With 10 days left for the May 29 hand over of the reins of government from President Jonathan to Muhammadu Buhari, the growing lamentations of officials of the incoming government stand in sharp contrasts to the rising expectations of the people who were foisted with a picture of land flowing with milk and honey during electioneering writes Francis Moses With the statement by former Vice-President Atiku Ababakar that Nigerians should not expect miracle from President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, the pre-election campaign promises has gone up in smoke.
Just few months down the line, millions of Nigerians who were hypnotized by the campaign promises of Eldorado are been told to be patient. Only that this time nobody is sure of the content of the package to measure the extent of the patience. But trust Nigerians.
They are voicing their expectations from the new government as President Goodluck Jonathan prepares to step back as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria However it could be recalled that before his election, Buhari released a public letter titled ‘My Covenant’.
The letter details what Nigerians should expect from his administration if he wins and his first 100 days in office. Buhari said in the past few months that “I have traveled round the country on campaigns; I have experienced the sheer beauty of our diversity. From Port Harcourt to Kano, from Abeokuta to Gusau, I experienced firsthand the daily sufferings and struggles of our people.
I also experienced the overwhelming desire of our people for change.” He noted that when he arrived in Port Harcourt on The 5th of January to start his campaigns, our teeming supporters, who stayed till late in the evening to welcome us, met him. Among them were many young men and women, who in the few minutes that I shared with them at the airport, made me to reflect on what kind of future awaits them in our country.
“This Covenant”, he said, “is to outline my agenda for Nigeria and provide a bird’s eye view of how we intend to bring about the change that our country needs and deserves. This Covenant is derived from the manifesto of my party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). It however, represents my pledge to you all when I become your President, and today he is the President elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who will be inaugurated in less than 10 days from now. On the issue of Corruption and Governance, he said no matter how vast our resources, if they are not efficiently utilized, they will only benefit a privileged few, leaving the majority in poverty.
“ I believe if Nigeria does not kill corruption; corruption will kill Nigeria.” He said he would: “Show personal leadership in the war against corruption and also hold all the people who work with me to account. “Inaugurate the National Council on Procurement as stipulated in the Procurement Act so that the Federal Executive Council, which has been turned to a weekly session of contract bazaar, will concentrate on its principal function of policy making. Work with the National Assembly to strengthen ICPC and EFCC by guaranteeing institutional autonomy including financial and prosecutorial independence and security of tenure of officials.
Work with the leadership of the National Assembly to cut down the cost of governance, and to present a national anti-corruption Strategy.” On Insurgency and Insecurity, he said: “ I have had the opportunity to serve my country in the military up to the highest level, as a Major General and as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. In the course of my service, I had defended the territorial integrity of Nigeria. And if called upon to do so again, I shall rise to the occasion. As a father, I feel the pain of the victims of insurgency, kidnapping and violence whether they are the widows and orphans of military, paramilitary or civilians.
He ensures that under his watch, no force, external or internal, will occupy even an inch of Nigerian soil. I will give all it takes to ensure that our girls kidnapped from Chibok are rescued and reunited with their families. He would deliver a Marshal Plan on insurgency, terrorism, ethnic and religious violence, kidnapping, rural banditry and ensure that never again will Nigerian children be slaughtered or kidnapped at will. And boost the morale of our fighting forces and the generality of Nigerians by leading from the front as the Commander-in-Chief and not hide in the comfort and security of Aso Rock. Also he said he would give special attention to the welfare of our armed forces and all other security personnel and their families, including State-guaranteed life insurance for all officers and men as well as protect the families of our fallen heroes. He was not finished.
He said he would establish close working relationship with governors of the states affected by insurgency, with leaders of our neighbouring countries and with leaders around the world to cooperate in combating insurgency, oil theft, piracy and criminality. Also would be the activation of regular meetings of the National Police Council to ensure the discharge of its true constitutional roles in a transparent and accountable way. He said he would “Fight for you, and alongside you. We will fight together to defeat terrorism.
But I will be honest with you about our challenges and I will bear the responsibilities of my charge. I will not lie to you or exaggerate our triumphs. My administration will be thoroughly transparent in every step of our daily struggle and together we will win the war. On Niger Delta, in many years of oil exploration, the Niger Delta has become perhaps, the world’s worst eco-system, a byword for environmental degradation, exploitation and diseases. I believe that protecting the livelihood of our people in the Niger Delta should transcend our interest its oil. Commit myself and my administration to the protection and regeneration of the environment in the Niger Delta and to ensure that oil companies comply with global best practices on environmental protection.
Sustain and streamline the human capital development in the Niger Delta, especially focusing on youth and women. Reform investment in infrastructural development of the Niger Delta and ensure that the NDDC is held accountable to its mandate. Education, the President elect believed that our education system must prepare our children for the responsibilities of citizenship and prepare our youths to contribute to the development of our country. “Therefore, I shall focus on restoring the lost glory of our education by implementing reforms that will bring quality back into our schools and position our universities and polytechnics to provide market- relevant skills to our youths. “Implement a comprehensive review of the goal and content of our secondary education to ensure that it also serves the purpose of skills acquisition and fits purpose. “Establish special purpose fund for a Secondary School level education.
“Improve the competitiveness of our universities and polytechnics and position them at the heart of the national productivity, innovation and enterprise. “Pursue a policy of non-discrimination between the universities and the polytechnics. However some political pundit have argued that against the backdrop of all these promises made by the President elect, they cannot understand the basis on which they are been told not to expect a miracle.
National Secretary of the Labour Party, Barrister Kayode Ajulo had early on faulted this hollow stand been taken by the President- elect and his APC. According to Ajulo, “It is quite disturbing that even before constituting his transition committee, that would examine the hand-over notes of various ministries and recommend practical implementation strategy, based on his campaign promises, President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari has already started giving the thumb up to the naysayers” He added that, “It however, amounts to taking the people for granted and being insensitive to the yearnings of the public to want to even suggest that campaign promises cannot be fulfilled by the winner at the pace desired by the people. “Only a few days ago, President-elect, Muhammadu Buhar, said point blank that Nigerians should not expect miracles.
The question to ask Buhari and his co-travellers in APC is that, did they promise Nigerians miracles? If they did, then honour demands that they perform such miracles? In the same vein, syndicated columnist and professor in international relations, Femi Aribisalla, has called on the APC and President – elect to honour all campaign promises since it was on that basis that majority of Nigerian electorate give him the mandate. Few days a go Governor Sule Lamido of Adamawa told Buhari to stop the No miracle mantra get serious .
“They tried to break and distort Nigeria’s harmony, they tried to turn tribe against tribe, brother against brother, raising false hope. They must fulfil all their promises because there was no condition of good or favourable economy when they were making these promises.”, said Lamido while commissioning the Shiroro bridge in Niger State few days ago Continuing, he said “Do not give any excuse because we will not tolerate any excuse because there was no condition given when they were soliciting and asking for votes.
“During campaigns, APC were busing blackmailing the PDP; they did not raise any “Leadership and governance have lost meaning because it does not give rights, it only confers privileges. Any nation that denies people their rights is a nation waiting to explode. Governance is a responsibility,” Nigeria’s Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, May not be the last vice yet as even Governor Rotimi Amaechi and Kaduna Governor- elect Mallam Nasir el-Rufai have started beating the drums of an empty treasury that Which is ironical for a president-elect, who stands the chance to deploy that power to good use. The inevitable but unanswered question remains: What happened between the release of the Covenant and preparations for May 29? Were millions of Nigerians sweet talked into voting for a government who has succeeded in working on their emotions, with no fact, scientific basis for making the campaign promises? Time will tell.