Buhari at 1: Delayed change and fading hope

A man holds a framed portrait of Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari outside the venue of Buhari's inauguration in Abuja May 29, 2015. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

Buhari&;s victory in the 2015 elections was highly celebrated by many Nigerians because of the change he and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), promised and represented.

President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn into office on May 29, 2015, exactly one year ago.

Buhari’s victory in the 2015 elections was highly celebrated by many Nigerians because of the change he and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), promised and represented.

The country had been ruled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for 16 years and had made no real progress so the promise of change was a welcome one.

Buhari’s inauguration was attended by more world leaders than any of his predecessors and this showed that he had instilled hope in many hearts all around the globe.

 

 

The expectations placed on Buhari were so high that he had to remind people, before he was sworn in, that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

“The expectation is too high and I have started nervously to explain to people that Rome was not built in a day,” Buhari said on Tuesday, May 5, 2015, during a meeting with governor members of the APC and governors-elect voted in on the party’s platform.

“For this to be corrected, please give the incoming government a chance,” he added.

Unfortunately for Buhari, his campaign was based on building the expectations of Nigerians and they had come to see him as a hero, that expectation could not be dampened with one statement.

The early days of the Buhari government reinforced this hero image. Electricity was constant, Boko Haram was being effectively tackled and looters were being exposed.

But then things began to change. Buhari took forever to choose ministers and hardly gave an acceptable explanation for the delay. Then the drama with the 2016 budget began and was joined by fuel scarcity, poor electricity, Fulani herdsmen, Niger Delta Avengers, increased fuel price and tomato scarcity.

To make matters worse, the Buhari government seems to believe that it doesn’t owe Nigerians an explanation for its actions.

Buhari doesn’t speak to the people who elected him and when he does, it’s usually through interviews with foreign journalists. His spokesperson, Femi Adesina says it’s because he doesn’t want to be a talkative president.

Experts are saying Nigeria is heading for a full-blown economic crisis, some are saying recession, some are saying depression, yet our president doesn’t want to be talkative.

The Buhari government has been a disappointment, to say the least, but not because of Nigeria’s current challenges. The way the PDP handled Nigeria’s economy had made it almost certain that there’d be hard times ahead.

Buhari’s administration has been disappointing because the president and his officials have handled the implementation of their policies like novices. The Buhari government has zero communication strategy. This flaw is all the more amazing because the media was this government’s vehicle into power and now it has become its worst enemy.

Adesina and Information Minister, Lai Mohammed have made some of the most unbelievable statements to proceed out of the mouths of government officials, yet they have shown no remorse for constantly alienating and infuriating Nigerians.

The Buhari administration obviously has good intentions, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Nigerians need a government that cares about them and this care can only be expressed through proper communication.

This of course means that Buhari has to be talkative. He needs to talk about Fulani herdsmen and the Niger Delta Avengers and he has to explain and dissect his economic policies until the average Nigerian understands where the country is going.

Nigerians have placed a lot of hope on President Buhari but that hope is slowly fading due to the government’s insensitivity. Buhari still has three more years to fulfill his promises to Nigerians but if he continues on this same path, he would’ve lost their trust before the time is up.

The president needs to remember that most of his appeal comes from his ability to assure Nigerians that everything is under control, that he is firmly in charge. How will he assure them when he’s always silent?

If Buhari intends to continue in office beyond 2019, and leave a positive mark on Nigeria, he and his team have to re-strategize on how to better carry Nigerians along in deciding on and implementing their policies.

Buhari has spent a rather disappointing one year in office, but it would be a tragedy of great proportions if the rest of his tenure goes the same way. Buhari has been given a great opportunity to reshape the destiny of this country, it’s time for the president to prove himself worthy of it.

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