Sequel to the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term in office, some prominent Nigerians, comprising groups and individuals, have lamented the last four years of the administration, citing killings, kidnappings and other lapses among the vices that scored the regime low. Among those who aired their views on the administration are some of the leaders of the South-East geo-political zone, who rated as below average, while lamenting that the zone was not well included in the scheme of things. In their assessment of the first term of President Buhari administration, First Republic Minister for Aviation, Chief Mbazurike Amaechi and former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, said South-East didn’t gain much from the incumbent government. Ezeife said the four years of Buhari’s first term in office was flawed by the imbalance in political appointments as well as capital projects. His words: “It is a known fact that the last four years recorded below average on the part of the South-East geo-political zone. When you look at the appointments of ministers and other political positions, you will discover that we did not gain much. “How can you appoint a professor and former Vice Chancellor of a university, a minister of State for Education while the senior minister knows nothing about education? When you look at the appointment of Service Chiefs in the military, how many of them are from the South East? Even when an Igbo person was to become the Inspector General of Police, they dropped him and appointed another person.” He however noted that there are federal projects in the area, which he said, only took off towards the electioneering campaign, while advising that the projects should not be abandoned midway because the elections are over. In the same vein, Amaechi lamented that the wounds of the Nigerian Civil War had refused to heal following what he called the politics of noninclusion during the first four years of Buhari administration. “The way and manner our people are being integrated in the Nigerian project leaves much to be desired and it goes to remind us of the Civil War that ended about 50 years ago. “The policy of Reconciliation, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction put in place by the then regime of General Yakubu Gowon has not changed anything because successive administrations in the country have continued to subjugate us at every time. “We urge the President to get us more involved in the governance of Nigeria because it is only the Igbo that are the real Nigerians. We are everywhere in Nigeria and we go to any part of the country and develop the area and help the economy of the area to grow,” he said. Amaechi however expressed happiness with the pace of the construction of the Second Niger Bridge and other federal roads in the South-East.
Buhari performed below expectations -lawyers
Some legal experts also added their voice to the issue, saying that the first term was far below expectations compared to the president’s manifestos while campaigning for vote in 2015. They further expressed concerns that Buhari’s first term in office showed flagrant disregard to the rule of law, which uniquely damaged his government’s fight against corruption and the country. The lawyers who spoke with Saturday Telegraph premised their submissions on various unfolded events in the last four years of the Buhari administration.
In his comments, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN), scored the president low on his performance on all the three. He said: “My assessment is one of disappointment. I had expected the president to do better. I am disappointed as to how the issue of security is being handled as well as his partisan approach to the issue of corruption. Security is an 80 percent failure. I had expected that he would not allow anything partisan to happen during his tenure. But the reverse is the case. “My opinion of him was that he is a good Muslim. In fact, in one of my interviews, I said if Buhari is a Christian, he would have been in the category of those who called themselves born-again Christians. At that point time, my opinion was based on his actions which was that he didn’t care where you worships but he was only concerned about what where you worships made out of you. But, what I am seeing is totally different from what I believed. “For instance, on the fight against corruption, I refuse to believe that it is only governors and officials who served under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that are corrupt in this country. Even those who left PDP and crossed to APC suddenly became absolved of corruption. I don’t think this is right. It cannot be true that only PDP members are corrupt in this country. Corruption fight is one sided. It is a 50 percent failure. “On the issue of economy, there were too many Nigerians in tears and suffering. This shows that the economy is not people-oriented and I can never be in support of such economy”.
Another silk, Mr. Seyi Sowemimo, while also expressing his displeasure on the growing insecurity in the country, however thumbed up the president on his fight against corruption. “My initial view just a few months after President Buhari assumed office was that we seemed to be winning the war against Boko Haram and that things were improving. “But, in recent months, the situation has deteriorated, even to the level of kidnapping and killer herdsmen attacking people here and there. So, I am now of the view that in terms of security, the president cannot get a pass mark. More still needs to be done. “On the fight against corruption, the president has scored some victory. But there’s more also that needs to be done. On the economy, there is still nothing yet to show that we have moved away from where we are some years back. So, in his second term, the president should do much more to show that he can cope with the realities on ground”, the silk said.
In his own reaction, an Abuja based lawyer and rights activist, who is also the Convener, Rule of Law Crusader, James Chukwuebuka rated the first term very low in terms of rule of law His words: “The first term of this government is nothing to write home about as it affects rule of law. This went a long way to affect the decisions of our courts which were not fully obeyed. There was no focus, no improvement and no reinforcement of the anti-corruption agenda. “It reminds us of the military regime where some people are more equal than others. His non recognition of the rule of law have been particularly notable in three areas: failure to obey decisions of Nigerian courts, failure to push for transparency in asset declarations by high-ranking public officials and failure to push for unexplained wealth orders against former presidents and former governors and other senior public officials suspected of living on proceeds of corruption and ‘dirty money’. “There was no respect for human rights and the rule of law. Treating the decisions of Nigerian courts as not binding is antithetical to any contemporary notion of the rule of law and democracy, and clearly counter-productive to the fight against corruption.” Onasipe Another lawyer, Chief Adeolu Onasipe, observed that the first term of Buhari in office was full of sentiments and concentrating on one particular region for appointments and development. He noted that it cannot be said that the government is inclusive, considering tribes and religions. “Without the struggle for the realisation of June 12, Nigeria would not have a day like May 29, set aside for handing over of power from one leader to another. The ideals of June 12 are to ensure that the true of the practice of democracy, which includes credibility of the electoral process and rule of law exist in the country. “The ideals of June 12 are not about handover notes or salutations of soldiers during march pass parades or inter-denominational church services but about the universal adult suffrage, the credibility of our electoral processes, the integrity of our institutions, the rule of law and above all, the sanctity of the collective will of Nigerians,” he said. He further noted that there is no a smooth and working relationship among the three tiers of government in the country in the last four years. “All appointments were concentrated in one place. That is not good enough. It did not show this government as a one that respects the oneness and indivisibility of the country. This government has further created more gaps among the different tribes of the country. “The economy must be revamped urgently to stimulate growth and tackle the massive unemployment in the country. The right economic environment including infrastructure must be put in place. Insecurity must, therefore, be dealt with urgently having reduced the unemployment level in the country. “An inclusive government that eliminates the perception of nepotism and clannish practices must be seen to be operational. The fight against corruption as an existential challenge must be intensified but clearly within the parameters of extant laws,” he suggested.
Also reacting, Wisdom Okpe noted that Nigerians expected that Bubari would tackle the growing insecurity, fight corruption and grow the economy. According to him, “Boko Haram terrorists launched daring attacks across the North, particularly in the North East, and then President, Goodluck Jonathan, appeared to be unable to bring the bloodshed to an end. “Buhari, as former military general, was to do much better and possibly bring an end to Boko Haram. He indeed promised to do so in the first few months of his administration. “On this call, the president performed below expectation in this regard. The terror group’s attacks have continued, and now largely confined in the North-East. But at the same time, other frontiers of insecurity have opened and escalated in the form of Fulani herdsmen and banditry, rolling back whatever progress achieved in tackling Boko Haram. “The Buhari government has, to a large extent, explained away these failures by blaming past governments. The default line of defence for the government’s failures is that the PDP government damaged the country, almost beyond repair, and that it would be unfair to expect it to correct in three or four years, PDP’s 16 years of misrule. “The APC’s excuse is of course, untenable. The administration’s failures is mostly self-inflicted, and as a consequence of structural inefficiencies. But all the same, the excuse of past governments being responsible is largely swallowed by the supporters of the president.”