Despite scathing criticisms over ‘non-performance’ from some quarters, especially the opposition, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, said, giving the ‘battered economy’ handed over to him in 2015, the All Progressives Congress-led government has fared well. He also insisted that the nation would have gone far in development if it was not looted with ‘reckless abandon’ by those he described as wicked people.
The president was quoted by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, as stating this when he received in audience some members of the Buhari Diaspora Support Organisation, led by Mr. Charles Sylvester, in London. But the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party faulted is claim, saying the president should be honest to tell the world his administration’s true performance, rather than giving false indices. Receiving the group, however, Buhari noted that Nigeria was gifted with tremendous human and natural resources, regretting however that past leaders failed to capitalise on the nation’s resources to improve Nigerians’ lot.
He said, “failure of some of the leadership we had in the past led to our not being able to capitalise on resources to improve the lot of the people,” adding that “wicked people” plundered the country, “and kept Nigerians poor.” Buhari further described the damage done to the nation’s economy in the years of plunder as massive, assuring however that government was doing its best to recover some of the stolen funds. The president said: “If they had used 50 per cent of the money we made when oil prices went as high as $143 per barrel, and stabilised at $100 with production at 2.1 million barrels per day for many years, Nigerians would have minded their business. “You could almost grow food on our roads, as they were abandoned. The stealing was so much, and they were so inept that they could not even cover the stealing properly.
I wonder how all those things could have happened to our country.” He lauded the BDSO members for identifying with the country when they could have remained indifferent to happening in their home country, in their comfort zone abroad. “I am happy that people like you are here, on your own, defending the country. You have shown courage and sacrifi ce. I assure you that your confidence in us won’t be abused; we will do our best to justify it,” Buhari said. Earlier, Sylvester, according to the statement, had told the president that members of the group were happy with the achievements of the Buhari administration so far.
He said, “You met a difficult situation, but you have overcome most of them. We are happy with the agriculture revolution, the ease of doing business, the anti-corruption war, the employment of youths through the N-Power programme, and the blockage of leakages in the public sector through the Treasury Single Account. “We are proud of the speed with which you recovered the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls.
It shows you as a worthy General. We are happy that you have declared for 2019. Majority of Nigerians are happy, but agents of corruption and darkness are unhappy. “The same God, who healed you when you were ill, will grant you victory in the 2019 elections. You are a General who does not fear combat, either with Generals or non-Generals. “We declare our love and support for you. You are fixing the faulty foundations of our country and second term is when you will build the enduring structure.” Nigeria in depression –PDP But the opposition PDP has thrown the gauntlet at President Buhari to tell world leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), opening today, the true state of the country.
The party urged “President Buhari to resist the temptation of seeking to impress world leaders with false performance indices, but should present the real situation, particularly the pitiable state of our economy, escalated insecurity, human rights abuses, daily bloodletting, persecution of opposition and erosion of democratic values in the last three years.” The party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday, also said, “President Buhari should not forget to inform CHOGM that back home, there is a national indignation and general vote of no confidence against his administration for its abysmal performance and failure to fulfill the littlest in the long list of bogus promises they made during the 2015 Presidential campaign.”
The party said: “President Buhari should inform other world leaders that due to the harsh economic policies and gross incompetence of his administration, our once robust economy, internationally rated as one of the fasted growing in the world and one of the best investment destinations, collapsed in his hands and went into a recession; that infrastructure are collapsing and that all sectors of public and private lives are now in a shambles.
“He should not forget to tell the world that not only has he failed in his false promise to increase the value of naira from N1 to $1, his government has wrecked our currency from N160-N170 it met it in 2015 to a devastating N350-N400, with attendant horrible pressure on the economy. “Mr. President should not forget to inform CHOGM that under his administration, more than 16 million Nigerians became unemployed, 18 million more became underemployed while another 27.44 million refused to work in 2016 for various reasons not unrelated to frustration in the polity.
“Our dear President, who is already seeking re-election, should not forget to tell the world that due to his harsh policies, the middle-class has been wiped off , families are in distress; hunger, poverty and strange diseases are now ravaging our people to the extent that Nigerians, once considered the happiest people on earth, are now resorting to slavery and suicide as options.”
Continuing, Ologbondiyan also challenged Buhari to “tell the world that he has woefully failed in his much touted fight against corruption; that his administration is merely engaged in personal vendetta, direct persecution and media trial of opposition members, while known corrupt persons in the All Progressives Congress (APC) continue to enjoy offi cial cover of his Presidency. “He should not forget to confess that his administration has done nothing about the Presidency cabal involved in the alleged stealing of N9 trillion ($25 billion) in NNPC and billions of naira National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) intervention funds.”