“Buhari blames” phrase in google search reveals disturbing record of President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s failure to accept responsibility for its inadequacies.
After dislodging the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the 2015 polls, Buhari promised to steer Nigeria to greater heights.
But reality has so far shown that the reverse has been the case. From ballooning insecurity to abuse of human rights, the administration has fallen short of expectations of many Nigerians.
While many would expect the Buhari-led government to take the blame where necessary and correct its mistakes, the administration has continued to pass the buck on to his predecessors, COVID-19 among others.
SaharaReporters examines 20 times Buhari has blamed his failure on others.
1. Buhari blames the country’s elite with ‘resources and influence’ for upheavals in Nigeria
On February 17, 2021, President Buhari alleged that few Nigerians with ‘resources and influence’ were responsible for the upheavals being witnessed in parts of the country.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, the President blamed a number of persons for the various forms of violence, including terrorism, banditry, kidnappings and ethnic tension in the country.
He was quoted as saying, “I am confident that we will eventually convince the small number of people with resources and influence that are a nuisance to this great country. God willing, we will identify them, and deal with them. I am extremely concerned about your constituency like the rest of the country.”
2. Presidency blames Nigerians for Transparency International’s poor corruption rating
In a February 1, 2021 report, the presidency also blamed Nigerians for the country’s poor ranking on Transparency International’s 2020 corruption perception index.
According to the fresh TI CPI, Nigeria scored 25/100 which is one point less than its 26 points in the previous year. It says Nigeria is now 149th worst nation out of 180 countries, a record that is three steps lower than its rank of 146 in 2019.
However, Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, described the report as an indictment on Nigerians and not on President Buhari.
Speaking on the ranking on Channels television’s Sunrise Daily programme, Shehu said, “I’ll tell you that this one by TI is not a judgment on Buhari or his administration or its war against corruption, I will tell you that this one is judgement on Nigerians because if you look at the indices, they used at arriving at these conclusions, they used eight indices, six of which showed Nigeria as being more or less Nigeria in the same position…”
3. Buhari Blames Obasanjo, Yar’Adua, Jonathan For ‘Near Destruction Of Nigeria’
On October 1, 2020, while giving his Independence Day speech, President Buhari blamed Nigeria’s past leaders since the start of the current democratic dispensation for the “near destruction of the country”.
Using indirect reference, the president faulted leaders who presided over Nigeria between 1999 and 2015, questioning how such leaders had the ‘impudence’ to criticise his administration.
“Those in the previous governments from 1999 – 2015 who presided over the near destruction of the country have now the impudence to attempt to criticise our efforts,” he said.
Nigeria’s presidents since 1999 are Olusegun Obasanjo (1999 to 2007), the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (2007 to 2010), and Goodluck Jonathan (2010 to 2015).
Highlighting some of the interventions: tradermoni, farmermoni, school feeding programme, job creation efforts and agricultural intervention programmes, President Buhari said no government in the past did what his administration had done with such scarce resources.
“We have managed to keep things going in spite of the disproportionate spending on security…you will agree with me that all these challenges and many more, were long ago left unattended to thereby, leaving the country in the mired state we inherited,” he said.
4. President Buhari Blames “Hooliganism” For Violence During #EndSARS Protest
The president, during the #EndSARS protest that rocked the country in October 2020, said security forces used “extreme restraint” in their dealings with protesters because of hooliganism.
Buhari stated this when was speaking to a special meeting with former heads of state and other officials on the way forward after some of Nigeria’s worst turmoil in years
5. Buhari Blames Economic Recession On COVID-19
President Muhammadu Buhari on November 23, blamed the severity of the global downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic for the country’s latest slipping into recession.
Buhari said the decline in the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) came after 12 successive quarters of positive growth.
He said the downturn caused by the pandemic included lockdowns, disruption in global supply chains, business failures and rising unemployment.
