Clerics on Buhari’s one year in office: How well has the govt fared?
It is one year today since Muhammadu Buhari and Professor Yemi Osinbajo were sworn-in as president and vice president. Expectedly, Nigerians are expressing their views on how well the Buhari-Osinbajo administration has fared in terms of delivering promises made to Nigerians in the build-up to the 2015 general elections. The clergy is not left out. Has President Buhari, together with his political party APC, been on point? CHRIS IREKAMBA reports.
‘I commend govt for including employment of youth, relief for the poor… in the budget’
(Professor Dawud O. S. Noibi, Executive Secretary/CEO Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN)
The current Buhari administration is, indeed, an important milestone in the history of Nigeria in view of its performance during its first year.
There is no doubt that the overwhelming majority of Nigerians desperately looked forward to real CHANGE from what obtained under the previous regime.
People prayed for an intervention in the face of an increasingly heightened level of insecurity of different kinds— unemployment, especially that of the youth; over-dependence on oil coupled with mismanagement of money accruing from the sale of this commodity and a general sense of corruption in high places with a spread of this mentality in the wider society, though hardly did people realise that this cankerworm had eaten so deep into the fabrics of society.
The Buhari administration took the bull by the horn by confronting the challenges headlong. Though it was generally thought that it took the President too long a time to form his cabinet, many realised later that the task ahead required caution in order to ensure that he chose the right persons to work with him.
The war against Boko Haram can be regarded as won, in fulfilment of the President’s pledge, and the return of two of the Chibok girls can be seen as a token of greater source of joy in this regard.
However, the government has to take practical steps towards effectively stopping the menace of cattle herdsmen, as well as the excesses of the so-called “avengers” in the Niger Delta.
Government is taking bold steps to diversify the economy away from dependence only on oil and is planning to provide needed infrastructure. While deeply involving the Chinese in this respect, it continues doing business with our traditional trade allies, the Western countries.
Meanwhile, the government’s courageous war against corruption is not only popular at home, but already redeeming the country’s battered image abroad.
I would give President Buhari a pass mark for the way he has been handling relations with the Legislature in total respect for the democratic principle of separation of power without compromising his constitutional authority.
While commending the government for including provisions for employment of the youth, relief for the poor and feeding for some school children in the budget, I strongly advise that these provisions be implemented judiciously, leaving no room for corruption
Lastly, there is no gainsaying the fact that winning the war against corruption is going to be one of the greatest achievements of this government. To make this a perpetual legacy, the government should explore the means of backing it up with sound spiritual and moral education of coming generations of Nigerians.
If based on the Revealed Scriptures that are highly respected by the adherents of the respective religions practised in the country, such education will go a long way in sustaining the spiritual and moral basis of the fight against corruption.
That goes to emphasise the need to make Religious Education a core subject at the basic and upper secondary levels such as English and Mathematics. Educate a child without the consciousness of accountability to the Supreme Being and you make him or her a clever devil.
‘If Govt Is Not Careful In Solving The Problem Of Herdsmen…’
(His Grace, Most Rev. Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins, Archbishop of Lagos)
Nigerians had a lot of expectations, when this government came on stream last year. We remember that the government had taken a very strong stand on corruption and I believe any one with love of Nigeria, or with some measure of description of the country before, would recognise the need to fight corruption and so, I think it is one area one must acknowledge and give credit to the current government. One is concerned that in fighting corruption, the gains that have been made from the fight should be communicated to Nigerians so that the people are carried along. On the other hand, one needs to also ask that the government should ensure that it wouldn’t be accused of using agencies against oppositions wrongfully. In other words, there should be justice and equity in prosecution of the war against corruption in such a way that government will not be seen as targeting oppositions, as is being expressed by some people in recent time.
The situation with regards to the economy is obviously not funny at all, because life has really been hard for majority of people in this country. And the indications are that it would get worse with the removal of subsidy. Of course, we need to understand the circumstances that led to the removal of oil subsidy, though one would have thought that government would have taken steps to find ways of cushioning the effect, because when price of petroleum rises, every other thing rises with it.
Talking of salary increment, it is a good development, but they must also continue to think about those in the private sector, whose income ought to be bettered. So, if government is going to increase salaries, it must think of ways of ensuring that those who are in the private sector also get some measure of relief.
I think that by and large, one of the serious problems with us is that of insecurity, especially with regards to the herdsmen matter, which is really getting out of hand now.
I think it behooves the government of President Buhari to ensure that the problem is resolved in such a way that other problems are not created. There is so much talk about creating grazing path along the whole of the country and acquiring people’s land. Obviously, this is going to create much more problems than we envisage.
I think if government is not careful in solving that problem, it can make the government of Buhari to look like there are other agenda. So, it’s important that the government really pays attention to it, before we begin to look at the matter from the point of view of religion or ethnicity.
Of course, the electricity problem is still so much a big issue. In fact, it’s worse than it used to be. It is in that situation that we also find increment of tariff, which is making Nigerians to be really on edge, as far as electricity situation in the country is concerned. Well, we know there are competent people that have been put in charge of these areas. We just hope they have adequate freedom and room to act and take decisions, such that they would be able to really make the kind of impact that Nigerians expect from them.
