So, in the early hours of Monday, Nigeria’s President Muhammad Buhari spoke to the nation in a televised address.

He read a lengthy speech highlighting his administration’s scorecard and its projects for the remaining 2 years in office.

However, below are 5 key highlights of the speech which reveals the perception gap between the President and Nigerians.

1. He Refuses To Take Responsibility For The Fuel Crisis: Nigeria is still battling a major fuel crisis that made nonsense of the yuletide and new year celebrations; and no doubt embarrassed the government.

Although President Buhari acknowledged this, he passed the buck by absolving the agency in charge, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC of any wrongdoing, while blaming it on saboteurs and unpatriotic fellows.

“Instead of showing love, companionship and charity, some of our compatriots chose this period to inflict severe hardship on us all by creating unnecessary fuel scarcity across the country,” Buhari had said in his speech, absolving the government and even playing the victim.

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But what Nigerians had expected was for him to assume full responsibility for the hardship caused by the incompetence of those he put in charge of the country’s petroleum sector, and apologise to Nigerians while promising to punish them and make sure it never happens.

2. He Blames Nigerians For Being Impatient: “We Nigerians can be very impatient and want to improve our conditions faster than may be possible considering our resources and capabilities,” said Buhari in his speech.

But he does not say why quick progress has eluded his government. Rather, he wants Nigerians to believe that despite the (enormous) “resources and capabilities” at its disposal, the slow pace of his administration is not to blame for the country’s slow progress.

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Most Nigerians would disagree. And fiery Enugu preacher and catholic priest, Fr. Ejike Mbaka had the same view in his new year message.

Mbaka, a Buhari supporter, said: “Heaven cried that your (Buhari’s) methodology is not just archaic but too sluggish, very slow. The situation in Nigeria needs speed but you (Buhari) are too dull.”

3. He Rejects Restructuring: Yes, President Buhari rejects restructuring with almost a wave of the hand. He wants the status quo to remain.

In his speech, Buhari said Nigeria had experimented with several systems of government before settling for this American presidential system, and therefore argues that all its ills will be sorted out with time.

He said: “In respect of political developments, I have kept a close watch on the on-going debate about "Restructuring…We tried the Parliamentary system: we jettisoned it.

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“Now there are shrill cries for a return to the Parliamentary structure. In older democracies these systems took centuries to evolve so we cannot expect a copied system to fit neatly our purposes.

“We must give a long period of trial and improvement before the system we have adopted is anywhere near fit for purpose.”

4. He Acknowledges It Is Still Business As Usual: Despite the fight against corruption, it is still business as usual in Buhari’s government and he admitted that in his speech.

He made the admission when he spoke about improvements in the economy, how diversification efforts have resulted in improved output in agriculture and solid minerals sector. He also mentioned how “relative stability in the foreign exchange market has improved manufacturing sector performance”.

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But then he said: “The days of business as usual are numbered” acknowledging that the monster had yet to be dealt a fatal blow, while underscoring the need for Nigerians “to get used to discipline and direction in economic management”.

5. He Insists Boko Haram Has Been Defeated: It was a fortnight ago that Nigerian state governors approved the drawing of $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account, to keep fighting the dreaded terror group, Boko Haram.

Yet, President Buhari insists the sect has been defeated. He acknowledges there are sporadic attacks that still claims tens of lives, but it is (nothing to worry about) since “even the best-policed countries cannot prevent determined criminals from committing terrible acts of terror as we have seen during the past years in Europe, Asia, Middle East, elsewhere in Africa and in America”. 

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