“We can all recall that during the lockdown, farming did not take place, businesses were closed; schools were closed as were hotels and restaurants. Also, airlines stopped flying, while interstate commerce was disrupted.
“The economy only began to recover when these activities resumed and if we are able to sustain the nearly three percent point increase from the second quarter decline of minus 6.1 per cent, the performance in the fourth quarter could take us into positive territory,’’ he said.
6. Buhari Blames ‘Desperate’ Politicians For Electoral Violence In Nigeria
President Buhari had also blamed power-hungry politicians for the problems with the country’s electoral process.
Nigerian elections are usually characterised by violence and political tension, leading to many clashes, risking further violence during and after the polls.
During his Independence Day speech in 2020, the President said, “The problems with our electoral process are mainly human-induced as desperate desire for power leads to desperate attempts to gain power and office. The desperation of these set of people leads to compromising the judiciary to upturn legitimate decisions of the people.”
According to a report by SBM intelligence, which monitors socio-political and economic developments in Nigeria, 626 people were killed during the 2019 election cycle, starting with campaigns in 2018.
The United States of America on many occasions had imposed visa restrictions on some individuals for their actions during the elections in Nigeria.
7. Buhari Blames ‘Corrupt’ Middlemen For High Food Prices
President Buhari, last year also blamed food traders for the high cost of food items in the country.
He said: “While providence has been kind to us with the rains and as such an expectation that a bumper harvest would lead to crashing of food prices and ease the burdens on the population, government’s concern is that the exploitative market behaviour by actors has significantly increased among traders in the past few years and may make any such relief a short-lived one.”
Buhari frowned on the activities of those he described as “corrupt middlemen” whom he said had further compounded the situation.
“But of all these problems, the most worrisome are the activities of “corrupt” middlemen (with many of them discovered to be foreigners) and other food traders who serve as the link between farmers and consumers found to be systematically creating an artificial scarcity so that they can sell at higher prices.”
8. Buhari Blames Banditry On Mining Activities
President Buhari, some weeks ago, blamed the banditry in Zamfara state on the mining activities in the region.
In a statement issued by presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, President Buhari ordered that illegal mining was fuelling the crisis in Zamfara state.
“Beyond the problems of bandits and cattle rustlers, the scale of lawlessness has been aggravated by illegal miners who are harvesting resources they have no legal rights to exploit.
“Official statistics suggest that there are more than 20,000 such miners undermining this important part of the economy, operating in a manner that is extraordinarily harmful and destructive. The result is chaos.
“In this respect, a meeting is soon to take place that will deliberate on security and the issue of illegal mining which is fuelling the crisis in Zamfara state.”
9. Buhari Blames Politicians, Oil Firms For Tax Losses
On November 5, 2019, President Buhari blamed politicians and oil companies for conspiring to deny Nigeria commensurate revenue from oil production and sales, particularly taxes over the years.
He stated that for many years, taxes were kept at the “barest minimum above $20 per barrel.”
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, in a statement, quoted Buhari as saying Nigeria failed to secure its equitable share of the proceeds of oil production since 2003.
“A combination of complicity by Nigerian politicians and foot-dragging by oil companies has, for more than a quarter-century, conspired to keep taxes to the barest minimum above $20 per barrel, even as now the price is some three times the value,” he said.
The President said for the first time, under the amended law, “200 million Nigerians will start to receive a fair return on the surfeit of resources of our land. Increased income will allow for new hospitals, schools, infrastructure and jobs.”
10. President Buhari Blames The Internet For Rising Spate Of Insecurity In Nigeria
The President on February 23, 2021 said the growth and development of the internet is to blame for the rise in threats posed by cybercriminals, online financial fraudsters and cyber terrorists in the country.
President Buhari launched the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS) 2021 to effectively confront the dynamic nature of threats in the country’s cyberspace.
He also called for an overhaul of the national strategy on cybersecurity, urging more emphasis on exploring the internet for economic growth opportunities, enhancement of knowledge and mitigation of crime.
