#NorthernProjects: With a backlog of failed campaign promises, what is the hope of the common man in Nigeria?

Change is a constant phenomenon in any democratic dispensation. From change of governments, to change of approach to developmental strides – and now, change of the concept, ‘politics’ to ‘politricking’ in Nigeria, especially when we remember how Nigerian politicians promise a utopian society and deliver the exact opposite once they get into the position. This one has become a normal spectacle in Nigeria and has created a heightened level of distrust between leaders and citizens. 

Some of their campaign promises include major infrastructure projects, the security of lives and property, and power sector reforms, just to mention a few. But until date, no administration has been able to give Nigerians the desired change. The rising rate of insecurity in the North, constant increment in the price of foodstuff and fuel, and the challenges plaguing the power sector are a few among the many problems Nigerians have had to grapple with.

In 2015, Nigerians were hopeful that some positive change would come to the country after President Muhammadu Buhari was elected into power – ‘the saviour is finally here‘. He made fantastic promises about power sector reforms and other major sectoral reforms that will bring about socio-economic growth. Nigerians, however, are yet to see most of the promises fulfilled. Instead, it has been from one failed promise to another.

During his first tenure, President Buhari said, “Nigeria’s favourite talking point and the butt of jokes is the power sector of our country. But, ladies and gentlemen, it is no longer a laughing matter. We must and by the Grace of God, we will put things right.” He also said his administration had set a target of delivering 10,000 megawatts of electricity generation to the citizenry. Fast forward to 2019, when he won the presidential election, he made the same promise of improving the situation in the power sector.

I am pleased with the improved inter-agency collaboration between the ministry of power and the regulators in the banking and power sectors to ensure that electricity sales, billings and collections are automated and become cashless.

These initiatives are important to ensure that the technical and collection losses in the sector are
substantially reduced. I remain confident that Nigerians will have affordable and uninterrupted
electricity supply in the not too distant future,” he said.

Hope was renewed but did not last long not when we see what the current situation is – patterned unpopular policies that have brought untold hardship on Nigerians.

Not only has the Buhari administration reneged on the promises made about the power sector reforms but also on promises made about several other sectoral reforms. Hence, aggrieved Nigerians have taken to social media to call out the government on its failed promises.

The #NorthernProjects trend started when Northerners decided to call out the Buhari-led federal government over neglect of their region, while others are expressing regret for voting the current administration into power.

Here is what Nigerians are saying:

“Buhari also promised Nigerians efficient security of lives and property but he is yet to deliver on this as insurgency and incessant killings of citizens in the North go unabated. The killing of Christians in Southern Kaduna is on the increase; the Boko Haram insurgency is yet to be tackled, and it seems we will not stop crying over the graves of our loved ones. 

When this administration won the election in 2015, there were just two armed groups in Nigeria. Today, we have more. What transpired between then and now?

The first order of the state is to protect the lives of citizens and the inability to fulfil this majestic constitutional provision is indeed a failure of all. The President must change his approach as well as an operational concept to our security architecture. We are weary of asking the president to replace the service chiefs.

The inability of the President to meet security expectations of the citizens is enough reason to make people resign in other climes. The President has not done much to convince the people that he has anything in store for them.” – Salaudeen Hashim (Secretary, National Peace and Security Forum).

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has also called out the government on its failed promises. According to the CDD;

“The government has failed to follow through on campaign commitments to provide free tertiary education to students pursuing STEM degrees, restructure education curricula from primary to tertiary levels, provide free quality comprehensive health care based on a national health insurance scheme, and double the number of practising physicians and health care professionals.

“Failure to priorities human capital development not only limits the productivity of the country’s workforce but also hinders economic growth and development.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has confirmed that Nigeria’s health sector is truly in a sorry state with limited resources and infrastructure to tackle emergencies. Also, the frequent medical tourism by our leaders for something as little as neck pain or a headache is enough to tell us that our health sector needs revamping.

The nation’s educational sector also has nothing much to write home about with the inadequate infrastructure and frequent strikes resulting from failed promises from the government to the academic community.

With the many failed promises from the current administration, and the hike in electricity tariff and fuel pump price being the most recent, what should Nigerians expect in the coming years?

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