It is ridiculous when some Nigerians say there is no change in the ways things are being done in the country since the assumption in office by President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, 2015. To this class of Nigerians, it has been business as usual. But from all indications and a closer observation of how things are being done presently, things have really changed. If things have not changed, how come all the elections that have been conducted so far since the advent of this government remained inconclusive? Is this not a change? The only election that was conducted by this administration that was concluded, the Edo State governorship election has been trailed by violent demonstrations and protestations because majority of the people of the state felt betrayed and short changed by the outcome! That is a great change!Again, the 2015 Budget presented by former President Goodluck Jonathan was N4.49 trillion even when the price of crude oil was about $62 per barrel but that of President Muhammadu Buhari for 2016 was a whopping sum of N6.6 trillion when the major foreign exchange earner, crude oil had nosedived to a mere $41 per barrel! This is also another change!
In the last administration, a barrel of crude oil cost $100 at a point and all the proceeds were shared by the local, state and federal governments. The federal government was magnanimous to utilize some portions of its allocations to subsidize diesel, kerosene and petrol, making these products to sell at N150, N86 and N120 respectively. Today, a barrel of crude oil costs about $50 yet a litre of diesel, petrol and kerosene sell for N200, N145 and N250 respectively. If it was under former President Goodluck Jonathan that a barrel of crude oil was sold for $50 and Nigerians were buying a litre of diesel, petrol and kerosene at N200, N145 and N250 respectively, Ojota Town in Lagos State would have been occupied by his arch enemies for about a month! But today, nobody is complaining; we are all swallowing the bitter pill together. That is change too. Again, during the last administration, a bag of rice cost only N7,000 but the same bag of rice now costs about N25,000 owing to the poor policy of Buhari who banned the importation of the grains through land borders. In addition, President Buhari asked Nigerians to go into agriculture yet he has spent about $500m prospecting for crude oil in the north. A man’s word, I was told, is his bond but Buhari says one thing and does another.
Electricity tariff has also been increased astronomically from N14:00 to N23:60 per kilowatt by this government that promised change. Nigerians have also witnessed many unfulfilled promises since the coming into office of Buhari. Buhari and the APC, during the campaigns promised to pay N5,000 to discharged but unemployed members of the National Youths Service Corps and N5,000 monthly to 25 million poorest Nigerians. APC also promised to provide a meal daily to primary school children but this is the second year into this administration yet none of these promises has been fulfilled.
At the assumption of office by the incumbent president, the exchange rate was a only N197 to $1 but today the naira has depreciated abysmally exchanging at N470 to $1 because of the warped policy implementation of this government. The same poor economic management also led the country into recession which has impacted negatively on the people. More than before, there are massive job losses across board. With huge job loss, there is hunger in the land as exemplified by Nigerians who now wear long and frustrated faces all over the place. The recession would have been avoided if the leadership of this government has put up his thinking cap from the onset. The economy was better managed under ex-President Jonathan whom the members of the then opposition APC branded “Clueless” and “Kindergarten.” After all, the country was never in recession under his administration!
There is a wide fractionalisation of the country along ethnic, religious and regional divides owing duly to the exclusive leadership style of President Muhammadu Buhari. No doubt, Nigeria has suddenly become a northern enclave as a result of the lopsided appointments which largely favour the north.