Attention was first drawn to the duration of a first one hundred days in office in 1933 when Mr
Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected as America’s President. Hitherto his election, The United States of America was faced with a calamity of economic depression. Though 100 days is not a perfect period for evaluation of an administration, it, nonetheless, provides an opportunity to gauge the road map and likely effectiveness of a regime. It has to be recalled that within the first one hundred days of his government, Roosevelt moved with unprecedented dispatch to address the problems of his country men and women.
Though no constitution stipulates one hundred days as a length of time within which any specific achievement in governance could be measured and evaluated, the successes recorded within such a period of time by Roosevelt has made it almost conventional that democratically elected leaders should have something tangible or intangible, to showcase at the end of their first hundred days in office.
Nigeria, being an integral part of the global community, should not alienate itself from global standards and expectations. Starting from 29th of May, 1999, consciousness and demand for transparent, accountable and service-oriented governance became very deep and strong amongst the electorate. As the years went by, and taking into consideration that Nigerians had adjudged themselves as victims of poor leadership and leadership failure, the urge to see what an elected government could achieve within demarcated periods of its administration; including the first one days, became intrinsically fervent.
President Muhammadu Buhari, as the Presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress, in his sweet-coated tongue, had made many promises during his electioneering campaigns. He had created a picture of Nigeria being an Eldorado as soon as he got into office as President. Notable amongst his promises were; immediate disappearance of Boko Haram insurgents, restoration of general security, wiping away of corruption, creation of employment for the teaming unemployed Nigerian youths, automatic improvement in power, stipends for the aged and agrarian revolution. Nigerians had a lot of hope in Buhari’s change philosophy that majority of them keyed in and voted for him and his party.
As would be expected, governorship candidates in the April 2015 election made their own promises in the course of their campaigns for vote. For President Buhari and the governors elected in April 2015, their first one hundred days in office came to a close on Saturday 5th September, 2015. Based on precedence and expectations, Nigerians seem to be prying into the conduct, style and achievements of their leaders within their first one hundred days of being sworn-in. For the purposes of this essay, the focus of attention will be on President Buhari and Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State.
Abia Governor Okezie Ikpeazu
The first one hundred days of President Muhammadu Buhari could be said to have been characteristzed by pros and cons. True to his promise to tackle the menace of Boko Haram insurgency, he has shown a lot of determination and commitment to fighting the surge. Even though the insurgents still carryout skeletal attacks on humanity in the North-East of Nigeria such as the bomb explosions that occurred in Maduguri on Sunday 20th September, 2015 there is visible evidence that the Islamist fundamentalists are beginning to count their days. The Nigerian Military must be commended for their exceptional courage and sacrifices. The same praise goes to the other security agencies and even the patriotic indigenes of the North-East, including the civilian Joint Task Forces, a good number of whom have paid the ultimate prize. That the Nigerian military has completely, as widely reported, taken over the Sambiza forest is a good source of joy for Nigerians of that region. An important point, however, has to be made here and that is the fact that if Buhari and his co-northerners had, despite differences in political party leaning and the ambition to grab power, supported former President Goodluck Jonathan when his administration launched very serious attack on the Boko Haram venom, insurgency could not have been among the problems he would have inherited on assumption of office. At the time the Jonathan’s administration came up, in a no-nonsense manner against the Boko Haram stupidity, using the able command of Lieutnant –General Ihejirika as Chief of Army Staff, it was Buhari, in consonance with other highly-placed northern moslems, that openly accused him of prosecuting a genocide against the North. Now that the insurgents have been killed in their thousands, Nigerians will be waiting to know what nomenclature the Buhari government would use instead of genocide against the hoodlums who are still believed to be Nigerians.
Still on security within the first hundred days of President Buhari, some elements of inconsistency were evident. Quickly on assumption of office, President Buhari ordered for the immediate withdrawal of all security personnel from all road check-points. This was like an order emanating from a King who had not done his homework well. Questions of security are very sensitive. Before any leader who is worth his salt makes any pronouncement on it, he is expected to have scrutinized the checks and balances the utterance would have on national security. It took an uproar from the generality of Nigerians for President Buhari to rescind that military- fashioned directive.
On foreign policy, the Buhari administration has scored some points through his foreign trips to the United Kingdom as a President-elect, the United States of America, Chad, Niger, Cameroon, Republic of Benin and the most recent to France. These visits, if they were properly cordinated and harnessed, could bring about the much-needed foreign investments that could help address some key sectors of the nation’s economy and, by so doing, create employment opportunities. But it is generally feared that these visits are, as they were, flawed by the absence of ministers who are yet to be appointed one hundred and sixteen days after Buhari was sworn-in sworn-in. Unfortunately, during these visits abroad, the President announced his discriminatory policy of sharing of perquisites of his administration. More embarrassingly, he told an audience in Paris that Nigerian ministers are mare noise-makers. It is wished that as a minister of Petroleum under General Olusegun Obasanjo, Buhari did not lay the foundation for noise-making for future Nigerian ministers.
The foundation for co-existence in any society is the rule of law. Once the rule of Law is not observed in any society, life in it degenerates to what obtains in a wild animal Kingdom. One hundred days of Buhari’s administration have witnessed some dethronement of the rule of Law in order to settle scores with some perceived political enemies. The case of the President of the Senate; Dr Bukola Sariki, whose case is reported to be pending in a Federal High court in Abuja yet the code of conduct Tribunal went ahead to issue a warrant of arrest against him gives the impression that all is not well. Another worrisome aspect of the threat to the rule of Law under Buhari is his reported preference of the Governor of Kaduna state; Nasir El-Rufai, as his defacto Vice President instead of the democratically elected Professor Yemi Osinbajo. According to the Trent News, this unlawful tribal preference is already tearing the Buhari Presidency into North- South dichotomy.
In Abia state, gradual but systematic process of restoration of faith and confidence has been evident within the first one hundred days of an academic-turned politician, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration. He started his administration by redefining governance. Today in Abia State, the governor is simply addressed as Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, the Governor of Abia State. There is nothing like “Your Excellency” or “Executive Governor”. He has been pragmatic in his bid to reduce cost of governance. The usual boisterity and profligacy associated with the state governors were never evident during these one hundred days in the state.
During his first one hundred days in office, Governor Ikpeazu laid foundation for a vibrant transparent public service. An integrated payroll verification system was put in place to ascertain the actual number of workers and pensioners in the state.
Still within the period under review, more than twenty-seven roads, cutting across the three senatorial zones of the state were given attention. In Aba, a lot of infrastructural recovery, including desilting of drainages, has been witnessed. Abians, however, are praying that the rains would subside so that rural roads such as Ariaria-Umuiku, Uratta-Obokwe and Obehie-Okeikpe could be recovered. The same expectation hangs on Osisioma-Ekeakpara road which witnesses very high haulage due to the presence of the P.P.M.C. depot there. From all indications, there is bound to be light at the end of the Abia tunnel.
Chief Sir Don Ubani.
(Okwubunka of Asa) Umuiku-Isi-Asa Ukwa-West
P.M.B. 7048, Aba
21 – 09 – 2015