Buhari’s First 100 Days: Beyond The Sentiments | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Buhari’s First 100 Days: Beyond The Sentiments

Posted: Sep 7, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

editorial letter

Earlier on March 11, the president during a town hall meeting in Lagos discredited the then President Goodluck Jonathan for going round the West African sub-region, seeking solution to the Boko Haram insurgency, instead of tackling the problem from within. He swore not to toe that line. But the very first thing he did, few hours after assuming office, was to jet out to the neighbouring countries of Chad, Benin and Cameroun to seek support in the fight against Boko Haram.

While we acknowledge the great strides the President has made so far in curbing terrorism; ensuring more efficient delivery of infrastructure like power and refineries, there is scarcely other noticeable growth in the economy that the Buhari administration can exclusively ascribe to itself within its first 100 days in office. We are also not unaware of arguments in some quarters that 100 days out of about 1,460-day-lifespan of an administration is not enough to draw conclusion on its performance.

According to the popular dictum: “Facts are sacred” and we intend to respect that. For example, shortly after the President won the election, the stock market shot up by N1.8 trillion, on the back of positive investor sentiments and high hopes in the then incoming administration. It was a moment of great expectation. But the same stock market that was upbeat lost all of 5,495.75 points or 16.02 per cent from 34,310.37 on May 28, the eve of the swearing-in, closing at 28,814.62 points, 90 days after. Investors also lost N1.75 trillion within the period, as market capitalisation closed at N9.91 trillion from N11.66 trillion. The loss, in the words of one analyst is the result of the government’s failure to articulate an economic policy right from Buhari’s inaugural speech, in addition to weak macro-economic indices, dwindling oil price and the pressure on the global market, worsened by the currency war.

Some of the simple indices of performance in government are job creation and poverty alleviation. None of these seems to be showing on the President’s performance index. While his sympathisers are begging for more time for him to settle down, majority wonders how much experience he needs to hit the ground running, having been a former Head of State, a long standing member of the Council of State as well as a four-time presidential aspirant.

Major newspapers and magazines have had to do several cover stories on the perceived ineptitude of the Buhari administration neatly drowned in the amplitude of an anti-corruption bugle. And as if in an after-thought, the President and the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, only last week made their assets declaration public, sequel to an overwhelming debate that seemed to have suggested that the presidency was playing hide-and-seek with its campaign promises.

The President must realise that he bears the onus of proof of the performance of his administration. Nigerians are tired of this shift of burden arguments that seems to be the preoccupation of the administration. Corruption predates political independence. Every new military administration had ridden always on the mantra of redressing corrupt practices of its predecessors. And every succeeding government had hardly been better at the end of the day.

Most significantly, the Presidency must therefore realise that this is not a military government. Neither was the president voted in as a sole administrator. Whatever he is doing now are liable to be contested in court as ultra vires or unconstitutional. That is why this government must ensure always that things are done according to the dictates of the constitution.

This, unfortunately, seems to be the reading on the scorecard of Mr. President in his 100 days in office.