According to him, “All these initiatives serve as enablers for tackling many of the economic and security challenges facing our country while also providing us with the platform to improve accountability and transparency in our unwavering resolve to tackle corruption.
“However, like many other countries across the globe, the growth and development of the internet are accompanied by significant problems. We are witnessing a rise in threats posed by cybercriminals, online financial fraudsters and cyber terrorists who use the internet to cause apprehension,’’ the President said.
President Buhari added that the internet and social media have witnessed a surge in the propagation of hate speech, fake news, seditious and treasonable messages, as well as the risks of breaches to personal information and sensitive government data.
11. Buhari Blames Poverty, Insecurity On Decades Of Resource Mismanagement
In May 2019, President Buhari blamed the current economic and security challenges being experienced in the country on decades of neglect and mismanagement of resources.
According to a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President believes that if assets and resources available to the country had been properly managed in years past, it would have been a prosperous and peaceful nation.
12. Buhari Blames COVID-19 Lockdown For Borno, Katsina Attacks
In a June 12, 2020 report, President Buhari attributed the spate of killings by Boko Haram terrorists and armed bandits to COVID-19 lockdown imposed in the country.
According to him, ending insurgency, banditry and other forms of criminality across the nation is being accorded appropriate priorities and the men and women of the Armed Forces of Nigeria have considerably downgraded such threats across all geo-political zones.
He said: “All the local governments that were taken over by the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have long been recovered and are now occupied by indigenes of these areas who were hitherto forced to seek a living in areas far from their ancestral homes.
“I regret recent sporadic incidents with tragic loss of lives in Katsina and Borno States as a result of criminals taking advantage of COVID-19 restrictions. Security agencies will pursue the perpetrators and bring them to swift justice.”
13. President Buhari’s Spokesperson ‘Blames’ Farmers Murdered By Terrorists In Borno
In November 2020, the suspected Boko Haram terrorists tied up more than 40 farmers in the village of Koshobe, near Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, slit their throats and beheaded them.
President Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, instead blamed the deceased rice farmers, for their misfortune.
According to Shehu, the farmers didn’t receive security clearance before heading to the area.
Some of the victims were reportedly labourers from Sokoto state in northwest Nigeria, who had travelled to the North-East in search of work.
He said, “People need to understand what it is like in the Lake Chad area. Much of those areas have been liberated by Boko Haram terrorists but there are a number of spaces that have not been cleared for the return of villagers who have been displaced.
“Ideally, all of these places ought to probably be allowed to pass the test of military clearance before settlers or even farmers resume activities on those fields,” he added.
Probed on whether he was blaming the farmers for the attacks, Shehu said: “Not exactly, but the truth has to be said. Is there any clearance by the military which is in total control of those areas? Did anybody ask to resume activities? I have been told by the military leaders that they have not been so advised.”
He added that visiting terrorist-prone areas of Borno is “a window that the terrorists have exploited.”
“The military is not present in every inch of space in that area. Even if the people are ready to go back, some of these areas have been mined and mine clearance has to be carried out first,” Shehu said.
14. President Buhari Blames COVID-19 For Increase In Petrol Pump Price, Electricity Tariff
In September 2020, the President also blamed COVID-19 for the increase in petrol pump price and electricity tariff across the country.
He said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a severe downturn in the funds available to finance our budget and has severely hampered our capacity…”
15. Buhari Blames Civil War, Military Rule for Poor Economy
During his Independence Day address in October 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari blamed the Nigerian Civil War, which was fought between July 1967 and January 1970, for disrupting the nation’s growth.
He said, “Upon attaining independence, Nigeria’s growth trajectory was anchored on policies and programs that positively impacted on all sectors of the economy. However, this journey was cut short by the 30 months of civil war.”
Additionally, he noted that the incursion of the military in politics was responsible for slowing down the progress of the programmes the country attempted to embark upon following the ruins of the civil war.
