ANALYSIS: Two years on, Northern supporters await Buhari’s magic

Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari
Photo credit: Aljazeera
Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari
Photo credit: Aljazeera

He never called himself a revolutionist – he was a former military dictator who imposed draconian laws – but President Muhammadu Buhari’s electoral campaign in 2014 and 2015 can be described as revolutionary.

His campaign was more or less a mass movement championed by the masses, especially the youth in northern villages, town and cities. People yearning for the return of Mai Gaskiya (The Forthright One) to power made contributions in various forms to ensure that the then incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan, was kicked out of the way.

At a time the candidate of the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was busy distributing money to mobilise his troops, the reverse was the case with the candidate of the opposition party, Mr. Buhari, who was busy amassing financial support and goodwill from the streets.

As part of their contributions, vendors, singers, traders, shoe shiners, truck pushers, market women, kosai (bean cake) sellers, water vendors, nail cutters, and even beggars out of their meagre earnings bought scratch cards of between one hundred naira and five hundred naira to fund the Buhari campaign.

When the election came, it proved to be a Tsunami of emotions, even the Middle Belt states were affected by what the Hausa call “Guguwar Buhari.” The entire north was excited as they slaughtered animals in celebration as had probably never been witnessed before. Cows, rams, sheep, goats, fowls and all sorts of animals were slaughtered to celebrate the defeat of the PDP government.

The people at the lower strata galvanised themselves around a man they believed would take the mantle of leadership and sweep away the rots of bad governance they in their nation had been subjected to. They looked forward to a repeat of the aftermath of the December 1983 coup when political office holders were immediately arrested, tried and slammed into jail.

It has been two years now since Mr Buhari was sworn in as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. but now there are cries of dissatisfaction coming from both the opposition and even from his downtrodden admirers?

It is clear that much has been achieved by President Buhari’s government in the fight against terrorism in the last two years. Over 100 of the Chibok schoolgirls have regained their freedom as areas seized or made inaccessible by Boko Haram have been liberated. Refugees are returning home.

On the economic front, billions of naira were released to states and local governments as bailout to pay salaries to workers. The Treasury Single Account, TSA, was implemented to check financial leakages, political leaders of the previous administration were arrested and prosecuted, cash and properties confiscated from thieves as government encouraged whistle blowers.

But are all these enough?  What really did the people expect from Mr. Buhari? Has he or where did he miss the track?

WAR ON CORRUPTION

Right from the beginning, President Buhari’s fight against corruption was bound to be different from that of his time as military head of state. Corruption could no longer be fought with military decrees and allegedly corrupt persons could not be barred from public office. Many persons accused of corruption, including members of the president’s party, APC, contested and won elections into various offices.

Presently, there are 15 former governors in the National Assembly who won elections while still facing multiple corruption charges in court. Among the most prominent are Senate President Bukola Saraki; Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations and former governor of Gombe State, Danjuma Goje, as well as Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom State.

The Buhari administration is now halfway to the first tenure with many allegedly corrupt politicians still walking free.

There is also the allegation of selective prosecution of corruption. This may not be unconnected with the fact that most of those presumed as looters by the public and who decamped from PDP to APC are not in EFCC net.

PREMIUM TIMES investigations across the north indicate that a lot of people are dissatisfied with the way the corruption cases are being treated.

For instance, former Jigawa State governor, Saminu Turaki, an APC decampee, was declared wanted by the EFCC more than once. Part of the reasons for including his name among its wanted list was his constant refusal to attend his corruption trial in Jigawa. Critics of Mr. Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade are pointing out that Mr, Turaki is walking around freely. He even appeared at the wedding of the president’s daughter, Zahra, in Daura.

EARLY SIGNS OF DISSATISFACTION

On May, 29, former governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, was attacked and chased away from the venue of his handover ceremony in Minna. Mr. Aliyu, the then PDP governor, was nearly mobbed, but for the quick intervention of security officials who hurried him into his official car and left the venue with him in high speed.

