The ruling party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu has been outspoken about his plans to consolidate President Muhammadu Buhari’s achievements should he step into his shoes as his successor.
‘I have the confidence, the vision, the capacity to rule, build on the foundation of Mr President, and turn Nigeria better,’ Tinubu said while declaring his intention to run for president in January 2022, and he never ceases to restate his commitment to this ‘noble aim’ at every event he attends to solicit for support ahead of the presidential election, which is less than 60 days away.
Even President Buhari, basking in the euphoria of his disappointingly bad achievements, has continued to canvass support for Tinubu, whom he believes is in a better position to sustain his legacy.
After all, who, except an APC faithful, can build on the foundation he has laid? So yes, President Buhari would love for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to remain in power at the expiration of his tenure.
Speaking on the need for the APC to retain power in 2023, the president had once admonished the members of the ruling party thus, ‘We must not, by default, allow the PDP to get its dirty hands on the government again and return us to the Stone Age.’
No doubt, as the chairman of the presidential campaign council of his party, President Buhari has been committed to the Tinubu/Shettima campaign, leading by example.
Given President Buhari’s desire for an elongation of the party’s tenure to cement the ‘progress’ the country has made on all fronts under his leadership, we must, therefore, consider the president’s achievements in office that Tinubu is so eager to maximise.
There is no gainsaying that unprecedented economic hardship and suffering have befallen the nation under the APC. The situation in Nigeria is pitiable: it is a catalogue of woes, unmet expectations, dashed hopes and aspirations, and even worse.
The country is not only being dragged into a hole of economic mess but also is experiencing strife here, discord there, and killings everywhere – a situation that could best be described as a state in disarray.
What is happening to the Nigerian economy is scary. It is a paradox of want amid plenty, abject poverty dwelling side by side with stupendous, ostentatious wealth. Nigeria’s inflation rate skyrocketed to 20.52 per cent in August 2022, the highest since September 2005.
Despite lamenting the exchange rate of N224 to a dollar during their campaign for the 2015 general election, the APC has superintended a shameful crash of the naira as the naira now exchanges for N735 to a dollar.
The economic quagmire has seen many Nigerians struggle to eke out a living, and various companies either shut down or retrench workers. To show how devastating the nation’s economy has become, Nigeria was ranked 103 out of 121 countries in the 2022 Global Hunger Index, a level falling under the ‘serious’ category.
Interestingly, President Buhari’s efforts to revive the economy and tackle the nation’s current challenges through suitable and well-thought economic policies, fiscal discipline and socio-political reforms have been futile.
The economy is not the only sector gasping for air under the APC leadership. The health sector is virtually on its knees as more than 13,000 health workers including doctors have left for greener pastures in the past two years. The education sector is in a pitiable state.
Not bothered about the welfare of the lecturers, the Buhari-led administration allowed the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) last year to drag on for eight months with the excuse that it did not have the money to meet the demands of the striking lecturers, but it embarked on the costly venture of printing redesigned naira notes.
Furthermore, youth unemployment is on the rise with its attendant extremely alarming crime rate which accounts for the mass production of flamboyant fraudsters like Hushpuppi, who are now the mentors and exemplars of hundreds of Nigerian youths.
Insecurity is another teething challenge the incumbent APC government has failed to address squarely. Bandits who are copycats of Boko Haram, labelled ‘unknown gunmen’, are springing up every day.
Unlike in the past when the common refrain was that the Boko Haram insurgency was restricted to some parts of the northeast region, no part of Nigeria is safe today. As a result of the security situation, what has become certain in Nigeria is uncertainty itself.
The country’s state of affairs is worrisome, more so as the nation’s debt stock is not reflected in the economy. When Buhari took over from Goodluck Jonathan in 2015, the country’s domestic debt was N8.39 trillion. However, with the incumbent administration’s appetite for borrowing, the country’s debt hit N44.6 trillion as of the third quarter (Q3) of 2022.
Notwithstanding his apparent lack of ideas to resuscitate the economy and quell the insecurity in the country, President Buhari has made giant strides in the area of infrastructures such as the Loko-Oweto bridge, Second Niger Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Abuja-Kano Highway, Apapa-Oworonshoki-Ojota Expressway and the 43km Obajana-Kabba road – though many other federal roads across the country are still in deplorable conditions. However, the failure of the administration is so monumental that it overshadows its achievements.
Hence, Tinubu’s pontifications on sustaining President Buhari’s legacy make it obvious that his presidency will not be dissimilar to that of the outgoing president. Therefore, the economic and socio-political woes of the country so far should be enough motivation for Nigerians to ensure that the APC does not retain power in a few months.