Header Ads


Buhari’s 2019 second term: Why Obasanjo is not far from the Truth

                                                    By kog Ogbara

It has come to the fore that former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s advice to President Muhammadu Buhari to rescind his second term ambition in 2019 is a welcome development. 

This, no doubt was not unconnected with the poor performance of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ruling government led by President Buhari within the period of its inception till date.

Obasanjo’s advice to Buhari hinged on genuine facts that all well meaning and patriotic Nigerians must endorse to moving the nation forward.

Left is President Muhammadu Buhari and fermer President Olusegun Obasanjo 

  The Elder’s statesman accused the President of nepotism, having a poor understanding of politics and engaging in blame games rather than accepting responsibility for his failure.

According to him he worked against his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to help the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Buhari win the last presidential election. But, the situation that made Nigerians to vote massively for Buhari, he said, is playing itself out again.

His words: Obasanjo said: “The lice of poor performance in government – poverty, insecurity, poor economic management, nepotism, gross dereliction of duty, condoning of misdeed – If not outright encouragement of it; lack of progress and hope for the future, lack of national cohesion and poor management of internal political dynamics and widening inequality – are very much with us today.”

  “With such lice of general and specific poor performance and crying poverty with us, our fingers will not be dry of ‘blood’,” Obasanjo said.
The former President urged Buhari not to run for a second term, saying the President needs “a dignified dismount from the horse”.
  “Whatever may be the state of President Buhari’s health today, he should neither over-push his luck nor over-tax the patience and tolerance of Nigerians for him, no matter what his self-serving, so-called advisers, who would claim that they love him more than God loves him and that without him, there would be no Nigeria say.
  “President Buhari needs a dignified and honourable dismount from the horse. He needs to have time to reflect, refurbish physically and recoup and after appropriate rest, once again, join the stock of Nigerian leaders whose experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the side line for the good of the country.”
  Obasanjo said Buhari should consider taking a deserved rest, considering his age.
“His place in history is already assured.  Without impaired health and strain of age, running the affairs of Nigeria is a 25/7 affair, not 24/7…I only appeal to brother Buhari to consider a deserved rest at this point in time and at this age.  I continue to wish him robust health to enjoy his retirement from active public service.
  “President Buhari does not necessarily need to heed my advice.  But whether or not he heeds it, Nigeria needs to move on and move forward,” he said.
  Obasanjo criticised the APC government over what he called serious allegations of round-tripping against some “inner caucus” of the Presidency “which would seem to have been condoned”.
  “I wonder if such actions do not amount to corruption and financial crime, then what is it?  Culture of condonation (sic) and turning blind eye will cover up rather than clean up.  And going to justice must be with clean hands,” he said.
  He said while Buhari must be given “some credit” for his successes in his fight against corruption and insurgency, “it is not yet uhuru!”
  Obasanjo spanked some governors endorsing Buhari for second term on the day that victims of Benue State killings were buried.
  “The herdsmen/crop farmers issue is being wittingly or unwittingly allowed to turn sour and messy. It is no credit to the Federal Government that the herdsmen rampage continues with careless abandon and without finding an effective solution to it.
  “And it is a sad symptom of insensitivity and callousness that some governors, a day after 73 victims were being buried in a mass grave in Benue State without condolence, were jubilantly endorsing President Buhari for a second term!  The timing was most unfortunate.
  “The issue of herdsmen/crop farmers dichotomy should not be left on the political platform of blame game; the Federal Government must take the lead in bringing about solution that protects life and properties of herdsmen and crop farmers alike and for them to live amicably in the same community,” he said.
  The former President highlighted three areas he thinks Buhari has failed, including the reinstatement of former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina.
  “One is nepotic (sic) deployment bordering on clannishness and inability to bring discipline to bear on errant members of his nepotic court.  This has grave consequences on performance of his government to the detriment of the nation.  It would appear that national interest was being sacrificed on the altar of nepotic interest.
  “What does one make of a case like that of Maina: collusion, condonation, ineptitude, and incompetence, dereliction of responsibility or kinship and friendship on the part of those who should have taken visible and deterrent disciplinary action?  How many similar cases are buried, ignored or covered up and not yet in the glare of the media and the public?
  “The second is his poor understanding of the dynamics of internal politics.  This has led to wittingly or unwittingly making the nation more divided and inequality has widened and become more pronounced.  It also has effect on general national security.
   The aforesaid are the critical issues contained in the former President Obasanjo’s advice to Buhari.
  But, taking a critical look on the present state of the nation is Obasanjo not saying the truth? What do you think a man in office for three years and has not done anything can do in future to ameliorate the current sufferings pose to Nigerians.
  It is manifesting to note that the “change” All Progressive Congress (APC) had proclaimed during last year’s electioneering campaigns was a ploy to make life unbearable for Nigerians.

   President Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential standard bearer of APC was sworn in on May 29, 2015. Buhari, before this time had been a governor, minister, military head of state among other vital positions of trust he held in a country of  over 250 ethnic nationalities that constituted Nigeria.

