The relish that Aso Rock Villa should ordinarily provide may be turning nightmarish in the face of the Buhari presidency many promises yet unkept since 2015.
Top among these are the heightened Boko Haram insurgency, and activities of bandits, which have made life intolerable in most parts of the country, forcing President Muhammadu Buhari to vow that 2021 would mark the end of terrorism in world’s most populous black nation.
Nightmarish or not, Aso Rock, the past week, remained a beehive of activities with many other talking points.
Deal or be damned!
On January 8, President Buhari declared that the war against Boko Haram terrorists and bandits will end this year, 2021. He picked the gauntlet while speaking at the Juma’at Prayer for this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration at the National Mosque in Abuja.
Represented by the Minister of Defence, Major-General Bashir Magashi (RTD), the President had said: “What is happening in this country will soon be over. This year, we will finish what we are doing, pray for us that we succeed.”
Quite high on ambition, Buhari’s dream of quashing terrorism and banditry could be founded on some new strings which the President intends to pull and which, perhaps, is unknown to many Nigerians.
If this is not the case, then President Buhari would be sounding like a broken record, though this time he may have unwittingly helmed himself in by promising to bring insurgency to an end in 2021.
Whether this latest pronouncement will leave many Nigerians excited is, therefore, a matter of conjecture. Indeed, some would rather have preferred that the President kept mum on his ambition in the counter-insurgency war, and focus on letting his results do the talking for him, this time.
What is incontrovertible at the moment is that claims to Boko Haram being ‘technically defeated,’ or ‘degraded’ lie in the realm of propaganda which, perhaps, only serves as a morale booster for his overstretched military, and not the growing community of traumatized Nigerians.
Having committed himself to ending terrorism and its likes in 2021, President Buhari must brace for the avalanche of knocks that will come his way if he flounders on his promise.
It is either he deals with Boko Haram now or be damned!
Two other talking points
President Buhari, on January 5, asserted that sustainable development was impossible when a country is plagued by severe infrastructural deficits.
Speaking while receiving in audience the State Councillor and Foreign Minister, People’s Republic of China, Mr Wang Yi, at the Aso Rock, Femi Adesina, Buhari’s Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, quoted the President as saying:
“We thank China for its support to us in various ways; in building of rail, road, power, defence, and many others. You are helping us to reduce our severe infrastructural deficits, and we are glad. There cannot be sustainable development without infrastructural development.”
No doubt, the infrastructural decay across the federation is too evident and explains why daily living for the average Nigerian comes with so much anguish.
Buhari’s sobering responses would, however, suggest that the Chinese government has been more than altruistic in its relationship with Nigeria. Nothing can be further than the truth. If anything, the country appears to be be mortgaging much of its future by committing to huge Chinese loans with proportionate interests in tow.
It must be admitted, therefore, that the measured responses by President Buhari do not at all suggest that the Chinese have suddenly become Santa Claus. The huge debts will have to be paid at some point, and it would be up to the future generation to bear the burden,
Lifting 100m Nigerians
On January 7, President Buhari charged the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), to play its roles adequately in the realization of the government objective of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
Speaking when he received members of the newly established body at the Aso Rock, Buhari said: “I am enjoining you as a team of the commission, to realise that your work forms a critical aspect in achieving the objective of our administration to removing 100 million Nigerians out of poverty. I am therefore looking forward to commissioning projects and programmes of high impact to the disabled community in line with this vision.”
As widely acknowledged, persons with disabilities are more likely to experience extreme poverty than those without disabilities. In this regard, Mr President gets commendation for encouraging equal access to opportunities by citizens. This makes the work of the commission critical to Buhari’s resolve.
The challenge for the presidency, however, lies in ensuring that the activities of the commission are closely tracked, especially in the area of transparency and accountability. At least, how financial corruption messed up different commissions should serve as a lesson to him, and his team at the Villa.
By John Chukwu…
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