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Aso Rock Watch

ASO ROCK WATCH: Buhari’s doubtful claims on insecurity. Two other talking points



Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari argued that insecurity in the country was not getting worse.

We tracked two other stories from the seat of power, Aso Rock Villa, within the week under review.

1. Doubtful claims on insecurity

On November 2, President Muhammadu Buhari asserted that insecurity in the country was under control, and not on the rise.

Buhari stated this while speaking at the opening ceremony of a 3-day strategic communication conference for State Commandant and Public Relations Officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in Abuja.

Represented by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, at the conference, he said: “Our security agencies have a firm grip and control of the security situation in the country. I oppose the word rising security in the country, it is not rising, it is under control and it will further be under control till it is completely checked.”

The strenuous attempt to defend Buhari’s performance in the area of protection of lives and property is well understood. The challenge has not only led to an increasing loss of trust in the leadership of the country but a dip in investor confidence.

Try as hard as Adesina may, it is doubtful his efforts would create a change in public perception, with the mass of Nigerians unable to traverse the length and breath of the country in peace.

The truth the Buhari administration must live with is that any objective evaluation of the country’s security situation can only come from the lenses of common Nigerians, particularly those in the North who have been battered by insurgency, bandits, and killer herdsmen.

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Two other talking points

2. Ensuring credible 2023 polls

INEC insists only police have a legitimate function on election day

President Buhari, on October 31, tasked the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to remain apolitical, and perfect operations that would guarantee that the forthcoming 2023 General Elections are credible.

According to a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, he gave the charge while declaring open a three-day conference and retreat for senior Police Officers, in Owerri, Imo State capital.

“I, therefore, task the Inspector General of Police to sustain his leadership standards that will guarantee a level playing field, and secure public space for the citizens to freely exercise their franchise, and for the outcome of the elections to be a true reflection of the people’s choices,” the President said.

As commendable as Buhari’s charge is, it must be said that the ills troubling the police appear overwhelming that a miracle in cultural reorientation is far fetched.

A total system overhaul is, no doubt, desirable but one wonders how much the Buhari administration can do in the twilight of its tenure.

Ultimately, the citizens must rise to defend their hard-fought democracy by holding the executive accountable and ensuring that the electoral processes remain very transparent.

The superficial interventions through improved welfare schemes and increase in the number of operatives can only do little to assuage a bad situation.

3. Buhari’s support for new-look Naira

On October 30, President Buhari affirmed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had his support to redesign Naira notes.

The presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, said Buhari had restated his support for CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, while speaking on a Hausa radio programme.

“People with illicit money buried under the soil will have a challenge with this, but workers, businesses with legitimate incomes will face no difficulties at all,” he noted.

No doubt, Buhari’s stance had helped to tidy up seeming lack of unanimity in his government. Some had harped on the lack of harmonious working relationship among his cabinet members, as the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, told a bewildered nation through the Senate, on October 28 that the CBN did not carry the Ministry along in its plan to redesign the Naira.

Whatever is the case, the President has a difficult task to convince Nigerians that his grasp of economic management is not only suspect but may have been responsible for the woes bedeviling the country.

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