Despite Nigeria’s problems, President Buhari is building a legacy of hope | Tolu Ogunlesi

9 months ago 115

Nigeria has faced challenges for arsenic agelong arsenic anyone tin remember. But 1 occupation Nigerians don’t speech astir is our corporate inability to admit wherever advancement is being made.

Fixating lone connected what is not moving robs america of the accidental to analyse and replicate our successes, and demoralises a populace successful dire request of optimism.

There is overmuch to beryllium hopeful about, but you won’t needfully larn astir it successful the mainstream news. President Buhari came to office successful 2015 promising to absorption connected 3 areas: security, the system and corruption. There were nary illusions that, considering wherever we were coming from, a batch of the enactment would request to beryllium corrective and foundational.

It is the president’s presumption that the jobs and inclusive maturation Nigeria needs volition beryllium driven by concern successful infrastructure. When you tin warrant amended lives for people, information becomes a much manageable issue. “If we hole infrastructure, Nigerians volition caput their businesses,” the president often says.

The past clip Nigeria saw this level of infrastructure concern was successful the 1990s, erstwhile the past retired Maj Gen Buhari headed a peculiar money created to put petroleum revenues into health, acquisition and infrastructure.

More than 2 decades later, Buhari is doing this connected a bigger scale. A caller Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund, a taxation recognition strategy encouraging backstage assemblage concern successful roads, and astir recently, a 15tr-naira (£26.4bn) Infrastructure Corporation (“InfraCorp”).

This is the archetypal medication successful the past of autarkic Nigeria to commencement and implicit a railway – the enactment linking the cities of Lagos and Ibadan. No 1 who has utilized the caller work is unimpressed. It’s an accomplishment that reminds america that groundbreaking improvement is possible. Some accidental the barroom is low; possibly, but determination is nary amended clip than present to rise it.

Much is said astir however corrupt Nigerian nine is, borne retired by its spot successful Transparency International’s annual rankings. Corruption is simply a superior problem, but the president, honoured arsenic the African Union’s anti-corruption champion for 2018, has led the fight. The crab of corruption requires a cocktail of drugs, immoderate to constrict its humor supply, others to onslaught the scourge itself.


Nigeria since independence


From hopeful beginnings successful 1960, westbound Africa’s powerhouse has suffered civilian war, years of coups and subject rule, taste and determination conflicts, endemic corruption, banditry and Islamist insurgencies. Here are immoderate cardinal events.

1 October 1960

Nigeria gains independence

New constitution establishes national strategy with Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, a northerner, arsenic premier curate and Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe, an Igbo, arsenic politician general, the ceremonial caput of state.

January 1966

First republic ends

July 1966

Northern-led counter-coup led by Lt Col Murtala Muhammed

Lt Col Yakubu Gowon becomes caput of state. Estimated 30,000 Igbos massacred successful riots successful bluish Nigeria, causing astir 1 cardinal to fly to south-east

May 1967

Three eastbound states secede arsenic the Republic of Biafra starring to a three-year civilian war

January 1970

Biafra surrenders

Between 500,000 and 2 cardinal civilians dice from starvation during the war. Gowon attempts reconciliation, declaring “no victor, nary vanquished”

July 1975

Gowon overthrown by Murtala Mohammed

Process of moving national superior to Abuja begins

February 1976

Mohammed killed successful coup

Succeeded by apical aide, Lt Gen Olusegun Obasanjo, who initiates modulation from subject regularisation to US-style statesmanlike system

October 1979

Obasanjo becomes archetypal wide to manus powerfulness to elected leader

Shehu Shagari, a northerner, becomes archetypal president of 2nd republic, with Igbo vice-president

December 1983

Shagari deposed

Coup led by Maj Gen Muhammadu Buhari aft disputed elections

June 1993

Babangida annuls election

Chief Moshood Abiola is evident winner

November 1993

Gen Sani Abacha seizes power

June 1994

Abiola proclaims himself president

November 1995

Ken Saro-Wiwa executed

The writer and campaigner against lipid manufacture harm to his Ogoni homeland, is executed with 8 different dissidents. EU imposes sanctions and Commonwealth suspends Nigeria’s membership

May 1999

Obasanjo is sworn successful arsenic president

June 2000

Islamic sharia instrumentality adopted by respective bluish states

Clashes with Christians opposing the contented pb to hundreds of deaths

April 2003

First elections since extremity of subject regularisation successful 1999


Militants successful Niger delta request bigger stock of region’s lipid wealth

April 2007

Umaru Yar’Adua wins statesmanlike election

March 2011

Goodluck Jonathan wins statesmanlike election

January 2012

Boko Haram tells Christians to permission the north

May 2013

Jonathan sends troops against Boko Haram

A authorities of exigency is declared successful bluish states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa. Insurgent unit mounts successful 8 different states

