Politicians everywhere are never short on promises. After 16 years of rule by a party which oversaw rising corruption, growing poverty levels and a failing war against Boko Haram insurgency, Nigerians had had enough of the broken promises of the erstwhile ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
So, many Nigerians invested hope in Muhammadu Buhari whose All Progressives Congress promised “change” ahead of the March 2015 elections. Nigerians voted the APC in with a hefty majority, bringing about the first democratic power transfer between parties at the federal level in the country’s history.
After more than two years in office, Nigerians are questioning whether the Buhari-led administration is truly the change they bargained for.
An array of public policy experts who spoke at this year’s Buharimeter Citizens’ Town Hall Meeting organized by the Centre for Development and Democracy on Friday in Abuja said the government is moving at a very slow pace in meeting the demands of the people that voted it into office.
“We have a so-called democratically elected government, which was accepted by the people because they felt that the Goodluck Jonathan-led administration was corrupt and should be made away with. But what is happening?” asked a former vice-chancellor at the University of Abuja, Nuhu Yaqub, the chairman of the occasion and keynote speaker.
“The Buhari administration is so sluggish in the implementation of its programmes and campaign promises.”
“Recently, resident electoral commissioners were appointed in about 12 states or so while that of 16 states is yet to be appointed. The issue is: what are you waiting for, bearing in mind that election is getting closer?”
Mr. Yaqub, a professor, said though the Buhari administration has recorded successes in some areas, it derailed in keeping to its major campaign promises on security, corruption and the economy.
“They decimated Boko-Haram in certain aspects. The question is when is the terminal point for Boko-Haram because they (Boko-Haram) appear to be a cat with nine lives that keep springing up every now and then?” he said.
On the issue of corruption and economy, Mr. Yaqub asked where money recovered from looters so far is being kept.
“My fear is that if care is not taken, another regime will come and give the money back to the people it was collected from. If the money is collected, let us know the actual amount collected, what is it going to be used for, how is it going to be utilized and why have so much money recovered and we still go out to borrow money to fund the budgets?”
Idayat Hassan, the CDD director, said Mr. Buhari had spent 881 days in office but yet issues of corruption and insecurity were still rife in the country.
She said the Buharimeter came out of the challenge to assess governance in the country.
Her welcome address centred on Mr. Buhari’s fight against corruption and insecurity.
Ms. Hassan said Buhari’s administration was still under-performing in securing the nation, adding that although the administration prides its self with fighting corruption, it still lacks visible road map and strategy for the fight.
The Nigerian Country Director, Open Society Initiative for West Africa, Jude Ilo, expressed disappointment with certain developments under President Buhari, especially his government’s consistent refusal and reluctance to obey court orders.
“Other trends have worsened under this administration such as the worrying pattern of the government’s reluctance to obey court orders. Nothing can justify the disrespect for the rule of law.
“The sense that there is lack of commitment to the anti-graft campaign that heralded the coming into power of this government is fast destroying its credibility,” Mr. Ilo said.
He also cited the inability of states to pay salaries, unemployment and “the footprints of violence expanding from Plateau to Kaduna, from the marauding herdsmen to a resurgence of Boko Haram, Nigerians are worried about their safety and security,” Mr. Ilo noted.
Patricia Achakpa, another member of a panel at the event, said over N872 billion had been invested in the North-east to tackle insurgency but there was nothing to show for the huge expenditure.
Ms. Achakpa said terrorism was being sponsored by many people in the area.
She also lamented the issue of gender imbalance in the Buhari administration.
The CDD launched ‘Buharimeter’ to track the delivery of President Buhari’s campaign promises to Nigerians.
On May 28, the CDD released its two years’ assessment report of the administration titled: Buharimeter Mid-Term Report on the performance of the incumbent administration against its 222 campaign promises.
The CDD Director, Mrs. Hassan, said that the two years’ assessment report reveals that five of the campaign promises had not and cannot be achieved by the administration, noting that these constitute “broken promises”.
Buharimeter, according to CDD, used media reports, desk review and survey to match President Buhari’s campaign promises with public expectation and action taken by the government in its two years in office.
The report is a product of a National Survey on Buharimeter, carried out in all states and senatorial districts in Nigeria.