Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo has said the administration of the country’s current leader Muhammadu Buhari has not disappointed him.
“President Buhari, I have said, has not disappointed me because the areas which we knew he was strong, he has performed fairly well,” Obasanjo told BBC’s Focus on Africa, singling out Buhari’s scorecard in the fight against corruption and the Boko Haram insurgency.
But the former leader conceded that not “everyone will be satisfied” with Buhari’s anti-corruption war.
In spite of his vote of confidence in President Buhari, Obasanjo, who was one of Buhari’s supporters in the build-up to the 2015 election, insisted he would only support the current leader for re-election in 2019, should Buhari seek it, after he must have reviewed his performance towards the end of his current four-year term.
Ushered into government in 2015, largely, on the wings of promises to reposition the country by fighting corruption, improving security and remodelling the economy, President Buhari has had to deal with an economic recession that lasted more for more than a year.
Nigeria’s economy receded at the end of Q1 in 2016 after falling oil prices ate deep into the country’s earnings and caused the naira to weaken, thereby causing inflation to spiral upward. Spates of attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta by militants, who were protesting for better deals from the government, almost crippled oil production.
But the government’s engagements in the oil-rich region, spearheaded by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, have seen attacks on oil facilities peter out.
However, Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics announced earlier in the week that the country has exited recession after the economy notched up 0.55% growth in Q2 of 2017.
“In the second quarter of 2017, the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 0.55% (year-on-year) in real terms, indicating the emergence of the economy from recession after five consecutive quarters of contraction since Q1 2016,” the NBS said.
While appreciable progress has also been recorded in the fight against Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria, former president Obasanjo said the fight against the jihadists cannot be totally won until the government addresses the root causes of the insurgency.
“The remote causes of Boko Haram, which [are] under-development in the area, lack of employment opportunities, lack of education [and] lack of infrastructure have to be addressed,” the former president said.