Insecurity: Buhari’s failure to fulfill his promise for a secured Nigeria

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BY MAYOWA SAMUEL

Uba Group

Many critics of President Muhammadu Buhari see his eight-year reign as Nigeria’s president as a failure following his inability to live up to his several promises, particularly, his assurance to end insecurity by December 2022 ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Politicians in opposition parties and other social development critics accused the Buhari-led administration of deceiving Nigerians, adding that the All Progressives Congress was unprepared to govern when it assumed power in 2015. They asked the president and the ruling party to apologise to Nigerians, rather than solicit Nigerians to vote for it to return to power in 2023.

In the Democracy Day speech of the president in 2021, the president acknowledged his shortcomings to keep to his pre-election commitment to address the security menace, just like he did several times before he assumed power in 2015.

Buhari said, “When you elected me as your President in 2015, you did so knowing that I will put an end to the growing insecurity, especially the insurgency in the North East, but the unintended consequences of our scattering them in the North East pushed them further in-country which is what we are now facing and dealing with.

“We will, by the grace of God, put an end to these challenges too. Unfortunately, like in most conflict situations, some Nigerian criminals are taking undue advantage of a difficult situation and profiteering therefrom with the misguided belief that adherence to the democratic norms handicaps this administration from frontally and decisively tackling them.

“We are already addressing these obstacles and we will soon bring some of these culprits to justice,” he added.

Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, had in October 2022, assured Nigerians that the perplexing insecurity situation ravaging the country would be over by December, as the president had given that deadline.

In his words, Aregbesola said “He gave the deadline of total elimination of such a threat to the security of lives and property by December.

“I believe that nobody is resting in all the arms of the government with the mandate of maintaining law and order, guaranteeing security and eliminating threats. We are at it, and in the first instance, we must ask ourselves, governance is about ensuring security of lives and properties.

“We will eliminate all insecurity issues by December. If you look at the state of affairs in Nigeria, I’ll tell you that a whole lot of progress has been made over the years,” he said.

However, since this promise by the president, the spate of insecurity in the country such as terrorism, banditry, militancy, kidnapping, election violence, and the likes, has refused to subside. On the contrary, the tempo of such heinous crimes has increased.

On December 29, 2022, there was a bomb explosion near the Palace of the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland in Okene, Kogi State, about an hour before the arrival of the president to commission some projects in the state. The explosion killed four people and injured several others. Gladly, the Department of State Services last Wednesday announced the arrest of two men who carried out the deadly bombing.

Sadly, the insecurity in the country crossed over into the New Year. As early as January 2, gunmen attacked the convoy of a former governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim at Oriagu in the Ehime Mbano Local Government Area of the state. Ohakim however escaped the attack but his backup vehicle was bombed, which led to the death of four of his police orderlies. The former governor was with two of his children and was returning from a visit when the gunmen struck.

Many actually took the president’s promise with a pinch of salt and considered it as a weightless promise. They had argued that it was near impossible for the president to achieve the feat in just three months when he couldn’t do the same for almost seven and a half years in office.

Expressing its disgust, the People’s Democratic Party slammed the government for not being able to keep to its word of ending insecurity by December, and for its poor performance of its primary duty of protecting the lives and property of citizens.

Speaking to The Point, the spokesman of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba said, “The primary purpose of government as provided for in the constitution, is the security and welfare of the people, but on both fronts, the government has failed irredeemably.

“If you’re sent to Imo State, I’m not sure you’ll be willing to go there because in the last one week, we’ve had attacks on INEC facilities, we’ve had some about a month ago in Ogun State, we’ve seen in Imo State and several parts of the country. We have kidnappings still going on, even though it’s under-reported.

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“So, in terms of assessment, this government has failed. We can’t travel by road, rail or by air. Nigerians now know better, that’s why the APC continues to change the goalpost, that’s why they are afraid to speak to the Nigerian people, and that’s why their presidential candidate won’t speak to pressmen. The APC is a failure, their members know it’s a failure and Nigerians know it’s a failure. That’s why you see many of them leaving the party in droves,” Ologunagba said.

“In terms of assessment, this government has failed. We can’t travel by road, rail or by air. Nigerians now know better, that’s why the APC continues to change the goalpost, that’s why they are afraid to speak to the Nigerian people, and that’s why their presidential candidate won’t speak to pressmen. The APC is a failure, their members know it’s a failure and Nigerians know it’s a failure. That’s why you see many of them leaving the party in droves”

Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo, told The Point that he wasn’t surprised that the ruling party has never kept any of its promises since assuming power in 2015. The Yoruba leader noted that it was shameful that the ruling party is still coming out again to seek Nigerians’ votes.

Adebanjo said, “What promise has the APC made since they came into power that they’ve kept? Don’t forget, I’m an old man in this game. They’ve not done anything they promised. It’s even a shame that they can come out again to be voted for. They even said they will provide millions of jobs, and that they’ll reduce the exchange rate of the naira to the dollar, we have all these records. You’re the ones believing them, I never believed any of their promises.”

In his own submission to The Point, spokesperson of the Third Force Coalition for the Labour Party, Tanko Yinusa, said the APC administration is in the habit of making promises it has no plans to fulfill, recalling the government in 2015, also promised to end insecurity within six months of entering office, but even failed to set up a cabinet within that period, let alone combat insecurity.

Yunusa said, “This has been the modus operandi of this government. Remember, when they took over power, they said they were going to end the insecurity issues in Nigeria in six months. But right from the beginning of the six months, they didn’t even appoint a single officer in charge of even their own cabinet, that’s all through those six months that should have been used to deal with the issue of insecurity.

“So, it showed that they were actually ill-prepared. Most of their promises were made hazily without thinking it through. But in order to kind of get the minds of the people to believe that they’re doing something, they send free-flow information that doesn’t have actionable plans attached to it. That’s the reason why you see all the disjointed communication coming from this government.

“It’s very clear ab initio that there was no well-thought-out plan by this government. So, there’s nothing to be trusted about whatever they say, until you see it on the ground. They only tell you stories but they can’t justify it with an actionable plan. We’re not surprised by that statement by the minister.

“They said it just to deceive the people and make them believe that they’re doing something about it. Yes, they might have made some other attempts but they don’t really think through with their promises before they tell the Nigerian people,” he stated.
However, just one month before his December deadline, the president came out to defend his difficulty in keeping to his promise of putting an end to terrorism and banditry in the country by December.

He blamed the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine for the insecurity in Nigeria and the Sahel region as he lamented the increasing number of arms, ammunition, and other weapons from the Russia and Ukraine war in the Lake Chad Basin.

Speaking at the 16th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission in November, Buhari, in a statement signed by Femi Adesina, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Buhari said, “It must however be stated that despite the successes recorded by the gallant troops of the MNJTF and the various ongoing national operations in the region, terrorist threats still lurk in the region.
“Regrettably, the situation in the Sahel and the raging war in Ukraine serve as major sources of weapons and fighters that bolster the ranks of the terrorists in the Lake Chad Region. A substantial proportion of the arms and ammunition procured to execute the war in Libya continues to find its way to the Lake Chad Region and other parts of the Sahel.

“Weapons being used for the war in Ukraine and Russia are equally beginning to filter to the region.

“This illegal movement of arms into the region has heightened the proliferation of small arms and light weapons which continues to threaten our collective peace and security in the region. There is, therefore, the urgent need for expedited collaborative actions by our border control agencies and other security services to stop the circulation of all illegal weapons in the region.”