Home Opinion Buhari’s 2015 – 2023 Presidency: A Legacy of Agony, Tears, Blood, Collapsed Economy, Polarized Nigeria (ii)

Buhari’s 2015 – 2023 Presidency: A Legacy of Agony, Tears, Blood, Collapsed Economy, Polarized Nigeria (ii)

by Isiyaku Ahmed
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By Emmanuel Gandu

 [“Unfortunately, this inept, clueless, and dangerously nepotic Buhari succeeded in putting a knife on the things that held us together, pushed Nigeria to the brink, and we’ve fallen apart.”

“During his watch, Nigeria became an imperiled, impoverished, debtor and beggar nation that is now divided along several fault lines of tribe, religion, regional and other divisive negativity.”

“It’s appalling, despicable, and irresponsible for a government that came to power in May 2015 when the value of the Naira was 197.8763 to the $Dollar to now hand over in May 2023 at N755 to the Dollar, N947 to the £Pound, and #810  to the €Euro.

“For a Buhari as Head of State in 1985 to have (alleged) voted for Ide Oumorou, a Fulani from Niger Republic for the post of Secretary General of OAU and not for Peter Onu, an Igbo man from Nigeria smacks of his blatant penchant for affinity to his Fulani heritage as against his allegiance and loyalty to Nigeria.

“By the time he is leaving at the end of his ignominious 8 years presidency, Muhammadu Buhari will be likened to a guilty shameless lame dog searching for an escape route with its tail tucked in between its hind legs at the sight of on-lookers and passers-by.”]


The seemingly lackluster 8 years presidency of Nigeria by Muhammadu Buhari can best be described as a lost generation. This anomaly was characterized by human misery largely due to his stubborn and deliberate foisting of anti-people policies of vengeance and vendetta devoid of a workable economic roadmap.

With all sense of objectivity, the performance of the Buhari government in terms of the economy, security, education, social welfare, political development, and investment is abysmal.

During these ignoble years, Nigeria was a radar less ship manned by a clueless captain and crew that led to a shipwreck in the rocky turbulent waters of economic mismanagement, corruption, insecurity, daunting foreign debts, nepotism, poverty, religious intolerance, the collapse of industrial and critical infrastructure, and the fall of a national currency at its lowest ebb ever.

It’s appalling, despicable, and irresponsible for a government that came to power in May 2015 when the value of the #aira was 197.8763 to the $Dollar to now handover in May 2023 at #755 to the $Dollar, #947 to the £Pound, and #810 to the €Euro.

Unfortunately for Nigeria, this inept, clueless, and dangerously nepotic Buhari succeeded in pushing the country to the brink.

During his watch, Nigeria became an imperiled, impoverished, debtor, and beggar nation that is now divided along several fault lines of tribe, religion, region, and other divisive negativity.

For President Buhari with a few days to the eclipse of his 8 years administration to seek approval for a loan of $ 800 million dollars from the World Bank smacks of corruption and indiscipline.

Regrettably, this Daura-born retired military General, former GOC, former governor, former petroleum minister, former Head of State, former PTF chairman, and outgoing president of Nigeria, come 29th May 2023 will bequeath to Nigerians a legacy that leaves much to be desired.

Buhari has put a knife on the things that held us together and we’ve fallen apart.

At the end of his ignominious 8 years of presidency, Muhammadu Buhari will be likened to a guilty shameless lame dog searching for an escape route with its tail tucked in between its hind legs at the sight of on-lookers and passers-by.

Buhari’s failures in governance

1. Debts and borrowing:

As of Q2 of 2022, Nigeria had a budget deficit of 11 Trillion, a revenue projection of 10 Trillion, with an uncomfortable Debt service to revenue ratio of 80.4%.

By Q1 of 2023 and according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) the unemployment rate is now above 41%.

According to the Debt Management Office (DMO), Muhammadu Buhari inherited Nigeria in 2015 with a lean loan of N12.12 Trillion debt profile. But by the end of his presidency on 29th May 2023, he will bequeath a country laden with an overwhelming debt profile of over N77 Trillion, 60% of youths unemployed, 22% inflation, 1.4% GDP growth, to generations yet unborn.

At the twilight of his presidency, Buhari’s insatiable penchant for borrowing beclouds his sense of prudence as he had just sent a request (as we speak) to the National Assembly a request for approval of $800 million.

What baffles keen observers of the country’s debt profile is that $23 million dollars of this amount will be used on consultancy services alone.

Going by the World Bank assessment, Nigeria will be spending 💯 of her revenue on debt servicing in 2023/2024.

Surely, Nigeria faces a bleak gloomy future.

