How True Was Buhari’s 2015 ‘I Belong To Everybody and I Belong To Nobody’ Inaugural Speech?

In less than ten days, it will make four years since President Muhammadu Buhari took the oath of office as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of its Armed Forces.

One of the highlights from his inaugural speech was the sentence he made stating that, “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody,” but in retrospect, we need to see how true Buhari has lived by that statement in his first tenure of office before he starts his second tenure.

The speech said: “I would like to thank President Goodluck Jonathan for his display of statesmanship in setting a precedent for us that has now made our people proud to be Nigerians wherever they are. With the support and cooperation he has given to the transition process, he has made it possible for us to show the world that despite the perceived tension in the land we can be a united people capable of doing what is right for our nation. Together we co-operated to surprise the world that had come to expect only the worst from Nigeria. I hope this act of graciously accepting defeat by the outgoing President will become the standard of political conduct in the country.”

In his four years of office, President Buhari and former President Goodluck Jonathan have had a cordial relationship except for the occasion back and forth about how his predecessor looted Nigeria’s treasury to the last kobo.

“I would like to thank the millions of our supporters who believed in us even when the cause seemed hopeless. I salute their resolve in waiting long hours in rain and hot sunshine to register and cast their votes and stay all night if necessary to protect and ensure their votes count and were counted.  I thank those who tirelessly carried the campaign on the social media. At the same time, I thank our other countrymen and women who did not vote for us but contributed to make our democratic culture truly competitive, strong and definitive.

“Having just a few minutes ago sworn on the Holy Book, I intend to keep my oath and serve as President to all Nigerians.

I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody.”

This singular statement endeared Buhari to everyone but in the aftermath of it all, his body language showed that he was not being true to that statement.

In his appointment into government parastatals and agencies, there are verifiable statistics that he favours the Northern part of the country, at the expense of its Southern counterpart.

“A few people have privately voiced fears that on coming back to office I shall go after them. These fears are groundless. There will be no paying off old scores. The past is prologue.”

Well, he failed to uphold what he said here, take the case of Dasuki, who has been in custody for over three years and the federal government has refused to release him, even after the court has granted him bail.

Oppositions like Senate President Bukola Saraki, Doyin Okupe, Bala Muhammed, Olisa Metuh, Diezani Allison-Maduekwe, Ayo Fayose,  have all felt the brunt of Buhari’s government, moving from one corruption indictment with the CCT, EFCC, ICPC, among other anti-graft agencies.

“I also wish to assure the wider international community of our readiness to cooperate and help to combat threats of cross-border terrorism, sea piracy, refugees and boat people, financial crime, cyber crime, climate change, the spread of communicable diseases and other challenges of the 21st century.

“At home we face enormous challenges. Insecurity, pervasive corruption, the hitherto unending and seemingly impossible fuel and power shortages are the immediate concerns. We are going to tackle them head on. Nigerians will not regret that they have entrusted national responsibility to us. We must not succumb to hopelessness and defeatism. We can fix our problems.”

On this aspect, he has failed to combat all these forms of insecurity in the country, as it has escalated under his watch with the Fulani-Herdsmen clash, Bandit killing and kidnapping, Boko Haram insurgency, etc.

His fight against corruption may have brought back some looted funds into federal government coffers but it is still not felt within the economy, widespread poverty is still the bane of the Nigerian society.

“The most immediate is Boko Haram’s insurgency. Progress has been made in recent weeks by our security forces but victory can not be achieved by basing the Command and Control Centre in Abuja. The command centre will be relocated to Maiduguri and remain until Boko Haram is completely subdued. But we can not claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage by insurgents.”

Even the change of the Command and Control did not stop the kidnapping of the Dapchi girls and Leah Sharibu is still in custody after two years, over hundred Chibok girls have celebrated five years in Boko Haram’s captivity.

“Unemployment, notably youth un-employment features strongly in our Party’s Manifesto. We intend to attack the problem frontally through revival of agriculture, solid minerals mining as well as credits to small and medium size businesses to kick – start these enterprises. We shall quickly examine the best way to revive major industries and accelerate the revival and development of our railways, roads and general infrastructure.”

Unemployment continues to tip the scale in the country even after social investment programmes like N-Power, BOI loans, among other programs to reduce the numbers.

“Our situation somehow reminds one of a passage in Shakespeare’s Julius Ceasar

There is a tide in the affairs of men which,

taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;

Omitted, all the voyage of their life,

Is bound in shallows and miseries.”

We have an opportunity. Let us take it.

Well, we are still onlooking at how far we will need to keep taking these opportunities in the next four years before we get it right as a country under Buhari’s watch.

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