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As we enter the ‘Next Level’

Few months before the general elections, President Buhari had unveiled his re-election campaign slogan tagged “Next Level” to the delight of APC members, eminent politicians and top government functionaries. He had debunked claims that he reneged on providing security, revamping economy and fighting corruption, which were the three cardinal promises he made prior to the historic 2015 election win.

He had stated that “foundation work is not often visible, neither is it glamorous. But it is vital to achieving the kind of country we desire. Judging by the prior depth of decay, deterioration and disrepair that Nigeria had sunken into, we are certain that these past few years have put us in good stead to trudge on the Next Level of building an even stronger nation for our people.”

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The Next Level was not the first hoodwinking and hypnotising slogan that enabled victory for the APC in a general election. In 2015, the Tsunami of ‘Change Mantra’ wrecked incalculable damage to PDP’s dream of ruling Nigeria for sixty years. It also produced relatively unknown politicians as state governors, federal lawmakers and state House of Assembly members.

However, teeming masses are of the opinion that the ‘Nigerian Ship’ has only witnessed abysmal level of transformation socio-economically, under ‘Captain’ Buhari. Among other things, Mr. President and APC failed to address the critical problem of dysfunctional healthcare, unemployment, national security, ‘killer’ corruption, mass housing deficit, power supply, decaying infrastructure, high cost of governance and weak economy.

Nevertheless, PMB still has an opportunity to swiftly right the deluge of wrongs committed during his first term, that is if he is desirous of bequeathing enduring legacies of good governance. In order for Nigeria not to ultimately transmute into a Hobbesian state, the government must think outside the box and proffer ways to address the security nightmare heightened by the murderous activities of bandits, herdsmen and kidnappers. Cognizant of the fact that this is his last term, Buhari should sincerely, religiously and patriotically resolve to tackle the problem of poor electricity supply, death-trap roads, comatose healthcare, parlous educational system and economic strait, among others.

Also, ongoing rail construction and highways’ rehabilitation projects should not be abandoned, simply because he has nothing to lose, having secured another term. This time, the anti-corruption fight will record a gargantuan success if he will order the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to also beam its searchlight on fraudulent officials and politicians of the APC stock. In other words, it should not be perceived to be a selective, vindictive and lop-sided anti-graft war against the opposition.

The Buhari administration can deliver on its ‘Next Level’ promise by facing the issue of governance squarely without blaming the previous government for every problem that rears its head. Government is a continuum no matter the change in the party at the centre. It happens elsewhere and it does not disrupt governance. The case should not be different here. A change in the party in power should not be an excuse for not delivering dividends of democracy to our long-suffering people.

Abdulsalam Mahmud,

Abuja.

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