He said: “We came out of the civil war with a focus on reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation that enabled the country to put in place world class development structures and a strengthened public service that well served the government. This positive trajectory continued with a return to democratic government which was truncated by another round of military rule.”
He noted that, cumulatively, the country has spent a total of 29 years of its 60-year existence as an independent state under military rule.
16. Buhari Blames Youths For Government’s Failure To Cater For Young Population
President Buhari in April 2018 criticised the attitude of some Nigerian youth, saying they were only expecting to get good infrastructure and amenities without doing anything.
“More than 60 per cent of the population is below 30, a lot of them haven’t been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria is an oil-producing country, therefore, they should sit and do nothing, and get housing, healthcare, education free,” Mr Buhari was quoted as saying during a panel appearance with world leaders at the Commonwealth Business Forum in London.
17. Buhari Blames Borno Leaders For Unending Boko Haram Attacks
Last February, President Buhari blamed the leaders of Borno communities for not doing enough in terms of cooperation with the military to end the Boko Haram insurgency.
He said: “This Boko Haram or whoever they are, cannot come up to Maiduguri or its environs to attack without the local leadership knowing; because traditionally the local leadership is in charge of the security in their own respective areas. In my understanding of our culture, I wonder how Boko Haram survives up to this time.”
18. Buhari Blames Insecurity On Neglect Of Education, Healthcare
In August 2019, President Buhari attributed rising insecurity occasioned by terrorism, banditry, kidnappings and other crimes in the country to decades of neglect of education and healthcare.
He said his administration would focus on security, education and infrastructure development, among others, saying: “We have given very serious attention to security, health, infrastructure and education, agriculture and human development.
“I want to see that our youths are completely emancipated, empowered so that we don’t have the youth restiveness that culminated into the Boko Haram insurgency.
“When I came to Adamawa, I met the challenge of youth criminality, which was nicknamed ASILA and today they are no more. So, these are serious areas of concern and I have given it serious attention and it is working.”
19. Buhari Blames Communal Violence on Population Growth
In January 2018, Buhari blamed clashes between Muslim cattle herders and Christian farmers on overpopulation.
Muslim herdsmen, mainly of the Fulani ethnic group, and Christian farmers often clash over the use of land in parts of central Nigeria, known as the Middle Belt.
“President Buhari holds the view, as do many experts, that these conflicts are more often than not, as a result of major demographic changes in Nigeria,” said an emailed statement issued by the presidency.
“While the land size has not changed and will not change, urban sprawl and development have simply reduced land area both for peasant farming and cattle grazing,” said the statement, urging people to remain calm and cooperate with security agencies.
20. Buhari Blames Gaddafi For Nigeria’s Insecurity
In January 2019, President Buhari said stooges of former Libya leader, Muammar Gaddafi, constituted the terrorists perpetrating evil acts in Nigeria.
He said the bandits, who escaped from Libya after the death of their leader in 2011 took to terrorism, the brunt of which Nigeria and some other African countries are currently bearing.
Gaddafi, who led Libya for decades, was in 2011 killed during the Arab Spring that saw citizens of several Arab countries taking up arms against sit-tight dictators.
The president stated that the unsavoury legacy of Gaddafi was still haunting Nigeria and other countries.
“The Nigerian cattle herder used to carry nothing more than a stick, but these are people with AK-47 and people refuse to reflect on the demise of Gaddafi,” Mr Buhari said in an exclusive interview with Arise TV.
“Gaddafi for 43 years in Libya, at some stage, he decided to recruit people from Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, from the Central African Republic and these young chaps are not taught to be bricklayers, electricians, plumbers or any trade but to shoot and kill.
“So, when the opposition in Libya succeeded in killing him, they arrested some and they did what they did to them. The rest escaped with their orphans and we encountered some of them in the North-East and they are all over the place now organising attacks.”