Nigeria's Muhammadu Buhari sworn in for a second term | News - 6 بلاگ

Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari sworn in for a second term | News

Abuja, Nigeria – Muhammadu Buhari has been sworn in for a second term as Nigeria‘s president as he vowed to tackle security threats and root out corruption.

The 76-year-old leader was sworn in on Wednesday amid tight security in the Nigerian capital 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 percent of votes to defeat his main challenger and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in the February election.

Heightened insecurity remains a major challenge for Buhari as his first term was marked by kidnappings, bandit attacks, cattle rustling and communal conflicts.

Babatunde Fashola, a former government minister, told Al Jazeera that while security issues remain a challenge, Buhari has been entrusted to resolve them.

“[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 itself has witnessed an escalation in violence, with several villages raided by armed bandits, while the Boko Haram armed group continues to operate in the the north east region.

Nnamdi Obasi, Nigeria researcher at the International Crisis Group (ICG), told Al Jazeera that persisting tensions in the northeast region could escalate into more violence.

“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.

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

Oil sales account for the majority of the country’s foreign exchange reserves but communities in the oil-producing Niger Delta area have continued to complain of government neglect.

Armed groups from the area have attacked oil installations in the past, halting productions and kidnapping expatriate workers. A government amnesty for the fighters led to monthly payments of stipends, and education programmes.

A project to clean up the areas polluted due to oil drilling activities is yet to take off.

“In the Niger Delta, the continuing delay in addressing environmental grievances and diverse regional demands, coupled with possible termination of the decade-long amnesty program, 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.

Economic challenges

The unemployment rate has more than doubled to 23 percent since Buhari assumed office in 2015, while Nigeria has 90 million people living in extreme poverty, more than than any other country, according to findings based on a projection by the World Poverty Clock and compiled by the Brookings Institution. 

Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and economic analysts say the next four years offer another opportunity to fix the problems.

“On the monetary policy side, they need to abandon their fixation on the exchange rate. The Central Bank of Nigeria is not ready to deal with any economic shocks at the moment because they have boxed themselves into a tight corner while trying to manage the exchange rate”, Nonso Obikili, Director, an Abuja-based economist told Al Jazeera.

“I think the economy will continue to grow around two percent over the next one or two years. That of course is very bad given our population growth, poverty, and jobs crisis,” Obikili said.

Despite being sworn in, Buhari still faces a challenge from the defeated opposition PDP candidate Atiku Abubakar, who continues to dispute the election result at a tribunal.

The opposition has also criticised Buhari’s anti-corruption record in his first.

“The fight against corruption has been an abysmal failure to put it mildly. It turned from prosecution to persecution of perceived political foes,” Anthony Ehilebo, Head of Digital Media for the PDP’s presidential campaign team told Al Jazeera.

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