Nine Key Milestones In President Buhari’s First Year
As military Head of State, what he did was to lock them up until they proved their innocence. As an elected President, he has sworn to uphold the constitution which guarantees citizen rights.
Things are changing with impunity in the country. For the first time, VIP suspects are being asked questions by the investigating agencies and they are being charged to court. Many, who would have snubbed the bailiff and go scot-free, are now undergoing trials. Would anyone have thought that a former Chief of Defence Staff, Service Chiefs, pretenders to thrones, the children of “natural rulers” including “toy” Sultans, Kings, Emirs and Chiefs, will be brought to trial and kept in prisons? Ending impunity is one of the key milestones of this administration.
The country today basks in the aura of a major battle against corruption and the impunity that goes with that and world is supporting the President. Within one year of his administration, a miracle has happened, which is that there has been the total absence of multi-billion naira corruption scandals that had characterised previous administrations.
In one year, the President has successfully reset the relationship between this country and her immediate neighbors and with our lost friends, both far and near. The West, Far East and Middle-East countries as well as our neighbors who walked away from this country on account of the arrogance of our past leaders, corruption and the abuse of human rights have all come back to us.
Over the past one year in which the President visited many countries, he has successfully convinced the world that Nigeria is now under a responsible management with a government that is inviting of prospective investors. As a result of his trips, Nigeria’s image has improved and the country now occupies a preeminent place in the comity of nations.
President Buhari has indeed been a revelation to the world. Besides improving the standing of the country, his personal integrity has given him the best ever international attention by any of his predecessors President of this country. The trips have opened doors that were shut against Nigeria, doors that bring security cooperation, and eventually, trade and economic benefits to the country.
Fuel import liberalisation
The fuel subsidy issue is a well-known cause of trouble in this country. Every government in the past that tried to remove it got tested in its political will and dropped it like a hot metal. There is nothing in this country that is as politically unpopular.
Yet, even those who vocally supported it knew that it wasn’t working for the ordinary citizens. The secret service surveyed the price regime of N86 per liter and reported to government five months ago that the price prevailed only in Lagos and Abuja with the rest of the country paying higher. Petrol subsidies served as a scam to line the pockets of officials and cronies in business.
Acting in the best national interest, the President took the very brave action of liberalising the import of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) by first removing subsidy from the budget and then opening the door to marketers to bring in the products to sell at a profit, saving the country trillions of naira in fraudulent subsidy payments. Due mainly to the trust they reposed in him, Nigerians have accepted this change in the belief that the president means well.
Major Infrastructure products, diversification
The President’s campaign for the diversification of the economy, away from over-dependence on oil is already setting the tone for the transformation of the economy into an agrarian and industrial one. He has equally fared well in his efforts to attract investment into Nigeria following his trips to some of those countries. Discussions are ongoing with a number of them with rich foreign reserves that have indicated a willingness to pour foreign capital to develop the economy and create jobs here. From the sometimes zero capital allocation of the past, his budget this year has 30 per cent of its content devoted to capital projects. After many years of delay, there will be a serious attempt to improve roads and rail transport as well as power projects. His administration is determined to improve the country’s infrastructure landscape in a short while.
Social welfare programme
President Buhari’s administration is the first in Nigeria’s history to take a major step towards the institution of a social welfare scheme as enunciated by the APC. One million of country’s poorest of the poor will get a monthly supplement of N5, 000.00. Another one million will get start-up loans from the Bank of Industry (BoI). Five hundred thousand graduates will get teaching jobs and 375,000 others without degrees will receive training to acquire skills. Under this year’s budget, there is money for scholarship for medical, science and technology students in tertiary institutions and a meal-a-day for five million children in primary school. For the first time, the ordinary citizen can claim that he/she has a budget of his/her own.
Within a year in office, the Buhari administration has taken major steps to secure the country and curtail corruption while attracting investors with a view to promoting industrial growth and job creation. Although Nigeria is confronted with many problems that don’t have quick fixes, the administration has revealed a fine talent for finding lasting solutions to those kinds problems that had defied solution under the past governments. Given the tenacity with which he fought the Boko Haram insurgency and corruption, the economy, which is still work in progress, will receive a lot more attention going forward. The rate of job creation and manufacturing should improve from the third quarter of the year when the implementation of the budget gathers steam. Happily, voters are still hopeful that President Buhari will produce the cure for the ills of the economy.
While many still believe that it is too early to assess the overall performance of the administration, the sentiment that prevails across the country is that Nigeria will improve a lot under his leadership; that he has a good vision and he is committed to Nigeria and Nigerian people.
Early enthusiasm and high expectations have their challenges, especially in times of low earnings from exports. Given this situation, delivery will take time but the promised change will not fail to come.
In one year, the President has fused his own ideas with APC’s programme which is strong on social welfare. His administration has brought hope and respect to the country. He has made a strong start on security, war against corruption, foreign policy even as the sticking issue remains the limping economy he inherited which is hamstrung by corruption and the past failure to diversity.
The President is tirelessly working for Nigeria and will continue to do so with hard work, diligence and honesty during his tenure.