The Financial Times of London has opined that Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari is performing far lesser than its potential. The UK-based newspaper urged Buhari to make amends in his second term, else he risks "going down in history as a general who should have stayed in his barracks".
The Financial Times of London has opined that Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari is performing far lesser than its potential.
The UK-based newspaper said this in its editorial titled ‘Nigeria’s Returning President Has A Chance to Make Amends’, in which it criticised the President’s perceived lack of economic and clear-cut policy directions. It urged Buhari to make amends in his second term, else he risks "going down in history as a general who should have stayed in his barracks".
The newspaper expressed gloom about the Buhari’s reelection, as well as the process, stating that Nigerians deserve better. It also didn’t see much hope on the decision of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to challenge the election outcome in court.
The article read: “Nigeria’s recent election produced a winner, but victory for incumbent Muhammadu Buhari has generated little enthusiasm in a country performing far below its potential. The poll in Africa’s most populous country was marred by a week-long delay, sporadic violence in which dozens died and there were allegations of vote-rigging. What was supposed to have been the largest election in Africa’s history — with 84m registered voters — turned out not to be because of a dispiritingly low turnout of 35 per cent. The result is being challenged as a “sham” by the loser, Atiku Abubakar, in a dispute that is likely to rumble on in the courts for month."
“The Nigerian people deserve better than this. Democracy has to mean more than a poorly run election every four years,” the newspaper added.
Financial Times further said President Buhari’s first term was less than successful on security, despite the government’s repeated proclamation that Boko Haram has been defeated.
It said: “There is credible evidence of a renewed threat in the north-east in the form of a breakaway Islamist group. Nigeria’s army remains ill-equipped, both literally and institutionally, to take on such a challenge.
“There has been some success in taming insurgency in the oil-rich Delta region, where real grievances about economic exclusion have bubbled over into sabotage of oil installations.”
The economic newspaper said Nigeria, with the largest population in Africa, should be a power house in Africa.
“Nigeria should be Africa’s economic motor. Too often it looks more like a country teetering on the edge. In his second presidential term, Mr Buhari has a chance to silence his critics. With decent policies and effective implementation, he can stop the rot and lay the basis for a better future. If he can do that, he can yet salvage his reputation. If not, he will go down in history as a general who should have stayed in his barracks.”
However, the UK-based newspaper advised that the relection is a chance for the president to adopt a coherent agenda, implemented by technocrats rather than ideologues, to turn things round.
Giving suggestion on how the President could make the most of the next four years, Financial Times said: “Nigeria desperately needs to create a level playing field for business in which access to foreign currency, permits and other requirements is both predictable and rational. His much vaunted crackdown on corruption must go beyond taking action against a few minor officials. Some big scalps would help. More important still is to implement systematic changes — whether by reforming institutions, using technology or by removing arbitrage opportunities — to create a more transparent environment. People should prosper in Nigeria based on what they know and how much value and employment they can create, not by their connections.
“But Mr Buhari must do more to offer lasting solutions to the violent clashes between pastoralists and sedentary farmers that have erupted in the country’s central belt and beyond.”