Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Should Buhari Contest in 2019 and How Has He Fared in the Second Year in Office?

By Dr. Ahmed Adamu

There is a need to poll people’s opinions on what they think about the governance and leadership of their countries. Based on this, I decided to conduct an annual opinion poll to collate people’s opinions on the quality of leadership and future expectations on the current Nigerian leadership. This gives an indication of the people’s perception or thoughts on the leadership of the country, which can serve as feedback on how to further improve governance and track shifts in the government’s approval ratings. At this year’s poll, the respondents agreed that two years are enough for assessments, and they were ready to give their assessment and they did as follows:

In the first year (2015-2016) of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, 50% of the respondents were extremely satisfied with his administration, but in the second year, this proportion reduced to 23%, where the most of the respondents (42%) in the second year said there were moderately satisfied. This can indicate a possible decline in people’s satisfaction with the administration within a year. One can look back within this one year to see what might trigger decline in people’s satisfaction. One of the possibilities is the increase in the rate of inflation, which peaked at 18.72% in January 2017, the highest inflation in a decade. Between 2016 and 2017, the inflation averaged around 17.59%, with some slow-paced increase up to January 2017, when it started to decline for three straight months because of the fall in prices in housing and utilities and transport. This decline was not significantly contributed by a fall in food items. Another likely reason for a fall in satisfaction can be related to an increasing unemployment rate, which increased to 13.9% in October 2016, from 12.1% in April 2016. There could be many other reasons for the decline of people’s satisfaction of the Buhari’s administration.

Similarly, the respondents were less confident on the choice of political appointees by President Buhari compared to the previous year, where the most of them (39%) said they were moderately confident of the political appointees, which is a fall in confidence, since in 2016 most respondents (52%) were very confident of the political appointees. This could be attributed to the slow pace of government projects in some sectors, even though there is visible progress in some sectors. However, the majority of the respondents are still confident for the future under President Buhari.

State governments were also assessed, where respondents assessed states’ governments poorly on average in the second year. This may indicate low performance of some of the states’ governments. Though some states were assessed good like Borno, Edo, Ekiti, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Niger, Sokoto, Taraba, and Zamfara, others were assessed poor. However, none of the states were assessed excellent in the second year.

When asked if President Buhari should contest in 2019 elections, 50% of the respondents said no, he should not contest, while 49% said he should contest, the remaining 1% were neutral about this question. This indicates that some Nigerians would prefer President Buhari not to contest in 2019 elections. This may be related to their realisation of the president personal health concern, and the fact that many expect him to fix corruption in the short run.

In exploring alternative candidates, most (45%) of the respondents prefer a fresh and young candidate for Presidency in 2019; this indicates the possible desire for fresh sets of leaders in the country. In the event of no fresh and young candidates, and people should choose among the existing leaders, most (25%) of the respondents would prefer Senator Kwankwaso, 19% of them prefer Governor El-Rufai, 3% of them prefer Hamza Almustapaha, 2% of them prefer Senator Saraki and Bola Tinubu, and 1% of them prefer Atiku ABubakar and Goodluck Jonathan. This means that Senator Kwankwaso and Gov. El-Rufai may have large following and could likely be preferred alternative candidates for Nigerian presidency in the future.

The question of a fresh and young candidate is still being asked, because Nigerians ask for what kind of credibility, integrity, qualification, or experience may be required of young and fresh candidates. Some believe that it should be someone who never asks or intend to go into the politics, and some think it should be carefully and strategically prepared for. However, another big question is how united and patriotic are the younger citizens? At a time, when people compete for material wealth, and are willing to do anything to acquire it, because it is the source of respect and recognition, and politics is the easy step to acquire the wealth, then we are not ready for better alternative candidates.

Unfortunately, the young generation are groomed to desire for wealth and power, against real leadership of character and responsibility. It is disheartening to see how the young generation are polarised, and they envy and attack each other maliciously. Some of our generation think of themselves and always try to blackmail others to hide their immoralities, and this does not indicate that the younger generation are ready to take over. So, there is little hope for that fresh and young candidate unless the young people of today are prepared to do something different and new, like identifying the credible ones among them and sponsor them into the politics. The less so credible ones must be disowned and rejected. Finally, the easiest way for young people to take over is for them to take real leadership responsibility of making an impact and difference wherever they are. If they can influence a positive development, then they are already leaders, and soon power will come to them. They don’t have to ask for it necessarily, and they should not worry about taking a title, because even without them, the young people can make difference and influence the necessary positive development in our society by working together and supporting each other.

This questionnaire will resume next year on democracy day. However, it is good to note some of the weaknesses of this research, which are: limited sample size, regionally unbalanced sample, being online and restricted to the elites etc. However, it is recommended that the government take up this kind of initiative and expand it to receive feedback from the populace at certain intervals, as it will be useful for improvement.

Dr. Ahmed Adamu,
Petroleum Economist and Development Expert,
First-Ever Global President of Commonwealth Youth Council,
University Lecturer (Economics), Umaru Musa Yar’adua University, Katsina.
08034458189, 08188949144,

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