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Presidency defends Buhari’s new nine-point agenda

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The presidency on Monday defended the nine-point agenda reeled out by President Muhammadu Buhari last week.

The president had at a forum in Abuja promised to give priority attention to power, health, poverty reduction, economy and fight against graft among others, in the next three years.

Some Nigerians, particularly opposition figures, had treated Buhari’s latest promise with scorn and pointed to the three priority areas the president set for his administration in 2015, namely security, economy and anti-corruption.

They viewed the nine-point agenda as a tall order for a government that had struggled to pursue its three-point cardinal programme in five years.

But in its response to the criticism, the presidency, in a statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the key themes of an election campaign were not the same as the priorities that are then set, nor policies that are required to be developed and implemented when a party and President are in office.

He said: “In addition, the nature of events means that no government elected for two terms could possibly justify continuing only to deliver the agenda it set in the first election campaign that brought it to office some five years previously. The society is dynamic and so is governance.

“All of these factors, and the fact that governments must renew themselves and their ideas whilst in office mean the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is right to set an enhanced series of objectives for the coming years.

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“This does not mean that the initial three priorities which led to the historic changing of power through the ballot box from an incumbent to the opposition for the very first time in 2015 are in any way abandoned. They are not. Those three priorities are themes which can easily be mapped to the nine priorities.

“The President’s commitment to fighting corruption cannot be seen more strongly than through investigations underway into the affairs of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

“That such an investigation is occurring at all is demonstrative proof that no-one – no matter of their position in public life – can any more believe they can break the law and not pay the penalty.

“It is not proof that corruption is increasing or not being brought under control. Quite the opposite: it is precise proof that corruption is no longer tolerated.

“After the economic shock coronavirus has brought not just to Nigeria but to potential overseas investors, it is time indeed for an updated and enhanced plan.

“It is these nine points that will deliver on the President’s and government’s priorities in the remainder of their time in office. Perhaps for ease of understanding, imagine the three priorities as the top of a mountain and the priorities as the pathways to reaching the summit.

“This is, and remains, change administration, and one that is achieving its own renewal in office.”

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