The Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD, on Sunday released its two years’ assessment report of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration stating that a majority of Nigerians gave the president a “thumbs up.”
The report, titled ‘Buharimeter Mid-Term Report’ provides independent and systematic assessment of the performance of the incumbent administration against its 222 campaign promises.
Buharimeter, the group said, is an initiative to measure the progress of the government, bridging the gap between the governing and the governed to make democratic accountability the norm.
According to the assessment, the performance of the incumbent administration improved during its second year in government.
“This may be partly because the government began to implement promises, having had time to prepare for outlined programmes and determine which resources are required,” said Idayat Hassan, CDD’s Director.
“Furthermore, ministers who were not appointed until November 2015 began work in Year Two. However, the government’s approach needs to be holistic and not limited to fighting corruption, tackling insecurity and pursuing a diversification agenda. While these are important for the socio-economic and political development of the country, commensurate effort should be made to revive education, health and other key sectors.”
The 222 election pledges assessed in the Buharimeter report were derived from the APC manifesto, the Buhari team’s pre-election campaign promises, as well as unrefuted media reports from national newspapers and electronic media of Mr. Buhari’s campaign promises.
In the 2016 Buharimeter report, Nigerians adjudged Mr. Buhari’s overall performance as low, with his government having achieved only one out of 222 campaign promises, while progress was made towards fulfilling 45 of the promises.
But a comparative analysis of Mr. Buhari’s first two years’ performance shows “significant progress” in terms of promises rated as ‘achieved’ and ‘ongoing,’ the report stated.
The 2017 assessment report revealed that five of the campaign promises have not and cannot be achieved by the incumbent administration. They include: the commitment to end medical tourism (Mr. Buhari is currently being treated for an undisclosed ailment in a London hospital); the creation of three million jobs annually; provision of steady power supply to Nigerians between 12 and 18 months of the administration coming into power; the building of one million new houses a year over the next decade; and immediate increase of the national budget to the health sector from 5.5 per cent to 10 per cent.
In the same period, however, Mr. Buhari’s government achieved seven of its campaign promises, according to the report, including: the public declaration of asset and liabilities; presentation of National Anti-Corruption Strategy; and establishment of a good working relationship with state governments in the North East, neighbouring countries and the international community in the fight against Boko Haram.
Others are the introduction of time-limited partial amnesty to rank and file Boko Haram members; review of health policy; introduction of social insurance scheme; and review of the structure of Joint Venture Companies and ensuring transparent tendering process, not managed by federal ministers.
“Performance has reasonably improved within the year under review,” Ms. Hassan said.
“The total number of achieved and ongoing election pledges has increased from 1 to 7, and 45 to 114 respectively in year one and year two. The report also reveals that promises rated as ‘Not rated’ decreased from 179 to 96.”
The report also indicated that government emphasis in the last two years had been on security.
While corruption, agriculture, oil and gas, social safety net, and industrialisation had seen progress, there had been no corresponding interventions in sectors including education, health, sports and culture, women and youth empowerment. As
“It is particularly worrying that despite milestones recorded in the fight against corruption there are still genuine concerns over how the war is being prosecuted,” the report noted.
“In particular, the anti-graft war is rife with a lack of viable instruments to enforce compliance. It also continues to be prosecuted in an uncoordinated and disjointed manner by several institutions, including the Department of State Security, police, EFCC and ICPC, among others. These institutions need better coordination and increased understanding of their roles and responsibilities.
“Other challenges include the unlawful detention of suspects and refusal to obey court rulings. Even so, the approval rating of the anti-corruption war in the Buharimeter Perception Survey conducted by the Buharimeter stands fairly high at 52 per cent; the greater proportion of Nigerians who expressed satisfaction are resident in North West (80 per cent), North East (61 per cent) and North Central (55 per cent).
“The newly introduced whistle blowing policy, which has helped in the recovery of looted funds, is also popularly received by Nigerians, with 47 per cent of the sampled population in the Buharimeter Survey applauding it. However, it is crucial that a substantive legal framework be immediately provided to strengthen citizens’ engagement in the process.”
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
On insecurity, the report noted that government had begun to shift from the state and enemy-centric approach to an approach which uses dialogue and negotiation. It stated that while such a strategy had achieved laudable results in the case of the Niger Delta, caution should be exercised in employing it to deal with Boko Haram.
The report further called on the government to prioritise dealing with ongoing agitations for a state of Biafra.
“The government should go beyond dialogue and intervention in redressing economic and other development issues in the region, by acknowledging the local grievances from the Biafran War and charting a path towards memorialisation and healing.”
According to the report, there had been several violations of human rights, due process and lack of respect for the rule of law since the Buhari administration came into office. It described the government’s refusal to obey court orders demanding the release of Sambo Dasuki, the former National Security Adviser; Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, the Shi’ite leader, and his wife Zeenat, as a serious blight on the administration’s commitment to the rule of law.
The laxity of the administration in responding to several violent conflicts erupting across the country was a source of concern for citizens, the report stated, citing the pastoralist/farmer conflicts plaguing all the six geo-political zones of the country which had recorded numerous casualties.
In Benue State alone, between August 4, 2015 and April 25, 2017, 37 incidents of pastoralist/farmer conflicts were reported with an estimated 612 deaths recorded.
On the economy, the report said the administration’s inability to translate several monetary and fiscal policies to economic growth and development in the last two years raised some concerns.
“Even the interest rate regime in the monetary market has not made any meaningful impact on the all-time inflation rate,” the report said.
“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. Only 17 per cent and 1 per cent of Nigerians consider government’s approach to tackling the economic recession very effective and extremely effective, respectively. 46 per cent and 36 per cent of surveyed Nigerians consider the government’s approach somewhat effective.”
But despite all the problems, the Buharimeter Perception Survey revealed that 57 per cent of surveyed Nigerians approve of the job performance of President Buhari, while 40 per cent do not approve of his job performance.
Significantly, the 57 per cent job approval has a regional dimension, with those from the northern region viewing Mr. Buhari more favourably. While respondents from the North West (85 per cent) and North East (66 per cent) constitute the majority of those who approve of his performance, respondents from the South East (72per cent) and South South (60 per cent) make up those who do not approve of his performance.
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