20180106

12 Things Buhari Should Do In 2018

With a loaded plate, President Muhammadu Buhari certainly has his hands full. But what are some of the most pressing issues the president needs to resolve?

Daily Trust gives you some.

President Muhammadu Buhari is getting close to three years in office. His achievements in office are already being examined by admirers and supporters, as well as critics and political adversaries. Although the Daura-born politician intends to be measured by his performance in three key areas (the war against corruption, the fight against insecurity, and the drive to revive the economy), we present to you twelve things he must achieve this year.

1. Finish the Boko Haram war

Though President Buhari has received accolades in the war against the insurgents in the north-east geo-political zone, he must strive to end the Boko Haram war this year. It’s great news to hear that the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole rescued over 2,000 civilians and neutralised Boko Haram insurgents in droves during its operation at Lake Chad Island this week, according to the Theatre Commander, Major General Rogers Nicholas. But ending the war would make Nigerians fully appreciate the government, as pockets of suicide bombings being recorded recently are a blight on the anti-insurgency operation.

Retired Col. Aminu Isah Kontagora, in an interview with Daily Trust, said: “There is a lot of work to be done; be it political, economic and social, to get to the ultimate destination of peace.” He said the current situation required not only the military role, but also the support of the general public.

2. Resettle IDPS

Though Mr. President has established the Presidential Committee on the North East Initiative (PCNI), under the chairmanship of retired General T.Y. Danjuma, a lot still needs to be done to address the challenges being faced by the internally displaced persons (IDPs). Alhaji Tijjani Tumsah, Vice Chairman of the PCNI, said recently in Abuja during the monthly Coordination meeting of members of the PCNI and development partners that the needs of displaced persons in camps and host communities, especially in the areas of health and food security, were being tackled.

Tumsah, represented by Brig.-Gen. Habila Vintenaba, Chairman, PCNI’s subcommittee on Peace Building, Security and Stabilization, said that in the areas of shelter and protection, there was an intervention to ensure that the tripartite agreement between Cameroon and Nigeria for the protection, voluntary and safe return of Nigerian refugees in Cameroon was upheld. He said that a lot of interventions were on-going in the health, agriculture, infrastructure, energy, economic recovery, housing and transportation sectors.

He said that the Committee would also receive updates on the development and funding plans for the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). Though it is good that there is an on-going effort to address the plight of the IDPs, the lasting solution is for Buhari to resettle the IDPs, and give them at least a semblance of home.

3. Increase tempo and conviction rate of anti-corruption war

The war against corruption will not be deemed successful until people begin to see successful prosecution of people who are involved in high-profile cases. There have been various reports of arrest of prominent personalities but with no conviction. The cases have continued to move slowly in various courts.

If Buhari is to receive a pat on the back, he must ensure that the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACAC) led by Professor Itse Sagay redoubles efforts, by giving the right advice to ensure accelerated conviction of the corrupt persons.
In July 2017, Sagay said senior lawyers had “turned obstruction and frustration of proceedings on high-profile corruption cases into an art.” He, therefore, advised that the Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) in question should be barred from the court hearings of such cases. He advised the prosecuting counsels in high-profile corruption cases to always apply to reinstate any case struck out for want of prosecution as part of the solution to the problem.

Being one of the things Buhari is known for, the anti-corruption war should be tackled head-on, decisively, and with visible results.

4. Find a lasting solution to herders/farmers clashes

The persistent clashes between farmers and herders must be given due attention this year. The fact that the regular crisis has been given an ethnic colouration makes it very important for the federal government to find a lasting solution. The Anti-Open Grazing Bill, which has been enacted in Benue and Ekiti states, seems not to have served its purpose because of the politicization of the motive behind the law.
The recent killing of dozens of farmers, allegedly by herdsmen, in some communities in Guma and Logo LGAs of Benue State, which forced many to flee their homes, has made it imperative for the federal government to expedite action, and pursue the best system that will solve it once and for all.

The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, who spoke on the killings in Benue State after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, described the incident as a “communal crisis”.

5. Appreciably improve power supply

President Buhari must find a lasting and reliable resolution to the problem of epileptic power supply in the country, to win the trust and confidence of consumers. The work of the electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) must be thoroughly monitored to avoid a situation whereby the consumers will be marginalized unduly through unjustified estimated billing.

Efforts must be made to prevent the kind of incident that happened last Tuesday, which led to the collapse of Nigeria’s power transmission grid, resulting to widespread blackout across the nation. Needless to say, the industrialization of the nation, and the growth of businesses at various levels, depend on this.

