03 Sep

Buhari’s first 100 days, an assessment

As the first of what will be 14 one hundred day intervals of the Buhari administration approaches, an evaluation of his performance based on his campaign promises is in order. The hard work of active citizenship, totally different from the heat of campaigning, has begun in earnest, and only by holding leaders to account can a better deal for all be secured.

At SBM Intelligence, we firmly believe that every promise made on the campaign trail by the president and the party that provided the platform upon which he ran form a scorecard against which his performance must be measured. We also affirm that the “100 Day Covenant With Nigerians” which the presidential spokespeople and the APC have devoted excessive energy to dissociating the President from were indeed made by the party and then candidate Buhari and therefore form part of this assessment.

The promises of the Buhari campaign covered 24 areas, from Accountability in Public Service to Youth Development, and these are drawn from his manifesto. The specific promises, 170 in total, are given a score from 0 to 10. The totals are added up to give the overall score for the administration.

Area

Score

1

Accountability in public service

23/110

2

Anti-corruption

7/30

3

Cost of governance

9/20

4

Constitutional amendment

0/40

5

National Security

25/80

6

Police reform

3/50

7

Conflict management

7/30

8

Foreign relations

11/30

9

Economy

8/200

10

Small business

0/50

11

Job creation

0/50

12

Agriculture

0/170

13

Power

12/80

14

Infrastructure

0/60

15

Oil and Gas

11/100

16

Education

3/160

17

Health

0/130

18

Youth Development

7/50

19

Sports

0/50

20

Entertainment

0/20

21

Gender Equality

4/70

22

ICT

0/40

23

Environment

3/70

24

Niger Delta

4/20

Total

137/1710

The strongest points for the administration in the first 100 days, have been moves to improve national security (31.25%), as well as the foreign relations (36.7%) necessary to help that effort. President Buhari’s meetings with the US, UK and our neighbours in the Lake Chad region have led to the formation of a Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF),
and the appointment of a new national security team is expected to give a renewed vigour to the fight against Boko Haram.

Moves to reform the oil and gas sector (11%) have gone hand in hand with other measures to improve accountability (20.9%), like the implementation of a Treasury Single Account and the review of import waivers. The UNEP report on Ogoni Land has also received the attention of the Presidency, which is a good first step on a campaign promises to focus on the Niger Delta, resulting in a score of 20%. The country will be watching developments in that area with interest.

Power supply (15%) has improved significantly in the last 100 days, with new generation highs being reached regularly, however, the awaited policy framework that will guide the development of that critical sector going forward, is yet to be put in place.

9 of the 24 areas are yet to record any activity, a factor that can be attributed to the absence of a cabinet, which is expected to be put in place later this month. This is the longest any Nigerian leader has gone without a cabinet, and President Buhari has been liaising exclusively with Permanent Secretaries in the first 100 days, presumably to acquaint himself with activities in each ministry, especially as regards the document of the Transition Committee, led by Ahmed Joda.

In a good number of the areas where there has been no activity, the necessary framework is hinged on regulatory work of the National Assembly. The leadership crisis in both chambers has however ensured that no real legislative work has been done. The handling of the relationship between the executive and the legislature will be critical to much of the initiatives of the Buhari government. It is important to reiterate this point as most of the progress that has been made in the first 100days has been hinged on areas where President Buhari has a 100% prerogative of appointment. In the bigger picture, the government cannot run on the president’s personal influence alone and will require collaboration with other organs of government as well as a strong and determined team.

In a number critical areas where the president was expected to make good his campaign promises however, Nigerians have been disappointed. A key example is in the area of asset
declaration, which the president emphatically promised would be made public and for which Nigerians believe the first 100 days are sufficient for the fulfilment. The dilly-dallying on this promise as well as the attempts by presidential spokesmen to dissociate the president from such promises do not augur well.

Buhari's 100 days infographic, click to download

A score of 137 out of 1700 based on his promises comes to a completion of 8.06%, and with 100 days gone out of 1,468 days, he has spent about 6.8% of his time as President. Based on this assessment, it is our view that the Buhari administration is currently on course to fulfil his promises in the manifesto areas that are viewed as his strengths.