It is an irony that after just two years of Buhari admiration, the north is witnessing mob attacks on APC senators, governors and members of the House of Representatives. Some of the victims of mob attacks include Abu Ibrahim, a senator from Katsina State and Mohammed Gololo, a member of the House of Representatives from Bauchi State.

In the area of security, the level of discontentment is high due to daily reported cases of soldiers and police brutality against innocent civilians. The escalation of such reports on Facebook is silently washing away the hope of many people for dividends of democracy.

DARK CLOUDS IN KADUNA, BENUE AND TARABA

Before he fell sick, President Buhari had more than a year to take a decisive action on the clashes between farmers and herdsmen that have left many Nigerians dead across the country and properties destroyed. Many people believe the president failed to do this. The situation has now reached the point that Mr. Buhari’s opponents are propagating that government has deliberately refused to stop the killings in Kaduna, Plateau, Benue, Taraba and other states, including in the south.

The herdsmen versus farmers’ crisis appears to have dented Mr. Buhari’s popularity in some areas, especially Southern Kaduna, some parts of Plateau and Taraba states. The situation is even worse in Benue, an APC state, where the government now has an anti-grazing law.

DISCONTENT IN KANO, JIGAWA, KATSINA

During the 2015 presidential elections, Mr. Buhari secured his biggest block votes in Kano, with the support of former governor, Rabi’u Kwankwaso, who was second in the APC presidential primary elections in Lagos. In Kano, APC won 1,903,999 votes out of 2,128,821 votes with PDP a distant second with 215,779 votes only.

A few months after President Buhari assumed office, fire destroyed almost half of Sabon Gari market where properties worth billions of naira were lost. The popular Kantin Kwari textile market was also damaged by fire soon after, as goods and properties worth billions of naira were also reported to have been lost. With these two calamities at a time when people were suffering under hard living conditions as a result of recession, people were not happy with Mr. Buhari’s lack of demonstration of concern and his failure to pay the victims a visit.

PREMIUM TIMES findings also revealed that the people are not happy that no major project has been executed in the state by the federal government. The Kano Film Village, which was included in the 2017 budget, was rejected by the people because they considered it of no significant value to them.

“This is not the reason we rejected PDP and cast our votes for Buhari. If all I can get from this government is a film village, why did I spend most of my time campaigning for APC?

“We have other serious problems that need urgent attention from the Buhari administration. Look at Kaduna-Kano expressway; it is almost unmotorable between Zaria and Kano. They don’t know how many people lost their lives daily on this road, which is why they don’t care to attend to it,” said Dahiru, a commercial vehicle driver, who frequents the road from Kano to Abuja.

Though a lot of people are angry, Mr. Buhari’s health condition might possibly be the reason for not venting their anger in a loud tone. The president is currently in London on medical vacation.

Like in Kano, checks in Jigawa State revealed that there is discontent in the former PDP state over distribution of federal appointments. The two main appointees from the state, a minister and the director general of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, are both from Kazaure, a town regarded as Mr. Buhari’s second home after Daura.

A recent by-election into the House of Representatives at Mashi and Dutsi Local Government areas in Katsina state gave a clear sign that all is not well with the ruling party in the home state of President Buhari. The APC scored 27,968, while the PDP was not far behind with 19,451 votes. Even at that, the PDP accused the APC of ballot snatching and other irregularities. The state chairman of the opposition party, Salisu Majigiri, issued a statement that his party had rejected the result of the by-election held to fill the seat of the deceased federal lawmaker from President Buhari’s senatorial constituency.

SCORECARD OF BUHARI GOVERNMENT

A recent report published this week by an organization, SBM Intelligence, summed up what could be taken as President Buhari’s performance. It credited his government with fulfilling only four of 171 promises the APC made during the 2015 elections.

SBM Intelligence said on its web page that it was only providing an “analysis of the Nigerian socio-economic situation.”

Many in the North who expected much better from Mr. Buhari may see no reason to query that assessment.

