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Buhari’s Inaugural Speech

Posted: Jun 5, 2015 at 12:05 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

President Mohammadu Buhari’s inaugural speech has not ceased to generate robust public discourse since May 29, for it shows the mission and direction of his administration. The interim priorities of his government are tenable, when examined from the background of the multifarious challenges confronting the nation currently. He has made the Boko Haram insurgency his immediate priority, although there are other security issues like kidnappings, armed robberies, herdsmen/farmers clashes and cattle rustlings bedeviling the nation in high proportion. He even hopes to rescue the Chibok girls and others in captivity to serve as an adjunct to the total defeat of Boko haram. It is good to have such an assurance in this ‘change’ era. 

Buhari has also identified unemployment as another area of priority and promises to attack the problem frontally through the revival of agriculture, solid minerals mining and credits to small and medium – scale businesses. He will revive major industries and develop the Nigerian railways, roads and infrastructure. However, those who will likely love the President’s speech most are government officials who have earlier developed goose pimples for fear of being probed. The President has allayed their fears by promising not to go after them. He dismisses their fears as groundless and says that there will be no settling of old scores.

We agree that we must forgive one another if our resolution is to make progress. Probing past administrations, takes time and could derail the programmes of a new government. But we still believe that Buhari’s words are too kind and reassuring for people who might have cases to answer. Buhari as a military head of state arrested and jailed many politicians in the second republic, because of his belief that they all contributed to the then depressed economy. Tongues wagged after that episode and it was a major reason people rejected him at the poll on three occasions before this time. He seems to be saying that he is a changed man, a democrat and a respecter of the rule of law. That is understandable. But the President must also realise that some of his past qualities were a factor in his victory at the polls. In as much as we are not asking him to jail people indiscriminately, those who are found to be corrupt should be brought to book. If he allows looters to go scot-free, how is Nigeria going to get the money to pay her huge debt? He should design a way to recover Nigeria’s looted money. If a measure is not taken to bring embezzlers to justice, it is a wrong signal to those in government as they may be emboldened to embezzle.

Recovering Nigeria’s looted money will not diminish the goodwill from the international community which the country now enjoys.  Local and international expectations are high really but that should not take away our mind for justice, national rebirth and reorientation. Correction should begin from the past even if it is just to make the looters pay back their loot in a structured form. We cannot totally close our eyes to the past otherwise Nigeria will lose all.

Meanwhile, we offer this advice that the President should address one problem before going to another, so that he does not end up not solving any. He knows the issues and should start addressing them straight – away. It is when people perceive that his government is working that they can beat their chests and say that their votes were not wasted.