By Louis Okoroma
As the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari clocks two years in office, it is pertinent to take an X-ray of the regime in terms of its performance in the critical areas of its campaign promises and in those areas that Nigerians wanted action taken.
The three critical areas where the nation had problems which needed fixing, were in the areas of national security, fight against corruption and revitalizing a non-performing economy whose future was hanging in the balance because of the twin problems of dependence on one revenue-earning product, crude oil and the more important fact that the price of that commodity, crude oil, had fallen very low in the World market.
The task before President Buhari was daunting and he even confessed to the media that when he realized the enormity of the problems confronting the nation notably the paucity of revenue to pursue much-needed development programs, he considered at times throwing in the towel!
Though Nigeria is still battling economic difficulties, the time for applause is coming slowly but surely as the nation commences the laborious march out of recession.
The administration of PMB has performed fairly well in dealing with the insecurity problem that once loomed large on the national horizon.
PMB got the nation’s armed forces to rout the Boko Haram, degrading the latter from a confident and rampaging band of insurgents to a rag-tag nuisance that now seek to ambush and throw bombs at the gallant soldiers of the Nigeria Army.
The icing on the cake in the area of security, which is a good anniversary package for millions of Nigerians and the people of the troubled North east, is the release into freedom of 82 additional girls hitherto kidnapped from the Government Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State on 6th May, 2017.
In the area of anti-corruption, it is a boom! Never before has the anti-corruption agencies in the country exposed so much graft, so much greed, so much wickedness and so much lack of compassion among the nation’s elite. It is a sort of bonanza.
The Whistleblower policy activated by the Buhari administration to enable citizen participation in the anti-corruption war, is the single most important catalyst now driving the war against corruption and given it a life of its own.
The issue of concern to many Nigerians is, what kind of sanctions to mete out to the growing list of national robbers and looters?
The prevailing position is that forfeiture of stolen assets to the state is not sufficient punishment for the looters. It is recommended that the government working with the nation’s judiciary should ensure compulsory jail terms of not less than 20 years for those who contributed to the nation’s adversity, poverty and unemployment of the people through stealing of public funds, as well as banning such dubious persons from seeking for office.
To his credit, the administration of PMB, is battling recession and the good news is that the country will come out victorious the time most policies being put in place today, start to germinate.
First, under the Social Investment Program (SIP) of the PMB government, thousands of indigent Nigerians across the country have been receiving the five thousand naira stipend promised by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) during the campaign for the 2015 elections.
Second, thousands of unemployed graduates who would have remained a pain in the neck of their families have been massively employed under the emergency teacher’s program of the present administration.
This is the popular N-Power job scheme of PMB, which as we are told, would be expanded in 2017, to accommodate a total of 350,000 young and educated persons of different grades.
Perhaps, most revolutionary in the effort to revamp the economy and create employment is the steady and successful diversification of the economy. Agriculture and food production has taken the lead here. The administration of PMB has put in place the Anchor Borrowers Scheme under which farmers across the country are able to borrow money and improve their activities.
Recently, the acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, announced that the administration of PMB would give support to the poultry industry. When this happens, it is expected that production would increase and the present high prices of chicken and eggs would come down. This would increase employment in the sector, contribute to the fight against inflation and improve the quality of nutrition of Nigerians.
As more sectors are brought within the radar of government support, as envisaged under the recently-released economic blueprint, the Economic Reform and Growth Plan (EGRP), the new development agenda for Niger Delta and the new guidelines on ease of doing business among others, at both the national and State levels, it is certain that by the end of 2017, the present harsh economic climate would to a large degree have run its course, paving way for visible recovery of the economy.
Louis Okoroma is a Political Analyst and lives in Abuja.