President Buhari: What Brand of Re-election Promises?

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By Nnanke Harry Willie

Finally, President Muhammadu Buhari surprised very few Nigerians on April 9, 2018, when he announced that he would seek re-election in 2019 for his (well-deserved?) second term. For those who are disappointed that he did not give the famous ‘Mandela Option’ of serving out just one term and retiring in a blaze of glory, they obviously underestimated the unyielding pressure that courtiers in the courtyard of power pile up on an incumbent with the incumbent always being told that he, and only he, could ‘save’ Nigeria.

Such courtiers deploy every imaginable available resource including sponsored write-ups, million-man marches, visits by eminent delegations, prophets and diviners etc to assure and ‘convince’ their benefactor that it has indeed been ordained by God that only he could get the job done and of course make a sing-song of “If not you, then who?” We have witnessed this spectacle under Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha, Olusegun Obasanjo (with his inglorious failed 3rd-term bid, Jonathan and now Buhari.

Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult for Nigerian leaders not to fall for this type of praise-singing (but self-serving) pressure. Otherwise, there is no reason why President Buhari, who has clearly under-performed thus far using his own campaign promises as indices and who deserves to take a break to fully attend to his health and live a less stressful life, to take the gamble and test Nigerians’ capacity for forgiveness at the 2019 polls. What brand of re-election promises will Buhari give Nigerians this time around?

Clearly, if there is no strong opposition, Buhari will easily win in 2019.So for those who believe that Nigeria deserves better, this is the time to roll up your sleeves and work collectively towards getting round pegs in round holes.

Meanwhile, below is a list of APC’s promises to Nigerians in 2015 that attracted them to voters (as complied by TheCable). President Buhari should therefore be assessed by how many of these promises he has delivered and how many more will be delivered before Election Day?

