President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday returned home to settle down for business. In this piece, Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation explores 10 key challenges he must address urgently.
Typical of his military background which emphasizes the element of surprise, President Muhammadu Buhari took Nigerians unawares by his “sudden” return to the country after 103 days in London for medical treatment. None of his last three guests at Nigeria House in West London (Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker Yakubu Dogara and RCCG Leader, Pastor Enoch Adeboye) had any inkling of his return.
With the drama and secrecy shrouding his London stay out of the way, attention shifts to the tons of problems waiting for him in his In-tray. The following are areas Nigerians would be looking at – expecting the promised change.
INCREASING THE PERFORMANCE PACE OF HIS ADMINISTRATION
According to Buharimeter Mid-Term Report, which was compiled by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and sponsored by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and Open Society Initiative for Western Africa (OSIWA), the President’s performance was put at 57 per cent in two years. The report, which was signed by the Director of CDD, Idayat Hassan, was based on the 222 pledges made by the President. The 222 election pledges were carefully sourced from (1) APC Manifesto: An Honest Contract with Nigeria;( 2) My Covenant with Nigeria released by the Campaign Team of the APC Presidential Candidate, Muhammadu Buhari; and (3) Un-refuted media reports including national newspaper reports and electronic media reports (television and radio) on election promises made by the President during campaign tours across the country.
The report said: “The Buharimeter Perception Survey reveals that 57% of surveyed Nigerians approve of the job performance of President Buhari, while 40% do not approve of his job performance. “Significantly, the 57% job approval has a regional dimension, with those from the northern region viewing Buhari more favourably.
“ While respondents from the North West (85%) and North -East (66%) constitute the majority of those who approve of his performance, respondents from the South-East (72%) and South-South (60%) make up those who do not approve of his performance.”
The presidency now has less than two years left to the next general elections and his government would need to increase its pace of delivery to go into that contest with positive public perceptions.
REVVING UP THE ECONOMY
At the non-elective National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last Saturday in Abuja, the alleged slow or poor economic performance of the Buhari administration became the butt of attacks by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and the party’s National Chairman, Sen. Ahmed Makarfi. The nation was bewildered as Jonathan woke up from his slumber to lambast this government. The ex-President met a match in the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu and the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu, who has been a die-hard loyalist of Buhari. Those in charge of the facts and figures on the economy were yet to talk as at press time. But the internationally recognized report of the CDD gave a verdict that Buhari ought to do more on the economy.
The CDD report said: “There is no doubt that restoring Nigeria’s economy is a priority for the administration. However, its inability to translate several monetary and fiscal policies to economic growth and development in the last two years raises some concerns.
“Even the interest rate regime in the monetary market has not made any meaningful impact on the all-time inflation rate. As revealed in the Buharimeter Survey report, in spite of the government’s efforts to tackle the economic recession, most Nigerians do not believe these approaches are effective.
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