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December 15, 2022

Buhari: I’ve done my best; Ohanaeze, Afenifere, PANDEF others differ

Old Naira Notes

By Anayo Okoli, Regional Editor, South-East, Clifford Ndujihe, Dapo Akinrefon, Levinus Nwabughiogu, Omeiza Ajayi, John Alechenu, Peter Duru & Davies Ihemnachor, LAGOS

The polity was awash with cheers and jeers, yesterday, over President Muhammadu Buhari’s remarks that he had done his best for Nigeria since he came to power on May 29, 2015.

President Buhari, who spoke in Washington DC, USA while meeting with Al-Mahfoudh Bin Bayyah, Secretary-General of the Abu Dhabi Forum, and Bob Roberts, his deputy, said solving the problems affecting youths was the priority of his government because they were the country’s promise for a better future.

According to a statement by Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, Buhari said: “We are big in size and population, facing many challenges, but in many areas, we are trying. In seven-and-a-half years, I have done my best.”

The president also noted the need to raise a generation of youths devoid of religious extremism and bigotry, and urged the Abu Dhabi Forum to continue to target the young people “who are the promise of the future.”

He continued: “Your work is very important in helping, especially the youth, to understand one another and at the same time, to be proud of their heritage. This great initiative by you will help future generations to plan well and live together in peace. On our part, we will continue to solve our problems, especially as they relate to the youths.”

On his part, Bin Bayyah said the visit was to invite Buhari to attend an award conferment on him in recognition of his achievements in promoting peace and security.

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He said the conferment is in line with the foundation’s work in fighting religious extremism, promoting peaceful coexistence and dialogue among all religions.

Cheers, jeers

Buhari’s remarks elicited mixed reactions in the polity with some hailing him, and others saying his best was not good enough for the world’s largest black nation.

Buhari has done well — APC Campaign

The Presidential Campaign Council PCC of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, aligned itself with President Buhari’s declaration that he has done his best for Nigeria since he assumed office in 2015.

Minister of State, Labour and Employment and Chief Spokesperson of the APC PCC, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, in a telephone interview with Vanguard said the president took over the affairs of the country at a very difficult time.

Keyamo said: “Since 2015 when the president came on board, and the fact that he took over the country at a time when no less a person than Okonjo-Iweala, the Finance Minister under President Goodluck Jonathan had told the world and predicted that we were heading for a recession, that was when President Buhari took over the economy.

“With that recession, subsequent recession, and the pandemic that came, with the global shut-down, with the negative figures we got sometimes from the sale of oil — at a point, oil dropped down to minus zero and we couldn’t sell oil at all. With all of those challenges and the fact that he has been able to steer the country to this point where our indicators are still better than many countries in the world, I can say that the president is correct to say he has done his best for Nigeria.

“He will leave Nigeria a better place than it ordinarily would have been if he had not carefully handled the economy of this country.”

Your best not good enough – SDP, ADC

However, the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Prince Adewole Adebayo had said in a one-sentence response to Buhari’s claim, “His best is not good enough.”

Speaking in like manner, the presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress, ADC, Mr Kachikwu Dumebi, said: “Buhari, your best is not good enough. This is what most Nigerians think about the president’s performance in office. Our nation under this president has failed in all developmental indices but yet our president and his handlers continue to beat their chests about invisible achievements. The president still has an opportunity to redeem his image, and that is if he resigns today.”

You failed, Nigerians worse off — MBF

The Middle Belt Forum, MBF, tackled President Buhari for claiming that he had done his best for Nigerians, saying his administration had failed and left Nigerians worse off.

National President of MBF, Dr Bitrus Pogu, described the claim by the President as nothing but image- laundering in a foreign land.

Pogu said: “The statement from President Buhari was a self-assessment. Of course, nobody will say anything negative about himself. But we are Nigerians and we know that his performance has been below average.

“Whether you talk of the economy or security, which was the main issue in his campaign when he came into power, and other indices, you will know that he has failed and left Nigerians worse off.

“When you talk of the economy, recall that when he came in 2015, the US dollar was exchanging for about N197 but today in the open market, it is exchanging for almost N800. Prices of goods and services have gone beyond the imagination of anybody. There is so much poverty and you can see poverty on the faces of the majority of Nigerians. Insecurity has grown from Boko Haram in the North- East to nationwide killings, kidnappings for ransom and all of that.

“If you talk of infrastructural development, there is nothing to celebrate. You cannot say, yes this is an achievement that he can talk about. So, I think he just wanted to launder his image but I believe the Embassies of foreign countries are here in Nigeria and they know the truth about what Nigerians have been going through in seven-and-a-half years. And we Nigerians also know the truth.

“So, looking at these indices, what the president has said is far from what obtains in this country. It is better for Mr President to accept that he has failed in so many areas but that he would do his best to right some of the wrongs before he leaves office. I think that would have been a better thing to say than to say that he has done his best.”

Buhari’s best is abysmal failure — PANDEF

The Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, on its part, said that President Buhari’s claim that he had done his best for Nigeria was unfortunate, adding that the president’s best was a total failure.

PANDEF National Publicity Secretary, Mr Ken Robinson, in a chat with Vanguard, said: “Perhaps, Buhari has another definition for best. But if the definition of Buhari is the definition known by all as ‘best,’ then Buhari’s best is an abysmal failure.

“Buhari has degraded the country in all spheres from where it was to lower realms in terms of our ratings as one of the fastest growing economies now to the headquarters of poverty in the world.