2. Security:

Muhammadu Buhari is a retired military General, who fought as a commander in the Biafran Nigerian for 30 months of the civil war of 1967 – 1970, served in International war peacekeeping, was a former GOC, was a former Head of State, etc.

However, Nigeria under Buhari is undergoing unprecedented Killings and loss of life and property with catastrophic consequences never experienced before.

According to the research findings by the World Terrorism Index, Nigeria was ranked as the 3rd most terrorized country in the world (2020)

Available statistics show that during Buhari’s 8 years presidency, over 64,211 (those accounted for) people have been killed.

This figure is made up of over 27,311 from 2015 – 2018 and 36,800 between 2019 – May 2023.

The Killing spree is reaching an unprecedented alarming proportion that opinion leaders have been putting the blame on the doorstep of Muhammadu Buhari.

The fiery Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto Matthew Hassan Kukah has been at the forefront of the agitations and demands for a safer and protected citizenry, and the sacredness of human life. But unfortunately, those in the government of APC view his concern as unnecessary and notoriety for activism.

Regrettably, this endless Killing spree across the country especially in the Middle Belt where over 200 people were massacred in their villages and homes within 24 hours in the plateau state in mid-May 2023 shows how unconcern Buhari and his government are about the issue of protection of life and property.

These unprovoked Killings and burning down of entire towns and villages over these years which have remained unabated are flooding Nigeria with the blood of the innocent.

It, therefore, remains to be seen whether posterity will be kind to Buhari for his action and inaction in aggravating the Killings or judge him square and fair.

3. Oil sector mismanagement

(a) Oil subsidy:

The oil subsidy regime had been characterized by endemic corruption, high-level political exigency, and secrecy.

Despite oil being Nigeria’s economic mainstay (95%) since the 1970s, successive governments have failed to maintain the refining of crude oil in the country’s 3 refineries.

This seeming apathy had resulted in the abandoning of such critical assets thereby leading to endless importation. As a consequence, Nigeria is experiencing rising prices of premium spirits, diesel, gas, Jet A (Aviation) fuel, bitumen, kero, etc.

The government had to introduce subsidies in order to cushion the effect of the high cost of goods and services.

Unfortunately, due to the rising price of oil in the International market coupled with the falling value of the Naira, this petroleum subsidy payment grew from N350 billion in 2019 to N450 billion in 2020 and got to N1.573 trillion in 2021.

What baffles keen energy observers of the sharply rising trend of this subsidy regime is the figures spent for 2022.

Data from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) shows that for January and February 2022 alone, the cost for subsidy was N396.72 billion.

Furthermore, the federal legislatures approved another sum of N4 trillion to be spent on subsidies in 2022.

According to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed in July 2022, the country will be expected to pay as much as $6.72 trillion for subsidy in 2023.

As things are, the question to ask is, how will Nigeria cope with:

(i) 2023 projected revenue earnings of only N10 trillion.

(ii) a 2023 budget of #21.83 trillion.

(iii) a dwindling uncertain oil output.

(iv) an N6.72 trillion oil subsidy (still rising).

(v) a $77 billion foreign debt.

(vi) a debt service to revenue ratio of between 80% to 100%?

(vii) a National unemployment rate of 41.6% (2023).

(b) Dysfunctional refineries and TAM corruption/scam:

Corruption at a monumental level is ongoing in Nigeria’s oil sector. Surprisingly, President Buhari who doubles as the Petroleum Minister was also the Petroleum Minister during the Military government of General Olusegun Obasanjo. Therefore, this monumental corruption can rightly be placed at Buhari’s doorstep.

This Buhari government reportedly spent N10.23 billion in June 2020 on the nation’s 3 refineries that ended up processing zero crudes.

Again in 2021, the Buhari government approved $1.5 billion to repair just the Port Harcourt refinery. Meanwhile, Nigerians have kept groaning under the excruciating and persistent scarcity.

Interestingly, SERAP in a suit number FHC/L/CS/806/2022 filed in the Federal High Court Lagos had sought an order of Mandamus to compel Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the spending of N1.48 trillion reportedly spent on 4 refineries between 2015 and 2020 as reflected in the NNPC Financial Statement.

In another major scandalous twist, petroleum industry experts lament the whopping sum of$26.5 billion which the Federal Government of Buhari has so far spent on maintenance of the country’s joint loss – making 445,000 barrels per day capacity three (3) refineries of Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna.

Experts on energy and refinery construction have opined publicly that this $26.5 billion is capable of building three (3) brand new refineries of the same sizes as each of the ones in Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna.

This suggestion, according to these experts is arrived at based on the cost analysis of refinery projects currently going on across the world:

(1) The Ecuador refinery being constructed at Manto is a 500,000 barrels per day capacity for $15 billion.

