The 14 highlights of the Buhari presidency so far

Over the last year, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has been marked by dramas – like any other major presidency.

And as the administration marks its one year in office, we highlight the 12 (hum) highlights of a Presidency that close one today.

1) Appointment of Ministers

On the first week of October, after unending drama and an almost-missed self-imposed deadline, President Buhari forwarded a list of prospective Ministers to the Chairman of the National Assembly and President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki.

On November 11, 2015, 36 Ministers were inaugurated and officially sworn into the cabinets bringing to an end five months of speculation as the nation awaited for the President to appoint his cabinet.

Before this time, the 73 years old President had piloted the affairs of Africa’s most populous country solely. Well, with his Vice President.

2) 2016 budget

President Buhari appeared before a joint session of both chambers in the National Assembly on December 22, 2015 to present the 2016 Appropriation Bill.

The budget, however, went through five months of controversy as the Executive and Legislative arms of government went back and forth on the bill, both making allegations against each other, including padding of the budget, disappearance and replacement of the budget from the National Assembly and manipulation of figures.

The budget was finally passed by the National Assembly on March 23 and assented to by the President on May, 6. Yes, just a few weeks ago.

3) JP Morgan delists Nigeria

On September 8th 2015, top financial services holding company, JP Morgan, announced that it would remove Nigeria from its Emerging Market Government Bond Index (GBI-EM) by the end of October that year.

The United States-based lender said that it was due to a lack of transparency and liquidity in Nigeria’s FOREX market.

This marked the beginning of woes for Nigeria’s frail economy as some foreign investors were, more or less, forced to sell off their equities within the country.

4) $2.2 billion arms deal

Based on a report made by the Prof. Itse Sagay-led Presidential Advisory committee, the federal government launched investigation into a $2.2 billion funds originally intended for the purchase of weapons to prosecute the war against terrorism but was allegedly diverted by some former top government and military official.

Former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki was subsequently arrested, the arms deal scandal became known as Dasukigate.

And heads have been rolling ever since.

5) Biafra, and arrest of Nnamdi Kanu

The call for the secession of South-East Nigeria to form the sovereign state of Biafra became louder in the last quarter of 2015, with the growing popularity of a London based radio station, Radio Biafra, and secessionist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

On October 18, 2015, Nnamdi Kanu, leader of IPOB, was arrested in Lagos and detained by the Department of State Services (DSS). His arrest and continued detention has sparked violent protest in cities within southern Nigeria.

6) The UAE deal 

In furtherance of his anti-corruption drive, President Muhammadu Buhari signed a bilateral agreement with Saudi Arabia, USA, UK, for the repatriation of funds stolen from Nigeria and hidden abroad.

The government also came to an agreement on the judicial extradition of corrupt former or serving government official hiding abroad.

Other countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States expressed their readiness to return funds stashed in their countries.

There were reports that several ministers opposed the deal, but were asked to shut up.

7) Nigeria et Saudi Arabia 

During his state visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, President Buhari announced that Nigeria will be joining the Saudi Arabia coalition against terrorism.

The President’s decision to sign Nigeria into the coalition was met with diverse reactions, critics pointing out that the deal might affect Nigeria’s relationship with other countries in the Middle-East. Many also noted that the coalition is an Islamic coalition.

The president paid them no heed.

8) The Shi’ite Face-off 

On December 12, 2015, the Nigerian Army and the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) had a violent clash at the Zaria home of the later. Hundreds of Shi’ite Muslims were reportedly killed in the face off, including three sons of the group leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky.

El-Zakzaky, alongside his wife, was reportedly shot at, arrested and detained by the Nigerian Army. The couple has been under detention since them

This sparked off a range of protest, with many condemning the President Buhari administration and the army for the excessiveness of the attack on the Shi’ite group.

El-Sakzaky has now sued the government to court.

10) ‘Technical defeat’ of Boko Haram

Under the present administration, the term “technically defeated” crept into Nigeria’s patois. It is, however, uncertain what the term means – exactly.

In an interview with the BBC, President Buhari said “Boko Haram has reverted to using improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Indoctrinating young guys… they have now been reduced to that.

“But articulated conventional attacks on centres of communication and populations.. they are no longer capable of doing that effectively.

“So I think technically we have won the war because people are going back into their neighbourhoods. Boko Haram as an organised fighting force, I assure you, that we have dealt with them.”

The terror group has since gone on to attack and bomb several targets within Nigeria.

11) Agreement with China

On April 12, 2016, President Buhari had an agreement with the People’s Republic of China.

As the Nigerian currency continued to slump and grow weaker against the dollar, the federal government thought it wise to save the falling currency by signing a deal which will see Nigeria using the Yuan more in their transactions and included in the foreign exchange reserves of Nigeria.

The Asian manufacturing giant also offered Nigeria a $6 billion loan for Infrastructural development.

12) The Petrol Wars 

On May 11, 2016, the Minister of State for Petroleum resources, Ibe Kachikwu, announced that removal of fuel subsidy and the subsequent increment in the pump price of fuel from N85 to a ceiling price of N145.

The announcement was swiftly condemned by many Nigerians for different reasons.

The Nigeria Labour Congress quickly scheduled a protest strike. However, the strike failed to gain traction and was called off after five days.

13) A Chibok girl returns

After more than two years since 275 girls were kidnapped from their secondary school in Chibok, Borno State, one of the missing girls was found and rescued.

Her return reignited hopes that the other kidnapped girls might still be alive. And strengthened the perception that this government is strong on security.

14) Naira falling, dollar doing shakara

The Nigerian currency and economy have in the last months faced severe challenges, so much so that oil marketers have faced difficulties in sourcing for FOREX.

However, President Buhari in an interview stated that “Those who can afford foreign education for their children can go ahead but Nigeria cannot afford to allocate foreign exchange for those who decided to train their children outside the country.”

“We can’t just afford it. That is just the true situation,”

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