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Assessing President Muhammadu Buhari’s Presidential Legacy – A Closer Look At Nigeria’s Recent History

Nmesoma Okwudili


May 11, 2023

The presidency of Muhammadu Buhari in Nigeria has been marked by both hope and controversy. As his two-term period comes to an end, it is crucial to assess and analyse his presidential legacy. This article delves into the key aspects of President Buhari’s tenure, highlighting both the achievements and challenges he faced during his time in office.

President Muhammadu Buhari has been in power in Nigeria for eight years, and as his second term comes to an end, his legacy is a subject of great debate. While Many see his legacy as one of hope and progress, others view it as a questionable one. 

One of the major areas of discussion when it comes to Buhari’s legacy is his record on security. In 2015, he came to power on a platform that focused on improving security in the country. Some argue that he has made significant progress in this area, especially in the fight against Boko Haram and other insurgent groups. However, some criticise his government for not doing enough to address the underlying causes of insecurity in the country, such as poverty, corruption, and political instability.

Another area where Buhari’s legacy is being questioned is the economy. During his tenure, Nigeria faced a recession, and while the country has since recovered, the economic situation remains fragile. Some argue that his government has not done enough to address economic challenges such as inflation, unemployment, and currency devaluation. Many others, however, point to his administration’s efforts to diversify the economy away from oil and invest in infrastructure as a positive legacy.

Buhari’s legacy in terms of human rights and democracy is also a subject of debate. His government has been accused of clamping down on free speech, stifling dissent, and using excessive force against protesters. Some argue that his government has not done enough to protect the rights of minorities and vulnerable groups, including women and children. Others, however, point to his administration’s efforts to tackle corruption and improve governance as a positive legacy.

One of the most significant legacies that Buhari will leave behind is his fight against corruption. His government has launched a high-profile anti-corruption campaign that has resulted in the prosecution of several high-ranking officials and the recovery of stolen public funds. While some argue that the fight against corruption has been selective and not far-reaching enough, others view it as a significant achievement and a positive legacy of his administration.

Another significant aspect of Buhari’s legacy is his handling of Nigeria’s foreign relations. During his tenure, he has strengthened Nigeria’s relationship with its African neighbours and played an active role in regional and global diplomacy. However, his government has been criticised for its handling of the country’s relationship with its Western partners, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom, which have expressed concerns about human rights abuses and democratic backsliding in the country.

During President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure in Nigeria, there have been various achievements that his administration has highlighted. While opinions about his overall legacy may differ, it is important to acknowledge some of the accomplishments attributed to his time in office. Here are a few of the achievements that have been reported:

  • Restoration of the Budget Implementation Cycle: President Buhari successfully restored the budget implementation cycle to a January-to-December schedule, ensuring the timely implementation of government projects and programs.
  • Establishment of New Ministries: Buhari established new ministries, including the Ministry of Police Affairs and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, with the aim of addressing specific areas of concern within the country.
  • Anti-Corruption Efforts: The Buhari administration launched a high-profile anti-corruption campaign, resulting in the prosecution of several high-ranking officials and the recovery of stolen public funds. This campaign has been viewed by some as a significant achievement in the fight against corruption.
  • Economic Diversification: The government has made efforts to diversify Nigeria’s economy away from dependence on oil and has invested in infrastructure development. These initiatives aim to stimulate economic growth and reduce the vulnerability of the economy to fluctuations in oil prices.
  • Transportation and Infrastructure: The administration has made progress in the transportation sector, with infrastructure projects such as road construction and rehabilitation, railway expansion, and airport upgrades. These developments seek to improve connectivity and facilitate economic activities.
  • Social Intervention Programs: The Buhari administration has implemented various social intervention programs aimed at poverty alleviation and empowerment. Programs such as the N-Power initiative, the Conditional Cash Transfer scheme, and the School Feeding Program have been rolled out to support vulnerable groups and enhance social welfare.
  • Improved Security Cooperation: President Buhari has worked to strengthen Nigeria’s relationship with neighbouring African countries and has actively participated in regional and global security initiatives. This includes efforts to combat terrorism and insurgency, particularly against Boko Haram and other extremist groups.

During his tenure as the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari signed several bills into law covering various areas of governance and societal concerns. Here are some of the bills that President Buhari passed into law:

  • Constitutional Alteration Bills: President Buhari signed a series of constitutional alteration bills into law, totalling 16 bills. These bills aimed to amend specific provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, addressing areas such as financial independence for State Houses of Assembly and State Judiciary.
  • Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Bills: In May 2022, President Buhari signed three bills into law aimed at improving the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing framework in Nigeria. The bills included the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022, the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022, and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, 2022.
  • General Bills: While specific details and dates are not provided in the search results, President Buhari signed other bills into law during his tenure. Some of these bills included eight bills signed into law in November 2016, covering various areas of governance. However, the specific details of these bills were not available in the search results provided.

In conclusion, President Muhammadu Buhari’s legacy is a subject of great debate, with differing opinions on his record on security, the economy, human rights, and corruption. Many people view his administration’s efforts in these areas as positive legacies, others argue that they fall short of expectations. As Buhari’s tenure comes to an end, the challenge for Nigeria’s next leader will be to build on the achievements of the past eight years and address the challenges that remain.


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