Die hard supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari should give Nigerians a break.
I get it that a lot of people cannot wean themselves from the obsession of what they think Buhari’s legendary integrity could do for Nigeria, but please, you do not have to invent achievements for a government that is still struggling to taxi from its parking position not to talk about taking off.
I am even a bit confused about what these guys want us to believe. It is in the same breath that they say it is too early to appraise the administration that they bring up a myriad of achievements since May 29!
So you will see stuff like: “megawatts are increasing; refineries are almost fully revamped, to commence production within a month; external reserves increased by $3b in a month, provided bailout to states to clear 8 months’ salary arrears; secured multilateral cooperation of all neighbouring countries for a MJTF against Boko Haram; G7 cooperation and support in fight against insurgents; Nnamani is forfeiting money, while Nyako, Ohakim and Lamido and in court,” and all sorts.
While it is true that some of these things are happening, attributing them to the Buhari administration is to take liberty with the truth. Take the issue of increase in electricity, much of the improvement we see is as a result of the efforts and structure put in place by the Jonathan administration. One of those is the power purchase agreement which sources said was planned to see that Gencos are committed to their declared generating capacity or face sanctions. This agreement is to ensure that stakeholders start and complete repairs of their machinery and improve their processes.
It is also clear that the incidence of vandalisation of pipelines have dropped over the past few weeks and that has contributed to the improvement in the supply of power but that is a discussion for another day.
This same argument goes for the news that the Warri and Port Harcourt Refineries were due to come back on stream in a matter of weeks. Those reports said that the refineries had been under maintenance for the past 18 months because you cannot repair refineries in 1 month. So where are the claims by those who give credit to this administration for the repairs of the refineries coming from?
And then the current wave of activities relating to cases about corruption is really nothing new. Former Governor Nnamani’s case has been in the courts for seven years. Former Governor Ikedi Ohakim has also been in court, former Governor Murtala Nyako was being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission(EFCC) when he fled Nigeria in 2014 while former Governor Sule Lamido had constitutional immunity until he left office last May. So, here we just have people performing their constitutional duties and it has nothing to do with president Buhari!
The $2.1b (N413.7bn) which the president approved as bail out is not his doing either. The money came from tax paid by the NLNG from revenue earned under Jonathan because the NLNG could not have earned that much in one month. It is not a point that we or anyone should gloat about.
Again, the agreement with countries in the Lake Chad Commission as well as the President’s meeting with the G-7 countries has not positively affected the fight against insurgency in the country so it should not be regarded as an achievement. Especially given that hundreds of Nigerians have lost their lives to the Boko Haram insurgency in the past couple of weeks. Just yesterday, I read a report in Premium Times with the title “How Buhari’s slow pace is affecting the war against Boko Haram.” It tells the entire story.
President Buhari deserves credit for the increase in the country’s foreign reserve by close to $3b US Dollars in the past 30 days, apparently one of the fallouts of his firm instructions that all revenue accruing to the nation must be paid into the federation account.
But how much of this has any direct relevance on the lives of the common man. Those who are rooting for the president and who want to shut out anyone who does not see things their way insist that it is too early to expect an economic policy direction from the administration.
Yet this is why the economy is near stagnant, why organisations are laying off staff because of the drag in business. This is why banks are not lending and it is also one of the reasons why the naira is on a free fall in relation to the dollar and the pound, it is why investors do not have the confidence to put money in this economy yet and also one of the reasons why our stock exchange has remained bearish with investors losing N271bn in five days last week.
What about the inability of this administration to form a government? We reason with the president that he could sleep on the list of his chief of staff, secretary to the government of the federation and ministers until he wants but what has happened to the request he made to the senate for the approval of the appointment of 15 Special Advisers and for which he got approval about one months ago?
So what is the point? The president has done nothing yet to show Nigerians that he would change things like he promised. He is entitled to ask that Nigerians bear with him for a while but then his supporters should not attempt to shut us up or feed us with some concocted achievements. People are entitled to remaining star-struck with Buhari until he ends his tenure but they should kindly not attempt to drag us along that route.
But that does not mean that we do not wish Buhari well. As I said to a friend of mine during the week, I say a word of prayer because it is my interest that he makes a success of this mandate. However, we should do that without patronizing him and losing the whole essence of responsible citizenship. Buhari like every other person in power is human and as power corrupts, citizens must put those we elected on their toes and demand performance from them rather than offer the free pass that some of us are currently giving.
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