May 29 marked six years into Buhari’s presidency and two years into his administration’s second term. In this analysis, EGENA SUNDAY ODE writes that despite challenges, the pursuit of security, improved economy and fight against corruption have remained the focal points being relentlessly pursued by the government.
President Muhammadu Buhari took the oath of office again on May 29, 2019 after completing his first tenure of four years and getting reelected for a second term. He pledged to continue with his three-pronged agenda of fighting corruption, insecurity and reviving the economy.
These three issues have remained the basis for which the success or failure of the administration can be determined, the president, having made it clear that they constituted his electioneering promises.
As a matter of fact, not a few Nigerians are unanimous that the government has made some giant strides in the delivery of those promises in spite of the hard times being experienced across the globe due to worsening insecurity and a terribly troubled economies. A good number of others have, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the level of performance of the government generally and its outlined agenda in particular.
Expectedly, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has been in the forefront of the verbal assault on the Buhar-led All Progreasives Congress, APC, administration. They had alleged selectiveness in the prosecution of the fight against corruption as well as dismissed the fight against insecurity and efforts being made to reposition the economy as a rise.
These motley of criticisms not withstanding, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina has listed infrastructure, finance, education, healthcare, sports, anti-corruption, human development, housing, oil and gas, foreign relations, as some areas where the administration jas recorded giant strides.
“Some people claim: we don’t see what they are doing. We don’t hear about it. Well, here it is. A Fact Sheet, a report card on the Buhari administration, just a bit of the successes, as the milestone of six years is attained.
“As it is said, the past is but a story told. The future may yet be written in gold. When the administration breasts the tape in another two years, by the grace of God, the applause will be resounding, even from the worst of skeptics. Facts are undeniable, and always remain so. They are stubborn things,” he said.
It is an open secret that insecurity in the country has Worsened in recent times, especially with the nefarious activities of bandits secessionists. Before now, it was the insurgents and herders-farmers clashes that the security agencies had been contending with. What can, however, not be denied is that despite the multiplication of these groups that are threatening the peace of the country, the government and the nation’s security agencies have hardly yielded any space for them to thrive and make a boast as was the case before 2015, when Buhari emerged as president.
According to Adesina, government is doing so much covertly and overtly to contain the situation and consolidate on the gains so far made. He said the Nigerian Air Force has acquired 26 brand new aircraft since President Buhari assumed office in 2015, and is expecting another 12 (the twelve Super Tucano currently on order from the United States Government, due for delivery starting July 2021). The NAF is also locally re-activating several previously unserviceable planes, according ro him.
He also said the Nigerian Navy has established a Naval Base Lake Chad in Baga, Borno State, as well as deployed 14 Naval Security Stations along the nation’s coastline in areas prone to criminal activity.
On the economic front, matters had been made worse by the fact that in six years Nigeria slipped into recession twice. The last was triggered by the Covid -19 pandemic which led to the crash of crude oil price in the international market .The good news, however, is that the administration through strategic approach, navigated the country out of the recession in record time by the way it responded to the pandemic.
Listing the achievements of the Buhari government in the past six years in the economic sector and response to the pandemic, Adesina noted that the President in March 2020 set up an Economic Sustainability Committee chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, to develop a comprehensive economic plan to respond to the disruptions and dislocations caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ESC produced an Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) that is being implemented and has been credited with helping Nigeria exit the Covid-induced recession faster than expected.
Also, the President in March 2020 set up a Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, to coordinate Nigeria’s multi-sectoral inter-governmental approach to COVID-19. The PTF has since April 2021 transitioned into a Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19.
The President, in 2020, equally approved the following: Establishment of a N500billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund, for the upgrading of health facilities nationwide, finance a national special public works programme, as well as any other interventions that may be approved in the future.
Buhari launched the Export Expansion Facility Programme to ameliorate the impact of the pandemic on exporting businesses; released special intervention grants of 10 billion Naira and five billion Naira to the Lagos State Government and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) respectively, to facilitate the Covid-19 Response.
He also approved a three-month repayment moratorium for all Social Investment Programme microcredit loans (TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni), with immediate effect; a three-month moratorium for all Federal Government funded loans issued by the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and the Nigeria Export Import Bank.
President Buhari also gave presidential approval for Expansion of the National Social Register (the official database for implementation of the Conditional Cash Transfer programme) by one million additional households, according to a fact sheet made available by the President’s media office.
The anti corruption fight being waged by the Buhari government in the past six years is perhaps one of the strongest initiatives of the administration with visible impacts. This is in spite of the criticisms by the opposition I’m alliance with the victims of the fight who are believed to be fighting back.
The presidency affirmed in the fact sheet that “on August 7, 2015, President Buhari issued a directive to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to close their accounts with Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and transfer their balances to the Central Bank of Nigeria on or before 15th September 2015.
“The TSA system was launched in 2012, but failed to gain traction until President Buhari’s executive order in August 2015. The TSA system has now been implemented in more than 90 percent of all Federal MDAs.
“This decision to fully operationalise the Treasury Single Account (TSA) system—a public accounting system that enables the Government to manage its finances (revenues and payments) using a single/unified account, or series of linked accounts domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria — has resulted in the consolidation of more than 17,000 bank accounts previously spread across DMBs in the country, and in savings of an average of N4 billion monthly in banking charges.
“In spite of great opposition, the Buhari administration expanded IPPIS coverage to the Armed Forces, as well as federal universities and other academic institutions.
“Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) has helped anti-corruption agencies devise clearer strategies for obtaining forfeiture of assets suspected to have been acquired fraudulently, mainly from state coffers, before prosecuting suspected culprits.
“Part of this work involved reviewing existing Laws (like the Money Laundering Act, 2004, the EFCC Act, 2004 and the ICPC Act, 2000), to identify and highlight sections directly conferring powers of forfeiture on Nigeria’s anti-corruption agencies. This advocacy has led to a significant increase in the use of Non-Conviction Based Asset Forfeiture Mechanisms by anti-corruption agencies
“ICPC scrutiny of practices, systems and procedures of MDAs’ personnel cost from 2019 to 2020, yielded 189 billion Naira in recoveries from inflated personnel budgets.
“In 2019 alone ICPC also recovered 32 billion Naira worth of Land, Buildings and Vehicles.
“ICPC’s audit of Constituency Projects covering 2015 to 2018 helped recover 2 billion Naira of diverted funds and assets.”
“The federal government has also ensured the deployment of BVN system to serve as the verification basis for payments to beneficiaries and vendors in the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), the N-Power Scheme and the Homegrown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP).”
With these and more actions and plan of actions listed by the presidential media office, in the fact sheet to showcase the achievements of the Buhari administration, Adesina said even the blind could now see that the president is determined to take the country out of the woods, especially in the three spheres of his campaign promises.