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May 29: A fresh journey begins

Today, President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will be sworn in for a second term of four years in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

While the inauguration ceremony will be on at the FCT, it will also be taking place in other 30 states of the federation where a large number of the incumbents and a few newly elected governors will have oath of office administered to them.

Today’s event will be the sixth time since Nigeria’s return to civil rule. It was first done in 1999; then 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019 in tow. In all of these years, the wordings of the oath administered on the presidents and governors have remained the same. The pledge by those who received the oath at that time, or those receiving it today for the first time, has also remained unchanged.

What has always changed is the commitment to delivering on the wordings of the oath.

For the President and the returning governors, it would be their second and final four-year term, which will round off their constitutionally approved eight-year tenure in 2023.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has been in power since May 29, 2015. The party rode to power on the crest of a vaunted mantra- ‘Change’. It defeated the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which presided over the affairs of the country for 16 straight years.

At the time the APC joined the fray in 2015, many Nigerians had lost confidence in the PDP government, needing a change of government by all means, hence the easy victory recorded by the then newly formed opposition APC.

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Since taking over the reins of power, the APC government has however, not excited many Nigerians by its style of leadership and lethargic governance which has continued to attract criticisms to it.

Observers speak in tandem that the ‘change’ promised Nigerians has refused to come or refused to come all through the first four years occupation of the power stool by the APC. It was against this backdrop that when the President was returned winner of the February 23 Presidential election, many analysts alleged it was not a true reflection of the reality on ground and/or the will of the people.

Criticisms of the Buhari administration have not only come from members of the opposition. Perhaps, the most scathing of all the criticisms have come from the First Lady, the President’s wife, who has, on several occasions, let out her frustration over the state of affairs in the APC and in the country in general.

So, as the President takes his final oath of office today, he has another chance to remedy what had gone wrong in the first tenure. He must fulfill the promise he made to the people.

The lack-lustre performance of the administration is not hidden to anyone. The ‘Next Level’, the new mantra upon which he anchored his campaign in the last election, must be well interpreted and pursued with verve and vigour.

In the next four years, the President is expected to, if possible, perform magic, by turning things around 360 degrees. The next four years must be defining. Nigerians expect him to transform their lives in a twinkle of an eye.

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Many Nigerians were disappointed that government did not sufficiently wear its thinking cap in the areas of economy, security, job creation, education, among others.

Today, the country is at a very difficult state. Bandits are overrunning the country; kidnappers, killer herdsmen and Boko Haram are all on rampage. These enemies of the people are collectively making life difficult as they daily prosecute bloody campaign, and security agencies have only been reactionary in their approach.

A columnist, commenting on ‘Next Level’ in a national newspaper, recalled that the hope of many Nigerians was dashed as things did not really change contrary to lavished promise of “change”.

“They promised CHANGE; the people took them on their word, expecting instant change. But such change does not come like instant coffee. If it were that easy, our country would have been transformed by now. What with the promise to ensure regular power supply within six months and statements such as any government that cannot guarantee that should simply pack and go within a few months! Those who talked like that now know better,” the columnist said.

One of the greatest mistakes of the Buhari administration in the first term was the penchant to pass the buck. It never was ready to accept responsibility for anything. It was always pointing fingers at past government and administrations.

But from today, such finger-pointing may no longer be tolerated by Nigerians. They will no longer be interested in hearing government officials heap the blame for everything that is wrong on the past administrations.

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What the people are interested in is to hear how the next four years will improve their lot significantly before the next elections in 2023.

They want to know how the President is taking them to the next level from their present position.

The President and, indeed, all the governors in their various states, can deliver on their campaign promises by facing the issue of governance squarely without blaming the previous government for every problem that rears its head.

Perhaps, the most urgent task before Buhari is to restore peace and order in all the parts of the country. And this must be done within the first few months after his inauguration today.

“Government is a continuum. It is the beauty of democracy for power to change hands between parties. This is not a big deal. It happens elsewhere in the world and it does not disrupt governance. Nigeria’s case should not be different. A change in the party in power should not be an excuse for not delivering dividends of democracy to our long-suffering people,” the Columnist noted.

Source: By Zebulon Agomuo

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