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•CDD to Mr. President: Facts on ground won’t let you boast of distinction in performance

•Wait for the people’s verdict, CHRICED tells Buhari

By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja

ATTEMPTING last Tuesday to sweep under the  carpet the widespread dissatisfaction of Nigerians with his government, President Muhammadu Buhari instead appeared to beam the searchlight on what many analysts describe as his “unfulfilled promises.”

By declaring in Owerri, Imo stated that he was putting in his best, but had not received enough credit for his administrative achievements, the President signposted a public perception of insensitivity to the plights of the people.

Across the country, the verdict among civil society groups concerning the performance of the government is that the tempo of President Buhari’s best efforts can be increased a triple fold.

For the opposition politicians and political parties, the time is preeminently right to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly as the nation warms up for the general elections in 2023.

Meanwhile, in Owerri during a stakeholders’ meeting at the Imo State Government House after inaugurating the Owerri-Orlu Road, phase one of the Owerri-Okigwe Road and the state House of Assembly complex rebuilt by Governor Hope Uzodimma, the President extolled his administration for dislodging Boko Haram terrorists in the North East and tackling infrastructural decay which he said were inherited from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in 2015.

 According to Buhari, his government was able to achieve much despite the scarce resources at his disposal.

 “This administration has done extremely well. I had to say it because those who are supposed to say it are not doing so. I don’t know why,” the President injected into his remarks.

This additional comment by President Buhari on Tuesday went sensational among public affairs analysts who interrogated his fairness towards his media aides and the spokesman of the Federal Government and Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, all of whom have become infamous for their many attempts to whitewash the administration before the public.

While some Nigerians including Reuben Abati, a Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Goodluck Jonathan between the years 2011 and 2015, feel that Buhari did not speak with absolute accuracy and was actually unfair to his media men, others have excused the President, saying his aides, flatterers and influence seekers have cocooned him from the grim reality of the people, causing him to have consistently viewed the landscape with rose-tinted glasses.

Facts on the ground won’t allow you to boast of distinction in performance —CDD

But the real circumstances of the people across the country indicate that the society has become crime-infested; kidnapping has become the country’s fastest growing and most profitable business; banditry has grown also and armed gangs hold sway in parts of many cities across the country.

Also, corruption is rampant in government establishments at mind-boggling levels, and poverty is on the rise at unprecedented speed.

Just this Thursday, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report released by the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that Nigeria’s inflation rate reached a 20.5 per cent mark in August 2022, the highest since 2005, reflecting the rising cost of living crisis facing Nigerian families and firms.

According to Idayat Hassan, the Executive Director of a think tank group, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), the current government’s policies, strategies and tactics for combating insecurity, fighting corruption and reversing the nation’s economic woes have been notable failures.

She told Saturday Vanguard, “As a pro-democracy think tank, which comments on public policy on the basis of in-depth research, we are constrained to admonish the President to speak on the basis of data.

“There are many aspects of governance, so the President’s statement that he has performed well and should be praised does not appear to make any reference to a specific governance issue.

“Is he referring to his promise to fight corruption, deal decisively with insecurity and revamp the economy? If those are the specific scores he is referring to, then the reality on the ground is clearly at variance with the self-adulatory position, that he has decided to project.

“Let’s begin from security; as we speak, swathes of Nigerian territory are under the control of terrorists, bandits and criminals of all sorts. Scores of citizens in the den of armed gangs have not been rescued.

“In fact, the insecurity ravaging the country has become so bad that doubts abound about the possibility of conducting the 2023 elections in those places. With these realities, will the President continue to make the claim that he has performed?”

Idayat Hassan said on fighting corruption and revamping the economy, the President, based on the facts on the ground, cannot boast of any distinction in his performance.

According to her, “There are more Nigerians who have slipped under the poverty line, just as the prices of basic goods and services have skyrocketed.

“Added to this is the fact that the President’s promise at the time he won his first election in 2015, to kill corruption before it kills Nigeria, has not been fulfilled.

“Corruption remains rampant and continues to be perpetrated at a mind-boggling level under the current government. These, as far as, we are concerned do not point to the kind of outcomes in a government that has performed.

