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Can Buhari save Nigeria from the brink?

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

By Toye Faleye

Before President Muhammadu Buhari took the mantle of leadership as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, lots of Nigerians had nursed hopes of better days to come.

Knowing Buhari for his spartan life, so elated and expectant of his reign were Nigerians. They were so much in a hurry, expecting that immediately Buhari was sworn in, poverty, unemployment, squalor and lawlessness would take their exit.

Nigerians had hoped that their battered nation would be transformed from an economic basket case to a more robustly prosperous state. But to their chagrin, things are not looking like they had expected.

Expectations are becoming shattered, as things seem to be taking a lot of time and not happening as hoped. Almost two years after, the socio-political and economic lives of the nation look very much unsatisfactory.

Citizens complain that Buhari is rather too slow, while some are beginning to think that he may not possess the magic wand after all. One commuter bus driver laments: “Times are hard, money is scarce, prices of food stuffs are high,” asking, “were things not better during Jonathan’s reign?” as another frustrated citizen adds: “if things continue like this for the next one year, Nigeria may collapse.”

Amid the woes of economic recession that the country currently battles, and that many things seem not to be taking positive shape, many Nigerians are concluding that they might have been swindled by the campaign gimmicks of the ruling party.

Nigerians, more or less, gasp for survival as the economy is undermined by a nasty free-fall of oil price, which seems to be slowly picking up.

But analysts say credit should be given to Buhari, who upon being sworn in, commenced the fight against corruption head long.  They say a lot of officials who perpetrated a great deal of damage by plundering the nation’s treasury in such a reckless manner have been exposed.

However, many are of the opinion that the regime is using EFCC to fight PDP and its supposed enemies. They sighted the retired Colonel Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser (NSA) to Goodluck Jonathan, who has been held since December 1, 2015 by the State Security Service (SSS) for allegedly stealing two billion dollars and awarding phantom contracts to buy 12 helicopters, four fighter jets, and arms and ammunition meant for the campaign against the Boko Haram sect, so are other notable officials of the regime. They think the fight should not be lopsided, saying the Secretary to the Federal Government, Babachir Lawal, should also be prosecuted for the alleged corruption case hanging on his neck.

But away from corruption fighting, analysts hold that Buhari should wear a thinking cap to bail Nigeria out of doldrums, even though he inherited a deluge of problems, ranging from socio disorder, economic disaster to political stench and a whole lot more.

Dr Frank S Udemba Jacobs, President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, (MAN), advises that if the country would navigate the turbulent water and survive, Buhari’s government will need to revitalize the moribund manufacturing sector plagued by poor power supply and depleted infrastructure. “The real sector, especially, manufacturing as the engine of growth, has not been given priority. The sector, which performed fairly well in the 70’s, should be transformed by giving it a priority,” says Udemba.

According to him, efforts should be geared towards growing new enterprises, diversifying the economy and providing dedicated industrial infrastructure to foster industrial clustering, both in the area of traditional industrial agglomerations, as well as in under-developed areas with latent economic potential.

While wishing PMB, soonest recovery, effort should be dissipated towards revamping of the economy.

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