Buhari, Osinbajo Begins Second Term In Office

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Joseph Bakare/Agency Report

 President Muhammadu Buhari and his Vice, Prof Yemi Osinbajo have been sworn-in in a low key ceremony to flag off their second term in office. 

Besides the traditional riding on a motor arcade; inspection of guard of honour and official taking of oath office, the re-elected President did not read any inaugural address.

The first speech after taking the oath of office is always deep, historic and to a large extent, serves as a window to the operational policy and guideline of every new administration.

It would be recalled that it was in the President Buhari’s inaugural speech in 2015 that he declared ‘’I Belong to Everybody and I Belong to Nobody’’. The assertion gave impression that the President determined to be totally independent in his policy and political decision making.

The president, has vowed to tackle security threats and root out corruption.

The 76-year-old leader was sworn in on Wednesday amid tight security in Abuja. He did not make a speech during the low-profile event attended by members of the diplomatic community.

Buhari, a former military ruler, won 56 per cent of the votes to defeat his main challenger, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in the February election, which had been beset by a host of security and logistic issues that delayed the vote by a week.

Following the announcement of the election results, Abubakar filed a petition against the outcome, a process that is ongoing in Nigeria’s appellate court.

Buhari will face a number of challenges during his second term as he tries to fulfil his election promises, including dealing with security threats and managing a sluggish economy and a high unemployment rate.

Security remains a major challenge for Buhari after a first term marked by kidnappings, bandit attacks, cattle rustling and communal conflicts.

Babatunde Fashola, a former government minister, told Al Jazeera that Buhari has been entrusted with resolving the issues.

“Insecurity was a campaign issue on which the president has been re-elected, which shows the people’s trust in his ability to solve the problem,” Fashola said.

Buhari’s home state of Katsina witnessed an escalation in violence, with several villages raided by armed bandits, while the Boko Haram  armed group continues to operate in the northeast of the country.

Persisting tensions in the northeast could escalate into more violence, according to Nnamdi Obasi, Nigeria researcher at the International Crisis Group. 

“Boko Haram, now split into two factions, will continue its decade-long campaign to establish an Islamic state in the northeast, even as the herder-farmer violence has ebbed since the second half of 2018,” Obasi said.

In Nigeria’s fertile central region, herders and farmers continue to fight over land and water resources, the clashes between them claiming hundreds of lives and displacing thousands more.

Communities in the oil-producing Niger Delta – which accounts for most of the country’s foreign exchange reserves – have long complained of government neglect, leading to unrest in the region.

Armed groups have attacked oil installations in the past, halting production and kidnapping expatriate workers. Many of those fighters were brought under a government amnesty which entitles them to monthly stipends and education programmes.

In addition to the security situation, areas polluted by oil drilling activities have yet to be cleaned up, as a project to tackle that issue is yet to begin.

“In the Niger Delta, the continuing delay in addressing environmental grievances and diverse regional demands, coupled with possible termination of the decade-long amnesty programme, could lend room for opportunistic groups to resume sabotage of the petroleum industry,” Obasi said.

“Countrywide, massive youth employment, feeble policing and the deepening atmosphere of impunity, all suggest that kidnapping and other public safety situation could deteriorate further,” he added.

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