Again, the signing of the budget came very late and one hopes that that same situation would not repeat itself, as we go into the future. It is hoped that we have learned the lessons as to the lateness of the budget, which stopped almost all economic growth and other kinds of growth, since last year. I think government needs to pay attention to these important issues before Nigerians begin to lose hope.
‘Life Is Getting Very Difficult, But We Are Praying For The Government’
(Rev. Dr. Musa Asake, National Secretary, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)
We are praying for the government, that the Lord will continue to guide them, as they listen and do that which will help the people, because life is getting very difficult. But we know that they are also working very hard to alleviate these problems. We pray that God will help and enable them to take care of us. Anything that you put in prayer summarises everything. I am not assessing them, all I’m saying is that we are praying for them and we will continue to pray for them. It is not easy; the Lord will help them.
‘Even His Enemies Will Praise Him For His Achievements In The Area Of Security’
(Imam Moruf Onike Abdul-Azeez, Deputy Chief Imam, Nasrul-lahi-li Fathi Society of Nigeria (NASFAT), Headquarters)
It’s too early to judge the President. One year is too short a time to correct many years of decadence. His antecedents are enough evidence of his deserving our benefit of the doubt. Even his enemies will give him thumbs up for his achievement in the area of security. This time last year, we were afraid of the entire country being overrun by insurgency.
He has demonstrated that there is need for leadership to have credibility, trustworthiness and sincerity of purpose. As a person, the man has credibility. He has integrity and that is what a true leader needs. And this is why when organised Labour called for strike over fuel subsidy removal, people refused to go on strike. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. He has been saying “I have your interest at heart.” It will be unfair for anybody to expect something that has been damaged for 16 years, to be structured overnight. The man came in a year ago, and we are expecting a miracle.
Our Noble Prophet Muhammad, (May The Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) was nicknamed “Al-Ameen” (The Trustworthy) before becoming a Prophet, and the good family background of Maryam, mother of Jesus (Peace be upon Him) was attested to when she conceived miraculously, Qur’an 19 verse 28.
“O sister of Aaron, your father was not a man of evil, nor was your mother unchaste.”
Therefore, the trust we have in the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari will continue to be his greatest asset, which will stand him in good stead. He is trying to recover our money stolen by those in authority and people are confessing that they have stolen our money. Truly, he wouldn’t have had any problem, if the money had not been stolen. In the area of security and transparency, he has done very well. For Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby to say that this man is different, this man is not corrupt, is a confirmation that the man is trustworthy.
The president needs the prayers of all and sundry.
‘He Has Been Able To Reveal What Was Hidden From Nigerians All These Years’
(Ustaz Taofeek Yusuf Eniafe, Chief Imam of Anu Oluwapo, Orile, Oshodil, Lagos)
In assessing the government of President Muhammadu Buhari’s one year in office, I will score him 70 to 80 per cent. The reason is because he has been able to open up what was hidden from Nigerians all these years, as per the issue of corruption and fuel subsidy and things like that. With the latest development in the removal of subsidy, fuel is now available at all filling stations and Nigerians can now get fuel.
Remember that previous governments told us they were subsidising fuel and even at that, you could hardly get it to buy, while some still sold beyond the normal price. Now that this government has removed subsidy, you can get fuel at all filling stations. Right now, some filling stations are begging people to come and buy and by God’s grace we are foreseeing a future, where fuel price will still come down in Nigeria. There will now be competition in the market and though Nigerians are complaining that everything is high, but we should know that Rome was not built in a day.
With regards to electricity, I believe the Minister of power, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has a brighter future for us. Initially, the beginning is usually tough, but before the end of their second tenure in office, Nigerians will have cause to smile by God’s grace. I’m very optimistic about it. So, let’s continue to pray for them.
‘Assessment Should Come After They’ve Fully Recovered Our Money’
(His Eminence Kanu Uche, Prelate Methodist Church Nigeria)
I cannot assess the administration now because they’ve been trying to recover our stolen money. It is after recovering all the money that we can be able to effectively assess them. They’ve not done much for now, but I believe they have actually laid the foundation and clear the ground for good work. I wouldn’t condemn them yet on the hike in fuel and electricity. May be they are trying to formulate policies that would move Nigeria forward. So, let us give them another one year as a period of preparation.
I will start assessing them from their second year in office. On the agitation that the presidency should declare how much they have recovered, he has promised to announce some of the details on May 29, during his one-year speech. So, let us wait till that day.
‘We Need To Cooperate With The Govt’
(Rev. (Dr.) Felix Omobude, National President, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN)
I think that presently, we all know that the country is going through turbulent time, but we cannot attribute all the problems to the present government. The crash of the oil market is there, and certainly Nigerians yearn for a better life. I would ask that Nigerians cooperate with the government so that we can come out of the situation stronger and better.
‘God Who Has Brought Him Thus Far Will Help Him’
(Pastor Tunde Bakare, Senior Pastor of the Latter Rain Assembly, Lagos)
God, Who has brought him thus far, will help him to the very end. Thank you, that is all. I’m in a meeting in Abuja.