In continuation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential and gubernatorial campaign rallies, President Muhammadu Buhari, in Bauchi, for the umpteenth time, restated what can be termed as the truthfully obvious.
The President said that he has served Nigeria and Nigerians to the best of his ability. Additionally, he said that he has not disappointed anyone.
The President said this during his courtesy call on the Emir of Bauchi, His Royal Highness (Dr) Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu before he headed for the APC rally.
Of course, it can be sensibly argued that in the last seven-and-half years, when Buhari took the oath of office as President, he promised to serve Nigeria and he did and continue to do so in all spheres of our national life.
After he concluded his first four years tenure, Nigerians, in a show of confidence, massively renewed his term for another four years, which shall lapse this year.
Under Buhari, Nigeria has seen the most ambitious legislative programme in its history. Several landmark bills have been passed or amended in the last seven years, including the following: Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2022, Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022, which repeals the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended, and provides a comprehensive legal and Institutional Framework for the prevention and prohibition of money laundering in Nigeria, while also conferring on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the legal status of the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering; Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022, which repeals the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 as amended in 2013, and provides for the effective implementation of international instruments on the prevention and combating of terrorism and suppression of the financing of terrorism; and the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Bill, 2022, which makes comprehensive provisions for the seizure, confiscation, forfeiture, and management of properties derived from unlawful activity.
As with legislative reform, Nigeria is also seeing, under the President’s watch, the biggest and most ambitious federal infrastructure programme since its independence.
The Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria (InfraCorp) was established by the President in February 2021 “to catalyse and accelerate investment into Nigeria’s infrastructure sector by originating, structuring, executing and managing end-to-end bankable projects in that space.”
In addition to the N1 trillion equity seed capital, InfraCorp is expected to mobilise up to an additional N14 trillion of debt capital for the building of rail lines, roads, airports and many more.
The recovery of the economy remained on a steady path throughout the reign of the present administration. The Nigerian economy was hit by the pandemic in mid-2020 and the economic disruptions led to a recession. The poor performance of the economy during the COVID-19 era affected output growth, trade, household welfare and livelihood.
However, this led to a quick response by the federal government with the rolling out of effective fiscal and monetary policies as well as health-related policies to curb the spread of the pandemic and mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic on the economy.
This initiative has yielded considerable results and our economy was not badly so affected like the economies of many other countries.
Undoubtedly one of the greatest achievements of the administration was recorded in the oil and gas industry, a sector very critical to the nation’s economic well-being. The passage and signing into law of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) is a landmark achievement.
Many have described it as the most profound event in the Nigerian oil and gas space in the last 20 years. The PIA is envisaged to foster investment in the industry and delineate responsibilities to the various institutions.
Its key objectives are to establish a commercialised national oil company – NNPC Limited – and entrench accountability and good governance.
Gratefully, in his welcome address, the Emir of Bauchi thanked the President for the landmark developments. He, specifically, praised the President for the recent commencement of oil drilling in Bauchi state, saying that the project will remain a legacy of Buhari.
He said that Buhari’s determination initiatives and accomplishments in governance are inspirations “to all right-thinking people across the country.” And that is what they are, truly.
Accolades for the President from Mauritania
Watching, keenly, and listening attentively, on that day and on that occasion, I felt, to say the least, very proud as a Nigerian and of who my country’s President is when I heard these words: “You’ll remain an icon even out of office.”
The words were uttered by Shaykh Abdullah Bin Bayyah of Abu Dhabi when he welcomed President Muhammadu Buhari in Nouakchott, the capital city of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.
These are the kinds of words we all want to hear about our leader who, of course, did not disappoint when he delivered his speech.
President Buhari touched on an area that affects mostly underdeveloped countries – bad governance and lack of inclusion. He urged leaders to place a premium on youth development and the promotion of skills acquisitions to fight the lack of jobs and create employment.
Speaking at the African Conference for Peace, 2023, the President said idleness among youths and non-inclusion of youths in issues that shape their future portend danger and, often, result in religious fundamentalism and extremism.
Of course, all of us present there were happy when the shaykh honoured Buhari at the Abu Dhabi Peace Forum with the “Award for Strengthening Peace in Africa,” and when the President highlighted the need to inculcate values and principles of tolerance and peace in educational institutions and, particularly, among the youths, I felt happy because of the roles played by youths in Nigeria.
“African leaders and decision-makers should ensure that democratic principles and good governance form the basis for management of affairs in every country in Africa, noting that peace, security and good governance are inseparable,” the President said.
“There is a need also for African stakeholders, that is, the government, private sector and the Civil Society Organisations, to make concerted efforts to support existing mechanisms and initiatives to build strong and virile institutions that effectively support good governance which, inter alia, lead to the development and progress of our countries and continent.”
In my view, the youth force, if well exploited, can serve as a transformative and empowering force capable of showing ways of bringing Africa and the rest of the world closer in a win-win partnership, improving youth welfare and revitalising communities.
As President Buhari has suggested, no nation could develop when a large percentage of its youth population is idle and ineffective.
The youths, in any society, are the engine of growth and development because they provide the labour force for the production of goods and services to take effect. They are also critical stakeholders, whose actions and inaction can develop or destroy the fabric of our society.
Given their strategic roles, the youths have the greater responsibility to promote peace, security, stability and national unity through their active involvement in the electoral process. They are there to build bridges of understanding across ethnic groups, political affiliations and religious divides.
Of course, the President paid a glowing tribute to the relentless drive and courage of His Excellency Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah and commended him for his initiative to combat extremism and violence.
According to the President, if leaders commit themselves in the right direction with strong political will, Africa would be better for it.
Earlier, Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah said that the 2023 conference aims to deconstruct the religious basis of extremist speeches and to limit violence based on religious arguments.
“We want to raise awareness among African elites, spiritual elites and the youth, of the absolute priority that must be given to peace and the need to implement concrete actions to promote and entrench it,” he said.
“The promotion of peace is the only possible way to guarantee access to prosperity and economic and social development.”
In the end, as a visitor to and watcher of how events unfolded in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, I will say that the conference was hugely successful and my visit to the country was an excellent one. I liked it because the environment was friendly and there were lots of people from other countries around day and night. The nationals are amiable and welcoming and always smiled when they treated the guests.
Besides, the food there was delicious. I had a chance to taste the traditional meals of the country and I was pleased with all the dishes there.
Above all, the personality and accomplishments of President Buhari as a revered leader in the African continent and, indeed, the world, have made each and everyone one of us in his delegation very proud of where we come from at this material point in time.