President Muhammadu Buhari, last week, assured his administration’s determination to keep Nigeria safe, and peaceful amidst concerns of possible terrorist attack in the nation’s capital, Abuja.
We tracked two other stories that dominated affairs in the presidency within the week under review.
1. Buhari’s assurance
President Buhari, on October 28, enjoined Nigerians not to panic over the terror alert in Abuja, saying security agencies were already working relentlessly to keep Abuja, and other States of the federation safe.
“Attacks are being foiled. Security agents are proactively rooting out threats to keep citizens safe – much of their work unseen and necessarily confidential. Nigerians’ safety remains the highest priority of government. Security services are working around the clock to keep harm at bay,” Buhari said, in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
The President may have done well to reassure citizens and breed hope. However, it is difficult to fault arguments that the terror alert attests to the continuous failure of the Buhari administration to fulfil its primary role of securing the lives, and property of Nigerians.
Some critics have attributed heightened insecurity to the aftermath of the July 5, 2022, Kuje prison break, carried out by the Islamic West African Province (ISWAP), which saw the release of dozens of jihadists to the streets of Abuja. A few others have linked it to the infiltration of terrorists/bandits from neighbouring Northern States.
Whatever be the case, the concerns raised by the US and other European nations have placed a dent on the country’s image with high possibilities of causing a run on the economy.
Does the President needs to be persuaded to do the right things? The answer is certainly no. The buck stops on his table, and the tendency to constantly play the ostrich is a huge minus for a man always caught in seeming I-don’t-care postures.
Two other talking points
2. Buhari’s 90 days ultimatum
On October 24, President Buhari gave the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, a 90-day ultimatum to lead and coordinate with the Ministries of Environment and Transportation, including State Governments, to develop a comprehensive plan of action for the prevention of flood disasters in Nigeria.
The presidential spokesman, Shehu, was quoted as saying, “President Buhari is regularly receiving updates on the flooding situation in the country and restates his commitment towards addressing the challenges caused by the disaster in the country.”
Buhari’s directive may have underscored the unpreparedness of his administration in preventing flood disaster.
Worse still is the long room he had granted for the submission of a comprehensive plan which clearly suggests that his administration may be working to abandon any decisive actions to next government.
This is as the President would have barely four months to implement the plan before he vacates the presidency next year.
In the interim, the need for him to ensure that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and other disaster management agencies, provide enough relief materials and/or incentives to the thousands affected by the massive destructive flood should be top on his agenda.
3. Stabilising Nigeria’s democracy
On October 27, President Buhari reaffirmed his commitment to stabilising Nigeria’s democracy while speaking during his meeting with the Speaker of the National Assembly of Republic of Korea, Kim Jin-Pyo, on the side-lines of the World Bio Summit 2022, in Seoul, South Korea.
He said: “We are proud that our patriotic people are given the right to choose who will govern and represent them in the various legislative houses at state and federal levels.”
No doubt, the world sees Nigeria as a model of democracy on the continent, even with all the scars. Therefore, Buhari’s expression of commitment to maintaining the democratic system is understandable.
To leave an enduring legacy, the President must ensure that the 2023 General Elections are not only conducted in a free, and fair manner, as promised, but in addition, supervise a smooth handover of government even if his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), loses out.
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