By CHARLES KUMOLU
A look at the campaign promises of President-Elect Muhammad Buhari.In spite of divergent views that Nigeria’s presidential election campaign was hardly issue-driven, the leading presidential candidates still made their plans for some critical sectors of the nation’s life known.
The All Progressives Congress, APC, candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, who won the contest, in line with pre-election prognosis, was known to have remarkably deflated the current state of many key sectors during his campaigns.
That informed his vow to prioritize many areas that have become increasingly important to the electorate.
Retrospectively, the areas Buhari, who received substantial jabs from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the days leading to the poll, promised to focus on include: Security, education, unemployment, economy, health care, social security, infrastructure, energy, environment, human capital development, politics and governance.
A breakdown showed the then presidential hopeful being specific on how some of these sectors would be fixed within time frame, while time line was not attached to others.
Buhari had, during his various campaign stops, said the present government had not responded appropriately to the wave of terrorism in the country.
Hence, he said the Boko Haram insurgency would be tackled before any other thing.
‘’The fundamental problem facing this country now is security. I pledge to tackle the Boko Haram crisis if elected, ‘’ he noted.
On the nation’s economy, rated the largest and fastest growing in Africa, he pledged to create a market-based economy.
Buhari said such economy would be operated with clear unambiguous regulatory framework and effective enforcement mechanism.
The then APC presidential candidate envisaged that it would help Nigerians participate and engage in productive economic activities, in order to revamp the economy.
He promised to ensure diligent implementation of annual budgets to guarantee accountability and transparency in public resource management.
Stablization of the Naira
There was also the promise of stabilizing the naira if elected. He pledged to do that by ensuring that the country’s currency is equal to the dollar.
The blueprint for the health sector involves the transformation through the provision of modern equipment, qualified personnel and adequate drugs.
His party also pledged free maternal and child health care.
The president-elect, who is a known anti-corruption crusader, at most campaign stops, assured that he would wipe out corruption.
He was of the opinion that if Nigeria doesn’t kill corruption, it would kill the country.
At a campaign rally in Kano and other places, he promised to create three million jobs yearly to solve the problem of unemployment.
In addition, his then running mate, Prof Yemi Osibanjo, at a campaign rally in Akure, pledged 20,000 jobs yearly totaling 720,000.
He also wants to make all who looted the treasury return what they allegedly stole.
He hopes to ensure steady power supply so as to resuscitate local industries which he described as dying.
Buhari plans to complete moribund road projects and improve infrastructural development nationwide especially in the war ravaged North-East.
In line with these and other assurances, expectations are rife about the feasibility of achieving some within the life span of the incoming administration.
Eminent Nigerians, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard, differed on how best to achieve some of the key goals, while others were unanimous in their belief that Buhari would bring to reality most of the pledges.
Those who made their positions known include Professor Tam David-West, former Minister of Petroluem; Dr. Sam Ekeh, Presidential candidate of Citizens Popular Party, CPP; Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, Commissioner of Police (rtd), Dr Yunusa Tanko; Chairman of National Conscience Party,NCP, and President Inter Party Advisory Council, IPAC; Prof Idowu Sobowale, a former Head, Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos and Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, and Mr. Olumide Akinatyo. President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN.
Walfare and better equipment
Speaking on Buhari’s promise of defeating terrorism, Tsav said: “The issue of equipping the military should be taken seriously. He should ensure that the military is well equipped and well motivated. That would ensure better results from them. The Mobile Police should also be better equipped to carry out their duties. The senior officers should always visit those in the frontline to boost their morale.
“It is important to not to always allow the troops to stay long when they are deployed. They should be changed every three months. Contracts for military equipment should be strictly handled by the military because they know what they want. Civilians should not be involved in the contract execution. I am hopeful that he will do well.”
LGAs should be involved in job creation
On job creation and the oil sector, Tanko stated: “His promise on job creation is the simplest thing to do if he would put round pegs in round holes.”
Highlighting how that can be achieved, the NCP leader said: “For him to achieve, he must make sure that job creation is not done at the state capitals alone. We have about 774 local governments in Nigeria. All that he needs to do is to allow local governments create jobs at their level. If that is done, I am sure the unemployment challenge will be reduced drastically.
“People, who supervised employment processes in the past, did it on sentiment; now that he has been elected, the removal of all the challenges that had made the unemployment rate alarming should be done if he must achieve his objectives in that area. I believe he can do that.”
Challenges in health sector
On his part, Akintayo said: “The starting point for anyone that wants to fix the health sector is to address the avalanche of problems arising from appointments in the sector. The other one is the supervisory role of the Ministry of Health where the current administration appointed two medical doctors as ministers. That is wrong because it reduced the ministry to a ministry of doctors. It did not carry other health workers in the sector along.
“Appointments in health sector should be done to do justice to every professional in the sector. The business of health is like every other one where everyone is carried along for good results. If he is going to succeed in his targets in the health sector, there should be universal health coverage which encompasses social health insurance. It depends on how he wants to achieve his goals. “
The PSN boss added: “The normal practice all over the world is to embrace preventive health care. That should be his cardinal goal but it can only be achieved through a functional primary health care system. Unfortunately, the primary health care system in the country is skewed in a manner that it will not disturb the status quo. If he must succeed, all professionals must be involved.”
Building four refineries possible
On the possibility of building four new refineries in four years, David-West responded thus: “That is very possible. All he promised to do in that sector are possible.”
Eke, the CPP presidential candidate, who contested last weekend’s poll, in his submission, said: “I want to congratulate Buhari irrespective of how any body feels. His victory is as a result of consistency and perseverance . His victory shows that our democracy has arrived like that of Ghana. Nigerians were not fed up with the President, but the way things are being done by those around the President. The issue now should not be on his promises, Nigerians should brace up for the times ahead. We must not deny the fact that oil which is the mainstay of our economy is no longer selling at high prices. And his government will face that challenge.”
Bracing up for the times ahead
He added: “There is no government that is Father Christmas, so he will face so many challenges. Therefore, for him to be able to do the things he wants to do, our currency must be devalued. Buhari’s promises should not be the issue now, because he has got a lot of work to do. The first thing I want him to do is to reduce the cost of governance. That should be done by reducing the recurrent expenditure for there to be economic growth and developmental growth. If we achieve this, the common man will feel the impact of the country’s economic growth rather than the statutory figures of economic development that we are being deceived with.
“Buhari should be given a chance because he is going to start his administration with a budget he did not initiate. As a true democrat, he has to implement it. I don’t expect him to perform miracle in the next one year because he has a tough job ahead.”
He will do well on education
When confronted with Buhari’s pledges on the education sector, Sobowale was upbeat that the duo of Buhari and Osinbajo would revive the sector.
He said: “ The Buhari /Osinbajo administration should revisit the education policy of the country. The sector must be steered to meet the 21st century demands. The educational infrastructure across the states of the federation should be of utmost importance.”