April 2014

Boko Haram kidnaps much than 270 girls

They are taken from a boarding schoolhouse successful bluish municipality of Chibok. Over the adjacent year, Boko Haram motorboat bid of attacks crossed north-east Nigeria and into neighbouring Chad and Cameroon, seizing respective towns adjacent Lake Chad. Group’s allegiance switched from al-Qaida to Islamic State

February 2015

Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger signifier subject alliance

March 2015

Buhari wins statesmanlike election

He is the archetypal absorption campaigner to bash truthful successful Nigeria

1 November 2016

Niger Delta Avengers rebels weaponry lipid pipelines

February 2019

Buhari wins re-election amid claims of ballot fraud

October 2020

#EndSARS protests

November 2020

Boko Haram termination astatine slightest 12 people

June 2021

Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, dies successful warring with Islamic State successful West Africa (Iswap)

1 October 2021

Debt payments scope 1.47tn naira

Nigeria spends 1.47tn naira (£2.6bn) connected servicing home and outer indebtedness successful archetypal fractional of 2021, according to information from Debt Management Office 

The precise archetypal bid Buhari issued, successful August 2015, mandated compliance with a caller accounting strategy promoting transparency successful authorities finances. In the years since, the national authorities has been introducing enhanced levels of automation to everything from filing taxation returns to concern registration and import work exemptions.

A nationalist database for conveyance registration is successful progress, a invaluable instrumentality successful the combat against smuggling and conveyance theft. A show absorption strategy has been launched to amended way however ministers are gathering their assigned targets.

Many of these things are agelong overdue, and should person been done before. In my view, it is to Buhari’s recognition that they are being pursued now.

The astir challenging contented is security. But important advancement has been made, which lone radical who person nary thought wherever we are coming from find casual to dismiss.

The astir pressing information contented successful 2015 was Boko Haram and its determination to found an Islamic caliphate; wielding each limb possible, including termination bombs, to make the panic indispensable to subdue the Nigerian state.

Six years on, Boko Haram and its assorted offshoots person been substantially tamed. Two of its commanders person been killed this year, amid infighting helped on by the intensifying subject onslaught. There stay important issues: Boko Haram whitethorn beryllium weakened but it is not dead, and indispensable proceed to beryllium seen arsenic a menace for the foreseeable future.

The main theatre of insecurity successful the state has shifted to the north-west, wherever immense forests structure gangs of bandits, and it is present up to the equipped forces to bring calm to the portion successful the months ahead, arsenic they are successfully doing successful the north-east.

One crushed for optimism is the Nigerian military’s biggest hardware renewal programme successful decades. Examples see the caller landing vessel tank delivered to the navy successful June, and successful the past fewer months a twelve Super Tucano onslaught craft person been delivered, swelling the fig of warplanes procured successful the past 5 years to 36.

Underpinning the administration’s progressive docket are respective overdue legislative reforms – indispensable catalysts for semipermanent alteration adjacent if it’s a conflict to convey that value to a nationalist much funny successful the terms of groceries.

For example, the Nigeria Police Force Act, which dates from 1943, has had a makeover. It’s a akin communicative with the Prisons Act (from 1972), the Companies Act (1990), and the Petroleum Act (1969).

Reforming laws volition not magically alteration a country, but it is simply a measurement connected the journey. Rebuilding is each astir us, laying the groundwork for a state that works for each Nigerians.

Investment – home and overseas – is thriving; thankfully, nary capitalist requires a state to beryllium perfect. Money is flowing into agriculture, manufacturing (consumer goods, conveyance assembly), aviation, lipid and gas, healthcare, logistics and fintech, successful designation of the imaginable of a state of much than 200 cardinal people, fractional of them nether 20.

The Dangote Refinery, the largest single-train refinery successful the world, the “AKK” state pipeline and the expansion of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas plant, are 3 multibillion-dollar projects worthy highlighting. A new deep-seaport is being completed successful Lagos, the archetypal caller larboard successful decades; the obstruction corridor is growing.

There is overmuch inactive to beryllium done, and it is present a contention against time. In 18 months, the president’s 2nd and last word volition end, and it volition beryllium for his successor to transportation on. I’m convinced that lone from past onwards volition the state consciousness the existent interaction of this administration’s bequest of change.

  • Tolu Ogunlesi is peculiar adjunct connected integer and caller media to President Buhari