Written by Femi Oyesile
How time flies, it’s already one year since President Buhari took over from Goodluck Jonathan’s government, after a supposed free and fair electoral process marred with campaign battles, selective propaganda, disillusioned rants and so many other things that come with such process in this part of the world. For so many people, it must have been a huge sigh of relief, while for some others, a gloomy situation.
There were so many things wrong with the previous administration, damning things I must confess. Some of which include; the Boko Haram sect taking over fourteen local governments in the country, the level of corruption and impunity in the last administration and the rate at which the economy was growing. These areas were where President Buhari majorly campaigned on and preached his CHANGE mantra. Nigerians definitely listened to him and gave him the opportunity to lead them out of the unpleasant situation. Here are the three major areas President Buhari canvassed on, explaining how and what he has done to repay the favour Nigerians gave him;
We can’t deny the amount of financial allegations and scandals that followed the last administration; from the #DasukiGate syndrome to everything in between, not leaving out the dreadful revelations that trailed it. President Buhari knew he had to clear the mess that has been compared with the Augean stable and defined as fantastically corrupt by a tax haven beneficiary. He appointed Ibrahim Magu to head the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and fish out every criminal that had had stolen from Nigeria’s treasury under the rule of law, never mind that some Nigerians had an issue with what “the rule of Law” meant. Just some few days ago, Ibrahim Magu said the EFCC had in the last six months, secured more than 140 convictions and recovered billions of dollars in stolen funds from unscrupulous individuals. He also said they had blocked several channels that people of questionable character used to launder their ill-gotten wealth. Of course, the EFCC and ICPC have changed from toothless bulldogs to effective lions waiting for whom to pounce on. Not forgetting the implementation of the TSA and the successful use of BVN that has identified thousands of ghost workers.
At the beginning of Buhari’s tenure, Boko Haram was still holding 14 local governments, but now they have resorted to harming vulnerable targets using suicide bombing tactics and other dangerous means. Although, the war against Boko Haram has been technically won, Buhari’s government has been slow to the various herdsmen attacks that have occurred in different parts of the country. His and the IGP’s stand towards the attacks have appeared passive and somewhat partial, or how do you explain his theory of immigrants from Libya or his story of cattle coming down south for water when lives are at stake. The operations of militants in the Niger Delta are important issues the government as seemed not proactive about. As for the protest from IPOB, lives and properties were lost and the Government has given the impression of being slow, inattentive and subjective.
Let no one deceive you when they say corruption and an improvement in security do not have any effect on the economy. In fact, there was a report released by PWC about the impact of corruption on Nigeria’s economy. The problem we have majorly had is the impact of dwindling oil prices, our major source of revenue and the policies that have followed it. Our foreign reserves have dropped to a little above $ 26 billion, the lowest in a decade. Our GDP growth rate has dropped to a negative value of -0.36% in the first quarter of this year, the lowest in 25 years. We could also find ourselves at a point of recession if things don’t get better. Unemployment rate has increased from 10.4% in the fourth quarter of 2015 to 12.1% in the first quarter of this year. A total of 1.5 million people are unemployed, an increase from 1 million people in the previous quarter. The current decline represents the first contraction since June, 2004, a 12-year-low. Just recently, an airline announced that it will be halting its services by June.
Another challenge is the administrative controls that have been set up by our folks at CBN to save our dwindling foreign reserves. It’s so obvious that the controls have not worked in favour of Nigerians; they have driven inflation rates up to more than 13%. There is also some level of nepotism in the FOREX dealings with some manufacturing industries. CBN has definitely lost some of its autonomy and its latest MPC meeting had little or no economic relevance.
The need to diversify our revenue base is very much required at this point. We need to look at empowering and investing in local production, not just with hash tags but with the right action. If the government is so much interested in focusing on bringing in foreign investors, they will create a notion that our policies are in favour of foreign companies alone. The CBN needs to employ quantitative easing tactics to increase the amount of Naira in circulation; this will increase the purchasing power of people. The late passage of the budget is also another problem; work ought to have started and funds dispersed to various infrastructures that need to be completed or started as soon as possible.
No one doubts that President Buhari has good intentions but good intentions can only raise hopes, they cannot sustain them. We need to see results; the man on the street needs to feel the right kind of change. Nigerians want that change which they voted for and they surely deserve it.
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija
Femi Oyesile blogs at femioyesile.wordpress.com