However, although the government has highlighted some of its successes including in agriculture, war on terror and social investment programmes, President Buhari’s officials have, however, asked for more patience from Nigerians.

Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, assured that the federal government was committed to the development and welfare of the people.


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  • Northandkano

    Northerners in general and Kano people in particular are satisfied with this government achievements especially security, agriculture as well as economy. Immaterial of whatever any one may say, Buhari is our candidate even tomorrow and years to come.

    • Frank Bassey

      Ride on bros. The Niger Delta oil is flowing. But I can assure you that this absentee candidate of yours will end up the way he is.

  • GEJ FOREVER

    BLESSED ARE THE BUHARI/OSINBAJO/APC SUPPORTERS FOR THEY SHALL INHERIT SUFFERING & MISERY

    As I write this …tears are streaming out of my eyes … I am weeping uncontrollably as I behold the suffering and misery of Buhari, Osinbajo & APC supporters especially for my Mechanic Modiu who is cursing the day he decided to support Buhari/APC in the 2015 Presidential election. Modiu worked tirelessly campaigning for Buhari/APC despite my warnings.

    Today, Modiu knows better, he is full of regrets but I can’t help sharing the burden of the misery he brought upon himself via his support for Buhari/APC.

    Modiu’s situation is made worse because his very brilliant daughter gained admission into the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife to read an engineering course but regrettably and due to dwindling patronage from vehicle owners who need repairs Modiu could not raise the funds that the daughter needed for resumption at Ife.Sad !

    Modiu campaigned for “Change” and his situation has truly “Changed for the WORSE”

    I recall that on several occasions during the season for campaigns for the 2015 Presidential election I consistently and regularly asked Modiu why he is supporting a party with heavy Bola Tinubu involvement.

    I reminded him that Bola Tinubu is only after what he can get for himself, family and gee-chorus boys.

    In reply Modiu swore several times that Bola Tinubu is a good man who is always ready to help the poor and needy.

    Regrettably, Modiu failed to get Bola Tinubu’s help for his daughters resumption at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife. Despite, several repeated efforts Modiu was not able to gain access to see Bola Tinubu and ask for sponsorship for his very, very brilliant daughter.

    Not done, …. today, I am going to inform Modiu that his woes has worsened.

    The Buhari/Osinbajo/APC controlled CBN has approved a monthly charge of N50.00 for each Nigerian Bank issued Naira ATM/Debit Card.

    This approval was done not minding the fact that Nigerians Banks charge their customers heavily at the time of issuance of ATM/DEBIT Cards. The charges at the time of issuance range from N1,050.00 to N5,250.00 depending on the Bank and class of Card.

    In fact, Banks like Access Bank and Diamond Bank started implementation of the newly levied charge before the CBN approval was published for public notification.

    The reality and truth is that Modiu’s Account with Access Bank will soon go into accumulating debit because Modiu does not have the money to sustain the monthly ATM/Debit Card charge of N50.00.

    Guess what; these unbearable charges were approved by Buhari/Osinbajo/APC controlled CBN for Banks that are already making Billions of Naira profit from FX and other scams supported by the APC presidency.

    Poor Nigerians have never had it so bad.

    They are paying fuel tax of over N50.00 on each litre of fuel they buy. They are paying Stamp Duty charge of N50.00 on every credit that comes into their Current Account ……. and now they are are to pay double for common Bank issued Naira ATM/Debit Cards.

    To make it more painful for poor ordinary Nigerians like Modiu, the Buhari/Osinbajo/PC controlled CBN announced the reduction of online transfer charges. It is only the rich and a few middle class that actively do online transfer … the poor like Modiu are not involved in online transfer.

    Without doubt, Modiu is getting it.

    Buhari, Osinbajo & APC are not for the poor suffering Nigerians like him. …. they are strictly for the rich and their Banks !

    Modiu voted for “change” and he is getting “Change” indeed !

    Blessed are the Buhari/Osinbajo/APC supporters and voters for they shall inherit suffering and misery here on earth.

