IT is important to make this submission before going into details of the article. President Muhammadu Buhari has gotten so many supporters across the length and breath of the country and not just in the North. I am aware of so many South Easterners who have been ardent supporters of the Buhari’s administration, and are referred to as Buharists simply because they have always given reasons to justify whatever action that has been taken uder the Buhari-led APC administration.
The major reason that endeared them to the President is his anti-corruption fight, coupled with the giant strides he has taken to calm the insurgency in the North East. As advocates for good governnace, it is only natural for one to align with a leader who is ready to promote good governance in a corruption-ridden society like Nigeria. Majority of Nigerians who voted APC during the last election did so as a result of the profiling of Mr. President. There was renewed hope for restoration of discipline in the way government business is been run. There was a firm belief that corruption is on its way out of Nigeria. A lot of propagandas were brandished arround the ethnic and religious postures of the president, but again all this were wished away by the majority of voters who voted overwhelmignly for APC.
Currently, even amongst the supporters of the Buhari-led APC, there are mixed reactions about the style of governance of the President. There are lots of positive feelings about the APC government as well as very negative feelings. There is need to call the APC government to order, if it must retain its supporters.
This has to be made in the management of the IPOB agitations and other national demands such as restructuring. Also in the management of the economy and in the fight against corruption. It is well noted that some positive steps have been taken to get Nigeria out of recession, this should earn the administration a plus, the APC-led government has also tried to take positive steps to institutionalise the fight against corruption, and has also succeeded in reaching out to agreived youths in the Niger Delta but all of this can be easily washed away if steps are not taken to restore the confidence of the overwhelming supporters in the following areas.
The Federal Government’s response to the IPOB’s agitations portrays it in a bad light. The operation Egwu-Eke is uncalled for in a democratic country like Nigeria. There is no justifiable reason for military personels to storm major streets occupied by civilians in the South East. This has generated, fear, agitations and has greatly increased the tension across the country. The operation Egwu Eke goes against the fundamental human rights and freedom of the people in the South East. The South East zone has been known to be peaceful despite the agitatations of the IPOB.
Crimes which were used to justify the presence of the military in the South East is not peculiar to the South East alone and this is a constitutional role for which the Nigerian Police Force are known to curtail. The president must note that, it is not every South Easterner that is in support of the self-determination championed by Nnamdi Kanu and his group. It is therefore embarrassing for the government to deploy troops to the South East, based on the activities of IPOB. The best response would have been to dialogue with the leaders of the zone and follow due process laid out in the constitution to handle the agitation of Nnamdi Kanu.
The current solution profered in the face of agitations in the country is the need to restructure the country. Majority of the opinions expressed by leaders in the southern part of Nigeria suggest that the southern region wants a restructured Nigeria. The call for restructuring is borne out of some perceived levels of injustices and inequality witnessed by the regions. It is unwise for such calls not to be given due consideration. Attending to the call for restructiuring will put an end to the incessant fallouts between the various regions and ethnic groups across the country against the federal government. The President Buhari- led administration would have laid a solid landmark if it sets the table for discussion on restructuring or rather implement the 2014 confab report.
On the management of the economy, the economic recovery and growth plan has been largely applauded; however, the level of project implementation across the country is very low. This can be traced to the late passage of the budget. Federal Government projects are concentrated in some parts of the country more than others. A trip to the South East shows that it is almost impossible to pass through the roads from Lokoja to the East. It was noticed that the president approved the construction of rail way from Kano to Daura, which has no economic linkage. This project is not consistent with the ERGP.
The EFCC led by Magu has succeeded in the recovering of looted funds from past administration; however not much is heard about any current serving APC public officials caught in the web of corruption. Is the EFCC fight on corruption only concentrating on past administration? Why are there no investigations and strides recorded around current serving officers in government?
In the light of the above, the president should consider withdrawing the operation Egwu Eke from the entire South East region. It should immediately set the stage for the discussion of restructuring or otherwise start the process for the implementation of the 2014 Confab report. Projects should be properly scrutinized before approval and no part of the country should be neglected in the award of economic viable projects. The anti-corruption fight will only be complete when details of funds recovered and their use is published continuously.
In conclusion, Nigerians pray that the President succeed in delivery the change mantra as promised during the 2015 campaigns and we hope that positive steps will be taken to restore the confidence of Nigerians which was built in the person of President Buhari-led federal government.