By Bunmi Oteniya
The 2019 general elections have come and gone and, as they say, the rest is history after President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in for a second term of four years on May 29th, 2019. It has been close to 100 days since the commencement of the second term administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and if we must admit a lot has changed in the polity.
Appointments have been made, policy statements have been issued and as well as strategic actions have been implemented towards ensuring that Nigeria is on track in delivering its mandate to the people that voted overwhelmingly for the candidate of their choice during the presidential elections.
While I must admit that the 2019 general elections were indeed a fiercely contested one that indeed brought about political tension in the country, but again, Nigerians exercised their political franchise wisely by electing President Muhammadu Buhari, a decision, in my opinion, many Nigerians would come to appreciate at the end of the day.
Three critical areas have attracted my attention since President Muhammadu Buhari took over the mantle of leadership in the country for a second tenure. They are in the areas of appointments, policy initiatives, and mending fences across the country. While these areas might not sound loud in the minds of some, the truth is that for some of us conversant with what governance entails at the highest level would readily attest to how giant the present administration’s strides in these areas have been since May 29th, 2019.
As a start, the President gave assurances that the present administration would hit the ground running by ensuring that critical appointments are made. And true to his words, the cabinet has been inaugurated and portfolios assigned to various ministers. This has been hailed by many political pundits that have indeed scored the President high in this regards. And I can’t help but agree with their position which has indeed reflected the desire of a government with a burning desire to ensure that its citizens are availed the best at every point in time.
In my opinion, there has been a renewed commitment from the present administration towards translating the hopes and aspirations of the people into tangible realities. This can be seen in the way and manner the government has responded to national issues, and also with the way and manner it has been able to make timely decisions on sensitive matters that affect the ordinary man and woman on the streets.
An excellent example of the renewed commitment of the present administration towards protecting the rights and privileges of all Nigerians regardless of their location is evident in the unfortunate incident in South Africa involving Nigerian citizens. The government response has been hailed in many quarters as phenomenal in the sense that it wasted no time in making its displeasure known to the South African authorities and also the demand for full compensation for all the victims. However, the catch for me is the way and manner the government has been able to manage the crisis that almost erupted in Nigeria. Not only were the security agencies up and doing, the government also embarked on a sensitization drive to inform Nigerians that violence has never been a replacement for dialogue and as such there was no need for attacking South African businesses in Nigeria.
The setting up of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission for the engagement of Nigerians in Diaspora in the policies, projects, and participation in the development of Nigeria and to utilize the human capital and material resources of Nigerians in Diaspora towards the overall socio-economic, cultural and political development of Nigeria is indeed one area that credit must be given to the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
This is indeed a brilliant one given the fact that migrant remittance to Nigeria in 2018 was 77.2% of the federal government’s budget and more than ten times the foreign direct investment flow in the dame period into Nigeria according to a report published by PWC.
In the report by PWC, it estimated that migrant remittances to Nigeria could grow to $25.5 billion, $29.8 billion and $34.8 billion in 2019, 2021 and 2023 respectively. It also stated that Nigeria accounts for over a third of migrant remittance flows to Sub-Saharan Africa, and the government must engage the Diaspora.
PwC, therefore, recommended the need to create platforms that increase the accessibility of crucial information for Nigerians in the Diaspora; encourage and create pooled investment vehicles, and early-stage businesses with smaller financing needs, presents an excellent opportunity for those in the Diaspora to invest through angel networks. And that platform is the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission. What does this tell us? It does tell us that there is a government in place that is willing to do all within its means to see to the development of Nigeria. I stand to be corrected, what the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has done by creating the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission is a masterstroke whose positive impact would be felt from generations to generations.
Another strategic area of intervention is the creation of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development. The ministry charged with the responsibility of providing solutions to the plight of millions of Internally Displaced Persons as well as coordinate humanitarian affairs and social development in the country. This is indeed another masterstroke of the Muhummadu Buhari administration given the fact that the country, in the last ten years, has witnessed humanitarian crisis that has resulted in the displacement of an estimated 1.8 million people in North-East Nigeria.
It is also on record that lots of work have gone into peace enforcement and peacebuilding in the country with the various initiatives embarked upon by the government. The critical security sector has also received much-needed attention with the different security strategies designed to combat terrorism and other acts of insecurity in the country.
At this point, it is imperative to state empathically that President Muhammadu Buhari is indeed a leader of repute and that Nigerians were wise in their choice of him as President of this great country for another four years. The fact that in just 100 days into the life of the administration and we can lay our hands on a couple of strategic interventions buttresses the point that the next four years would indeed usher in for Nigeria greener pastures.
I make no hesitation to state that President Muhammadu Buhari is indeed still the answer for our quest towards translating our hopes and aspirations into tangible realities in Nigeria. And those with contrary views should please put them forward.
*Oteniya wrote this from Instabul.