    • Dan Arewa

      How is the creek life, monkey?

      • Frank Bassey

        Don’t be intellectually lazy. Face the argument provide your own facts. That is how to show you are not a desert camel.

    • Frank Bassey

      Well articulated.

  • Dan Arewa

    Buhari had already done what we needed the most (provide/improve
    security) by defeating BH. Boko Haram is the most damning thing to ever
    happen to North which was clearly sponsored by the likes of Sambosa and
    Ihejereecars. That alone is an outstanding achievement. I love you my
    president and will vote for you if you ever decide to stand in 2019.

    • dele20

      PMB has positively reflected to Nigeria and done what had been clueless for the previous administrations to do

      Sincerely, no government had ever gone so deep in tackling corruption and providing security like this administration

      Security is crucial and saves lives, which means PMB has saved many lives.With this, all we need do is to commend PMB for doing what other administrations lack

  • GEJ FOREVER

    !BLESSED ARE THE BUHARI/OSINBAJO/APC SUPPORTERS FOR THEY SHALL INHERIT SUFFERING & MISERY HERE ON EARTH

    As I write this …tears are streaming out of my eyes … I am weeping uncontrollably as I behold the suffering and misery of Buhari/Osinbajo/APC supporters especially for my Mechanic Modiu who is cursing the day he decided to support Buhari/APC in the 2015 Presidential election. Modiu worked tirelessly campaigning for Buhari/APC despite my warnings.

    Today, Modiu knows better, he is full of regrets but I can’t help sharing the burden of the misery he brought upon himself via his support for Buhari/APC.

    Modiu’s situation is made worse because his very brilliant daughter gained admission into the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife in 2016 to read an engineering course but regrettably and due to dwindling patronage from vehicle owners who need repairs Modiu could not raise the funds that the daughter needed for resumption at Ife. Sad !

    Modiu campaigned for “Change” and his situation has truly “Changed for the WORSE”

    I recall that on several occasions during the season for campaigns for the 2015 Presidential election I consistently and regularly asked Modiu why he is supporting a party with heavy Bola Tinubu involvement.

    I reminded him that Bola Tinubu is only after what he can get for himself, family and gee-chorus boys.

    In reply Modiu swore several times that Bola Tinubu is a good man who is always ready to help the poor and needy.

    Regrettably, Modiu failed to get Bola Tinubu’s help for his daughters resumption at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife. Despite, several repeated efforts Modiu was not able to gain access to see Bola Tinubu and ask for sponsorship for his very, very brilliant daughter.

    Not done, …. today, May 30, 2017 I am going to inform Modiu that his woes has worsened.

    The Buhari/Osinbajo/APC controlled CBN has approved a monthly charge of N50.00 for each Nigerian Bank issued Naira ATM/Debit Card.

    In fact, Banks like Access Bank and Diamond Bank started implementation of the newly levied charge before the CBN approval was published for public notification.

    This approval was done not minding the fact that Nigerians Banks charge their customers heavily at the time of issuance of ATM/DEBIT Cards. The charges at the time of issuance range from N1,050.00 to N5,250.00 depending on the Bank and class of Card.

    The reality and truth is that Modiu’s Account with Access Bank will soon go into accumulating debit because Modiu does not have the money to sustain the monthly ATM/Debit Card charge of N50.00.

    Guess what; this new unbearable charge was approved by Buhari/Osinbajo/APC controlled CBN for Banks that are already making Billions of Naira profit from FX and other scams supported by the APC presidency.

    Poor Nigerians have never had it so bad.

    They are paying fuel tax of over N50.00 on each litre of fuel they buy. They are paying Stamp Duty charge of N50.00 on every credit that comes into their Current Account ……. and now they are to pay double for common Bank issued Naira ATM/Debit Cards.

    To make it more painful for poor ordinary Nigerians like Modiu, the Buhari/Osinbajo/PC controlled CBN at the same time announced the reduction of online transfer charges. It is only the rich and a few middle class that actively do online transfer … the poor like Modiu are not involved in online transfer.