“Although there have been some gains in infrastructure under this government, those gains have been blighted by the insecurity and the issues in the economy, which have not been addressed,” the CDD Executive Director added.

Wait for the people’s verdict, CHRICED tells Buhari

To be fair, President Buhari inherited a country in bad shape. His predecessor left behind an economy in tatters due to massive corruption considered by many as “sleazy lootocrcacy” and The Economist (magazine) of London described as “industrial scale corruption.’’

It is also true that the Jonathan government left large swathes of territory in the hands of Boko Haram even while voting an average N1 trillion annually for security and his men heartily emptied the treasury on the pretext of fighting the Abubakar Shekau and his terror squad in the Northeast.

But observers say that the seven and half years down the line after he was elected on the platform of change, the All Progressives Congress (APC) government has dwarfed the alleged clueless and ineptitude of the Jonathan era.

Reacting also to President Buhari’s statement on his performance in office, the Executive Director at Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED), Comrade Dr. Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi, said it is strange that the administration appears to be more concerned about the singing of its own praises rather than finding ways to make best use of its remaining days to better the lives of the people.

Speaking with Saturday Vanguard in Abuja, Zikirullahi said, “CHRICED is bemused about the statement of the President that he has performed well, and that those who are supposed to market his achievements have not been doing so.

“At a time millions of Nigerians are groaning in pains over the economic hardship in the land, and the threat of insecurity ravaging the country, we expect the President to be busy finding solutions to these problems.

“It is strange that instead of using what is left of his tenure to think of how to help citizens under economic and security siege across the country, the President is more interested in singing his own praises.

“If he has indeed performed as he has claimed, it is the Nigerian people who would be trumpeting those achievements to the world. Nigerians are generous and effusive with their praise, if they see the slightest sign of performance or good governance.

“The President should therefore hold his horses and wait for the verdict of the Nigerian people on his tenure. In fact, the general elections next year present an opportunity for the Nigerian electorate to use as referendum on the performance of the President Buhari and his party.”

Serious leaders plan and see to its implementation, NNPP carpets Buhari govt

For opposition politicians and political parties in the country, democracy has no room for a leader that is seen as detached from the people.

They say Nigerians should constantly hold leaders at all levels more accountable, stressing that it is the basis of civic political culture without which democracy can hardly thrive.

In the face of the current decline of the people’s living standards, the political parties which have fielded candidates for the 2023 general elections are maintaining that managing the economy requires a more hands-on approach for it to start functioning properly.

Appalled by the President’s self-nod at his performance in office, the National Publicity Secretary of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, Dr Agbo Major, noted that serious leaders plan and see to its implementation.

“Instead of articulating, formulating and implementing people-oriented policies,  and execute projects that will alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians amidst unprecedented insecurity, President Muhammadu Buhari dissipates energy looking for people to whitewash his clueless government, the worst in the history of Nigeria.

“Buhari’s outburst shows that he is insensitive to the plights of fellow compatriots pauperized and disillusioned by the failure of his outgoing government to provide dividends of democracy to the populace in tandem with Section 14 (2)b of the 1999 Constitution which states that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.

“His assumed achievements in office are mere hallucinations and delusions of grandeur that fly in the face of reality.

“The truth is that our country is bleeding from severe wounds inflicted on her as a result of gross incompetence of his government.

“No right thinking citizen will trumpet a government that lacks understanding of how to govern a multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-ethnic country like our own, no matter how much money he or she is paid or coerced by agents of government to do so.

“The Buhari government is an affliction on the good people of Nigeria who now desire and actually deserve a new deal in a new Nigeria which only the New Nigeria People’s Party can provide in 2023.

“The party urges the electorate to vote for all NNPP candidates in all elections. This is the only way Nigeria will be rescued and the ship of the nation redirected to the path of rectitude, progress, development and advancement. Together, we shall rebuild our beloved country and make it great again,” Major told Saturday Vanguard.

In all, the ordinary citizens of the country want their President to leave a lasting imprint by pulling Nigeria back from the brink of self-destruction and put it on the path of modernisation.

As a matter of urgency, he should quit the self-praise and initiate good governance processes that will propel Nigeria into a politically stable, socially just and economically viable federation. “We cannot just continue like this,” the people cry.

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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.