(2) Dangote refinery in Lagos Nigeria, has a 650,000 barrels per day capacity being constructed for $15 billion.

(3) Kuwait is building the 615 barrels per day capacity AL Zour Oil Refinery for $16 billion.

The implication of these suggestions is that it would cost less than:

(a) $8 billion to build a new refinery in Port Harcourt – the same capacity as the existing one.

(b) $8 billion to build a new refinery in Warri just like the existing one with the same refining capacity of 125,000 barrels per day.

(c) $8 billion to build a new refinery in Kaduna just like the existing one with the same refining capacity of 110,000 barrels per day.

Going by the above expert’s analysis, the three (3) new refineries would therefore cost only about $24 billion.

6. Buhari’s divisive negativity: Nepotism and religion

“I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody” – Buhari (2015)

At his swearing-in ceremony broadcast on 29th May 2015 President Buhari made this popular statement to indicate a roadmap for justice, equity, fairness, and a sense of belonging to all Nigerians irrespective of tribe, religion, and every form of difference.

However, sooner than he made this popular inaugural speech, the real Buhari unveiled his true colours.

At the US Institute of Peace (USIP) on July 22, 2015, Buhari referred to the Igbo South East as a people who gave him only 5%, hence “5% cannot be treated the same way as those who gave me 95% votes.”

According to Femi Adesina in defense of Buhari’s ‘gaffe’, “Buhari justified sidelining Igbos, and ruling Nigeria based on 97 – 5% division.”

As important and as controversial as it is, Buhari’s statement elicited condemnation across Nigeria.

Available facts and statistical data analysis indicate that this statement had guided and continued to define Buhari’s nepotic governance policies.

He not only sidelined the Igbo South East but also other areas of the Middle Belt from constructive engagement and appointment into National Security, economy, and other critical areas of democratic governance.

As obviously as can be expected, Buhari’s cabinet over the 8 years failed to reflect the ethnic, tribal, and religious balance of Nigeria.

Yet in June 2021, Buhari in an Arise TV interview called the Igbo South East as “a dot in the cycle”, meaning that even if the Igbos want to exit Nigeria, they will have no access to anywhere.

As if that wasn’t done yet, Buhari tweeted about the Igbo agitations personified by IPOB – “We will treat them in the language that they understand.” “We will organize the police and the Military to pursue them.”

This did not go down well with Twitter as the social media company deleted Buhari’s tweet, saying it contained offensive comments believed to be war threats against the Igbos.

In reaction, Buhari slapped a ban on Twitter’s operations in Nigeria, thereby causing Nigeria to lose billions of dollars in business and investment, employment opportunities, International diplomacy, etc.

Regrettably, Buhari’s continuous pursuit of an agenda sympathetic to the Muslim/ Fulani/Hausa North where infrastructure and appointments are skewed in their favour alone has put a knife on the things that held Nigerians together and we’ve fallen apart.

Buhari’s controversies/scandals

1. Naira redesign:

The bungled Naira re-design policy of 2022 exposed Nigerians to untold hardship due to the short exchange period, absence of the new notes, and long queues in banks. This controversial policy came during the Christmas/end-of-year festivities and during an election period.

It became a source of intense confrontation between Buhari and the politicians that culminated in litigation leading all the way to the apex court as the Supreme Court decided in favour of the leading governors of Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna State, Yahaya Bello of Kogi state, Matawalle of Zamfara state, Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state.

Buhari refused to expressly direct the Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele to comply with the Supreme Court judgement.

While this imbroglio lasted, Governor El Rufai made a counter broadcast in the evening of the same day of President Muhammadu Buhari’s morning broadcast where he (El Rufai) directed the people to disregard the continuous use of only the newly re-designed naira notes.

2. Exclusive land for cattle Fulani

Buhari had set out in the early months of his 8 years of his presidency to carve out and confiscate people’s land for the purposes of implementing grazing reserves exclusively for the Fulani herdsmen to rear their own cattle.

This controversial policy was met with stiff opposition from the Middle Belt and the Southern parts of Nigeria. Buhari gave this policy different names at different times in order to justify its implementation. The names ranged from grazing reserves, cattle colonies, RUGA, grazing routes, etc.

Fortunately, the outcry from Nigerians forced Buhari to back off.

However, several lives and properties of indigenous landowners across Nigeria are still being wasted in the thousands by the Fulani herders, some of who come from foreign countries.

3. Whistleblower policy

Approved by the Federal Executive Council in December 2016, this policy was meant to encourage Nigerians to willingly provide the government with information about people involved in shady and undercover financial transactions.

In built-in the policy were financial rewards in staggered categories and percentages, concealment of the identity of the whistle-blower, etc.

However, this policy could not celebrate its third anniversary before it died a natural death due to :

(a) government corrupt officials.

