Posted by Ifedayo Oshin on Tuesday, October 20, 2015

It is over 100 days since the wind of change swept through Nigeria’s political landscape; when retired army General, Muhammadu Buhari became the first person to defeat an incumbent Nigerian president. Many waters have passed under the bridge since then, but Nigerians as well as her international allies and observers are quick to apply the 100 days political gauge period invented by the US president, F.D. Roosevelt in 1933 to the performance of the new administration of President Buhari.

In many countries, 100 days of a new government in office has become a tradition of reflecting on how far the government, especially its principal, has gone in managing affairs of the state. This becomes even more evident with Nigerians who want to embrace such international fad. However, the question remains: Is 100 days enough to determine any measure of success of a new government? Is it early the days to start measuring the success of the current Nigerian government?

While assessment of performance of 100 days in office may not do justice to new government, it should give an idea, to some extent, of the vision, direction and movement of a new government. The Buhari-led administration has shown these in the last 100 days of its assumption of the presidential office in Nigeria since May 29th 2015.  September 5 marks Muhammadu Buhari's first 100 days in office.

As was predicted in previous article in this newspaper when the incumbent president was sworn into office that the greatest and perhaps main achievements of the Buhari government will be the effective tackling of corruption in Nigeria (especially in government), and to great extent, the resolution of energy crisis in the country. With the former, President Buhari has put some notable efforts in achieving it. 

Although there have been plethora of opinions about the style and speed of President Buhari’s leadership among Nigerians at home and abroad, what is indisputable about the president’s style is the way his, attitudes, actions and words convey the change message of: ‘it will no longer be business as usual in the seat of government’, and that, it will be Nigeria, first, before anybody, tribe, political or social group.

This is evident in the president’s doggedness and commitment to end corruption in the country, particularly in the appointment of key officials to work with him on the new Nigerian project as well as his refusal to be swayed by public sentiments and pressure to hurriedly appoint ministers into offices as way of settling tribal and political interests. Buhari has chosen the unpopular way and goes with his gut to appoint men and women of character notwithstanding public outcry. That the president is brave enough to appoint some key officials from same geo-political zone into public offices, shows the president is ready to work with the best ’11 players’ that will deliver the ‘goals’ even if they are from one village and same town. I guess this is good for Nigeria, away with partisanship and ethnicity, let the best team lead us to victory irrespective of tribe or creed of the individuals.

Also, by doing this, President Buhari chooses to be pragmatic and results-oriented over being politically correct as has been the case for many years with his predecessors. In addition, the president is saying by his actions, that ethnicity and tribalism will not count in the new Nigeria agenda, but character, efficiency and professionalism. Outside of his kitchen cabinet, the president has spent the last 100 days searching for worthy Nigerians who can do the job, while stoutly rejecting suggestions and nominations of individuals based on political connection or other interests. As such, the president seems to stand by his first speech after being sworn into office; ‘that he belongs to no one.

Further to this, President Buhari and his vice, Professor Osinbajo have both declared their private assets as examples of transparency and leadership by example. If all the elected political office holders were to follow suit, Nigeria will be on its path to developing and maintaining a culture of honesty and accountability in leadership which, one expects, will course down to the rest of the populace in due time.

Still on his anti-corruption crusade, President Buhari has been reportedly cut down on wanton waste of public funds on frivolous expenses which were the usual practices in the past. For instance, the president reduced number of entourage for overseas trips, and stopped government funding of religious pilgrimage- his argument is that Nigeria is a secular state; hence government has no business sponsoring citizens traveling for their personal religious reasons. With this single act, the president has saved the country billions of naira that would have been spent on such projects. In his last visit to the US, President Buhari insisted on using the hotel offered by the US government rather spending hundred of thousands of dollars on another hotel; cost of which will be borne by the Nigerian government.

Beyond his anti-corruption crusade, the Nigerian wheel seems to be moving- though some will describe it as slow, but it is steady. Take the federal government agencies. It is now seen as very serious with their duties to the nation; a far departure from the lackadaisical and unpatriotic culture of the past. The federal civil servants work better now knowing there is a new sheriff in town.

Notably, power supply, formerly Nigerians worst nightmare, is increasing and improving. The jinxed oil and gas sector has received new lease of life; the refineries are working.

Yet, many challenge hover around the head of the Nigerian government; prominent among them being the Boko Haram menace. Even on this front, the Buhari administration has infused new vigor and firmer approach in fighting the Islamic extremists. The Nigerian army is more dedicated to the fight than it was under past administration. Such is the confidence and commitment a trusted and respected leader, like President Buhari, can inspire.

All in all, the beginning is the conclusion. President Buhari will not solve all of the Nigeria’s problems in his full term in office, but as predicted before and now restated; the most important job the President and his team will do for Nigeria is creating a new public culture of zero tolerance to the endemic problem of corruption, finding lasting solution to energy crisis and lastly reviving public institutions as a way of building a new and solid foundation on which the Nigerian nation can rise and grow into the future. And the activities, actions and words of the President in the last 100 and some days indicate his vision and mission are in the right direction. We will have to patiently wait if it will all work out in another 100 days from now.

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