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Mixed bag of reactions to developmental strides by Nigerian government in 5 years

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) on Friday, May 29, marked the 5th year anniversary of the inception of the administration in 2015.As part of the events to mark the day, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, reeled out some of the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari, saying that President Buhari has put Nigeria on an irreversible road to sustainable development in the past one year of his re-election. The Nigerian leader was reelected for a second four-year tenure in 2019.

The Nigerian minister told a news conference, organized to mark the first anniversary of the second term of the administration on Friday in Abuja, that Buhari recorded the feat by some actions “mostly bold and highly visionary” taken.

According to Mohammed, the past one year had been momentous and that never in the history of Nigeria had so many positive steps being taken in so short a time.

“President Muhammadu Buhari was elected in 2015 on the strength of his promise of change.

“Nigerians are satisfied with his performance, especially in the cardinal areas of fighting corruption, tackling insecurity and revamping the economy, overwhelmingly re-elected the president in 2019.

“One year later, the President is taking Nigeria to the Next Level of irreversible change for the better,” he said.

Specifically, the minister said that the intractable power problem was finally being tackled in a way that would end poor power supply that had stunted Nigeria’s socio-economic development.

He said the days of unbridled massive importation of food were coming to an end as Nigeria moved to become self-sufficient in major staples, especially rice.

Mohammed said with the provision of many platforms and improved welfare, the Nigerian military was living up to the task of tackling insurgency.

“With the bold and courageous leadership provided by President Buhari, Nigeria is marching surely and steadily to join the comity of great nations.

“Change is never easy, and the birth of a new nation comes with pain.

“We thank Nigerians for their support and perseverance, and hereby reassure them of the administration’s unrelenting commitment to making life more meaningful for the citizenry,” he said.

He also said that the second year of the second and last tenure of the president would witness agricultural revolution and that the stage was set for the implementation of the greatest agricultural revolution in the history of Nigeria.

According to him, the unprecedented recent approval by the Buhari administration to inject $1.2 billion loan into the agriculture sector will revolutionise the country’s agriculture.

In the same vein, the Special Adviser to the Nigerian President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said that the administration, acting on its campaign promises, launched into action from May 29, 2015 had brought change in the areas of security, economic growth and anti-graft war.

Adesina said in a statement to commemorate the one year of the Buhari’s second term in office said: “Between May 29, 2015, when it was inaugurated for the first term, and now, the Buhari administration has made salutary impact in almost all the facets of Nigerian life.

“The government swept into office on the wings of change and that change has been wrought in nearly all phases of national life. Where the lofty goals are yet to be attained, it is work in progress, and eyes are firmly fixed on the ball. No distraction.

“The three umbrella areas on which government based its interventionist agenda are: security, reviving the economy (with particular emphasis on job creation, especially for youths) and fighting corruption. In these three areas, where we are today cannot be compared with where we used to be.”

According to him, by May 2015, insecurity had badly fractured the fabric of the nation and that no one could wager that the country would survive the next month, not to talk of another year.

He recalled that bombs went off like firecrackers, insurgents ran riot round the country, other forms of crime and criminality held sway. Life was nasty, brutish and short.

“Over five years, the battle has been taken to insurgents and criminals. And they are being extinguished by the day, and very close to complete extirpation.

“The economy, long dependent on a mono product – petroleum, is being retooled, refocused, with diversification as a task that must be accomplished. Agriculture has been given a fillip, manufacturing has got a shot in the arm and solid minerals are contributing a large chunk to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The country is very close to food security, with rice, beans, maize, millet, and all sorts of grain no longer imported. We now eat what we grow.

“On the war against corruption, no quarter is asked and none is given. Commit the crime, do the term. No retreat, no surrender,” he added.

But in a quick reaction to the claims in the scorecard presented by the minister and the spokesman of the Nigerian president, the national Chairman of the leading opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Uche Secondus, described the five years’ administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling APC, as a waste and a road that ought not to be taken.

In a statement on Friday, Secondus said that in the last five years, all negative indexes in the country’s socio-political and economic life as a nation were activated.

He recalled that in 2015, the global international community stood in salute for the great feat recorded by Nigeria in the area of democracy and that instead of improving on it, “the nation under the watch of the APC has continued to go in retrogression”.

Secondus also scored the administration low in the key areas of security, corruption, threats on democratic institutions, unity of the country and economic development on which the Buhari administration had hinged its promises to Nigerians in 2015 and after.

In his assessment of the administration of Buhari and the APC in the last five years, Mr. Innocent Chukwuma, Director, Ford Foundation, West Africa, noted that Nigerian has never been so divided in its history as it has become in the last five years.

Speaking on Nigeria’s Channels Television on Friday, Chukwuma, who is also Human Rights advocate and good governance, said that Buhari failed to fulfil his pledge on May 29, 2015 when he took his oath of office that “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody”.

According to Chukwuma, the Nigerian leader has failed to make use of the abundant human resources in the country to drive the needed development and make every Nigerian have a sense of belonging in the Nigerian project.     

Although he scored the administration high marks in the area of infrastructural development and the single national account of the federal government, he however, lamented that insecurity is still a sore point for the administration and scored it low in the handling of the economy.

The Ford Foundation director lauded the appointment of Professor Ibrahim Gambari as the new Chief of Staff to President Buhari and expressed the hope that the erudite diplomat will use his influence to return the oil-rich West African country to its former enviable position as a regional leader and a dependable voice in global political and diplomatic affairs.

However, the claims by government officials that Buhari has put Nigeria on “irreversible road to sustainable development” and other numerous achievements have been dismissed by the opposition, which described the five years’ administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling APC, “as a waste and a road that ought not to be taken”.

While the arguments on achievements between the ruling APC and the opposition PDP drag on, perhaps the recession of the Nigerian economy in 2016 and the looming Covid-19 induced recession in 2020 as well as daily complaints of poor governance issues, huge debt burden, poor power supply, insecurity, extrajudicial killings, corruption, poverty, impunity and skewed appointments at federal levels among others by some stakeholders and millions of Nigerians have provided alternative indices for assessing the performance of the Nigerian government in the last five years.

Published on 28.04.2020

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