(b) government defaulted on the terms and conditions to the whistleblowers.

(c) conflict of interest between EFCC, and other anti-corruption agencies.

(d) government interference in the execution of the policy because of interest in certain cases.

(e) Buhari’s failure to be firm, decisive, and hold officials accountable because of the exigency of political patronage.

4. School feeding program

This school feeding was a scam because the government was alleged to have used it as a conduit pipe to channel funds to the ruling APC.

Reports had it that funds were allocated for school feeding even during the COVID-19 lockdown.

It remains to be justified how alleged N228 billion was spent on school feeding even at a period schools had remained closed during COVID-19.

5. Buhari voted for the Niger Republic and not Nigeria

For a Buhari as Head of State in 1985 to have (alleged) voted for Ide Oumorou, a Fulani from Niger Republic as Secretary General of OAU and not for Peter Onu an Igbo man from Nigeria smacks of his blatant penchant for affinity to his Fulani heritage as against paying allegiance to Nigeria.

Buhari is not yet done with his allegiance to the Niger Republic. On Tuesday 23/5/2023, he warned he would be enemies and that the Niger Republic will defend him in the event of any attack on him after leaving office.

6. Boko haram names Buhari as the mediator representative

In 2012, Islamic terrorists Boko Haram picked Buhari to represent them in mediative talks with the Federal Government and to be held in Saudi Arabia.

7. PTF scandals under Buhari’s watch

Muhammadu Buhari was appointed Executive Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) by then Head of State General Sani Abacha in 1994 at its creation, a position he held until 1999 when President Olusegun Obasanjo disbanded the outfit.

According to Law Mefor in his report in ‘Point Blank News’ of December 14, 2014, controversial scandals were uncovered in the PTF operations:

(a) Buhari was accused of concentrating 70% of PTF projects in the Hausa North leaving the South-South, South East, South West, and parts of the Middle Belt to struggle for a paltry 30%.

(b) Buhari’s nepotic choice of consultants who continuously siphon the PTF funds. This was uncovered by independent investigative Committees.

Law Metor is a forensic psychologist and journalist.

8. 53 suitcases scandal of 1984

During that year’s currency redesign, nobody was allowed to take any money outside Nigeria’s borders. But it was reported that the Emir of Gwandu allegedly successfully smuggled out 53 suitcases of old Naira notes to change before it becomes worthless.

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as Customs Officer on duty wanted to confiscate the contents and reported to the military government.

However, the Emir whose son was Major Mustapha Jokolo and ADC to Head of State General Buhari intervened. This led to a series of unconfirmed allegations and counter-allegations as to what happened to the suitcases.

One thing was certain, Buhari’s credibility and that of his government suffered a setback.

9. $2.8 billion missing NNPC money

The allegation of NNPC missing money was during the tenure of Buhari as Petroleum Minister in 1977.

This revelation necessitated then Head of State General Olusegun Obasanjo to set up a crude oil sales tribunal in 1977 to investigate the operations of the Nigerian National Oil Company (NNOC) which metamorphosed into NNPC the same year.

The tribunal discovered that the NNOC did not actually find buyers for its own share of its entitled 182.95 million barrels of oil proceeds thereby losing a potential income of $2.8 billion dollars.

10. Umaru Dikko in crate

Erstwhile Minister of the federation Alhaji Umaru Dikko was already put in a crate in London to be drugged and flown in a Nigerian Airways Boeing 707 to Nigeria to answer corruption charges.

This botched kidnap was in July 1984 when Muhammadu Buhari was Head of State.

11. Occupying Chadian forces flushed out by Buhari in 1983

Tchadian soldiers led by then Chief of Army Staff Idriss Deby invaded and occupied 19 Nigerian Islands on Lake Chad in April 1983. Muhammadu Buhari as then GOC Jos was said to have acted promptly to flush out the oçcupying forces without waiting for orders from Alhaji Shehu Aliyu Shagari, president and commander in chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

Concluding remarks

Muhammadu Buhari inherited Nigeria in 2015 with a total foreign loan of # 12.12 trillion debt profile.

But by the end of his presidency on 29th May 2023, he will bequeath an overwhelming battered country;

• N77 trillion debt profile.

• 60% of youth unemployment.

• 22% Inflation.

• 1.4% GDP growth rate.

• 41% National unemployment rate.

•  Unprecedented death of people highest than experienced in any African country ever, even worse than the infamous Rwandan genocide of which many of the perpetrators were tried at the International Criminal Court.

• If the assessment of the World Bank is anything to go by, Nigeria will be spending 100% of its revenue on debt services in 2023/2024.

Surely, Nigeria faces a bleak and gloomy future.

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