Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, released a 45-page fact sheet detailing the 6-year achievements of the administration.
This was simply targeted to inform Nigerians, especially critics, what the President had done in making life better for all since he ascended the Presidency on May 29, 2015.
This, and two other stories, were among the most talked about national issues from the seat of power, Aso Rock, past week.
Buhari’s 6-year scorecard
On May 28, Adesina, noted that the Buhari-led administration was recording enough giant strides to make Nigerians proud.
He stated this in a document titled: ‘The Buhari administration at 6: Counting the blessings one by one.’
According to Adesina: “From infrastructure, to finance, education, health care, sport, anti-corruption, human development, housing, oil and gas, foreign relations, and many others, the administration is recording giant strides, enough to make Nigerians proud.”
“When the administration breasts the tape in another two years, by the grace of God, the applause will be resounding, even from the worst of sceptics. Facts are undeniable and always remain so,” he added.
Adesina’s 45-page document was a customary ritual performed to inform the Nigerian citizenry of the wins of the Buhari administration. Some critics, however, have remained unimpressed, tagging the press release a calculated attempt to hoodwink the people and shore up the fading image of the administration.
Perhaps, Adesina needs to know that no one sets exam for himself, and ends up grading it as well. While he claims that the administration has recorded progress, facts and figures accessible to all, discredit the hype he attributes to the President’s score card.
At the moment, Nigeria is still ranked the 2nd most corrupt country in West Africa, according to the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2020 report published by Transparency International. The unemployment rate in the country keeps skyrocketing. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), on March 15, published a report indicating that Nigeria’s unemployment rate now seats at 33%, which is the highest ever recorded in the country.
Pitiably, the survey conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in 2018, which indicated that the population of out-of-school children in Nigeria has risen from 10.5 million to 13.2 million, is assumed to have risen above known figure. This is as pupils and students in Nigeria are now kidnapped at will, and, thus, feel unsafe to go to school.
The President, uninterestingly, has continued his medical tourism despite a 2015 Presidential campaign promise to stop the unhelpful trend among public office holders.
Besides, the insecurity orchestrated by the Boko Haram sect, farmer/herder crises, bandits, unknown gunmen, among other criminal elements, has stalled progress for Nigeria and Nigerians on all fronts.
This is worsened by the growing agitations for secession sweeping across different parts of the country which the President has failed to handle.
Adesina has the right to celebrate, and burnish the image of his principal in the eyes of Nigeria. He, however, needs to understand that the pulse of the nation is beating so fast, and needs healing.
Two other talking points
Open grazing brouhaha
President Muhammadu Buhari, on May 24, described Southern Governors’ ban on open grazing as an act of questionable legality.
Speaking on the issue, through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, he said that the “announcement is of questionable legality, given the Constitutional right of all Nigerians to enjoy the same rights and freedoms within every one of our 36 States (and FCT)…”
Buhari’s disposition surprisingly discountenances some issues which appear settled, making critics to question his commitment to ending the famer-herders’ crisis.
For instance, the Northern, and Nigeria’s Governors’ Forum, including the National Economic Council (NEC), had before the meeting of the Southern Governors banned the nomadic form of cattle rearing.
On April 27, 2018, members of the NEC, constituted by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, the 36 State Governors, the Minister of Finance and the Central Bank Governor, had resolved to ban open grazing and adopted the Livestock Transformation Plan of the Federal Government.
In a virtual meeting, on February 9, 2021, the Northern Governors’ Forum banned open grazing in all northern States. In their communique, they noted that “the current system of herding conducted mainly through open grazing is no longer sustainable in view of growing urbanisation and population of the country.”
Two days later, on February 11, 2021, in a virtual meeting as well, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum banned open grazing in all 36 States of the federation.
“Following an update from governors on the various initiatives taken by State Governments to address the rising insecurity in the country due to the activities of herdsmen, members reached a consensus on the need for the country to transition into modern systems of animal husbandry that will replace open, night and underage grazing in the country,” they had stated.
Perhaps, in affirming these resolutions, the governor of Plateau State, and Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Simon Lalong, on May 29, emphasised that open grazing is no longer sustainable.
“In fact, some States have begun processes to ending open grazing in their States,” he noted.
Buhari’s tagging of the Southern Governors’ resolution as illegal, therefore, appears not well thought out. Rather than assuage hurt feelings, his pronouncement only helps to deepen the country’s existing fault lines.
Managing Nigeria efficiently
On May 26, President Buhari emphasized that only a nation that is well-secured can talk about efficient management of the country.
The President said this while playing host to the Chairman of Presidential Council of Libya, Mohammed Younis Menfi. He stressed that security of Nigeria was number one priority to him, noting that “unless a country or institution is secured, there’s no way you can efficiently manage it.”
Buhari’s submission speaks to the obvious.
Indeed, no country can experience meaningful development when it is hamstrung by insecurity, making life hellish for the citizenry, and frustrating government developmental policies and programmes.
Therefore, even as Mr President ministers to his brother Head of State from Chad and Nigerians, it is evident that the posturing can only assume a serious meaning if there is a clear evidence to tackle the challenges of insecurity back home.
And, as many critics have said, ‘physician heel thyself’!
By John Chukwu…
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