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Buhari – one year in office: Nigerians winter of discontent


Buhari - one year in office

“Many expected Buhari to wave his magical wand and fulfill his electoral promises of restoring dollar-Naira parity and to save the falling oil price.”

“After all is said and done, more is said than done” – Aesop

The inauguration of Rtd. Gen. Muhamadu Buhari as the fifth executive president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria could be best described as a pomp and circumstance. 

It was a day of profound enthusiasm. 

For the majority of Nigerians who voted for president Buhari, it was not just the end of an era but also the beginning of another.

President Buhari, who had defeated the incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, was designed and presented to be the cure-all-medicine to the Nigerian socio-political and economic malaise. 

During the election campaign, he and his All Progressive Congress (APC) spin doctors were watering promises “like tomorrow no dey.” 

They, by so doing lured the majority of Nigerians into believing that re-electing Goodluck Jonathan – whom the party described to be clueless – would be their worst sin on earth.

So, the inauguration day was the epiphany of APC. The party vuvuzelas were sounding “sai Baba.” 

The trekker who would later meet the new president was hitting the road from Lagos to Abuja. 

The poor masses – especially those of northern extraction who massively voted for the man they called ‘Mai Gaskiya’ – cling to their radio and television sets with great aplomb.

But barely one year into president Buhari’s four years constitutionally allotted tenancy of Aso Rock, the ‘Sai Baba’ crusaders have vanished. 

The balloon of the great expectations has been deflected. Everywhere you go, people will tell you: This change is killing us!

Just few days after he took the reins of office, naira depreciated to an alarming level. 

And the price of crude oil fell below $50 a barrel. 

Many expected president Buhari to wave his magical wand and fulfill his electoral promises of restoring dollar-Naira parity and to save the falling oil price. 

But the septuagenarian bluntly told Nigerians that he is not a magician and that at his age, that there are things he cannot do.

When many began to complain, APC lunatic fringes branded them “Wailing wailers.”

To compound the problem, president Buhari, who was ruling then by means of body language, decided apropos of nothing, to embark on a seven month search for political saints to make ministers. 

This futile venture trampled Nigerians in what Hon. Patrick Obahiagbon phrased “directionless directionlessness.” – Asikason Jonathan

As if that was not enough, budget debacle was unveiled.

For three months, Nigerian state was standstill as her president was trying to understand the denotations and connotations of the word “Padding.”

It didn’t take long before almost all Nigerians (except those enjoying the goodies accompanying the public offices they occupied) started wailing.

The depreciation in Naira affected almost everything that even the bitter leaves sellers will tell you the effect of Naira-dollar disparity.

Both the rich and poor were affected.

Average families started finding it difficult to have a three square meal a day let alone paying house rents and school fees.

Ever wonder why everybody is complaining about the change?

It was against this backdrop of rampaging poverty and glaring unemployment that president Buhari found it worthwhile to remove the government subsidy on premium motor spirit (PMS).

This public policy which came after president Buhari’s message to Nigerians that his occupancy of Aso villa did not alienate him from the sufferings of the people did portray him as a hypocrite.

Come to thinks of it, this is a government that promised to sell fuel at N45 a litre if voted in. 

The subsidy removal means that the price of goods and services that naira depreciation doubled will now be tripled. 

So how is President Buhari sharing in our pains?

Then came the strike threat, the court order and a divided Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC). 

The Ayuba Wabba led NLC went for strike while Joseph Ajaero faction pulled out. 

After four days of strike action, Wabba group called off the strike and returned to the negotiating table with the government.

Nigerians are still waiting patiently for the result of the negotiations before it dawned on them that President Buhari has stayed for one year in office.

While there are some good news in terms of security, as we can see in the rescue of Amina Ali, president Buhari’s one year in office could best be described as Nigerians winter of discontent. 

Let’s pray that the winter won’t tarry!

Asikason Jonathan, a political scientist wrote in from Enugwu-Ukwu, Anambra State.

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