HAS PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI DELIVERED ON CAMPAIGN PROMISES?

Solomon Chung, Abuja

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President Muhammadu Buhari

When President Muhammadu Buhari won the historic 2015 election, all hopes were on an unprecedented high by the Nigerian people, especially considering the tripartite promise he built his campaign brand on. He promised to fight corruption, insecurity and revamp the nation’s ailing economy.

Over the last five years, the President has taken some bold and visionary steps that have put Nigeria on an irreversible path to sustainable development.

For example, the war against corruption which is a cardinal programme of the administration has been fought in an unrelenting manner that even the most brutal critics of the government acknowledge sincerity and purposefulness of the crusade.

The anti-corruption agencies have demonstrated commitment in fighting the cankerworm of corruption. In the last one year alone, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offences Commission (ICPC) has recovered assets worth 81.23 billion Naira.

The ICPC has also established a Constituency Project Tracking Group which has resulted in the completion of over 400 constituency projects in education, health, water resources, agriculture and other sectors nationwide. Also, over 300 contractors who had abandoned projects returned to site in various parts of the country.

On its part, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has secured 1,270 convictions and recovered huge amounts of money within one year. The recoveries include 32.6 billion Naira; $10,348; 758,155 Pounds Sterling; 183,475 Euros; 294,950 Saudi Riyal; 2,800 Chinese Yuan; 300 Canadian Dollars and 500 CFA.

On the economic front, there are several strategic approaches that have been deployed over the last years that have directly or indirectly resulted to economic growth and prosperity as we have witnessed so far.

For example, the administration has embarked on infrastructural projects such as roads, bridges, railway, electricity, among others spread across all the six geo-political zones of the country.

The Second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano Expressway, the Owerri Interchange, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Port Harcourt-Enugu Expressway, and the commencement of road repairs in 92 locations across 24 states.

There is also the unprecedented agricultural revolution through the anchor borrowers program of the Central Bank of Nigeria which has made friendly loan facilities available to farmers in the country.

Another policy that has direct connection to economic recovery is the closure of Nigeria’s land borders in August 2019. This decision by Buhari has boosted production of agricultural products, especially rice, tomatoes, pepper and poultry, most of which were previously imported from neighbouring countries. This has had positive impact the growth of the economy

Today, Nigeria is fast attaining self-sufficiency in rice production, as the border closure has drastically reduced rice smuggling into the country and catalyzed rice production by farmers across the country.

Now, Nigeria has over 34 integrated rice mills as well as rice clusters, while millions of direct and indirect jobs have been created, and huge amounts in foreign exchange, that hitherto went into rice importation have been saved.

Also worthy of note is the efficient social investment program of the Buhari administration that takes care of the unemployed as well as the most vulnerable. These are all initiatives and policies geared towards revamping the economy.

Insecurity poses enormous challenges to the Buhari administration just as it did to previous governments. But the retired Army General has left no one in doubt that he is equal to the task.

He confronted the insurgency in the Northeast region head-on. President Buhari was the arrowhead in the establishment of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), aimed at combating trans-border crimes and the Boko Haram insurgency.

In 2015, Nigeria’s Northeast, a territory three times the​ ​size of Lebanon, was firmly in the​ ​hands of Boko Haram, but the region has since been recovered from insurgents.

More than a million displaced persons have returned to their homes and farming, schooling, government and private businesses which were disrupted as a result of the activities of insurgents have resumed across the Northeast, even though there are still a few pockets of isolated cases of skirmishes there.

In a bid to put to rest the incessant security challenges, the security operations across the country include: Operation Lafiya Dole, and Operation Last Hold, to defeat Boko Haram in the Northeast, Operation Whirl Stroke in Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara states, to tackle the menace of armed herdsmen, cattle rustling, communal militias, banditry, kidnapping and other forms of criminality.

President Buhari, well known for his thoroughness recently made it clear to the country’s head of security operations that the gains made so far must be sustained and anything less than an ‘A’ grade performance was unacceptable.

It is against this backdrop of sterling performance that one can safely say that the Buhari administration is delivering on all the three campaign promises of fighting corruption, insecurity and revamping the nation’s economy.

 

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