By Peter Duru, Makurdi
The Middle Belt Forum, MBF, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to be humble enough to apologize to Nigerians for ruining Nigeria’s economy and plunging the people into hardship due to his bad policies.
National President of MBF, Dr Bitrus Pogu who made the call Sunday in Makurdi while reacting to President Buhari’s democracy day speech lamented that the president was still being deceived by the people shielding him from feeling and seeing the reality of what Nigerians were going through as a result of the bad policies of his government.
Hear him, “the issue is that the man is still being deceived. I know that he has mellowed down to the extent that he accepted that they have not performed up to expectations.
“To me, other than saying that Nigerians are better today than before when he said poverty has been reduced, is that he should have said that they have failed woefully because they thought they would be able to address issues of the economy and that of insecurity and several others but they have failed. And since they have failed, they are asking Nigerians to please forgive them.
“If he had done that, I think Nigerians will be a bit more sympathetic. But whoever writes his speech for him didn’t take him around that lane. They just made a general presentation saying that there are challenges and all that.
“Yes, challenges are there and challenges were there. When then-President Obasanjo was elected in 1999 the challenges and situation at the time was worst than what Buhari met.
“But Buhari came at a time when the economy was doing well, they just spent four year doing nothing but propaganda instead doing any meaningful thing. It is now that the reality had dawned on them.
“But what I would have expected is for him to be frank now, and say to Nigerians ‘fellow Nigerians we thought things would have been better, we did what we felt was right but what we did was not good enough. And please Nigerians we are begging you to forgive us for the inadequacies. But we are promising you that we will do something better.’
“From that point change the technique, change the methodology, reduce the nepotism, check those issues Nigerians are complaining badly about. Take sweeping actions that would set the country on the pedestal of unity, peace, sustainable growth and development.
“So the speech for me is inadequate, though according to some propagandists, the man has now started to be humble and all that. To me where is the humility? He should come out clear and apologize to Nigerians for the inadequacies of his government that propelled the bad policies of his administration.
“And it is those policies that brought us to this economic woe that plunged Nigerians into poverty and hardship because, in spite of all the cries and whatever, the source of revenue improved over time. And in spite of all that, the exchange rate on which we based everything continues to nosedive. I recall that he came in at a time when one Dollar exchanged for about N198. Today it is over N500 in the open market.
“So the economy is ruined under his watch. The prices of everything you bought at the time he came to the office have tripled. Yet the take-home pay of workers has not improved. Everything is bad and with all that, everything people are getting is being taken away by bandits, terrorists and all sorts of people.
“So his performance is woeful and that speech to me did not meet the standard expected.”
On the expectations of Nigerians in the next two years, Dr Pogu said, “We expect him to change the way he has been doing things. Do you know that just before the June 12 celebration, he made appointments and it was still the same old game, Northern Muslims and Northern Muslims? What kind of government is this when people are complaining about nepotism. And he claims that the people are the most competent. If they are the most competent why are we in this terrible situation?
“And then if the so-called selection and appointments that he claimed is based on performance which is nepotistic are not performing, he should change his attitude and bring in hands from across the country to get this country working again.
“He should take cognizance of quota system in the constitution which provides for equity fairness and justice.
“He should also stop breathing down the neck of Service Chiefs, he should give them free hands to do the job. Because I am convinced as a person that an officer appointed can do the job but if the Commander-in-Chief does not give you the wherewithal and free space to do the job, you cannot do it.
“So he should give the Service Chiefs the free hands to do the job because where the terrorists and bandits are located are known to them. Let them go and flush them out and let there be peace in the country.
“He should stop applying double standards in approaching issues. When Boko Haram started, they started by killing policemen and taking their guns. Nobody went after Borno or Yobe people because Boko Haram was killing Policemen and burning police stations and taking their guns. So the way he is treating the South East is improper.
“Because if IPOB says they are leaving Nigeria, Boko Haram on their part said they did not recognize the government. On that basis did the government move in and start killing Borno people?
“The then President Jonathan did not do that. We expect him to also do the right thing. You can go after the Eastern Security Network or IPOB if they are attacking government establishments and not dealing with everybody from the South East as if everybody is involved or are all liable.”