Mixed Feelings, Differed Hope As Buhari Begins Second Year | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Mixed Feelings, Differed Hope As Buhari Begins Second Year

Posted: Jun 1, 2016 at 4:30 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Isuma Mark



Nigerians have continued to express divergent opinions as to whether the President Muhammadu Buhari administration which clocked one year this week, is really on track.

The president who delivered a speech to commemorate the event did not cite any memorable event like the commissioning of projects as was the ritual with his predecessors.

A sizeable number of Nigerians saw this as apparent failures on the part of the government. But not to be deterred, the president presented a speech laced with yet more promises and assurances that the economy and the nation as a whole was on track.

It’s no gainsay that inflation has hit roof top like never before, unemployment figures quadrupled amid growing uncertainty in government’s revenue target, further worsening the situation, yet Buhari sees a blue lining in the clouds.

Nigerians, still reeling from the aftermath of recent fuel scarcity, received the greatest shock when the president jerked up the pump price of the product from N86.5 to N145, adding a new twist in the already difficult economic reality.

One sour economic hardship Nigerians experienced in one year of Buhari’s administration was the unending fuel scarcity, and the the worsening economic crisis.

According to Elder Statesman, Ebenezer Babatope, the suffering associated with this policy was unprecedented as it affects all.

“This kind of suffering is a different one because every Nigerian is affected,” he said.

With the increment, prices of good shot up further impoverishing poor Nigerians, majority of who live below poverty line.

Chief Babatope questioned such a sweeping policy thrust bearing in mind the level of poverty in the land.

“They are asking us to pay N145 to buy a litre of petroleum, how many Nigerians can afford that? I agree with him on the removal of the oil subsidy; it is good and courageous for him to have done that. But to buy petrol for N145 is a crime against humanity and nobody will support that.”

The president has been relentless in complaining of the state of the economy he met. But analysts have been quick to remind him that if the economic situation was better, he wouldn’t have been needed.

According to an investment analyst, Sunday Odibu Sunday, “All we have gotten is one excuse after another. And he did not fail us in his democracy day address, exactly what we expected was what he gave us.

” Imagine a president dwelling on past mistakes repeating the mistakes in all the paragraphs of his address except three. He did not encapsulate the clear cut economic agenda desirous of him. He merely made the 25 minutes speech ceremonially.

“A President who faces the toughest time in his leadership would make bold statement, assure the nation with hard facts and empirical evidence on what he would do when and how and not by dwelling on rhetorics. He cannot complain the resources to do the job is not there. He should just stop deceiving Nigerians. If the resources are not there, where does he get the ones he travels with? Has he forgotten how much it costs for a President to travel? Can he count how many times he has travelled and the number of people who went with him? Can he tell Nigerians one thing he achieved from his trips?”

According to Odibu, until the president sits down and realises that he has just two more years to run the country and that those around him have been the same people holding us hostage, he won’t succeed.

“The president should have been aware that he has limited knowledge of modern economics. He should also know his cabinet members are out to settle political scores and make money for what they spent in his election. With the team he has, I am sorry to say, he cannot move this country forward. That has also showed in his first year.”

He asked: “One year and the president who promised heaven on earth could not mention one achievement? And there is someone out there talking tough about the economy moving in the right direction? I can tell you, Nigerians who put their faith in this government might commit suicide because they have not seen the worst disappointment,” the investment analyst said.

Also, reacting to Buhari’s one year in office, a former social media aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri explained that what former President Jonathan met was far lesser than what he left behind.

According to him, “It should not be forgotten so soon that the Jonathan administration met about $6.5 billion in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) and increased it to almost $9 billion by 2012.

“However, the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), using their influence at the House of Representatives, had gotten that August body to declare the ECA illegal in 2012.”

According to Omokri, pressure from some current ministers who were then governors resulted in emptying the ECA and the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF). He added that the former President did what the court decided based on the suit instituted by the then governor’s forum.

Omokri also said the Treasury Single Account (TSA) was not started by Buhari.

“The TSA was not an idea of the Buhari administration and the present government did not initiate its implementation. The TSA was conceived by the Goodluck Jonathan administration and there was to be a staggered implementation because from an expert point of view, it was thought that if all Federal Government funds were suddenly pulled out of the commercial banking sector in one fell swoop, the shock on that sector would be so immense that it would trigger job losses and perhaps bank failures. It was thought that a gradual implementation would allow banks recover such that the baby would not be thrown out with the bath water.”

The former social media aide added that the Buhari administration hurriedly started a full implementation of the TSA poor result.

“Rather than claim this as an achievement, this administration should check this one up as a big failure because in their rush to implement something that should have been gradual, they have unleashed an unintended consequence on the banking sector such that Nigerian banks over the last year have shed something like 50,000 jobs.”

Odibu advised the president to either listen to the voice of economic experts and rejig the whole process or replace his current team with people with sound economic ideas.

“He should hire those with economic clout and not politicians who have been shouting since one year now and have achieved nothing.”