President Muhammadu Buhari seems aware of the full-blown disenchantment with his leadership, thus the reason he sent a plea to Nigerians in April 2023 over the inconveniences his eight-year administration might have caused.
After 8 years in the saddle, Buhari will exit the stage and hand over to Bola Tinubu on May 29.
Speaking when he hosted some guests at the final Sallah homage held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, at the time, the 80-year-old had said:
“All those that I have hurt, I ask that they pardon me. I remain grateful to Nigerians, who voted for me in 2015 and 2019, without any monetary incentive, with some trooping to the campaigns, and receptions in states just to catch a glimpse.
“I think it is a good coincidence for me to say goodbye to you, and thank you for tolerating me for almost eight years.”
Supporters of the President describe him as the “greatest President,” while his critics have more unflattering words to describe him.
May 29: How Banditry, Naira Scarcity, Other Controversial Moments Tainted Buhari’s Legacies
In this report, Legit Nigeria reviews the most controversial moments under President Buhari in the past 8 years.
How Bandits Terrorized Nigerians Under Buhari Government
Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Nigerian army major general, attained democratic power thanks largely to his electoral promise to clear the Boko Haram terrorist group in northern Nigeria, but a greater headache in the form of “bandits” confronted him.
“Bandits” is the catchall phrase for criminal gangs masterminding frequent bouts of abduction, maiming, sexual violence and killings of citizens across vast swaths of northern Nigeria. Bar the purported religious standpoint of Boko Haram, bandits and elements of the terror organisation are one and the same.
While the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) didn’t list them in its last report, available data show that bandits are as deadly as Boko Haram and its splinter, ISWAP. With kidnap-for-ransom their trademark, some of their most prominent bloodsucking leaders still live their life, despite perceptible pointers to their whereabouts: we’ve seen different media personalities accessing them for interviews.
Dollar To Naira Exchange Rate
When Buhari was campaigning in 2015, he bemoaned the value of the Nigerian naira, which was around N230 to one United States (US) dollar at the time. Fast forward to 2023, the value of the dollar has continued to rise against naira.
As we speak, 1 dollar to naira is selling at double the amount it sold when Buhari groaned.
In case you missed it, Legit.ng reported recently that the naira’s exchange rate against the dollar during President Buhari’s eight-year tenure declined significantly.
The naira weakened by 57.26% and 37.58% in the official and black markets. When President Buhari assumed office in 2015, data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s official window indicated that the naira exchanged at N197 against the US dollar.
However, it has since weakened by N264 or 57.26% to N461 per dollar as of Tuesday, May 16, 2023.
Buhari And Foreign Medical Treatments
BrandSpur Nigeria recalls that Legit.ng earlier reported in the month (May) that Buhari’s wife, Aisha, said there is no need for the president or his family to travel abroad for treatment.
Mrs. Buhari’s statement comes against the backdrop of the inauguration of a new medical facility valued at N21 billion at the presidential wing of the State House Medical Centre, Abuja. Interestingly, the inauguration was done by her husband, President Buhari, on Friday, May 19.
This is a president who spent at least 225 days on medical trips, a leader who treats his teeth and gums in the United Kingdom (UK). If a president who lives off citizens’ money can always run abroad for minor medical cases, he needs to remember the millions of common Nigerians who can’t afford to fly for medical attention of any sort.
Although it is not clear how much has been spent on the president’s medical check-ups, the Buhari administration has earmarked at least N33.3bn for the State House medical infrastructure in the past eight years.
These include trips for medical check-ups, regional and global summits, high-level meetings, condolence, and state visits, among others. Within that period, the Presidency earmarked N50.75bn for the Presidential Air Fleet.
It is clear that Buhari doesn’t trust Nigeria’s health care system, but how then do we show seriousness about development?
For over six months, Nigerians depended on VPN to access Twitter following the controversial ban of the platform by President Buhari.
Twitter had deleted a post by Buhari which many, particularly from the Southeast, deemed offensive.
“Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War. Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand,” Buhari had said in reference to agitators in the Southeast.
The six months ban was tough for many that relied on the platform for economic activities, and even journalists that use it for gathering news.
EndSARS- Lekki Toll Gate
October 20 Lekki Toll gate event is perhaps the most controversial moment in the country. To some, a massacre was carried out by the military against young Nigerians protesting police brutality.
The EndSARS protesters have since transformed into a powerful movement that played a significant role in the just concluded election.
Whereas, there are government supporters that believe the shooting was a hoax by critics to discredit the government. This event ranks highest on the list of controversial issues.
Invasion Of Judges’ Houses
On the 6th of March 2016, men of Nigeria’s secret police invaded the homes of several senior judicial officers in a Gestapo manner.
During the invasion, the houses of two Justices of the Supreme Court – Justices Walter Onnoghen and Sylvester Ngwuta were invaded, while the Houses of two federal High Court Justices, Adeniyi Ademola and Nnamdi Dimgba were also invaded with the arrest of the former.
While the administration tagged it as a fight against corruption in the judiciary, the backlash was loud from Nigerians, who saw the move as clamping down on the judiciary.
Shutdown Of Border
About three months after the commencement of the second term of his administration, President Buhari ordered the shutdown of the nation’s land borders; his reason was to curb the smuggling of produce from neighbouring countries.
This policy had an instant impact on the prices of food, particularly rice, and cars. While the administration credits the policy for the “rice revolution”, however, to many Nigerians, the policy is tagged “anti-trade” policy.
Invasion of Nnamdi Kanu House
In the Southeast zone, the government is sharing its authority with non-state actors that have successfully made Mondays a “public holiday”. The region has become a killing field and a gigantic kidnappers’ den.
The origin of the situation in the Southeast could be traced to the invasion of the house of Nnamdi Kanu in 2017.
The invasion happened barely 24 hours after the Nigerian Army announced the start of its second phase of Operation Python Dance II in the South-Eastern states.
Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), subsequently eloped and the crisis in the region increased. His forced reparation and incarceration have exacerbated the insecurity in the region. President Buhari has rejected every plea for the release of Kanu.
Nomination Of Dead People
In 2017, Buhari nominated about six dead persons for appointments— perhaps a possible record.
Some of the persons nominated include— Francis Okpozo, a senator in the second republic; Donald Ugbaja, a retired deputy inspector-general of police; and Ahmed Bunza, former sole administrator of Jega Local Government Area of Kebbi state.
Others were Christopher Utov, a former proprietor of Fidei Polytechnic, Gboko; and Kabir Umar, a former emir of Katagum in Bauchi state.
An incident involving the former Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai’s convoy reportedly left over 1,000 Shi’a members dead and the arrest of Its leader, Ibrahim Elzakzaky and his wife.
The controversial Elzakzaky reportedly lost some of his children to the confrontation.
For years, he was detained alongside his wife, leading to protests by his followers, and sometimes confrontation with the police operatives.
Invasion of National Assembly by DSS
Once upon a time, the DSS was headed by the powerful Lawal Daura, who ordered a siege of the National Assembly complex in Abuja, an event that even the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo was not aware of.
To many, the invasion was aimed at undermining Osinbajo; however, Daura was subsequently arrested and removed from office by Osinbajo.
Despite the action taken by Osinbajo, the daring move by the secret police was a direct affront to the legislature.
CBN Naira Redesign Policy/ Naira Scarcity
For about two months, Nigerians grappled with crippling Naira scarcity caused by the redesigning of the Naira embarked upon by the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
The epic failure of the policy almost crippled the economy— some Nigerians died, banks were burnt and almost led to a violent uprising.
The Nation was tense, even the Supreme Court had to make a pronouncement on the policy.
The policy even divided the ruling party, with speculation that deep state actors were planning a hostile takeover of the government. Within this period, Nigerians experienced hardship.