   The expectation that Buhari’s administration will bring hope and better life for Nigerians is seemingly deteriorating as his aide equally admitted the failure of the administration.

Nigerians now, under Buhari’s APC led administration are in distress, posed with hunger, poverty, terrorism, high cost of living and all forms of social ills.

  A media report last credited to a Minister has apologized to Nigerians over the poor power situation the country has been witnessing under Buhari’s led administration.

   This is added to the fuel scarcity in the country as the administration may have lost focus.

Nigerians expects that Buhari’s having been in Government for decades after overthrowing Alhaji Shehu Shagari’s administration in 1983 thought, he has the experience to lead Nigeria to paradise but the reverse is the case.

   It would be recalled that on inception to office, Buhari alone had rule the country for several months without his statutory cabinet ministers constituted.

   But, after constituted his cabinet and proclaimed himself Petroleum Minister, there is nothing happening for good in the country. The fuel price is increasing at alarming rate. A situation most critics and political analyst described Buhari as having nothing to offer.

   Buhari’s electioneering promises bothered on three point’s agenda, anti-corruption, fight against terrorism and improvement of the economy. But it appears that the administration since inauguration, going to three years now has not offered anything that Nigerians will recognized as an achievements in his administration.

   The administration lacks focus trying to use media propaganda to cover up its failure. Democratically elected government is different from military government as some people observed that Buhari may  have lost focus and may have lose direction taking into consideration the unbearable pains Nigerians are passing through under his administration without genuine solutions.

   Buhari’s administration should chart a course of change that would make the country realize its potentials. The present predicaments facing the citizens of the country are a clear manifestation of his inability to lead the country and no patriotic and God fearing Nigerian will blame former President Obasanjo for his advice.

   The anti-corruption battle he is embarking upon should not be selective but it should start from 31st of December, 1983 to date.

On the administration complain of no enough money, Nigerians observed that there is enough money in the country but blamed the present scenario to the inexperience of our leaders at the helms of affairs. According to political and social critics, the same economy Buhari’s administration is facing is what former President Jonathan use in managing the affairs of the Country.

   The people urged Buhari to appoint experience Ministers who can manage the economy of the country for the betterment of all. The likes of Okonjo Iweala as a technocrat has managed the economy well despite the dwindling oil revenue, and Nigerians did not complain of hunger and much poverty under former President Jonathan’s era.

   The critics warned that Nigeria may be heading to verge of collapse, saying, corrupt politicians refused to allow people with experience and sound characters to lead the country. Nigerians according to them must be committed, dedicated and discipline, affirming that there is nothing absolutely wrong with the country, except the leadership.  

   The economy is in doldrums, the health and education sectors are in disarray. Electricity supply is still epileptic while industrialization is at point of zero. The Nations infrastructures are dilapidated. Nigeria depends solely on import for her major food needs, while agriculture which was the backbone of our economy at independence has been neglected and abandoned waiting only revenue from the oil rich Niger Delta.

Corruption is rife in the land and our justice system has been compromised. The nation is bogged down by ethnicism, religious fanaticism and other ills that emphasize our differences instead those things that can unite us.

   The Nation needs an assertive and courageous leader that is sincere and God fearing who will treat every Nigerian equal devoid of sentiments and tribalism. Let President Buhari be decisive and responsive in tackling the Nations myriad of problems.

History beckons on him to rise to the occasion before we perish in hunger, poverty and misery.

Nevertheless, President Buhari in his reply to Obasanjo’s advice had said through Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and National Orientation who responded in a seven-page statement released on Wednesday.

The response read Thus:-
We have read the press statement by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the State of the Nation.
   For the record, Chief Obasanjo is a patriot, and he has proven this time and time again. We appreciate what he said concerning the Administration’s performance in two out of the three key issues that formed the plank of its campaign: Fighting corruption and tackling
insurgency. Specifically, the former President said President Buhari must be given credit for his achievement so far in these two areas. We
thank him for this.
   Apparently, the former President believes that the Administration does not deserve a pass mark in the area of the economy, which is the third of our three-pronged campaign promises.
We have no doubt that in the face of massive challenges in this area, this Administration has availed itself creditably. We believe that Chief Obasanjo, because of his very busy schedule, may not have been fully availed of developments in the government’s efforts to revamp the economy, which was battered by the consequences of over-dependence on a commodity as well as unprecedented pillaging of the treasury.
   Today, most of the indices by which an economy is measured are looking up. Permit me to say, however, that Nigeria would not have exited recession through a mere order or if the Administration had not made use of ”good Nigerians” who could help.
   This Administration is making steady progress in its determined effort to revamp the economy, and the results are showing:
* Foreign Reserves have peaked at $40b, the highest level in about four years, and up from $24 billion just a year ago, even though when we came in, the price of oil had crashed woefully.

