Victor Adetula. Photo: Mattias Sköld.

Buhari’s one year of pains and achievements

After one year in office, president Buhari has attained some of his election promises. However, many citizens have yet not seen any real improvement of their living conditions. Head of research at NAI, Victor Adetula, analyses results and future challenges in Nigeria.

On 29 May, the government of President Buhari celebrated its first anniversary, and this has generated mixed reactions across Nigerians. Opinions and interpretations of the promise of change by the Bujari administration differ. The verdicts of Nigerians on the performance of Buhari administration indeed reflect the country’s diversity. The campaign slogan of the ruling APC party was ‘change’. It was true to a large extent that Nigerians desired a ‘change’ and voted out the previous PDP government in the 2015 presidential election. However, one year after, many Nigerians are asking for the ‘indicators of change’ in the economy, and more importantly, on how their living conditions and livelihoods have been positively affected. These are legitimate concerns.  The hike in fuel price that resulted in mass protests and civil actions led by organized labour, the attacks on oil pipelines by the Niger Delta Avengers – a newly formed militant group in the Niger Delta, and the widely reported killing by the Fulani herdsmen are most recent concerns of the ordinary people in Nigeria. In addition, the agitation for the independent state of Biafra mostly by the Igbo youths in the eastern part of the country has come up as a disturbing development. How this is managed by the Buhari administration will go a long way in convincing the Igbo elite that President Buhari is for all.  

The task of fixing Nigeria has not be easy for President Buhari and his team. The administration inherited a collapsed failed state and it will take quite some time to get things back on track. Notwithstanding the administration has recorded progress in the task it set for itself - promoting economic growth, ensuring safety and security, and fighting corruption. The administration’s loudest accomplishments to date is the defeat of the Boko Haram insurgents and the fight against corruption. Also, the administration’s resolve to keep the country’s currency steady is another unsung achievement. Admittedly, the rejection of the devaluation option is not popular especially among the elites that feel the government of President Buhari is pursuing a pseudo-nationalist monetary policy in an era of globalization.

There are daunting challenges that tends to dwarf the achievements of the Buhari administration, and even make it looks like a non-performer to some Nigerians. The war against corruption in Nigeria is gaining groun. The strategy has persistently ignored the capacity of corruption to fight back. The result is the mounting of flimsy complaints by some to divert attention from the real issues. Corruption is one of the key problems facing the Nigeria and it cannot coexist with democracy and development. The ‘war strategy’ to fight corruption should be broadened to take account of the details in order to be more effective. It is obvious that the President cannot do it alone. Secondly, the global oil glut has not made it easy for Nigeria as the country continue to experience reduction in oil revenues due to the collapsed of the oil price to as low as USD 30 per barrel. Thirdly, the planning of the economy requires more attention than it seems to have received so far. There is need for clear policy guidelines and roadmaps to drive the economy.  Fourthly, the administration needs to communicate its policies and programmes to the people. There is a huge communication gap between the government and the citizens. Nigerian needs to be informed about what has delayed the change they all long for! Lastly, Nigeria needs consistent and dedicated support of the international community to grow its economy, fight the insurgents and prosecute the war against corruption.

By Victor Adetula

Photo: Clara Sanchiz/RNW
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