Dad had a friend, probably much older than himself, a dapper, always well-turned out gentleman, with the nickname, “But One Day,” adopted, no doubt, in recognition of the fact that however long one does a thing, one day will be the day of reckoning – for good or for ill. One day that all mortals certainly dread is the day of death. Another is the Day of Judgment, on which the scriptures reveal, men will account for their deeds or misdeeds on earth.
So it does not matter, therefore, whether or not President Muhammadu Buhari promised to accomplish certain things within his first 100 days in office. He will have to account for his stewardship one way or the other one day. “Doole,” or for sure, as the Hausa will say. The electioneering meter kept by the electorate is already running, and measuring.
The All Progressives Congress publicity apparatchik and the President’s media handlers must accept that there is much ado about 100 Days in office. If it were not so, no one would have brought up the issue.The 100 Days concept is merely a measuring rod, not an end.
Exponents of Management By Objectives will tell you that timelines must always be set for completion or achievement of goals and objectives. Otherwise, lazy operatives could justifiably ask for eternity to produce results.
It appears, for instance, that some segments of the APC deny that those billboards with images of Candidate Buhari and his running mate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, promised “One Meal A Day” to primary school pupils throughout the nation.Those at the parliaments holding daily in Nigeria’s beer parlours say “Ko je je be, af’oroapara,” it must just be a joke.
They argue that if the duo had caused those billboards to be pulled down during the campaign, no one will now hold them to those promises. But it is heartening that the Vice-President recently confirmed that, of a truth, they promised the free meal which should provide about 14 million jobs, and produce about 530,000 metric tonnes of food, for Nigerians.
Osinbajo says: “The APC has made a commitment to provide one meal a day for all primary school pupils and this programme will create jobs in agriculture, including poultry, catering and delivery services.” That is integrity. This open admission of a commitment, even if not completed within 100 days in office, should provide tones of positive goodwill for the Buhari administration.
Because a media aide of the President stated that the series of pledges like “My Covenant With Nigerians,” and “100 Things Buhari Will Do In 100 Days,” are unknown to the Buhari Campaign train, one can then assume that some do-gooders must have unilaterally taken the matter beyond free meals in schools to compile the #BUHARI’S 100-DAY 10-point PLEDGE.
This list is sub-headed as follows: Corruption and Governance: The President promised to publicly declare his assets, and declare war against corruption, both of which he has done; grant greater autonomy to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission; allow the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission to determine the salaries and allowances of political appointees.
Insurgency and Insecurity: Boost morale of Nigeria’s fighting forces, which he is doing; present a Marshall Plan to combat insurgency, ethnic and religious violence,kidnapping and rural banditry, which will be funded by the $2.1bn World Bank loan offered to Buhari during his official visit to the United States of America; bring back the Chibok Girls, a very difficult task. Niger Delta: Environmental sustainability, human capital development, resource management and distribution. Decisive actions have been taken on this matter.
Diversity: Enhance equality and equity; activate the National Gender Policy that promises 35 per cent of new government appointments to women; promote National Disability Act that seeks the welfare of disabled Nigerians; and restore mutual trust for nation-building. These will take some time to accomplish.
Health: Speedy implementation of the National Health Act 2014 that guarantees financial sustainability to the health sector; and improve availability of water and sanitation. There have been no clear words about this. Industrial Relations: Encourage labour union collective bargaining. The workability of this depends largely on the labour unions.
Agriculture: Focus on agriculture; launch agricultural infrastructure; establish (fair) agricultural pricing and marketing policy; revamp the cooperative system, the Bank of Agriculture, Bank of Industry, and Nigeria Export Import Bank; and launch a fund for Youth in Commercial Agribusiness Programme. Everyone knows that these can’t be accomplished within 100 days.
Management of the Economy: Ensure regular meeting of the National Economic Council, made up of all state governors, with the Vice-President as Chairman. That council, that was almost moribund, is in the face of everyone these days. Prepare a Medium Term Expenditure Framework to create jobs; launch Small Scale Business Guarantee Scheme; speed up registration of sole proprietorship registration to 24 hours, and conclude the Petroleum Industry Bill.
Power: Ensure availability of gas to generate electricity, and explore alternative sources of power like coal, wind and solar. Nearly everyone reports that electricity has become more regular in their neighbourhood after Buhari assumed office. But it will take longer than 100 days to generate power from alternative means.
Youth and ICT Development: Support youths with requisite ICT skills; allocate 50 per cent of jobs to youths; encourage boys and girls education; give free tuition to students with exceptional skills in ICT related courses, and extend local content policy to software and hardware development. Hmn!
These are laudable programmes that any government should adopt, even if somebody else compiled them. Everyone knows that you couldn’t achieve them all in one fell swoop. The early crisis that rocked the inauguration of the Eighth National Assembly and thus prevented an early constitution of the National Council of Ministers saw to that. But as the Igbo adage says, “If you aim for the sky, you may hit the tree top.” There can be no harm in trying. If you hit a home run, that would be a big score; if you miss it, then you will have a work-in-progress.
It will be a smart move if the President will adopt as working papers these programmes that have been prepared, presumably by busybodies and unknown quantities. If you look through them, they constitute a checklist that any good government in a Third World economy should adopt. They have adequately addressed the major needs of Nigerian citizens.
If security, electricity, water, transport, other infrastructure, agriculture and industry are settled as this checklist attempts to do, other issues can be addressed by promoting rule of law, equity and equitable distribution of resources, rights and privileges. These are the essence of governance.
Adopting these programmes as a road map is like getting on the high road of good governance. They are veritable to-do checklist for any government that wishes to do good for its people. In them, the most important needs of Nigerians have been adequately addressed. It really cannot be more than this.
A conscientious implementation of these programmes, even if they were not accomplished within 100 days in office, puts in good stead a government that may want to seek re-election when the tomorrow of 2019 comes.