly difficult. Of course, underpinning Buhari’s hopeful leadership in the past one year are, essentially, its avowed policy of no business as usual in managing public affairs, its proclivity to good governance, its unparalleled anti-corruption stance, its commitment to economic diversification in the face of global crude oil price crisis and, above all, its keen determination to engender a new Nigeria that will work for its people through due process, rule of the law, peaceful coexistence, national security, social inclusion, equality of opportunities, social justice, respect of basic human rights, economic progress and sustainable development.
Daura, a social commentator, wrote in from Garki, Abuja. email@example.com
Nigerians, regardless of the prevailing economic challenges facing them, are implored to reflect on the gains so far, mindful that to destroy is easy but to rebuild is excruciatingly difficult