Certain events during Buhari’s tenure have betrayed a few of his tough words before he became president.
In 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari didn’t start the year as Nigeria’s Commander-in-Chief. Not until May 29 when he was sworn in.
Before May, the president was an opposition candidate who was trying to worm his way into the hearts of the Nigerian electorate.
As any good opposition would, the current president was highly critical of the administration of then-president, Goodluck Jonathan.
After he signed up on Twitter with the account @ThisIsBuhari (later changed to @MBuhari) in December 2014, Candidate Buhari posted tweets that castigated the actions of the then-administration and posted others that touted his own abilities as Nigeria’s way out of the wilderness.
In the run-up to the 2019 presidential election that is fast approaching, it is important to look back on some of the president’s past words and relate them to the reality of his tenure.
Here is a compilation of some tweets by the president that have not aged as well as he might have hoped:
1. “We cannot claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the #ChibokGirls and all other innocent persons held hostage. #NewNigeria”
Unsurprisingly, President Buhari made security a focal point of his electoral campaign with terrorist group, Boko Haram, being the country’s major security threat.
While the president made several promises to defeat the group if he was elected, he also hinged his promise on securing the release of all Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by the group in April 2014.
Since the president’s inauguration, Boko Haram’s influence has greatly reduced and 103 girls have been released by the group.
However, 112 girls remain in captivity, but this has not stopped the president from claiming that the group has been “technically defeated” even though they still carry out bloody attacks and abduct more vulnerable Nigerians.
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) May 29, 2015
The president’s tough words in 2015 became even more impotent when it emerged that the release of the 103 girls cost the country €3 million and the release of five Boko Haram commanders.
2. “We cannot be the country that loses the essence of our humanity, the meaning of empathy. Nigerians are dying everyday due to incompetence.”
Apart from the continued Boko Haram insurgency that means isolated parts of the northeast remain troubled crisis zones, the recent spate of killings in the country in the opening weeks of 2018 make the president’s tough words here as a candidate sound empty now.
We cannot be the country that loses the essence of our humanity, the meaning of empathy. Nigerians are dying everyday due to incompetence.
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) January 13, 2015
The president’s reaction to the attacks allegedly orchestrated by herdsmen has been criticised in many quarters as the president appears to be too incompetent or, for some reason, unwilling to satisfyingly clamp down on it.
3. “The countless man hours that will be spent at petrol stations today, will reduce our productivity as a nation. This should not be so. – GMB”
Candidate Buhari had posted this tweet at a time when the country was struggling with a fuel scarcity crisis that disrupted economic productivity and he, like other Nigerians, was fiercely critical of it.
Until it happened, again. In 2016. And 2017. After he became president.
The countless man hours that will be spent at petrol stations today, will reduce our productivity as a nation.This should not be so. – GMB
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) March 2, 2015
This is one of the president’s most notable tweets that has backfired spectacularly as Nigerians have refused to let go.
4. “I am appealing to you: the damage to this country is great. The level of unemployment and insecurity is intolerable, worsened by corruption.”
This is another tweet by the president that was refreshingly biting at the time of its existence because it identified the issues that Nigerians so desperately wanted to get rid of with a change in leadership.
3 years later, and not much has changed.
I am appealing to you: the damage to this country is great. The level of unemployment and insecurity is intolerable, worsened by corruption.
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) January 19, 2015
In a December 2017 report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), it was disclosed that 7.9 million Nigerians lost their jobs and became unemployed between Q4 2015 and Q3 2017.
Insecurity in the country is far from half-solved, and senior officials in the president’s administration have been embroiled in major corruption scandals that have strayed within touching distance of the president himself.
5. “It is a tragedy to see the ruling party focus on pettiness and lies; rumours of cancer, foreign treatment, and certificates they know exist.”
While the then-ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) ran a lot of smear campaigns about Candidate Buhari that many considered distasteful, some of it turned out to be prophetic, or maybe they were just right all along.
In 2017, the president embarked on two high profile medical trips to London to treat an undisclosed illness for a combined 154 days, which left a lot to the imagination of Nigerians.
The foreign trips caused a lot of uneasiness in governance as a familiar scenario played out in the nation’s highest seat of power.
It is a tragedy to see the ruling party focus on pettiness and lies; rumours of cancer, foreign treatment, and certificates they know exist.
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) January 19, 2015
Once again, the president’s tough words were betrayed by his actions.
Bonus tweet from 2014
Please do not disappoint us. If you do, we'll vote you out in 4 years". I hear you clearly. I will not. #ThingsMustChange – GMB
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) December 24, 2014