How we survived Buhari’s eight years: Nigerians tell own stories
With just eight days remaining until the end of Muhammadu Buhari’s eight-year tenure, Nigerians are preparing to celebrate not the legacy of his administration but rather their resilience in overcoming numerous challenges. The past eight years have been marked by hardship and frustration, but citizens express hope that the country will not have to endure such difficulties in the future.
Individuals from various parts of the country shared their experiences during the outgoing regime. Tragically, numerous graves scattered across the nation serve as reminders of the victims of maladministration during Buhari’s presidency. Many of these graves hold the remains of Nigerians who were killed in their own homes by armed herdsmen wielding AK-47 rifles. Other graves belong to victims of kidnapping, who were sometimes murdered even after ransom payments were made. The country’s forests are filled with shallow graves of those who simply vanished.
At one point during this administration, daily killings were commonplace. Schoolchildren and their teachers were kidnapped, and highway travel became extremely risky due to rampant kidnappings. The government in Abuja consistently condemned these acts in strong terms, but the violence persisted.
Countless families lost their livelihoods as farmers were driven away from their lands by herders. Women and girls were subjected to assaults at gunpoint, sometimes in front of their husbands and fathers. Even Nigerians returning from abroad faced the harsh reality of highway bandits.
Many citizens believe that the outgoing administration had a negative impact on their lives, contrary to the claims by the Presidency that all promises had been fulfilled. Nigerians argue that only those who have experienced the challenges truly understand the difficulties, not the policymakers.
For numerous Nigerians, the past eight years have been characterized by frustration and hardship. Beatrice Ezennaya, a 58-year-old petty trader, describes the Buhari administration as the worst she has experienced. Her business collapsed due to soaring operating costs. Rising prices of goods, increased expenses for running the business, higher rent, and other financial burdens made it impossible to sustain her livelihood.
Clara Udom, a civil servant, laments the high cost of living resulting from Buhari’s failure to grow the economy. She struggles to meet her basic needs despite earning less than N70,000. Transportation costs alone amount to around N15,000, and necessities like milk, rice, and bread are now beyond her reach.
A survey conducted by the Africa Polling Institute (API) in 2022 found that only 8 percent of Nigerians were satisfied with the current state of affairs under President Buhari. The survey revealed that as of January, approximately 78 percent of citizens were unhappy with the country’s condition, with 37 percent feeling “extremely sad.” Another 14 percent expressed indifference.
The API report highlights that 34 percent of Nigerians cited their inability to meet basic needs as a major challenge, likely due to the country’s current economic realities. Heightened insecurity was mentioned by 38 percent as the biggest challenge, while 20 percent identified unemployment. Electricity outages and a lack of basic infrastructure were among the other challenges citizens recognized.
Reflecting on Buhari’s administration, Nigerians express disappointment and frustration. They feel that the government did not live up to expectations and failed to deliver meaningful development. The country’s economy, health sector, security, and other vital areas have deteriorated. Many individuals have lost hope in the current administration and are hopeful that the incoming administration will bring about positive change and restore the country’s image.
Ifediegwu further expressed, “The closure of the borders and the ban on various items caused a drastic increase in the cost of food, defeating the purpose of encouraging local production. However, the government overlooked the fact that Nigeria relies on foreign countries for technology. Without modern farming implements, commercial agriculture becomes difficult, impeding the operations of large-scale farmers and hindering food security and export potential. Consequently, the ban and border closure failed to achieve their intended goals, impacting every sector of the economy.”
“As an entrepreneur, I faced significant setbacks in my business. I used to specialize in trading Ghana Must Go bags and made substantial profits. However, Buhari’s policies banned such goods, forcing me to become a general merchandise entrepreneur to survive. Even landlords took advantage of the situation and raised rents exorbitantly. Balancing house rent, shop rent, school fees, and other bills became a struggle. Thankfully, my business kept us afloat, but enduring Buhari’s challenging eight years in office feels like a testament to our resilience.”
“I advise the incoming president of Nigeria to reconsider policies that lack empathy and were imposed on Nigerians by Buhari.”
Idi Shadrach, a resident of Yola, Adamawa State, described the past eight years as turbulent, especially for those who experienced different regimes since the 1990s. According to Shadrach, life has been tough, with soaring prices of food, transportation, education, and other essentials. He emphasized that everything in Nigeria has become extremely difficult, and the policies of the government have not benefited the common man.
Shem WoyoPwa, another Yola resident, expressed that surviving the Buhari administration was nothing short of a miracle. He described it as a harrowing journey where even obtaining basic necessities like food became a serious challenge. WoyoPwa believed that it was the most horrible administration in Nigeria’s history, citing crippled universities due to constant strikes and a dilapidated health sector lacking proper facilities. He also mentioned the prevalence of corruption scandals, economic crises, and social unrest, making it a terrible mess for Nigerians.
Victor Kuti from Ilorin shared that the regime of President Buhari has been extremely challenging for his family and loved ones. He highlighted the pressure to conform to societal expectations, particularly for young people, where certain hairstyles could lead to being labeled a criminal. Kuti expressed his disappointment, comparing the current administration to the previous one under President Jonathan, acknowledging that he had managed well during that time. He stressed the difficulties he faced, including reaching out to family members for financial help.
Nwite Michael Izuchukwu believed that Nigeria had never been the same under President Buhari’s leadership. He expressed his dissatisfaction with the administration and felt that it did not favor him or others in similar circumstances.
Obinna Nwagbara, the executive director of Youth and Students Advocates for Good Governance (YSAD), criticized Buhari’s eight years in office as an era of deceit, parochialism, waste, and lack of patriotism and direction. Nwagbara highlighted instances of selective prosecution in corruption cases, failure to address the power sector and refineries’ issues, and the missed opportunity to reform the police during the ENDSARS protests. He also criticized the cashless policy and the negative impact it had on the economy.
Chijioke Ogbodo, a media consultant, regarded the eight years of Buhari’s administration as a monumental disaster in Nigeria’s history. He expressed disappointment, stating that corruption reached unprecedented levels during this period, with nepotism at its highest. Ogbodo also criticized the administration