The election of an in
dividual in any country to hold public office usually comes with diverse expectations from the electorate who trust that such an individual will deliver as expected.
The 2015 presidential election in Nigeria was no different as voters went out in their numbers to vote the change they desired.
One year on, Nigerians have held on to the promises made by the present administration to fight corruption, ensure adequate security, enhance economic development via diversification and provide mass employment.
Observers note that the one-year period is an opportunity for the government and Nigerians generally to take stock of achievements so far and tackle the challenges that exist.
The Federal Government has on several platforms mentioned the achievements in the past year in regards to steps taken in line with the promises it made to enhance security, curtail corruption and attract investors with a view to promoting industrial growth and job creation.
The international community has also, on several occasions, commended the Buhari-led administration, especially in the fight against terrorism and insurgency and attracting investment, a gesture which observers have also lauded.
At a recent event in Abuja, the Ambassador of Argentina to Nigeria, Gustavo Dzugala, commended the present administration for showing uncommon courage so far in the first year of its administration.
He said Buhari’s administration had been confronted with various challenges but commended the efforts of the president to diversify the economy, saying that his country was willing to partner with Nigeria in that regard.
“Argentina is working to boost relations with Africa and particularly with Nigeria. With Buhari’s decision to diversify Nigeria’s economy to agriculture in particular, we are ready to partner with Nigeria in this,’’ he said.
In the same vein, former Secretary-General of NATO, Anders Rasmussen and former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, commended Buhari on Nigeria’s effort to curtail Boko Haram insurgency.
Rasmussen and Campbell who gave the commendation at the conference on the Nigeria Summit on National Security affirmed that Boko Haram insurgency had lost its hold on Nigeria’s territories.
They, nonetheless, called for continued reinforcement in the fight against terrorism.
In his view, the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ray Kyles, said the 2015 general elections that ushered in the present administration also brought relief to the country.
He expressed excitement in the direction the government had taken in the last one year and promised the commitment of his government’s continued partnership with Nigeria.
“Britain is ready to work in partnership with Nigeria to ensure development and support the president in facing the challenges in the country,’’ he said.
There have also been renewed calls for the government to address the root causes of challenges that obstruct development in the country.
For instance, Prof. John Ifediora, the Director, Council on African Security and Development of the University of Wisconsin, U.S, called for meaningful employment and a responsive educational system.
“The educational system is in shambles and it needs to be improved; Nigeria needs to deploy more resources to it.
“Without adequate training and job creation, we will still have this problem of insurgency, we will have problem of terrorism.
“Those killing themselves are the uneducated ones or low education, those they have brainwashed because they lack the educational foundation to process what is going on,’’ he observed.
This observation notwithstanding, Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, outlined several areas in which the government had made achievements based on his campaign promises.
“The first priority of this government as repeatedly mentioned by the president is security.
“Where we stand on this today is best captured by the country’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami who said that the capacity of Boko Haram to hold territory had totally been decimated.
“Our focus now is on dealing with the remnants of their forces and re-focusing on the unfortunate humanitarian challenge caused by their activities,’’ he said.
Another point Shehu noted was the fight against corruption, a bane analysts have, overtime, highlighted as one of the major causes of stalled national development.
“As an elected president, he (Buhari) has sworn to uphold the constitution which guarantees citizen rights. Things are changing in the country.
“For the first time, dignitaries in suspects are being asked questions by the investigating agencies and are being charged to court; many are now standing before undergoing trials,’’ he said.
He also mentioned the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) as another achievement of the Buhari-led administration in the last one year, which he said had so far saved the country money in excess of three trillion naira.
“By this, government has a snapshot at any given time of incoming revenue and expenditure following the centralisation of government accounts domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria,’’ he said.
Shehu also said that the recent liberalisation of the importation of Premium Motor Spirit also known as petrol had saved the country trillions of naira in fraudulent subsidy payments.
“Due mainly to the trust they reposed in him, Nigerians have accepted this change in the belief that the president means well for them,’’ he said.
Other areas Shehu outlined as achievements include the declaration of public assets by the president and the vice-president and the cutting down on the number of ministers, ministries and government departments.
“He has also succeeded in convincing the world that Nigeria is now under a responsible management with a government that is inviting of prospective investors.
“As a result of his travels, Nigeria’s image has improved and the country is occupying a pre-eminent place in the comity of nations,’’ he said.
He observed that attracting investment had also contributed to the economic diversification programme of the present administration.
“The President has equally fared well in his efforts to attract investment into Nigeria following his trips to some of those countries.
“Discussions are ongoing with a number of them with rich foreign reserves that have indicated a willingness to pour foreign capital to develop the economy and create jobs here.
“There will be a serious attempt to improve roads and rail transport as well as power projects.
“His administration is determined to improve the country’s infrastructure landscape in a short period of time,’’ he noted.
Shehu, however, did not dismiss the current challenges that confronted the achievements of the Buhari-led administration which he said did “not have quick fixes.
“The administration has revealed a fine talent for finding lasting solutions to those problems that had defied solution under the past governments.
“The economy, which is still work in progress, will receive a lot more attention going forward.
“The rate of job creation and manufacturing should improve from the third quarter of the year when the implementation of the budget gathers steam.
“Given this situation, delivery will take time but the promised change will not fail to come.’’
All in all, concerned citizens urge Nigerians to be patient with the present administration and support the efforts of government at moving the country forward.
Ponle writes for News AGency of Nigeria (NAN).