Buhari 100 Days In Office; My Verdict By Gloria Eluebo Adagbon
I remember vividly my very first encounter with President Buhari at a meeting. I listened to him address a small group of people at a meeting in London, United Kingdom. It was my first opportunity to listen to Buhari first hand. We were there to strategise how to garner Diaspora support for Buhari Candidacy. During the meeting, the coordinator of Buhari Diaspora Support Organisation telephoned Buhari, then the Presidential candidate, informing him of our agenda but unfortunately, he was engaged in another meeting. He advised that he would call back during the course of our meeting. We, then carried on with our Agenda. Some minutes later, Buhari called back and thereafter asked to be put on speaker phone, so that everyone could hear him. Buhari said “you are in meeting with others, why I am speaking with you alone? Put me on speaker phone”. It was apparent from there that he is a simple man who is very transparent, fair and accountable to the people.
From that very first encounter, I knew that Buhari is a man you can trust. With his track record as former military Head of State and seemingly abysmal breakdown of law and order compounded by institutionalised corruption, I drew my conclusion. Buhari was our only hope to rescue Nigeria. To that end, I threw myself into the campaign. We started the movement for progressive change which became a mass movement that liberated Nigeria from PDP recklessness and misrule.
So what has Buhari achieved since assuming office?
With the huge challenges facing the country when he took office, the expectations from the people were unprecedented. Many believed that Buhari is the messiah to deliver Nigeria from the bondage of corruption, insecurity, unemployment, dilapidated infrastructure, our healthcare and fallen standards in education. They believed he had a magic wand to solve all their problems. To me, one cannot appreciate the achievements of President Buhari in 100 Days in office, without understanding the depth of problems inherited. During the twilight of the Jonathan’s administration, the country was comatose; gridlock at filling stations. Acute fuel scarcity led to price hikes of food commodities and transportation costs. Businesses could not power their generators, offices had to close early and there were severe loss of man hours. Nigeria was a stand still!
Immediately after Buhari assumed office, his major thrust solve these problems, impact positively on the lives of the citizens and how he can make their life better. Has he done so? Yes, to a great extent. With steady improvement in power supply, availability of fuel at filing stations, refineries becoming functional, the living conditions of the masses have improved. Buhari had achieved this without much key changes because of his resolve against the ‘cabals’ and his anti graft drive. The usually rogue ships hoovering on our waters have been chased out by Buhari. This meant that there were no more avenues of stealing our crude oil and siphoning public funds. Without his resolve, the vicious cycle of our crude oil theft and diversion overseas would have continued. They know that he is a no nonsense man. Discipline was back, lawlessness and ineptitude disappeared, everyone is now doing their job diligently!! Buhari has brought back moral architecture into governance.
Critics of Buhari have argued that they are yet to see policy documents or papers of his administration. Is governance measured only by blueprints or position papers? What is most important, is the positive effect of governance on Nigerians. Over 70 percent of Nigerians are happy with Buhari. He is leading from the front and his body language has sent strong signals that get people to deliver results. I am delighted and so are majority of Nigerians, save for the 5 percent of wailing wailers and Politically Displaced Persons (PDP). In the past, militants held sway threatening our peace. Buhari’s emergence has sent them packing. When he relieved the infamous Niger Delta militants, a terrible menace, of their pipeline guiding contracts, that restored sanity and saved us tremendous amount of money.
It was unbelievable that the previous government awarded security contracts to militants that compromised our security whilst our Nigerian security forces were relegated. Buhari has restored the Nigerian military to take charge of protecting our pipelines which are now yielding positive results because pipelines vandalism that causes major revenue loss, have been reduced to the barest minimum. The attendant effect is that there are more petroleum products to meet our power supply requirements..
