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Four Buhari tweets that didn’t age well

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[FILE] Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the military staff annual conference, on November 28, 2018, as part of his trip to visit troops on front lines of Boko Haram conflict. (Photo by Audu MARTE / AFP)

President Muhamadu Buhari, while seeking the favour of Nigerians to vote for him in 2015, made a lot of promises. But three stood out: he said he wanted to rebuild the country’s ailing economy, strengthen the weak security apparatus and reduced systemic corruption.

After four attempts, Buhari finally hit the target by defeating an incumbent president on 28 March 2015, a first in Nigeria, with millions of Nigerian caught up in the excitement of “Sai Baba, Sai Buhari” and in sharing his message of “Change” for a better Nigeria.

With his four years rounding off next May, The Guardian weighs in the litany of promises by Buhari in a few of his tweets.

Although the administration of Buhari had claimed to have technically defeated or degraded Boko Haram, however, a standard Buhari set for himself regarding the insurgents before he emerged the president showed he is yet to deliver his promise. Moreover, the number of troops killed by the insurgent this year alone suggests Boko Haram remains a clear danger.

“We cannot claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the #ChibokGirls and all other innocent persons held hostage. #NewNigeria,” he said in a tweet.

With almost four years gone, only 163 are free out of the 276 girls that were kidnapped about 242 weeks ago (almost 5 years ago).

57 fled in the early days after their abduction, three escaped later, and a Swiss-coached mediation secured 103.

Twenty-one of the 103 were freed on October 13, 2016, while the remaining 82 were freed on May 6 2017.

Recent attacks in 2018, including the abduction of over 100 Dpachi schoolgirls in February suggest that Nigeria is never a safe place for the countrymen, especially northerners.

A larger percentage of Chibok girls are still with their abductors.

In the 2018 Global Terrorism Index, Nigeria was named the third most terrorized country in the world with over 8,000 deaths in Nigeria from terrorism from 2015-2017.

There is a sliver of hope, however. The number of deaths attributed to terrorism in the country fell to 1,532 in 2017 from 1832 in 2016. The decline follows the 63 per cent drop in deaths in Nigeria in the preceding year and a 34 per cent drop in 2015.

Herders and farmers clashes have caused the death of over a thousand persons under the leadership of Buhari. Yet no account of conviction of killer herdsmen.

While the herders-farmers clashes from 2015 have claimed over 2,000 lives till date. However, the frequency of the farmers-herders clashes has reduced. The 2018 Global Terrorism Index shows that “Fulani extremists” are responsible for 321 deaths in 2017, a 60 per cent drop in the number of deaths from the preceding year.

However, analysts said such clashes could become Nigeria’s biggest security concern, eclipsing Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency.

The tweet: I am appealing to you: the damage to this country is great. The level of unemployment and insecurity is intolerable, worsened by corruption.

The last official unemployment data published by the National Bureau of Statistics was for the third quarter of 2017, with the unemployment rate standing at 18.80 percent, an increase of 2.60 on the figures for Q2 of the same year.

Despite the military’s attempts to portray the country’s northeast as safe, Boko Haram is still launching deadly attacks on villages and military bases.

More than 100 soldiers were killed at Metele, Borno State, between 18 and 20 November, and the forces mandated to fight the insurgents have just got their fifth commander in two years. Meanwhile, over a thousand people have died this year in terror-related violence.

The fight against corruption has almost exclusively targeted opposition politicians, Buhari’s critics said, pointing out that during his presidency Nigeria has fallen 12 places in Transparency International’s perceptions of corruption index.

But perhaps the biggest difficulty for Buhari has been the economy, which is struggling to recover from a recession that ended a year ago. More than 10 million young people are unemployed, and Nigerians are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet.

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