On May 29 President Muhammadu Buhari will be marking first year in office as the first opposition candidate to upstage an incumbent president in Nigeria. Prior to the 2015 election, President Buhari contested and lost the presidential elections in 2003, 2007 and 2011. He lost the three elections to three presidents produced by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. They are former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo (2003), late Umaru Yar’Adua (2007) and Dr Goodluck Jonathan (2011).
It took a lot of hard work, negotiations and lobbying for President Buhari to clinch the All Progressives Congress, APC, ticket and to convince the Nigerian electorates that he has a better package for them than the PDP candidate. Prior to and after his emergence as the APC candidate, President Buhari made lorry-load of campaign promises to Nigerians with a pledge that if he is elected he will faithfully deliver on the campaign promises.
Undoubtedly, on May 29 President Buhari’s performance in his first year will be juxtaposed to the campaign promises and pledges he made to the electorates before they went to the polling units to vote for him. These campaign promises are his contract with the Nigerian people predicated on the change mantra of the APC. Based on this it will not be out of place to recap the major promises President Buhari made during the electioneering campaign.
On Politics and Governance, the Nigerian leader said, “my administration will initiate action to amend the Nigerian Constitution with a view to devolving powers, duties, and responsibilities to states in order to entrench true Federalism and the Federal spirit;
“Strengthen INEC to reduce, if possible, eliminate electoral malpractices in Nigerian’s political life;
“Prevent the abuse and misuse of Executive, Legislative and Public offices, through greater accountability, transparency, strict, and implementable anti-corruption laws, through strengthening and sanitising the EFCC and ICPC as independent entities;
“Amend the Constitution to remove immunity from prosecution for elected officers in criminal cases;
“Require full disclosure in media outlets, of all government contracts over N100m prior to award and during implementation at regular intervals;
“Amend the Constitution to require Local governments to publish their meeting minutes, service performance data, and items of spending over N10million.”
On National Security and Defence, President Buhari pledged to “Consult and amend the Constitution to enable States and Local Governments to create city, Local government and State Policing systems, base on the resources available at each levels, to address the peculiar needs of each community. I will therefore work with the National Assembly to set and revised, when needed, boundaries of operations, for Federal, State, and Local government policing units, through new Criminal Justice legislation to replace the Criminal Code, the Penal Code and the Police Act.
“Establish a Conflict Resolution Commission to help prevent, mitigate, and resolve civil conflicts within the polity;
“Bring permanent peace and solution to the insurgency issues in the North-East; the Niger Delta; and other conflict prone states and areas such as Plateau, Benue, Bauchi, Borno, Abia, Taraba, Yobe, and Kaduna in order to engender national unity and social harmony;
“Initiate policies to ensure that Nigerians are free to live and work in any part of the country by removing state of origin, tribe, ethnic and religious affiliations from documentation requirements in our identification of citizens and replace these with State of Residence and fashion out the appropriate minimal qualification for obtaining such a state of residency, nation-wide.”
On the Economy and Infrastructure, President Buhari promised to “Make our economy one of the fastest growing emerging economies in the world with a real GDP growth averaging at least 10-12% annually
“I will embark on vocational training, entrepreneurial and skills acquisition scheme for graduates along with the creation of Small Business Loan Guarantee Scheme to create at least 5 million new jobs by 2019. A Small and Medium Enterprises Development Commission will be created for this purpose.”
He equally promised to amend the Constitution and the “Land Use Act to create freehold/leasehold interests in land along with matching grants for states to create a nationwide electronic land title register on a state by state basis;
“Create an additional middle-class of at least 4 million new home owners by 2019 by enacting a national mortgage single digit interest rates for purchase of owner occupier houses as well as review the collateral qualification to make funding for home ownership easier, with a 15 to 30 year mortgage terms.
“Create a Social Welfare Program of at least five thousand Naira (N5000) that will cater for the 25 million poorest and most vulnerable citizens upon the demonstration of children’s enrolment in school and evidence of immunization to help promote family stability.
