Osinbajo, critics disagree over Buhari’s mid-term scorecard
In spite of the groundswell of criticism of its performance in the past two years, especially in its handling of the economy, the Nigerian government has insisted that it was on course in its mission to change the fortune of Africa's most populous country.
"I firmly believe that we have put the most difficult phase behind us; and we are witnesses to the ever-increasing intensity of the light at the end of the tunnel," acting president, Yemi Osinbajo, said Monday in a broadcast message to mark two years of the assumption of office by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government, and 18 years since Nigeria returned to democratic governance.
Regardless of Osinbajo's optimism, critics said the government’s mid-term scorecard looked bleak, and that there was little to hope for.
Nigeria's main opposition party, the People's Democratic Party (PDP), said in a statement that there was nothing to cheer about a government that "jokes with the country’s annual budget, led Africa’s number one economy into depression [and] put in place an ambiguous economic plan after two years in power.”
According to SBM Intelligence, a private intelligence outfit which provides analysis of the Nigerian socio-political and economic situation, the performance of the APC government has been very "dismal" such that Nigeria cannot afford the same [level of] performance in the second half of the Buhari administration."
"The fact that government officials were chased out of the 2017 Workers’ Day parade in Abuja, is a graphic illustration of what Nigerians think about the administration’s job performance," it said in a report released on Friday.
While SBM conceded that the government recognised the building of critical infrastructure as one of the surest ways of unleashing Nigeria's economic potentials, it noted that its implementation of the necessary programmes has been far below par. It noted that only a paltry six per cent of the 170 promises made to the country by President Buhari have been fulfilled.
“While the campaign promises of the APC recognised this [building of critical infrastructure], the execution in the last two years leaves so much undone, with only eight per cent performance in such a critical category.
“It is also worrying that job creation, housing and social welfare are in negative territory, for a country with a very large youth population, high population growth and an increasing percentage of people living in abject poverty. Today, there are no social safety nets and more and more people have fallen into poverty as a result of economic decline over the last two years.”
Ayo Adebanjo, a chieftain of Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, said he was not surprised by the government’s abysmal record.
"APC has no programme for Nigeria," he told The Guardian. "The ultimate aims and objectives of the actors behind the formation of the party were to oust erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan from power in 2015, which they achieved. Their basic goal was Jonathan must go and thereafter nothing."
But it is not all gloom and doom. The SBM noted in its report that the government has performed creditably in the areas of national security and foreign relations, and averagely in anti-corruption, oil and gas, and agriculture. However, for both SBM and PDP, persistent herdsmen attacks and its consequent loss of lives, livelihoods and property represents a major blight on Buhari's national security record. This fact was not lost on Osinbajo in Monday’s televised broadcast.
The government, he said, was working with state governments and security agencies in "designing effective strategies and interventions that will bring this menace to an end."
Osinbajo, tacitly, acknowledged Nigeria still faces a lot of problems and that it was inevitable that grievances and frustrations will arise from time to time.
He, however, insisted that those frustrations should not be used as justifications "for indulging in discrimination or hate speech or hateful conduct of any kind."