Expectations were high when President Muhammadu Buhari came on board and we had hoped that he would hit the ground running. However, it took about six months before he appointed members of his cabinet.
The reasons adduced are known to everybody as they bordered on the rot and decadence in the system. But now, almost two years after, not much has been achieved. Be that as it may, we can see a lot of positives coming up.
Take the health sector for example. Things have been just the way they used to be. The National Health Bill which was passed by the National Assembly has yet to become operational and that is a big hindrance to a big leap in the health sector.
That in itself would have helped a lot of universal coverage concerning the National Health Insurance Scheme which is presently at about five or six per cent.
Implementing the law would have ensured coverage of not less than 75 per cent or 80 per cent of Nigerians. It would have provided universal health coverage for rural dwellers in such a way that they would not need to come to urban centres to access health care.
In terms of health budgeting, the World Health Organisation has a standard of not less than 20 per cent of the nation’s budget to the health sector.
We were hovering between four and six per cent during the last administration. Unfortunately, we just managed to hit around five per cent again this year after it dropped to four per cent last year.
The tenure of a lot of medical directors has expired. Some of them are heading up to two years and there has not been appointment in up to 15 or more federal tertiary institutions where the tenures of the previous chief executives had expired.
There is nothing to cheer about in the health sector except maybe the appreciable improvement in the timing of interventions during outbreaks of infectious diseases. We all know about the meningitis outbreak which is ravaging some parts of the country. We also know about Ebola resurgence, though not in Nigeria, we, however, know that the whole world is a global village. And that it can spread to any part of the world. A response in terms of outbreak to diseases has been fair, but it can be a lot better. • Dr Kunle Olawepo, (Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association, Kwara State branch)
It has been a mixed bag of blessings and setbacks. Blessings, in the sense that we have witnessed a formidable attack on corruption which has been a major problem in Nigeria’s politics. There have been setbacks in the sense that there have been many challenges confronting the anti-corruption crusade.
For instance, there has been a cat and rat relationship between the executive and legislative organs, and this has impacted negatively on the anti-corruption initiative.
Also, because Nigeria has been enmeshed in economic crises, people have not been able to really see the merit of the Buhari administration because they have been assessing it from the economic dimension. People believe that because of this, he has not done anything.
But he has actually tried despite his health challenges. In the area of fighting terrorism, he has done very well. I know what the security situation was when he came and what it is now.
For employment creation, there has not been much progress. But maybe that is due to the current economic crunch. Although there is an ongoing agitation for salary increment by civil servants, I know that it is not going to work because the money is not just there.
In the education sector, the level of education has remained abysmal for close to two decades and this administration has also not made progress in that area. But you cannot hold him responsible for that because in the last 10 to 20 years, the education sector has been awful. If you see the instructional facilities we use, you will marvel; they are very bad.
The fiscal allocation for education is too small, in addition to the fact that corruption is also a problem in the sector. The development crisis in Nigeria is very huge.
So, what I will advise is that Buhari should identify two areas. He can fight corruption to a definitive end and address the issue of worsening power situation. If he can tackle those two, then he will be okay. •Dr Iro Aghedo (Lecturer, University of Benin)
I think President Muhammadu Buhari has tried his best even though the masses have not really felt the essence of what he has been doing. Coming from where we had been before his assumption of office as President, it took a long time to get the country into the present situation.
So, you don’t expect magic within the two years of his reign for the economy of the country, corruption and security to be resolved. I’m pretty sure that we are now on the right track as the case maybe.
The president has his own style of leadership; those of us in the industry have come to realise that the man actually has a good heart and he really wants to help the country attain greatness.
The whole issue is a process; we have to be patient with him.
I will rate him highly in the area of security by securing the release of many Chibok girls. He has also empowered the Vice President. Even though the President is ill, the Vice President is doing his best to put to work most of the President’s ideas.
To me, the President has really tried his best within the last two years. •Bayo Adeloye (Marine Engineer/consultant)
Buhari came to power on principally two issues: security and anti-corruption. His ratings based on these two are commendable. The North East is better secured, bombings which were rife in Abuja is tamed. Remember the police headquarters, the United Nation’s building, motor parks and churches have been attacked by Boko Haram.
The bombing of churches used to be every Sunday. It is much better now. Granted that there is now the added pressure of herdsmen killings; the belief is that hopefully this will also be addressed.
Corruption undoubtedly, is being addressed and public officials are more careful. The EFCC is much more vibrant.
There have been complaints of selective targets. The point for me is, are the so-called targets innocent? There is talk of media trials or so. I don’t see how EFCC publicising its work or cases amounts to media trial.
It is in order and tells us citizens of efforts made. On other fronts, Buhari can do better and so far below par. Areas like power supply and communication are getting worse. On the whole I score Buhari 60 per cent. Remember it is just two years. • Rommy Mom (Human rights activist & President, Lawyers Alert)
To be candid, the administration has fared badly. Even in opposition, I try my best to be charitable to this government; I have been constructive in my criticism.
Yes, the government has made some progress in the area of anti-corruption and in agriculture. But beyond this, there is nothing else you can honestly give serious credit to this government.
Without looking outside what the President and his party promised Nigerians before they were elected in 2015, let’s look at what they promised: instead of creating jobs for unemployed youths, jobs have been lost; companies are folding up. Yes they have decimated Boko Haram in the North-East, what about the kidnappings, daylight robberies and other violent crimes across Nigeria?
This is largely responsible for the growing suicide rates. Can you say because they have dealt with Boko Haram, our security is now better?
The snail pace of this government has forced many things to remain at a standstill. We are still waiting for board members to be appointed for health and other bodies two years after. Is this what we voted for? •Chief Chekwas Okorie (National Chairman, United Peoples Party)
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