6. Avoid another nation-wide fuel scarcity

The federal government must ensure that the fuel scarcity witnessed across the country towards the end of 2017 does not happen in 2018. The scarcity of fuel has always created hardship for the citizenry over the years. Nigerians passed through similar experience under the past PDP-led administration.

Any solution to the perennial shortage of fuel must be considered. That is why the three solutions provided by Minister of State, Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, must be thoroughly considered to prevent any decision that may worsen the plight of the masses.

Kachikwu had said at the public hearing convened on Thursday by the National Assembly that the final solution to the problem was for the nation to put her refineries in good shape in a way that 80 per cent of local consumption of the product should be provided for locally.

Kachikwu said: “One, is for the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) to allow the marketers access forex at the rate of N204 to a dollar as against the official rate of N305 to keep the pump price of fuel per litre at N145. Two, to give room for modulated deregulation where NNPC would be allowed to continue selling at N145 per litre in all its mega stations across the country, while the independent marketers should be allowed to sell at whatever price is profitable to them. Three, to look at the direction of blanket subsidy for all the importers in bridging the gap which would be like going back to a problem that had earlier been solved.”

7. Make significant progress in repairing federal roads and improving rail lines

Many federal roads across the country are in bad condition. The federal government must ensure that all federal roads with budgetary allocations are executed in 2018. The current effort to re-launch the rail system of transportation must be given the needed impetus. Already, Nigerians have started enjoying the rail system from Abuja to Kaduna. This was boosted on Thursday by President Buhari with the commissioning of two locomotives and 10 executive passenger coaches procured by the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to be deployed on the Abuja-Kaduna train service.

The Abuja-Kaduna train line service was previously commissioned in July 2016 by President Buhari. It currently runs four trips per day and transports about 1280 passengers daily to and from Abuja and Kaduna. He said the government would further focus on coastal rail from Lagos-Calabar with branches to Benin, Agbor, and Onitsha to Port Harcourt. He also said another standard gauge line will be built from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri with branches to Owerri, Akwa, Abakaliki, Makurdi, Yola, and Damaturu.

The federal government will also focus on Kano-Kazaure, Daura, Katsina, Jibiya to link to Maradi in the Niger Republic as part of regional railway inter-connectivity of the ECOWAS sub-region, he said.

Buhari said the concession for the narrow gauge to General Electric should be completed this year even as he said the railway laws will be amended and regulations strengthened to attract private sector investments into the rail sector.

8. Avoid scandals and mishaps

President Buhari must ensure that the kind of controversy that trailed the appointment of dead Nigerians into the boards of federal ministries, departments and agencies is avoided in 2018. This requires competence and professionalism on the path of officials handling the appointments and other similar issues in the presidency.

9. End internal rifts in government

Mr. President must ensure that the internal wrangling among his officials is sorted out early enough before it gets out of hand. The public show of wit between the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Kachikwu and Group General Manager, NNPC, Mr Maikanti Baru, as well as the one between the Director-General of Department of State Service (DSS) and the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) remains an embarrassment to the Buhari-led administration. The scenario must be solved, for a hitch-free 2018, and for the sakes of some earlier-mentioned points.

10. Revitalise the APC

President Buhari must ensure that he shows more interest in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as the leader of the party. His seemingly lukewarm attitude towards the party won’t assist his administration as it portrays him as a personality with little knowledge of party administration.

At some point, the ruling party could not even pay their electricity bill, a development that shows that the presidency is not taking proper care of the party. The financial fortune of the party improved after the introduction of a monthly meeting with the party’s governors.

11. Woo back South-west APC and powerful chieftain Tinubu

The south-west APC will surely play a significant role if Mr President will secure the party’s presidential ticket and win again in 2019. Therefore, he has to get the support of the region, including the party’s national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The current indication shows that the president might have got the support of the south-west with the recent defection of key political figures in Oyo State to the APC. This is seen as prelude to other defections in other states in the south-west apparently to support the re-election of President Buhari. More needs to be done.

12. Win APC’s presidential nomination

President Buhari has to ensure that he secured the presidential ticket of the APC this year. Already, most leaders of the ruling party have been passing a vote of confidence on Buhari.

Engr. Segun Oni, who is the Deputy National Chairman of the ruling APC, said in an interview with Daily Trust that God has endorsed Buhari for 2019.

Asked to speak his mind on whether President Buhari could still get the party ticket and go ahead to win the 2019 presidential election, Oni said, “This is my personal opinion. And I have said it once. The way the president was able to overcome his health challenge is a miracle. And the time that was done, as far as I’m concerned, is like an endorsement of God. So, if he wants to run, I’m sure a lot of people will see him as already God-endorsed for the job again.”

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