By Peter Duru – Makurdi
The Middle Belt Forum, MBF, has advised President Muhammad Buhari to stop shifting blames and take steps to right some of the wrong policies of his administration in order to get the country working again.
National President of the Forum, Dr. Pogu Bitrus who gave the advice while speaking to Vanguard in Makurdi said if the President fails to act fast he would leave Nigerians at the end of his tenure in 2023 worse off than when he took over power in 2015.
Dr. Bitrus said, “for example, we are in the sixth year of his administration, he has done one full term and we are into his second term and yet he is still blaming the previous leaders from 1999.
“It is unfortunate because if I may make a comparison, when Obasanjo come in 1999, one barrel of crude was selling for $9 and our foreign reserve was just about $11billion. Obasanjo did not blame the previous regime, he took off from there and brought the right people into office, built the economy, negotiated our foreign debt, and by the time he left we had a buoyant economy and a foreign debt profile that was about zero.
“And remember, when insurgency started rearing its head in 2001, Obasanjo crushed it immediately because he knew the danger. That was the Taliban which started in Yobe.
“Buhari came in with lots of promises saying that would bring down the price of petrol to N45, that he would wipe way insurgency and tackle security issues, all sorts of promises. Even talking about the exchange rate and others.
“But six years down the line, he inherited an exchange of $1 to N198 today it is over N500 to a Dollar. The economy is in a bad shape. Everybody out there knows that the prices of things have doubled since he came and in some cases tripled. Even the price of petrol which he promised to bring down is today selling for N160 per liter while he inherited petrol that was selling for N87 per litre.
“So when you talk of the economy this government is a failure, if you talk of security, it is worse because killings, kidnappings, even the Boko Haram crisis have worsened.
“And remember, even before Goodluck Jonathan left he nearly wiped Boko Haram out to the extent that this President accused Jonathan of killing the people. It is on record.
“So what we have is a total failure. Now, all I can say is, let him please save Nigeria by stopping all these borrowings which is going on because it is going to kill Nigeria.
“Again, the blame game should have stopped before now. Let him face what is before him because, after President Obasanjo, Yar’Adua came though he did not stay for long he did his best. He was able to stabilize the South-South. He brought the amnesty programme which up to now still stabilizes the zone.”
Continuing, Dr. Bitrus asked, “since the coming of this president, what has he done? We cannot say here is what he has done that has solved our security or economic problem.
“So this President needs to face things squarely. Stop the propaganda. He should now understand that haven accepted that things are not going well, if he does not have the right people advising and working for him, he should put square pegs in square holes immediately and let things move. So that the remaining part of his administration would be better.
“Again, very important, the issue of nepotism which has been the bane of this government has to be addressed. Some of the nagging issues cannot be corrected but at least he can start righting some of the wrongs.
“He needs to sign the electoral bill which he refused to sign in 2018 because the National Assembly will represent it very soon so that we can have a full proof electoral system.
“He cannot use the Edo election as a yardstick to say he has achieved something, no because that is a one-off, it is difficult to manipulate things in that kind of environment.
“We need the electronic voting system so that votes would count. All those cancellations that were the mark of the day in 2019 should stop. And he has the opportunity to correct that.
“People recently cried out about his Water Bill, in his first tenure he brought cattle colony, Ruga and all sorts of things and they were rejected. He should by now know that things that are anti-people are not going to be accepted by Nigerians.”