By Issa Itopa Lucky
Barring last minute changes, the presidency of Muhammadu Buhari will come to an end on May 29th 2023 or June 12th 2023 as some now argue. As that happens, views will be churned from time to time out to judge the administration and to place it any which way in history books for generations to come to read and learn of.
The intention of this piece is to commence that conversation already however piecemeal. As of May 29th 2021, Buhari clocked 6 years in office as President of Nigeria and as Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria. That is to say, Buhari has crossed the second half of his second term in office as Nigeria’s President, suffice to say if he is of any better or worse than his predecessors, Nigerians and court of public opinion should know already. For an administration that has only less than two years to go, if it has made history for good or for bad, it is obviously becoming audible to the deaf and visible to the blind already without much ado.
It is a fact that President Muhammadu Buhari made history in Nigeria when he defeated then incumbent president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, in 2015. It was clear that he was overwhelmingly voted by Nigerians as Nigerians were as of the time in need of certain reforms and they felt it was about time the then ruling party at the centre, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gives way for a new group of leaders, to this end, then main opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC) was the beneficiary of the votes cast by the majority of Nigerian voters that voted in that election. By such token alone, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lost majority seats in the National Assembly to the then main and coalition opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC) at the federal level in addition to seeing Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General, find his way into the highest office in the land, being the office of President.
At the state level across the federation, it was almost the same as the PDP could not win up to half of the number of states in the country as the APC had moved to solidify its grip on power after winning the federal elections earlier. Since then, Nigerians have since yearned to see Buhari and his party, APC, fulfill a handful of their campaign promises especially the ones made in 2015 much of which the Buhari administration will later go on deny in the course of time.
In 2015, Buhari made his way to power as president of Nigeria on the premise of promise to secure the country and to fight insecurity as well as to generate more employment for the teeming population in the country. The Buhari campaign organisation as of the time had promised N5,000 monthly allowance to the unemployed. It also promised to feed school children, it also promised to put an end to the raging Boko Haram menace as of then in six months of assuming office.
Today, the facts are clear as to if Buhari has indeed done much of what himself and his campaign organisation promised Nigerians or not, even after getting re-elected in 2019.
While Boko Haram may have reduced in making headlines among the insecurity challenges in the country, banditry has taken over and the herdsmen seems to be waging a certain war against the Nigerian populace. The Naira has lost value hugely in the international market. The Nigerian populace now struggle to feed as the cost of commodities have skyrocketed. Kidnapping has also become a thriving enterprise under the Buhari presidency thus far.
The Government has issues with obeying court orders. In fact, the Buhari administration selects which court order to obey and which one not to obey. His Government is also accused of nepotism in terms of appointments and also his body language in terms of approach to critical matters of state are also seen to be lopsided, it is believed thus far that Buhari has been very active in arresting even assumed unrest in Southern Nigeria or by any Southern Nigerian while criminal elements in Northern Nigeria have been left to have a field day as it suits them.
The nation has become more corrupt than it was during the PDP era. Majority of what Buhari and his party got voted in for, are what his party has taken up as stock in trade and every time words of caution are raised they try to blame “the past administration” or better still they say they are not worse than PDP, if eras are to be compared.
All these and many more are defining factors that will herald and dominate how the Buhari legacy will be written. If history will be fair to Buhari at the end of his constitutional eight-year rule of Nigeria by 2023, it is left for history to tell, for it is not over until it is over, Buhari may do much better in these remaining two years of this his administration, on the other hand he may do worse, till it is May 29th 2023 history will keep looking and taking into account, facts that will ultimately define Buhari’s legacies as President of Nigeria.