I find it increasingly difficult to write about the 1st year anniversary of President Buhari`s administration, not because I care less about what becomes of his administration, but I am suspicious of how much I have begun to rage against what he has and has not done. I see reactions in some people around me, this same feeling about him.
There are lots of articles – different groups and individuals with divergent opinions and impressions about his 1st year in office. Various polls have rated him on different areas, but fact is, his first year scorecard seems below expectation considering the hype in which the administration sold itself prior to its election.
The Buhari`s administration has come under pressure from various quarters- with support here and hostility there; some saying he has done really well while others complained bitterly about how terrible his administration is. Friends are torn apart in the debate; comrades are not left out, while critics joined with the hash tag #PMB365WastedDays. But make no mistakes; whether you are for Buharist or against him, whether you believe he has a good scorecard or a terrible one- one thing is common, this administration lacks speed.
There is no doubt that this administration still enjoys the goodwill of the people but should it continue at this speed, it would be exhausted before its second year anniversary. Without neglecting or underscoring the place of proper planning and preparation, I make bold to say that there is a level of sluggishness in this administration and the earlier it is addressed the better for us.
You see, we can go on and on blaming everyone and everything for the slow take off of this administration, but if this slow pace is not addressed, we`d be back here again on the second year of this administration apportioning blame and hanging our woes around the failure of past administrations and on the dwindling crude oil price.
Meanwhile, had the present administration added some kind of smartness and speed to its change mantra, it would have by now made an appreciable level of impact on the lives of the people.
There is a place of good intentions and good plans, but as a leader you don`t have to keep the people suffering for too long while results are yet achieved.
There is a reason why on “action plans” we have: short term, medium term and long term- just so that people start getting results on time! This administration does not have to keep the people waiting unnecessarily for so long when it can do well by activating its short term plans to cushion the effect which its long term plans may have on the masses.
The process of getting results could be tedious or simple depending on how cumbersome the process is. That is the very reason why speed and accuracy must be factored into processes in other to have a timely and prompt result.
Those that feel, one good year is too small to rate the performance of this administration or to begin achieving tangible results do so because they do not understand the importance of speed. “3 months was too small, 6 months was too small, 9 months was too small”, but one year can never be too small to clearly itemized what has been achieved by an administration that knows what it`s doing and that’s up to speed with it. The reason why the present administration is still giving its speeches like one running a manifesto is because this “Change” lacks speed!
Whose fault was it that the 2016 budget was padded severally? Whose fault was it that there was delaying in signing the 2016 budget? If these faults aren’t from the masses, who else should be blamed for the delay if not the presidency? You don`t put the people at the edge of an excruciating pain because of the failure of those in power and expect not to be blamed for it!
For instance, the Nigerian economy is currently being hit by the dwindling crude oil prices thus leading to a shortage of foreign exchange, a shrinking economy, and spiralling inflation. These have impacted on the standard of living and have impeded the ability of several state governments to pay the salaries of their workers.
However, the Federal Government through the Minister of Finance- Kemi Adeosun, announced its readiness to inject a total of N350 billion to rebound the dwindling economy of the nation in anticipation of the approval of the budget. This was as a result of the decisions taken at the end of a two-day retreat for governors of the 36 states of the federation and members of the National Economic Council (NEC) at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. Speaking on Sunrise, a Channels TV programme, she reemphasized and I quote: “As soon as the budget is signed, we are going to pump N350 billion into the economy in this quarter and we are going to do so every quarter until we stimulate growth. And we would see growth if we spend money on those things that would create jobs.”
This seems to be a good plan and should not have been delayed for any reason whatsoever considering how terrible the state of the economy is. While the ministry awaits the budget approval, all necessary logistics should have been put in place such that as soon as the budget was approved, the fund is immediately injected into the economy. But hell no, that was not what happened! Weeks after the budget was signed into the law, the fund is yet to be fully disbursed. There were reports suggesting that- while the Ministry of Finance is set to fulfil its own part of injecting the fund, some agencies of government, which are expected to act as channels of disbursement, are yet to put their acts together. As several of the disbursing agencies ought to have commenced certain work even before the budget was signed but they delayed in doing so.
We can`t continue to have a slow take off like this and expect a different result that is good enough for the country. Change can come with speed. Change is not magic- we all know that. But then, Change also does not necessarily mean “go slow”. We can both have change and speed. When we do, we would be talking of a different thing- rapid progress and development.
Leave aside the integrity, the trust and the honesty that may have been credited to this administration, if there is no speed, there would be no movement. We need a form of direction, we need speed. It has become a matter of urgency for the president to take off at the speed that will impact positively on the lives of the people. The further he delays the more dangerous it becomes.
There are no doubts that most of the challenges we face today are the results of years of misgovernance and corruption. But as the administration enters its second year, it needs to embark on several short and longer term measures with respect to speed to reverse the country’s dangerous slide.
Nigerians are suffering; telling them to keep bearing the pain while you are not being up to speed with easing them of the pain would be tantamount to carelessness.
Integrity, trust, good plans and policies backed with a coordinated speed, will in no time bring that change that we are dire need of.
God Bless Nigeria.
Ogundana Michael Rotimi is a Nigerian Biochemist, Socio-economic & Political Commentator, and Public Speaker. He tweets @MickeySunny