The ERA of Democratic Accountability has come to stay in Nigeria
IT IS TOO LATE FOR PRESIDENT BUHARI TO DISOWN THE PROMISES ON THE BASIS OF WHICH NIGERIANS VOTED FOR HIM
Our attention has been brought to the recent statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu which allegedly denied the involvement of President Muhammadu Buhari in the issuance of My Covenant with Nigerians and One Hundred Things Buhari Will Do in 100 Days. We recall that in an interview with Media Personality, Kayode Ogundamisi, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, also denied the President promised to publicly declare his assets if he became president claiming his party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) did.
To be clear, President Buhari now says that campaign commitments made by his party were not made by him and campaign commitments issued by his organisation are not binding on him. Taken together, the effect of these statements is to repudiate any commitments that President Buhari as candidate made. They also amount to an assertion that Nigerians have no bases to hold the administration of President Buhari to account. The deliberate effort by the official spokespersons of the President to distance him from both his party and his campaign commitments coincides with the landmark of the first 100 days of the administration. For a President elected on a platform of integrity, this is duplicitous. It is equally unacceptable.
It is worth re-stating that the commitments now being disowned on behalf of the President were issued by his campaign organisation and party. There was every opportunity for the candidate and his campaign organisation to disown these commitments during the prolonged electioneering season preceding his assumption of office. Having failed to do so, the President must own up to these commitments and Nigerians are entitled to judge the administration with reference to them.
It is too late for President Buhari to disown the promises on the basis of which Nigerians voted for him. As Mai Gaskiya – a man of his word – he has the obligation to deliver on his promises to Nigerians. If he fails, then it is his duty to directly explain to Nigerians why.
According to the 1999 constitution (as amended), only Political Parties can canvass for votes in an election. There is no such thing as independent candidacy in Nigeria. Candidates represent a party platform and with the help and support of the party compete for office.
Mallam Garba Shehu’s effort to retrench and repudiate these commitments is an act of betrayal of the millions of Nigerians who voted for change. It also takes our collective intelligence for granted.
The era of politicians and their parties making promises they have no intention of keeping is over. Rather than continuously discountenancing these pledges upon which million of Nigerians voted the President and his Party into office, the administration should be steadfast and focus on making the promises a reality.
Nigerians can no longer be taken for granted. Democratic accountability has come to stay. Promise tracking is fast becoming a standard in democracies around the world; examples are Obameter (United States of America), luipresident.fr (France) Mackymeter (Senegal), Rouhanimeter (Iran), and SadRof (Afghanistan). Unlike in Nigeria, these other people in their countries have been working to surpass expectations rather than denying them.
For us at the Centre of Democracy and Development (CDD), the initiator of Buharimeter, and our partners, we will continue to monitor the promises of the President and his APC government. The Buharimeter as a “Promise Tracker” is put in place to independently and objectively assess and ascertain the extent of the implementation of these promises. This is the least that Nigeria’s people deserve.
Emeka J. Ononamadu
Oladotun Fadeyiye Roy
Prince Engr. Ralph Ndigwe, JP
Centre for Democracy and Development
Enough is Enough
Citizens Center for Integrated Development & Social Rights
Gender Care Initiative (GCI) Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC)
Karachi Rural-Urba Development Initiative (KRUDI)