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Africa

Nigerians still waiting for Buhari to deliver

One year ago, Muhammadu Buhari was elected president of Nigeria, making history as the country's first leader to assume office after democratically defeating an incumbent. Is he living up to voters' expectations?

President Muhammadu Buhari was elected on promises to fix Nigeria's problems - an Islamist insurgency, corruption, weak infrastructure and overdependence on oil revenues. But a year after his landslide victory on March 28, 2015, many Nigerians say they have yet to see any evidence of improvements in their lives. Joseph Blabo from the poor Makoko neighborhood of Lagos says he voted for Buhari hoping for "drastic change" for the better, but things have actually got worse.

"In my community for three months now, we have not had electricity. And look at the fuel scarcity we have had in Lagos for a while," he told DW.

Atiku Samuel, a 34-year-old mathematician, says inflation has risen since Buhari came to power, making life difficult for him and his family.

"House rent is up, almost by 50 percent. The cost of food is up. Things that we used to buy for 10,000 naira (45 euros, $50) now cost 15,000 naira," he said.

Nigeria - nominierter Präsidentschaftskandidat Muhammadu Buhari und Goodluck Jonathan

The peaceful transition of power from Goodluck Jonathan (right) to Muhammadu Buhari was heralded as a triumph for African democracy

Stanley Achonu works for the Lagos-based group Budgit, a civic organization which monitors the activities of the Nigerian government. He told DW that Buhari had failed to live up to expectations in some areas but had notched up success in others. The latter include reforms to curb corruption and improving Nigeria's image abroad.

Achonu also said Buhari was addressing the insecurity caused by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram. The insurgency has claimed thousands of lives and displaced more than two million people since it began six years ago.

"One cannot deny that there is a frontal attempt to confront this evil that is terrorizing the country," Achonu said.

Optimistic about Buhari

Agboso Bamaiyi is a political commentator in Yola, capital of Adamawa state in northeastern Nigeria, which has borne the brunt of the insurgency. He said Boko Haram's capacity has been degraded. "It has got to the point where the government can say they have won the war," he said. Bamaiyi was referring to the swathes of territory that the Nigerian army has reclaimed from the Islamist militants. But he admitted that the group was still carrying out "hit-and-run guerrilla warfare" and that the government "still has to manage the situation created by the war, the damage and the harm done to communities and individuals."

Some Nigerians like Ayomide Faleye, a 26-year-old research analyst, remain optimistic about Buhari nonetheless.

"I think he is still trying to figure out how to put things in place, especially with regard to how to improve the economy and how he can - within the democratic setting - make things better for Nigerians. One should give him the benefit of the doubt. I think he will do more, considering the time frame," she told DW.

The list of things to do includes tackling corruption, rebuilding an economy in decline and boosting falling government revenue.

Muntaqa Ahiwa contributed to this report

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