Buhari Fulfils One Electoral Promise in Seven Months: Report

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari speaks at an event in Abuja.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, seen here speaking in Abuja on April 1, 2015, has had a difficult time implementing his electoral promises, according to a new report. STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has delivered on just one of his 200-plus electoral promises during the first seven months of his presidency, a report has claimed.

Buhari defeated former president Goodluck Jonathan in an election in March 2015 and was inaugurated in May. His election campaign was built on a number of key pledges, including reclaiming billions of dollars of government funds lost to corruption and ending Boko Haram's reign of violence in northeast Nigeria.

The fourth Buharimeter report, which is the work of advocacy group the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)—tracked the implementation of 222 public electoral promises made by Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC).

According to the report, only one promise has been fully implemented: Buhari's pledge to publicly declare his assets and liabilities and to encourage all his appointees to do the same. The Nigerian president declared in September 2015 that he had $150,000 in his personal account, five homes and two mud houses, and a few hundred cattle plus other animals. A further 27 pledges made by the president—including the rescue of more than 200 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram from Chibok, northeastern Nigeria—are ranked as ongoing, while the vast majority have not yet been rated due to a lack of action.

In the war against Boko Haram, Buhari has failed to completely deliver. Despite the president stating in December 2015 to have "technically" defeated the insurgents, the report said that Boko Haram has killed almost 2,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands more since Buhari took over in May.

According to Idayat Hassan, director of CDD West Africa, Buhari's emphasis on the military approach means that other root causes of the insurgency have been neglected. "Winning the war against Boko Haram needs a very holistic approach," says Hassan.

The ongoing problem of alleged human rights violations committed by Nigerian troops, could serve as a recruitment tool for the extremist group. Amnesty International has called for the investigation of senior Nigerian military commanders for allegedly overseeing the murder of more than 8,000 people—mostly young men and boys accused of being members of Boko Haram. While a preliminary report released by the International Criminal Court in November 2015 identified two possible instances of war crimes committed by the military, as well as six by Boko Haram militants.

In addition to fighting Boko Haram, Nigeria faces a range of other security threats including the renewed agitation for an independent state of Biafra. This unrest was in part sparked by the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) group, in October 2015 on charges of ethnic incitement and sedition. The charges were later dropped but Kanu remains in detention after the Nigerian authorities filed fresh charges of treason against him. Thousands of protesters have demonstrated in the months since. According to the Buharimeter report, the security services' response to the agitation has stoked fears that if the pro-Biafran agitation is not properly managed, the issue "may degenerate into a low-level insurgency."

Buhari has taken important steps in tackling corruption in Nigeria, Hassan says. These include executing a probe into an arms scandal that saw more than $2 billion of government funds earmarked for fighting Boko Haram go missing. Nigeria's anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has taken a lead role in this, ordering the arrest of numerous prominent figures, including former national security advisor Sambo Dasuki and ex-defense minister Bello Haliru Mohammed on corruption charges. Both Dauki and Mohammed deny the charges against them.

"We have lots of big fishes being arrested and now they are facing trial," says Hassan. "For quite a long time, we have not had this political will in terms of fighting corruption. There has been so much impunity, but now we are seeing people held to account."

Newsweek contacted the Nigerian presidency for a response to the report but received no reply.