EXTRA: Buhari’s administration and the love for ‘technicality’


President Muhammadu Buhari “had a technical stopover in London and will be on his way back soon”. This was the response of Garba Shehu, Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, on Thursday, when contacted on why Buhari has not arrived Nigeria almost 48 hours after leaving the United States of America.

Shehu’s response, and the use of the word ‘technical’, reminds one of the many times Buhari or some members of his inner circle had used the term to wriggle the presidency out of knotty situations.

Given the fact that Buhari had spent more than 150 days of 2017 in hospital in the UK, many Nigerians are wont to jump to the conclusion that whenever the President is said to be in London, he most probably must have gone to see his doctors. Hence the need for Shehu to clear the air that this particular stop-over was due to technical – not medical  – reasons.

This is the third time the term ‘technical’ is featuring significantly in the lifespan of the Buhari administration so far.


The President had used the term to explain the success so far recorded in the anti-terrorism campaign, which is one of the three major policies of his government.

In an interview with the BBC in December 2015, barely seven months after assuming office, Buhari boasted that Boko Haram had been technically defeated and was merely grasping for breath.

“Boko Haram has reverted to using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) (and) indoctrinating young guys… they have now been reduced to that,” Buhari said.

“So I think technically we have won the war because people are going back into their neighbourhoods. Boko Haram as an organised fighting force, I assure you, that we have dealt with them.”

Well, that was before the sect ambushed a team of NNPC oil explorers searching for oil at the Lake Chad Basin, killing almost 50 persons and abducting three. That was also before Boko Haram did a repeat of Chibok, when they attacked another girls secondary school in Dapchi, Borno State, and abducted over 100 girls. That was also before the National Economic Council (NEC) approved the withdrawal of $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to fight an already technically defeated Boko Haram.


A little over a year after Buhari assumed office in 2015, it became obvious to most Nigerians that all was not well. There seemed to be less money in peoples’ pockets, and the little money people had could not purchase as much as it would have.

    Many said it was due to Buhari’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy, which meant that all the loop holes, from which corrupt civil servants and public office holders hitherto siphoned government monies, had been blocked. But it was not until July 2016, that Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance, broke the bad news.

    Addressing the senate on what caused the biting hardship in the land, Adeosun said that “technically, Nigeria is in recession“.

    Adeosun, however, reassured that “the economy is in good hands and we are absolutely doing our best”.

    True to her word, by September 2017, figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that Nigeria had officially exited recession, even though things remain tough, food prices remain high and the value of the Naira still wobbles.

    Join the ICIR WhatsApp channel for in-depth reports on the economy, politics and governance, and investigative reports.

    Support the ICIR

    We invite you to support us to continue the work we do.

    Your support will strengthen journalism in Nigeria and help sustain our democracy.

    If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Support the ICIR

    We need your support to produce excellent journalism at all times.

    - Advertisement