An expanded array of public policy experts are slated to attend this year’s edition of ‘Buharimeter’ town hall meeting to discuss the intricacies of the Buhari administration’s policy frameworks two years on.
In a distributed programme, the Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD, said the experts, who were pooled from diverse professional backgrounds, will discuss how the government has been tackling issues of national importance during different segments of the event.
The event held today at Abuja Sheraton Hotel and Towers between 10 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
The event would “broadly examine, interrogate and proffer practical recommendations to the lingering socio-economic and political challenges confronting the country amidst several policies and programs of the government,” organisers said.
A former governor of Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa; General-Secretary of Nigeria Labour Congress, Peter Ozo-Esan; and economic analyst, Tope Fashua, are amongst invited panelists.
A former vice-chancellor at the University of Abuja, Nuhu Yaqub, is the chairman of the occasion and keynote speaker.
Their contributions would focus on three priority areas of Mr. Buhari’s government, which include corruption, economy and security.
Other emerging issues such as restructuring, human right abuses, unemployment, amongst others, would also be discussed, according to organisers.
The CDD launched ‘Buharimeter’ shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in to track his campaign promises to Nigerians.
Five ministers participated at the maiden edition of ‘Buharimeter’, which held in June 2016.
In March, the tracker found that Mr. Buhari had only managed to fulfil one out of 13 campaign promises, representing only 7.7% achievement rate. The fulfilled promise was the declaration of assets by the president and his vice-president, Yemi Osinbajo.
But even this is still a subject of intense debates across the country, as many argue that the president did not fulfill the basics of assets declaration or the precedent set by one of his predecessors, Umar Yar’Adua.
Mr. Yar’Adua, now late, distributed copies of his asset declaration documents as filed at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, which included specific details like locations of properties declared, their worth and family debt profile.
Mr. Buhari’s declaration did not include those specific details.
As at March, ‘Buharimeter’ said the president was in the process of fulfilling about 46.2% of his anti-corruption promises while noticeable actions were yet to be taken towards achieving six of its 13 promises.
Unlike past editions, this year’s would feature a different format as it won’t facilitate an interaction between senior administration officials and participants. Instead, it would feature a wide array of experts invited to contribute at different panels.
Each of the experts would then engage the audience after their initial takes on allotted subject and time.
Follow live updates of the event here.
10:15 am – Registration and arrival of guests.
Moderator, Imoru Amayi takes the stage as he introduces the panelists.
He said this year’s event is not like the previous one, “when it was we against them. this time we asked Nigerians to come and access governance in the nation.”
“This time, its our show, we Nigerians,” Amayi said.
Idayat Hassan, CDD director took the stage.
Her welcome address centered on Mr. Buhari’s fight against corruption and insecurity.
Ms. Hassan said Mr. Buhari has spent 881 days in the country and yet issues of corruption and insecurity is still rife in the country.
She said the Buharimeter came out of the challenges to assess governance in the country.
“This will serve as a bridging gap between the people in power and the masses.
” This administration prided its self with fighting corruption but it still lacks viable instrument in the fight.
“Importantly in the last two weeks, the NNPC scandal and issue revolving around Maina’s secret reinstatement is another blow to the anti-graft war.”
Ms. Hassan said the Buhari administration is still under-performing in securing the nation.
She said though these challenges predate the administration but it needs to take charge of the situation.
“Benue state is the most affected with challenges of security with the herdsmen and cattle rustling issue.”
She further cited challenges in the North-east, the murder of the Shites and the clashes between members of the Indigenous People of Biafra and security agencies.
She also accused the Buhari administration of flouting court orders and violations of human rights.
She however commended the administration for its progress in agriculture.
In his keynote address, Nuhu Yaqub said the sovereignty of the Nigerian nation is being questioned with the kind of crisis all over the country.
“Nigeria is not yet a nation with the wide array of issues it’s facing,” the professor said.
“Just this week, not less than 20 people are killed by Boko Haram but yet the government still insists Boko Haram has being defeated.
“If the military can say they have killed the wife of Shakau, the question is where is Shakau because he appears to be a cat with nine lives.”
He said the quality of the Nigerian nation should be considered a major discussion in the event.
Mr. Yaqub noted the issue of unemployment, hunger, anger and lack of education, and access to quality health care still fall under the issue of security.
“The poor economy of the country leads to violence, hunger, crime and kidnapping and this is also a security matter.”
He said the issue about corruption and the economy will define the forthcoming election campaign in 2019.
Mr. Yaqub questioned the reason for the continued debts and borrowing of money abroad to fund the country’s budget.
“Where are the money recovered from looted funds? Our debt to GDP is very low and this should be a matter of concern.
“The debt revenue ratio rose about 32 per cent last year. We cannot run away from recession with the word of mouth.”
Mr. Yaqub said issue of legitimacy should also be looked at.
In conclusion, he noted that the Buhari administration is being accused of nepotism and that should also be discussed at the event.