“As we speak,  the South-South has relatively become the safest place in the country because there are issues in the South-East, North-East, North-West, and even the North-Central that was a safe haven.

“When Buhari speaks that he has done his best for Nigeria, obviously, his best is poor and not good enough. It also could be that he is not in touch with the reality on ground and he speaks from the position of what he is told, because, perhaps he is unaware of what is really happening in the country.

“The economy is in its worst state, the country’s unity and cohesion are at their lowest level because the country has not been this divided. The feelings of disaffection, exclusion and alienation are at their peak.

“It is unfortunate that the president will be making this kind of statement and it is obviously insensitive to the reality on the ground and it is an insult to the sufferings and pains that Nigerians are going through.”

Buhari’s best has left Nigeria worse than he met it — Labour Party

Labour Party Presidential Campaign, has described President Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration that he has done his best for Nigeria as unfortunate.

Chief Spokesperson of the Presidential Campaign Council of the Labour Party, Dr. Yunusa Tanko, said this in a telephone interview with Vanguard, in Abuja, yesterday.

Tanko said: “It is quite unfortunate. I say so because his best has left Nigeria and Nigerians the worst for it.

“Today, President Buhari’s best has made Nigeria an object of pity among the comity of nations.

“We are not the worst in terms of God’s blessings in mineral deposits but we have been certified as the world’s poverty capital with 163 million of us out of about 200 million people living in abject poverty.

“Buhari’s best has turned Nigerians into one, if not the most dangerous nation to live in because of insecurity.

“Life for most Nigerians today is, as they say, ‘miserable, brutish and short’ because of the insecurity, which has become almost a norm.

“Our farmers are being denied access to their farms by bandits, terrorists and other non-state actors live off ransoms forced out of innocent citizens in rural communities.

“President Buhari’s best has elevated corruption to the level of statecraft with cases of corruption in government agencies treated with kid gloves.”

Tanko noted that the glaring failure of the President and his ruling All Progressives Congress to deliver was the reason behind the clarion call by patriotic Nigerians for Peter Obi, to lead the charge of Nigerians taking back their country come 2023.

It’s unfortunate this is Buhari’sbest for Nigerians — Ohanaeze

Ohanaeze Ndigbo said from Buhari’s self-assessment, it was now clear that both Nigerians and the international community overrated him ahead of his election in 2015.

The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation said from indications, Nigeria did not fare better under Buhari.

According to the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Dr Chiedozie Ogbonnia, “Evidently, this is the best President Buhari has to offer this nation. Since 2015, if Nigerians had known that this is the best he could offer Nigerians, nobody would have voted for him.

“Nobody expected what is happening in Nigeria today. The economy is so bad; insecurity is something else; ethnicity has been promoted; nepotism has been the order of the day; and every other thing that characterises poor states and backwardness of a state.

“In fact, there is evidence of fragility in all respects in Nigeria today. There are all indicators of fragile states in Nigeria and this is the best he can offer to Nigerians.”

It’s an honest admission of failure — Afenifere

In its reaction, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, described the president’s comments as an honest admission of failure.

Afenifere’s Secretary, Mr Sola Ebiseni, said: “The declaration by the President that he has done his best for Nigeria is an honest admission of failure, which he pitifully attributed to the fact that “we are big in size and population” as if that was beyond his knowledge, even as a former head of state.

“The truth is that Buhari might have meant well for Nigeria but the conflict of his parochial mindset with the philosophy of statesmanship demanded of the office he was elected into is the bane of his uneventful administration.

“The relevance of the UN and quality of its judgment is called to question when it called upon President Buhari to be conferred with an award for his contribution to peace and security, the areas of the most abysmal score of his government.

“It is also laughable that the president chose a foreign land to pontificate on the need to raise a generation of youths devoid of religious extremism and bigotry when his government, from the beginning, pampered sectarianism and bigotry invariably blossoming into full-grown terrorism, which the Federal Government still romanticizes as banditry.

“Buhari will go down in history as the leader who most divided this country. 

The courage now admirably put into the new monetary policy with respect to the currency notes is what the President requires to allow State Police with requisite weapons in aid of the nation’s internal security.

“But we all know why he wouldn’t take such steps. Let’s hope he delivers to Nigerians free and credible elections devoid of rigging and votes buying, then he wouldn’t need to personally mark his own script and award marks as he has just done.”

President should apologize for putting people through pain – Rep Maren

For Mr. Solomon Maren, who represents Mangu/Bokkos Federal Constituency of Plateau State, President Buhari had no agenda if what he had done so far was his best.

“If this is his best, then, he actually didn’t have an agenda for the country. Everyone will think that a man who contested three times and won on the fourth should have been more strategic and pragmatic For him to say this is his best, it is unfortunate and the talakawas of this country, who contributed money for him must have done so in ignorance and must be feeling betrayed. Rather than saying it’s his best, he should apologise for the way he ran the country and the hardship he has put on the people and the country because this is not the first. Even as military President, the country went through the same,” he said.

He can redeem himself by conducting credible polls – Ogun

Also, Mr. Sergius Ogun, who represents Esan North-East/Esan South-East Federal Constituency of Edo State, said President Buhari’s comment confirmed the position of those who had been criticising him in the last seven years, adding: “The only opportunity he has to redeem himself is to ensure that there is a credible election in 2023 as he has promised.”

Vanguard News Nigeria