However, it is evident that in order to fulfil his campaign promises especially in areas that are traditionally viewed as his weak areas, the team he assembles to work with him in executive capacity as well as his ability to coordinate efforts with the legislature and the judiciary will be critical.

Within the intervening period before the next 100 days, we expect the following

  • Appointment of ministers and key officials of this government

  • Unveiling of the key policy documents and framework especially with the realities of low oil prices when held against the campaign promises

  • Engagement between the National Assembly and Executive to begin the work of building the legal framework that will form the basis of the government’s work

  • Engagement with the judiciary in order to ensure that the anti-corruption drive does not get scuttled in prosecution.

  • Concrete results of the President’s security strategy especially in the North East and the Middle Belt

  • Work on the 2016 budget which will show more than anything else how President Buhari intends to fulfil his promises

  • More attention to perception of federal character in the appointments that will be made

  • Inaugurate National Council on Procurement as Stipulated in the Procurement Act and stop Federal Executive Council from contract awards to refocus on policy making. This is key to fighting corruption in the award of federal contracts and should be done as soon as possible in order to stop the acts of impunity associated with award of contracts and mismanagement of public funds.

However, we also expect the government to keep a firm view on long term deliverables as well. Key items from the manifesto document that we would like to focus the government on as well as our thoughts on some of these are below

  1. Fully enforce FOI so that government held datasets can be requested and used by the public and such datasets are published regularly

    The non-appointment of Attorney General hinders the fulfilment of this promise and we think it should be fast tracked to demonstrate transparency and openness in government.

  1. Attract the best and brightest Nigerians to public service and politics through aggressive recruitment of academics and professionals within and outside Nigeria

    A thorough civil service reform is necessary to make this happen, after which civil service pay can then be upgraded to make them attractive and reduce the necessity of corruption.

  1. Consult and amend the constitution to enable states and Local Governments create city, local government and state policing systems based on resources available at each level to address peculiar needs of each society

    Whilst this cannot be achieved within 100 days, we urge the FG to do a painstaking work over to consult, collaborate with other arms and tiers of government and also gather the needed political will to implement the outcomes. This is critical to changing the essential structure of the Nigerian State in order to deliver a better life to the citizens

  1. Establish a conflict resolution commission to help prevent, mitigate and resolve civil conflicts within the polity

    This is an attempt to create over lapping agencies, we feel the Office of the National Security Adviser and the Ministry of Justice should work in synergy to help prevent, mitigate and resolve civil conflicts within the polity.

  1. Initiate policies to ensure 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 and replace with States of Residence and fashion out minimum qualification for obtaining such state of residency nationwide

    We think the FG should make it a priority to reassure Nigerians that they can reside anywhere and be able to conduct business and affairs without fears of discrimination and we feel action should be expedited on this.

  1. Embark on a National Infrastructural Development Programme as a PPP that will ensure the (a) construction of 3,000km of Superhighway including service trunks and (b) building of up to 4,800km of modern railway lines – one third to be completed by 2019;

    Interconnecting the country through affordable and efficient transport systems is the most critical task this government must carry out to unleash the potential of the nation.  This is priority 1

  1. Review the PPP enabling environment with a view to addressing legal and regulatory and operational bottlenecks challenging the effective administration of the system by creating enabling legislation and create a National Infrastructural Development Bank to provide loans at nominal interest rates exclusively to rebuild our infrastructure and create employment

    The infrastructure deficit of the country makes this critical. The funding for much of the new infrastructure will require private funding and the NASS must make this a priority

  1. Urgently address capacity building mechanisms of law enforcement agents in terms of quality and quantity as it is critical to safeguarding life and properties and establish a well-trained, adequately equipped and goal driven serious crime squad to combat insurgencies, kidnapping, armed robbery, ethno-religious and communal
    clashes

The next 100 day instalment will fall in mid-December, by which time we expect the administration would be fully up and running.