More than 15 million Nigerians chose Muhammadu Buhari as their president in 2019, close to the number that elected him in 2015, indicating that four years in office have not diminished his appeal.
His mandate may have been renewed because he had fulfilled cardinal campaign pledges, such as tackling corruption and cracking down on Boko Haram.
One month into his tenure he fired his Service Chiefs, appointed new Service Chiefs and ordered the relocation of the operational headquarters of the Boko Haram campaign from Abuja to Maiduguri, epicentre of the decade long insurgency.
However, he did have areas of deficiencies. His lack of charisma, eloquence and struggle with articulation has been a major source of embarrassment to Nigerians.
Also the economy slid into recession during his first term as president, dragged under by a sharp fall in the global price of oil. His refusal to devalue the naira further exacerbated the problem and led to severe foreign currency shortages.
Import intensive companies were forced to rely on a black market in US dollars which had emerged to circumvent the fixed currency rate. Unemployment also doubled. As a result the living standard of Nigerians took a hit as money worries intensified.
That Atiku Abubakar, an obvious power hungry politician with a shady history of corruption enjoyed massive support in the South, is perhaps an indication that many Nigerians in the economically developed south held him personally responsible for their hardship.
On the positive side, the president boosted investment in infrastructure projects on a scale not seen since the early 80’s. The Buhari administration realized that transportation is an essential part of economic development and invested massively in building roads and bridges.
After a prolonged neglect of the nation’s railway, efforts by the Buhari administration to revive and modernise the transport mode have yielded considerable success.
Nigeria has built West Africa’s first and most extensive rail network covering thousands of kilometres in less than a decade. Despite setbacks and corruption issues the biggest rail expansion West Africa has ever seen continues to set record am joining cities and towns
Nigeria adopted the advanced signalling & Train Control technology, communication Based Train Control (CBTC) to control the trains.
LAGOS BLUE LIGHT RAIL
LAGOS KADUNA STANDARD GUAGE
PORT HARCOURT MONO-RAIL
ENUGU MONO RAIL PROJECT (still under construction)
Though there are questions surrounding the huge amount of money spent and the quality of finished products, suggesting corruption, the fact remains however that no other country in Africa have as much light and mono rail service in operation as Nigeria.
President Buhari can also take some credit for eventually bringing the economy out of recession and overseeing an increase in oil production in the south, although the recent rise in the global price of oil played the bigger part in this, and the recovery has been sluggish.
Among other successes, Mr Buhari can point to some improvement is Nigeria’s military capability.
Under his watch, the Nigerian military retook all hitherto lost territories from Boko Haram militants that had been fighting to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state.
Scores of schoolgirls that were part of a group of nearly 300 abducted by the militants were also reunited with their families. However, many of the so-called Chibok girls remain missing, and recent attacks by a Boko Haram faction have underscored the fragility of the security gains.
No matter the number of defeats and level of casualties inflicted on Boko Haram by the Nigerian military, the insurgent group has a record of using lulls in the fighting to regroup from safe bases in Chad and Niger, under the watchful eyes of French and American drone bases, only to re-emerge stronger , better trained a better equipped. It’s a vicious circle that Nigeria has had to grapple with.
Finally, Mr Buhari’s personal reputation for incorruptibility and discipline has survived his time in office, a rare feat among Nigerian leaders.
As a colonel, he won admiration for driving back an incursion by Chadian soldiers who had occupied islands in Lake Chad that belonged to Nigeria.usa