Since inauguration, President Buhari has refocused Nigeria away from the usual diversion of public funds, blocked leakages and pursued an “all out” full scale war against public officials who defrauded Nigerians. This was a core pledge of his campaign and he is on course to deliver his promise to Nigerians. It is crucial to note that the president gave his personal statement “I will never steal and I will not allow anyone to steal” and “I belong to nobody and I belong to nobody” that became one of the most famous quotes in our polity. The President is re-writing the era where political office holders appropriate public funds indiscriminately for their personal gains. Anti corruption committee has been set up and there is ongoing work on constituting special courts to hold the trials of corruption cases. Furthermore, anti graft agencies such the EFCC and ICPC are now proactive in their prosecutorial functions, where the high and mighty have faced the court and were even remanded in custody pending bail, an apparent taboo in the past dispensation because corruption was celebrated and often rewarded with impunity.
Within Buhari 100 Days, we have seen the unprecedented high level of international diplomacy. Prior to his assumption of office, Nigeria’s image have been badly bruised and battered by lack of focus, resolve and political will to do things right; especially on corruption and insecurity. Immediately after his swearing into office on May 29th 2015, President Buhari was invited to the G7 Summit in Germany, where he met President Obama, Prime Minister of Britain, Rt Honourable David Cameron, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel amongst other world leaders. Buhari knowing exactly what he wants set out with a shopping list of pressing issues for Nigerians. Key amongst them are fighting corruption, tackling Bokoharam and revamping the economy. Then came, President Buhari’s visit to America that lifted Nigeria’s image in the eyes of the international community. The gains made by Buhari’s visit was unprecedented. Our ties and relations with America were cemented. Buhari’s focused leadership, integrity and charisma endeared him to the White House that saw America pledging assistance on Bokoharam, help in tracing and recovering stolen funds and investments in Nigeria. Speaking with American Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle in mid August 2015, it was clear that Nigeria is the “new bride” and that America has overwhelmingly, tilted towards more positive and renewed relations with Nigeria.
As if that was not enough, in Africa, Buhari has taken Nigeria back to her glorious days, as the giant of Africa. He chaired the African Union Security Committee, holding several regional meetings that led the establishment of the joint Multi national task force around the Lake Chad Basin Countries to combat terrorism. In so doing, Buhari had repaired and put a sparkle on Nigeria’s battered image home and abroad. This high level international shuttle diplomacy has endeared Nigeria tremendous support from across the world. For example, the United Kingdom voluntarily deployed experts to train our Police on counter terrorism and tackling violent crimes. This is happening as a result of Buhari’s pragmatic leadership skills; his anti graft stance and tackling Bokoharam head on. We now have Niger, Chad, Cameroon all fighting together to end the Bokoharam insurgency. Emboldening our military men and women, he relocated the Military Command Centre to the war zone, Maiduguri, Borno state to combat the insurgents. This move have reduced and weakened the capacity of Bokoharam and out of desperation, the insurgents are now targeting soft targets – women and children, using children as body bags.
On the non appointment of ministers within 100 days, my view is that it is not only strategic but also a determination to do things differently. By working directly with permanent secretaries of government ministries and parastatals, Buhari is able to hear directly from civil servants and the several challenges facing their ministries and the ongoing refocused approach to work in the civil service.
In 100 Days, President Buhari has risen to the challenges of the inherent decay in the system. He is steadily streamlining the cost of governance and reducing inefficiencies. He took a fifty percent pay cut, leading by example. He declared his assets publicly; had less than N30 million and had only one bank account in a society that greed and corruption had been entrenched. He has done so much so that, it would take more than a piece to articulate. Suffice to mention the Single Treasury Account, audit of electricity supply companies, increased transparency through regular presentation of Federation Accounts, reductions in the number VIP orderlies that reduced our police to mere “hand bag” carriers. The decision to implement of the Report to clean up Ogoni Land showed a leader who is interested in the wellbeing of the people. Buhari wants his actions to speak for him rather than blowing his trumpet. His vision to revive our National Carrier to which a Committee is exploring the best possible option for our new national carrier is unprecedented.
President Buhari has risen to the task. His commitment, passion and zeal to rebuild our broken society has shone through. He has throne himself into the trenches; not afraid to get dirty, he has faced corruption squarely and given it a bloody nose. Security have seen a rebirth, Buhari is bold and is standing up to the cabals; shunning anything that is capable of exploiting ordinary Nigerians. This is My Verdict; Buhari has laid solid foundations. Project Change Nigeria is on the right track.