    Without doubt, Modiu is getting it.

    Buhari, Osinbajo & APC are not for the poor suffering Nigerians like him. …. they are strictly for the rich and their Banks !

    Modiu voted for “change” and he is getting “Change” indeed !

    Blessed are the Buhari/Osinbajo/APC supporters and voters for they shall inherit suffering and misery here on earth.

    • Obaeze

      … but we are far far better than where we are coming from….. GEJ is just not it!

      • Frank Bassey

        How? Elucidate with facts, please. Let us have the numbers — in Economy, Security, Education, Corruption …. Show your data. I am waiting.

  • Hamza

    The problems with this govt to me have to do with the apparent nepotism, slowness, and lack of tact in managing it’s image. I don’t know, maybe it is old age. But I just can’t believe it that Buhari can be so nepotistic. Again things are not moving as fast as required considering the current situation. Everything is too slow, perhaps it is because people expect Buhari himself to do things. But all the appointees seem to be in go slow mode too. No sense of urgency. I think the people are too old. Lastly, people in govt are not deploying their energy in reporting the true situation of things. The media has since successfully created this perception of some “invincible” murderous herdsmen that are not being confronted by govt. People really believe it esp those in the South. The so-called herdsmen are being associated with Buhari. We have seen how criminals disguise as herdsmen and commit atrocities in the south east, by their own confessions. Yet nobody in the govt is correcting this false perception. Buhari also has failed to address this issue of balancing appointments. Is it real or just perception by other people, I don’t know. But someone needs to come out with facts and disprove this perception by the southern people. Of course the average northerner may not be that informed, or maybe blinded by sentiments (love for Buhari) and they may not see these lapses.
    We hope things get better before 2019.

  • Frank Bassey

    The North is clandestinely benefiting from lopsided appointments which PMB is shamelessly allocating to them. They are also pilfering the resources meant for IDP camps and the fight against Boko Haram. What is the “disappointment” there?

  • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

    Many thanks, PT Editor.

    This is a fair and balanced assessment of the PMB government so far.

  • ijelu

    Well, even with the disappointment, they will still vote for buhari in next elections. They are satisfied as long as it is a government of the northerners, by the northerners, for the northerners, with looted oil money from south south.

    • Bakanridi

      You can say what ever you like on BABA PMB. It was because of the poor economic situation he inherited from the ineptitude SS guy that said glorified corruption to the extent that he said “stealing is not corruption”.More so no matter your hatred and enmity for PMB, you cannot present one tangible proof or evidence that shows he is a THIEF or condone thievery and corruption. If you can Go ahead.

      • Alhaji

        You can neither prove that he is not as corrupt as Babangida and Abacha. Is nepotism not corruption, for example? How many Boko Haram that killed thousand of innocent people has he prosecuted? How many Fulani herdsmen who have killed thousands of people has he arrested and prosecuted? How many APC members has he prosecuted for corruption? If you are not fooling yourself, you will know that there is no difference between Buhari, Babangida, Atiku, Abacha, Lamido, Umaru Dikko, Yuguda, Gusau, Nyako and Sanusi. All are as corrupt and as thieving as the devil. Buhari is not clean if you want to be honest with yourself

        • ayomi

          Well said

      • George

        Inherited shame on you. What did OBJ inherited from Abubarka before he paid off all the foreign debts.

  • dele20

    This administration is really working

  • George

    Zero plus zero and zero is equal to zero.

    Buhari is zero, the North are zero and their rewards are zero.

    God never sleep.

  • Udechukwu

    President Buhari has no balls! If you like give him 20 years, he would fail. I knew he would definitely be a failure as I warned my Yuroba colleagues here before the election.

  • ayomi

    Buhari allows them to kill without any fear of arrest, that not only fills their stomach but also their head

  • Sonny Martin

    He that waits for the crab to sleep,should be prepare to spend a long time at the beach.