“Provide allowances to the discharged but unemployed Youth Corps members for Twelve (12) months while in the skills and entrepreneurial development programmes.
On Agriculture, President Buhari said he will “Create a nationwide food inspectorate division with a view to improving nutrition and eliminating food-borne hazards
“ Inject sufficient funds to the Agricultural sector to create more agro-allied jobs by way of loans at nominal interest rates for capital investment on medium and commercial scale cash crops, among other pledges.
Also on Infrastructure, the then APC presidential candidate promised Nigerians that he will “Generate, transmit and distribute electricity on a 24/7 basis whilst simultaneously ensuring the development of sustainable/renewable energy, by 2019.
“Embark on a National Infrastructural Development Programme as a Public Private Partnership that will (a) ensure 5,000km of Superhighway including service trunks and (b) building of up to 6,800km of modern railway completed by 2019;
“Embark on PPP schemes that will ensure every one of the 36 states has one functional airport, with all 21st Century safety tools for effective commercial air travel.”
On the Oil and Gas Industry President Buhari promised Nigerians that if elected into office he will “Revive and reactivate our minimally performing Refineries to optimum capacity;
“Modernise the NNPC and make it the national energy champion. I will consider breaking it up into more efficient, commercially driven units; and may strip it of its regulatory powers, so as to enable it tap into international capital market;
“Speedily pass the much-delayed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and ensure that local content issues are fully addressed.”
On Education and Human Capital Development, the then APC candidate promised among other things that he will“Fully review provisions of the Universal Basic Education Act with emphasis on gender equity in primary, secondary school enrolment whilst improving the quality and substance of our schools, through outcome based education, that address the individual, family, and societal roles in education; and the associative skills and competencies that go with these responsibilities;
“Targeting up to 20% of our annual budget for this critical sector whilst making substantial investments in training quality teachers at all levels of the educational system;
“Provide one meal a day for all primary school pupils. That will create jobs in Agriculture, Catering, and Delivery Services.
“Establish at least six new universities of Science and Technology with satellite campuses in various states. These six universities should be fully equipped with ICT technologies in order to attract and encourage small and medium scale ICT enterprises after their university education.
“Establish technical colleges and vocational centres in each state of the federation.”
On Healthcare President Buhari pledged to Increase the number of physicians from 19 per 1000 population to 50 per 1000 through deliberate medication education as epitomize by nations such as Ghana. I will increase national health expenditure per person per annum to about N50,000 (from the less than N10,000 currently);
“Provide free ante-natal care for pregnant women; free health care for babies and children up to school going age and for the aged; and free treatment for those afflicted with infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS;
“Create an Insurance Policy for our Journalists as the nation faces hard times and our Journalists face more dangers in the discharge of their investigative work, to educate Nigerians in their rights and responsibilities.”
Some of the campaign promises of President Buhari on Youth, Sports and Culture include establishing “Zonal world-class sports academies and training institutes and ensure that Nigeria occupies a place of pride in global sports and athletics.
“Revive and restructure the Nigerian Football League and put incentives in place to make it as competitive as other national leagues.
“Help as well as mandate schools and communities to create neighborhood playgrounds/sports centre. I will create matching support funds for communities to acquire the needed equipment to develop skills and competencies.”
On Women empowerment, President Buhari promised to“Guarantee that women are adequately represented in government appointments and provide greater opportunities in education, job creation, and economic empowerment;
“Use the Party structures to promote the concept of reserving a minimum number of seats in the States and National Assembly, for women.”
On the Environment he promised that he will, among other things, “Create shelter belts in states bordering the Sahara Desert to mitigate and reverse the effects of the expanding desert.
“Support and accelerate the implementation of regional water transport initiatives across the country through effective dredging of the main waterways and adopt a holistic approach to erosion and shoreline protection across the country.”
As the country inches closer to May 29, these and other campaign promises made by President Buhari will become major issue of public discussion across the country. Though nobody expects the Nigerian leader to have delivered on all the campaign promises within a year, the handlers of the president should be ready to defend hard knocks that are bound to rain in torrents if their principal’s score card is near empty after one year in office.

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