President Buhari’s Change Mantra, Incompetence and the 2016 Budget -Carl Umegboro

President Mohammadu Buhari’s government was inaugurated on 29thMay, 2015 amidst high expectations following his remarkable defeat of the erstwhile President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, a development which was rarely witnessed in the entire African continent and our west in particular where an incumbent was voted out. Buhari with his party, APC, a merger of multiple opposition parties then, determinedly ganged up against the PDP government which had been in power since 1999 starting with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. 

Whilst the consecutive 16 years rule were running, apart from the little discrepancies from military junta such as the existence of oppositions and to some extent, a freedom of expression, the democratic governments had similar modus operandi and style; all were all characterized by administrative deficiencies, monumental fraud, mismanagement of both human and human resources and autocratic tendencies. These inimical dispositions made dividends of democracy more of a myth than reality. Consequently, the alliance of the opposition parties leveraged on the failures of PDP, the ruling party then, and the coalition exponentially gathered momentum and eventually succeeded, thus ousted Jonathan from Aso Rock Villa in dumbfounded manner.
Imperatively, President Buhari as a captain took responsibility from the day of his inauguration in office. Bearing this in mind, and essentially that the helpless electorates that overwhelmingly voted him to power cannot afford to take any form of excuses for poor performance, however, I stand to be corrected. The government in line with the party’s policy delayed the constitution of his cabinet, perhaps, to enable a comprehensive audit towards ascertaining the true state of the country without undue influence from the incoming appointees prior to their resumption in offices. This action though naively condemned by many was strategic. The development led to the ongoing discoveries of reckless misappropriation and diversion of public funds by the Jonathan’s administration. Most of his appointees and persons linked one way or the other in some dealings fought aggressively against the delay in constituting new cabinet sensing that the outcome of the delay might pave way for unpleasant discoveries on their inadequacies while in office.
In line with the guiding principle of restructuring the system towards a long term renaissance, the economy is incontrovertibly, currently experiencing austerity while the government is squarely working round the clock towards cushioning the effects on the citizenry. Nonetheless, the restructure or rather call it ‘change’ is inevitable. Indeed, Nigeria has no option at this stage than opt for institutionalized democracy against the present ‘anything goes’. The major task before Buhari and Professor Yemi Osinbajo is to lay a solid foundation upon which the country will stand irrespective of the concomitant pains. I believe that this profoundly prompted the colossal decision to opt for Buhari at 72 years owing to his pedigree to lead the country instead of many eligible younger persons. Suffice to say that the current inadequacies, including temporary scarcity of petroleum products, instability of the naira, continued insecurity among others do not, in any way, imply incompetence but a natural trend which will reasonably occur in any a process of restructure.
Analytically, with the basic qualities of a leader being far sightedness, political will to take responsibilities and capacity towards generating practicable blueprints and execution, Nigeria cannot be said to have made a mistake on the election of Buhari and Osinbajo. Nevertheless, the substantial dividends may not be instantaneous but of a long term interest. The President has outstandingly constituted his cabinet with professionals and technocrats based on tested areas of distinction which was indicative of passionate determination to make a laudable mark in his four years tenure. It is pertinent to state that the desired change can only be actualized by concerted planning and not mechanical. Importantly, the campaign promises including a course-meal to pupils in the public schools, payment of stipends to vulnerable Nigerians, improved power supply, among others are all tied to the Nigerian budgets and not from the president or APC coffers.
Interestingly, Buhari and Osinbajo have, as required by law declared their assets publicly which implies that they are limited financially. Without remainder, the President included cows and other domestic animals which cannot even sustain his village for 6 months talk less of the nation.
Splendidly, in view of the goal for substantial dividends of democracy, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN stepped in as a trinity minister; coordinating Power, Works and Housing ministries over his exceptional performance as the erstwhile governor of Lagos State. The calculation, I suppose is that if Fashola, all things being equal, puts in his best as he did as a state governor across all the states in the country which is now his enlarged jurisdiction, invariably, Buhari administration will in no distant time have substantial dividends accruing in its account. Already, the minister has presented the action plans of his three ministries, and subject to the approval of the budget, the country is, without doubt, on its way to progressive change.
Similarly, Senator Chris Ngige, undoubtedly, is another distinguished member of his cabinet whose short tenure as Anambra State governor signaled a change from the old order. For brevity, let’s leave it here for now. However, it must be noted that all other appointees have, individually all it takes to deliver, succinctly square pegs in square holes.
Logically, the assessment of incompetence or depression against the administration is candidly premature. Such assessment would be constructive after implementation of at least a full annual budget by the administration. On this note, Nigeria is safe. Let’s therefore be optimistic and keep our faith alive. 
*Umegboro is the Group Head, Pinnacle InfoGallery BLOG.


Published By: EDITOR

CARL UMEGBORO is a prolific writer, public affairs analyst and an Associate, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (United Kingdom). He holds a Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB Hons) and a renowned columnist in all national newspapers in Nigeria, Africa Press Reviews, TheWorldNEWS and numerous foreign media including Park Chester Times, New York, USA. Umegboro is a regular guest-analyst to many TV and radio programme on crucial national issues. To send your opinions, articles and reports to the Admin, contact: +234 (0) 802 318 4542, +234 (0) 705 710 1974, +234 (0) 817 318 4542. Email:,

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