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ASO ROCK WATCH: A worthy apology over fuel scarcity? Two other talking points



President Muhammadu Buhari, last week, tendered an apology to Nigerians over the raging fuel scarcity, and power outages in the country.

We tracked two other engaging stories that kept the Aso Rock Villa abuzz.

1. Worthy apology?

Buhari, in a statement issued, on March 16, by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said: “The administration knows the fuel shortage and power outage have placed a strain on Nigerian citizens and businesses, but relief is on the way. I especially apologise to all sections of society for this.

“The government is working round the clock to attend to this issue. An action plan agreed upon earlier this month is being implemented to address the scarcity.”

Mr. President’s apology was not totally unexpected. The rising tensions in the land had called for a responsible response, knowing that the level of citizens’ anger over adulterated petrol could snowball into a major security challenge.

But many have also asked to know if Buhari’s seeming act of grace makes sense in an environment where his administration has failed to demand accountability from those whose acts triggered the fuel crisis.

Perhaps, expecting a tidy response would have amounted to building castles in the air knowing that President Buhari himself sits astride the petroleum ministry as substantive minister.

Two other talking points

2. A presidency in harmony

On March 13, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo praised the cordial religious relationship he has with his principal, President Buhari.

Speaking while playing host to the Senegal-based Grand Khalifa of Tijjaniya Movement Worldwide, His Eminence, Sheikh Muhammadu Mahi Ibrahim Niass in Abuja, he said, among others, “The President has shown great leadership, he has shown that he wants a country where people of different faiths live in harmony and with love for one another.”

The image of a Nigerian presidency exuding harmony is certainly a soothing balm in a society where the country’s fault lines have become highly manifest, especially in terms of religious sentiments.

Read also: ASO ROCK WATCH: Buhari on APC’s house of commotion. Two other talking points

The Vice President, nevertheless, must come to terms with the fact that beyond the villa, there is a lot of work to be done to weave the country’s torn social fabrics together. This is as reports continue to reveal worsening intolerance between and among the various ethnic groups and religious divides.

3. Resurrecting Nigeria’s agriculture


Vice President Osinbajo, on March 15, noted that the agricultural ministry can boost the economic well-being of the country, if its stakeholders pay the needed attention to it.

A statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, quoted Osinbajo as saying: “Agriculture can be the solution to a lot of our IGR needs and a lot of our resource needs; it has been proven so many times that it is possible.”

Osinbajo’s reading of the place of agriculture in the economic fortunes of Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. At some point, it was the mainstay of the economy until the country put all of its hope in crude oil.

The fact that must be acknowledged, though, is that not much progress would be made in the area of agricultural development except the government tackles the festering challenge of banditry and criminality that have driven farmers away from their lands, and threatened food security.

Until then, Nigerians must brace for dwindling harvests and rising food prices. The government may do well to sit up or watch the contribution of agriculture to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) nosedive irretrievably.

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