CRITICIZE US FAIRLY, PRESIDENT BUHARI APPEALS TO THE NIGERIAN ELITE, SAYS NIGERIA IS BETTER THAN HE MET IT.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday urged critics of his regime to be fair, particularly the nation’s elite. The disclosure was made known in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, noting that the President made the call while receiving the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission, Rev. Yakubu Pam, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The President in a self-assessment yesterday awarded his administration high marks, saying the country is better than he met it more than five years ago. But the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, faulted the president’s claim, contending that he has underperformed.
Buhari said: “Those criticizing the administration should be fair in terms of reflecting on where we were before we came, where we are now and what resources are available to us and what we have done with the limited resources. We had to struggle paying debts, investing in road repairs and rebuilding, to revamp the rail and try to get power. This is what I hope the elite, when they want to criticize, will use to compare notes”. On security, especially in the North-east, the president said: “What was the situation when we came? Try and ask people from Borno or from Adamawa for that matter and Yobe. What was the condition before we came and what is the condition now? Still, there are problems in Borno and Yobe, there are occasional Boko Haram problems, but they know the difference because a lot of them moved out of their states and moved to Kaduna, Kano and Abuja. We were not spared of the attacks at a time. The government is doing its best and I hope that eventually, our best will be good enough”. The president also expressed the determination of his administration to ensure a better life for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). “The people in IDP camps, the weak, the aged; I feel sorry for the young because this is the time, they are supposed to get an education. We must not allow this time to pass because it will never be regained. So, we are really interested in what is happening there and we are doing our best”, the president stated.
Buhari’s self-appraisal attracted criticism from Afenifere and PDP. Spokesman of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, said Nigeria in the last five-and-a-half years of the Buhari administration is much better from a backward perspective.
He said: “Honestly, herders who are grazing cows on the expressway in Abuja must have seen some changes and, therefore, are not living in the same country with us. It is a clash of civilization we cannot overcome in any way”. The main opposition party, the PDP, In a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, the party wondered how the president “wants an unmerited pass mark knowing that under his watch, bandits, terrorists, kidnappers and vandals, who have been pushed to the fringes before he took over in 2015, have now re-surged, taking communities hostage, raping our women, beheading our compatriots and foisting a reign of terror to the extent that our nation ranked as the third country with the highest level of terrorism in 2019, after Iran and Afghanistan. How does President Buhari sleep in the night, in the comfort of Aso Villa, knowing that because of his failures, millions of Nigerians go to bed on empty stomach; that since he took over, more than 30 million businesses have crumbled; that over 60 million Nigerians have lost their means of livelihoods resulting in excruciating hardship in our country in the last five years”. The party said it is unfortunate that Buhari wants Nigerians to overlook the fact that he wrecked a robust economy handed over to him in 2015 with Fitch B+ rating as one of the fastest-growing economy in the world. It accused the Buhari administration of turning Nigeria into the world’s poverty capital and a beggar nation that is now borrowing from all parts of the world. It stated: “Is President Buhari trivializing the pain of a nation, which his administration plunged into the worst type of economic recession; where families can no longer afford their daily meals and other necessities of life; and where life has become so unbearable that compatriots now resort to suicide and slavery mission abroad as options”. The party added that when Buhari took over in 2015, one dollar was N160 whereas it is about N500 now, not to mention the constant increase in price of petroleum products and electricity tariff.
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