  1. Public declaration of assets and liabilities
  2. State and community policing
  3. Ban on all government officials from seeking medical care abroad
  4. Implementation of the National Gender Policy, including 35% of appointive positions for women
  5. Revival of Ajaokuta steel company
  6. Generation, transmission and distribution of at least 20,000 MW of electricity within four years and increasing to 50,000 MW with a view to achieving 24/7 uninterrupted power supply within 10 years.
  7. Empowerment scheme to employ 740,000 graduates across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
  8. Establishment of a free-tuition and scholarship scheme for pupils who have shown exceptional aptitude in science subjects at O/Levels to study ICT-related courses
  9. 720,000 jobs by the 36 states in the federation per annum (20,000 per state)
  10. Three million Jobs per year
  11. We will embark on vocational training, entrepreneurial and skills acquisition schemes for graduates along with the creation of a Small Business Loan Guarantee Scheme to create at least 5 million new jobs by 2019.
  12. Churches and Mosques would not pay taxes under national laws, but if they engage in businesses, the businesses would pay tax.
  13. Provision of allowances to the discharged but unemployed Youth Corps members for Twelve (12) months while in the skills and entrepreneurial development programme
  14. Making our economy one of the fastest-growing emerging economies in the world with a real GDP growth averaging 10% annually. [In another instance, the APC promised 10-12% annual GDP growth]
  15. Creation of a Social Welfare Programme of at least Five Thousand Naira (N5000) that will cater for the 25 million poorest and most vulnerable citizens upon the demonstration of children’s enrollment in school and evidence of immunisation to help promote family stability
  16. Recruitment and training of at least 100,000 officers into the Nigerian police force and establish a Federal anti-terrorism agency.
  17. One free meal (to include fruits) daily, for public primary school pupils
  18. Building an airport in Ekiti state
  19. Eradication of state of origin, replacing that with state of residence to ensure Nigerians are Nigerians first, before anything else.
  20. Establishment of Crime Squad to combat terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, militants, ethno-religious and communal clashes nationwide
  21. Working with the National Assembly towards the immediate enactment of a Whistle Blower Act
  22. Economic stability for the ECOWAS nations and maintaining a strong, close and frank relationship with West Africa, South Africa, UK, USA, Canada, and other African countries
  23. Establishing a conflict resolution commission to help prevent, mitigate and resolve civil conflicts within the polity.
  24. All political officer holders earn only the salaries and emoluments determined and approved by the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission RMFAC.
  25. Permanent peace in the Niger Delta and other conflict prone areas such as Plateau, Taraba, Bauchi, Borno and Abia.
  26. As against fears in some quarters, Buhari while speaking with catholic bishops in Abuja back in February, promised not to Islamise Nigeria.
  27. Nationwide sanitation plans to keep Nigeria clean
  28. Preserving the independence of the Central Bank
  29. Simplifying immigration process to foster faster visa processing at points of entry.
  30. Special incentives to facilitate the education of the girl child
  31. Full implementation of the National Identification Scheme to generate the relevant data.
  32. Making Information Technology, Manufacturing, Agriculture and Entertainment key drivers of our economy
  33. Balancing the economy across regions by the creation of 6 new Regional Economic Development Agencies (REDAs) to act as champions of sub-regional competitiveness
  34. Putting in place a N300bn regional growth fund (average of N50bn in each geo-political region) to be managed by the REDAs.
  35. Amending the Constitution and the Land Use Act to create freehold/leasehold interests in land along with matching grants for states to create a nationwide electronic land title register on a state by state basis
  36. Reviving and reactivating our minimally performing Refineries to optimum capacity
  37. Creating additional middle-class of at least 2 million new home owners in our first year in government and 1 million annually thereafter.
  38. [In another policy document] Creating an additional middle class of at least 4 million new home owners by 2019 by enacting national mortgage single digit interest rates for purchase of owner occupier houses as well as reviewing the collateral qualification to make funding for home ownership easier, with 15 to 30 year mortgage terms.
  39. Enacting a national mortgage system that will lend at single digit interest rates for purchase of owner occupier houses.
  40. Injecting extra N30bn to the Agricultural sector to create more agro-allied jobs by way of loans at nominal interest rates for capital investment on medium and commercial scale cash crops.
  41. You farm, government buys, guaranteeing a minimum price for selected crops and facilitate storage of agricultural products as and when necessary.
  42. Creating a national infrastructural development bank to provide loans at nominal interest rates exclusively for this sector.
  43. Construction of 3,000km of Superhighway including service trunks
  44. Building of up to 4,800km of modern railway lines – one third to be completed by 2019
  45. At least one functioning airport is available in each of the 36 states.
  46. Ending gas flaring and ensuring sales of at least half of gas produce, within Nigeria
  47. Speedily passing the much-delayed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and ensuring that local content issues are fully addressed.
  48. Establishing at least six new universities of science and technology with satellite campuses in various states.
  49. Establishing six centres of excellence to address the needs of special education
  50. Prioritizing the reduction of the infant mortality rate by 2019 to 3%
  51. Reducing maternal mortality by more than 70%
  52. Reducing HIV/AIDs infection rate by 50% and other infectious diseases by 75%
  53. Improving life expectancy by additional 10 years on average.
  54. Increasing the number of physicians from 19 per 1000 population to 50 per 1000
  55. Increasing national health expenditure per person per annum to about N50,000 (from less than N10,000 currently)
  56. Increasing the quality of all federal government-owned hospitals to world class standard within five years
  57. Ensuring timely payment of retirement benefits for all pensioned senior citizens and creating a poverty safety net for all aged citizens above the age of 65.
  58. Amending the Constitution to require Local Governments to publish their meeting minutes, service performance data, and items of spending over N10M.
  59. Requiring full disclosure in media outlets, of all government contracts over N100m prior to award and during implementation at regular interval
  60. Amending the Constitution to remove immunity from prosecution for elected officers in criminal case
  61. Initiating action to amend the Nigerian Constitution with a view to devolving powers, duties, and responsibilities to states in order to entrench true Federalism and the Federal spirit
  62. Reforming and Strengthening the Justice System for efficient administration and dispensation of justice with the creation of special courts for accelerated hearing of corruption, drug trafficking, terrorism and similar cases of national importance
  63. Establishing world-class sports academy and training institutes and ensure that Nigeria occupies a place of pride in global sports and athletics
  64. Reviving the Nigerian football league and putting incentives in place to make it as competitive as other national leagues.
  65. Putting in place measures to identify talents early and ensuring their participation in local and international games to enable them become professionals
  66. Assisting Nollywood to fully develop into world class movie industry that can compete effectively with Hollywood and Bollywood in due course.
  67. Ensuring the rights of women are protected as enshrined in our Constitution
  68. Guaranteeing that women are adequately represented in government appointments and providing greater opportunities in education, job creation and economic empowerment
  69. Promoting the concept of reserving a minimum number of seats in the National Assembly for women.
  70. Free maternal and children healthcare services
  71. Stabilizing the naira
  72. Targeting up to 20% of our annual budget for this critical sector whilst making substantial investments in training quality teachers at all levels of the educational system (Some other APC policy documents had 15%)
  73. Ensuring compliance with policies and measures to halt the pollution of rivers and waterways in the Niger Delta and other parts of the country
  74. Adopting a holistic approach to erosion and shoreline protection across the country
  75. ECOWAS currency by 2020 under Nigeria’s guidance and leadership
  76. Maintaining strong, close and frank relationships within the Gulf of Guinea, the Commonwealth, South Africa and the rest of the world
  77. Establishing a new special relationship with the leading emerging markets like Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) and other strategic partners around the world.
  78. [On Boko Haram] Government intends to commission a sociological study to determine its origins, remote and immediate causes of the movement, its sponsors, the international connexions to ensure that measures are taken to prevent a recurrence of this evil.
  79. Strengthening INEC to reduce, if possible, eliminate electoral malpractices in Nigerian’s political life
  80. Improving operational and legal mechanisms so that disciplinary steps are taken against proven human rights violations by the Armed Forces.
  81. Free Education at primary, secondary and tertiary institutions for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Education.

 TheCable Editors’s Note: These promises were collated from the APC policy document and manifesto, Buhari’s 100 days covenant, speeches at campaign rallies and town hall meetings nationwide.