North: The Buhari’s dilemma

The bulk of supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari are in northern Nigeria. He enjoys a kind of cult-like followership in the entire region. For example, in the 2015 presidential elections, the north gave him 80 per cent of the 15,424,921 votes that he got, in , the region did the same to him- with 77 per cent of the 15,191,847 votes he got.

Before and after the 2015 and presidential elections, expectations from the north on the president were and are still high, especially in the areas of provision of , youth empowerment and poverty reduction. President Buhari was and is fully aware of these hopes from the core of his support base. Such a burden gives one some sleepless nights.

To be fair to Buhari, he has done well in the agricultural sector, provision of new infrastructure and the rehabilitation of the old ones, including the successes in the social intervention programs; especially petty cash distribution to the masses. And, in his attempt to tackle insecurity in the north, especially in the North-east, the president appointed mostly officers from North-east to man some of the agencies. It has worked to some extent, but there are some areas that need improvement and some strong-willed approach to the current monster- banditry in the North-west – a calculated crime that is as complex as Nigeria. The president said: “We have the capacity to deploy massive force against the bandits in the villages where they operate, but our limitation is the fear of heavy casualties of innocent villagers and hostages who might be used as human shields by the bandits”.

on youth empowerment and poverty reduction- may be, in his wisdom, to face the issue- the president appointed many seasoned northerners in many positions of – but in that area, it has not worked, in fact, this  political-patronage has failed- most of the president’s appointees from the north have not served as a link between the president and his support base- that’s the truth. What President Buhari should do is, to do it by himself- identify 20-30 business-people and business enthusiasts in the north and assist them directly in their area of competence or choice. Imagine the impact new billionaires would have in the business sector like new industries in the manufacturing and agricultural value chain etc, For the youth, the president should also do it by himself- by a direct contact politically, in business and in hi-tech, though, few young people have benefited from the president’s appointments but most of them were not influential and direct, like the recent appointment of Abdulrasheed Bawa as Chairman, which got massive commendation throughout the country. Comes 2023, Buhari’s single most important political is to bring onboard a youngster from the north as Vice President- that would be a joker card.

President Buhari’s dilemma in the north are basically 3 – ‘Build’ some people who can as well build thousands of others and new businesses. The president should also have direct contact with the youth – that’s to use his today for their tomorrow and his. Thirdly- the President should confront the senseless Banditry in the northwest, which is not just a mere banditry.

Zayyad I. Muhammad,

Jimeta, Adamawa state

[email protected], 08036070980

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