   * According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBC), headline inflation has fallen for 11 consecutive months, standing at 15.37% as at Dec. 2017. This is the lowest inflation rate since Jan 2017, and it has met and surpassed the target set for inflation in the Administration’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
   * Our determined implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) has stopped the haemorrhaging of the treasury. Some 108 billion Naira has been saved from removal of maintenance fees payable to banks, pre-TSA. The nation is being saved 24.7 billion Naira monthly with the full implementation of the TSA.
  * The elimination of ghost workers has saved the nation 120 billion Naira
    * At about 1.8 billion dollars, the capital inflows in the second quarter of 2017 were almost double the $908 million in the first
   * In the wake of a stable Naira and increased investment inflows, Nigeria’s stock market emerged one of the best-performing in the world, delivering returns in excess of 40 percent.
  * Nigeria rose 24 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking, and earned a place on the List of Top 10 Reformers in the world.
  * According to Q3 2017 figures, agriculture export is up year-on-year by 25%, solid minerals exports are up year-on-year by 78%, raw materials exports are up 70% year-on-year and manufactured goods exports are up 22% year-on-year.
  * Government agencies such as the Nigeria Customs Service are reporting highest-ever revenue collection, while JAMB, under the new management appointed by President Buhari in 2016, remitted N7.8 billion to the coffers of the federal government. The total amount remitted by JAMB between 2010 and 2016 was a paltry N51 million!
   These positive indices may not have immediately impacted positively on Nigerians, but Nigerians will definitely get a new lease of life a short while from now. This is because the good news from the agricultural sector, which is recording a bumper harvest, will bring down the cost of foodstuffs, especially such staple as rice, and our massive Social Investment Programme will ease the pain of the most vulnerable in the society.
   When we assumed office in 2015, some 6 million farmers were involved in rice production. Thanks to the Anchor Borrowers’ programme of this Administration, we have grown that number to over 12 million farmers. The result is that our rice import from Thailand alone has dropped from 644,000 metric tonnes to 22,000 MT in just two years. This is phenomenal.
   Apart from rice, Nigeria is also doing well in other grains, especially Millet, Sorghum and Maize. We are now the second largest
producer of sorghum after the US, the third in millet after India and our breweries are now enjoying local sourcing of those commodities.
  For maize, we are producing 10 million tons while we need about 13 million tons for both human and animal nutrition. Nigeria leads the world in the yam and cassava production. We account for 70% of the world’s yam production. In two years, we hope to be the world’s
largest exporter of yam! Overall, our ambition is that agriculture should rise from 25% to 40% of GDP, so that we can banish poverty and
overcome our economic anxiety.
   Our Social Investment Programme is Nigeria’s most ambitious social welfare programme ever. Currently, 5.2 million primary school children
in 28,249 schools in 19 states are being fed daily; 200,000 unemployed graduates have enlisted into the N-power Job Scheme, and a quarter of a million loans already distributed to artisans, traders, and farmers.
   Finally, our investment in infrastructure is simply unprecedented. This is because infrastructure is key to faster economic growth and development.
Here is a synopsis of what we have done in this area:
  * Power Generation at an all-time high of 7,000mw and all can be transmitted
* RAIL: Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge is on. Lagos-Ibadan sector ready 2019, Kano-Kaduna ready 2019; The entire stretch ready 2021; Negotiations on for Coastal Rail covering 15 cities from Lagos to Calabar.
   * ROAD: 25 major highways being funded with the N100b Sukuk Bond, and all geo-political zones are benefitting equally
  This Administration is not unaware of the enormity of the challenges facing the nation, but we are up to the task. We have taken the bull by the horns, and long-suffering Nigerians will begin to experience a new lease of life as our efforts yield fruits. We will not go into a state of funk for whatever reason.
   On the Herders/Farmers’ clashes, this Administration is determined to end the crisis resulting from this once and for all, not minding the fact that the clashes predate us. we urge Nigerians to have faith in the Administration’s ability to resolve the crisis, and to watch out for concrete measures in this regard.
   On whether or not President Muhammadu Buhari should run for another term, it is true that many Nigerians have been calling on the President to run again, while others are opposed to his return. However, we believe this issue is a distraction for the President at this time. This is because Mr. President spends every waking hour tackling the enormous challenges facing the nation, most of which were bequeathed to his Administration by successive past Administrations.        He is committed to fulfilling the mandate given to him by Nigerians in 2015. And that’s where we are right now!
   Finally, we have no reason to believe that former President Obasanjo has any motive beyond the well-being of the nation in issuing his Special Press Statement. We have also taken his admonition in good faith, and we thank him most sincerely for taking time off his busy schedule to pen such a long statement.
   So, the ruling government has replied Chief Obasanjo. It is a fact to know that Buhari like any other Nigerians has right to contest for a second tenure. But he should strive hard to address the current predicaments facing Nigerians before 2019. Nigerians should not be rule by propaganda that ushers in the incumbent administration.






No comments