More reactions have continued to trail the national address delivered by President Muhammadu Buhari to mark the first celebration of June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day.
In his reaction to the President’s address, a chieftain of Afenifere, the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Chief Ayo Adebanjo described the five years of the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration as a colossal failure.
Speaking with Sunday Sun in a telephone interview, he particularly decried the abysmal performance of the administration in the areas of security, economy and corruption.
Adebanjo said: “The administration is a complete failure. He (Buhari) has failed completely. He was merely talking to himself. What do you want to say of a President who is making agreement with criminals? Even his own village has had a taste of attack. May God save us from Buhari. What has he done about the way bandits are murdering Nigerians left, right and centre? Today, he would say he has conquered Boko Haram, the next day; they will wipe out the military officers. We are all living in the country. What security is he talking about when Fulani herdsmen are killing people all over the country? Can anybody sleep with his eyes closed now?”
He also carpeted the President for ignoring the loud agitation for restructuring of the country.
“Did he talk about restructuring? Is that not what everybody has been talking about? He turned his deaf ear as if nothing is happening. All well meaning Nigerians have called for restructuring of the country. Obasanjo has said it, the man who annulled the June 12 election, Ibrahim Babangida, has said it. On a day like this, any honest and sincere leader would have talked about it. He just pretended as if nothing is happening. You can’t give what you don’t have.
The elder statesman did not also spare the President of harsh words as he quipped: “How much was the value of naira to a dollar when he came in? How much is it now? What is the rate of unemployment when he came in? What it is the rate of unemployment now? We don’t need an Obama to come here and tell us that the government has failed. Let’s pray to God to get rid of the Buhari government so that peace can reign. I don’t have apology for saying this.”
Another notable leader of thought in the North, Dr Junaid Muhammed, also speaking in the same vein in an interview with Sunday Sun, said: “The President was not within the impression of the Nigerian people. He gave himself credit for the state of security in the country. I have never known any president in similar circumstances who would give himself credit for the state of the country that is in this kind of security shamble. Within the last four days, 91 people were killed by Boko Haram insurgents in Borno. Before that, some scores of innocent citizens were also killed in Katsina and Zamfara states. I don’t know what is there for any head of government to be praising himself for. There is every reason to be humble with the situation in Nigeria today. Humility is what is demanded not lies and bombastic statements.
“Two, he spoke about the economy. In 2016, we went into recession and then came out of it. As we are talking today, the economy is still on the verge of another recession. I am not holding him responsible for the collapse of oil prices globally. That does not, however, mean that he can ignore that situation and say we are doing well economically, when in actual fact we are doing very badly. The management of the economy leaves much to be desired.
“The reality today is that the country is in a mess economically. I think whoever wrote the speech for the President was being deliberately mischievous to embarrass the President.
“In addition to economy and security, the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), is the main cause of political instability in the country. It is the least democratic, it has no leadership. They are always quarrelling among themselves. Oshiomhole and the Governor of Edo State are not in speaking terms. Nobody is sure whether the governorship primaries within the APC will hold or not. If it does, we don’t know whether it will be peaceful or lead to violence. Nobody can guarantee that the primaries will not be rigged. In Ondo, there is no peace in the party. Nobody is sure whether the incumbent governor will come back or he will not come back. That is not something to brag about.”
Similarly, Senator Rufai Hanga, in his own reaction, noted that the President’s speech was far from the reality on ground, describing it as mere wishful thinking.
He said: “The speech is not at all a true reflection of the state of the nation today. They just wrote the statement for him, he didn’t know what he was reading. Some two years when he came into power, I heard him say that Mambila power project was about 70 per cent complete. At the beginning of the second term, the minister for power declared that they had not started anything there. So, you can see that they are always feeding him with things that are not reality. They only allow him to hear what he wants to hear. He doesn’t hear or see what the people are saying. So, I was not surprised when I saw all the achievements he was reeling out from the speech. Let us pray for a better leader in future.
“I would have suggested to him to create a ministry for monitoring. If he cannot monitor, let him appoint a minister, somebody of integrity, to monitor all projects approved in the council and report back to him directly. There are people who have opportunities to tell him the right things, but he doesn’t act on them. The moment the person goes out; another person he trusts comes and tells him it’s a lie. And he would take it as a lie. That is his nature. It is very unfortunate. I had opportunity to reach him in July 2019. I went there on an invitation and had a very lengthy discussion with him. I told him so many things happening in the agric sector. I told him that a lot of money allocated to agric was not reaching the people. But they continued as usual, which means he doesn’t trust what people tell him, he only trusts what his close aides tell him. When another person comes in, there will be so many revelations. There is nothing to show for the long list of achievements. They are just wishful thinking. Those are the things he would have wished to happen, but didn’t happen.”
On his own part, a former Minister of Transport and Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ebenezer Babatope, declared that the President was on a different standpoint from the rest of Nigerians.
“He itemized the achievements of the administration which is what democracy entails in terms of accountability. There is nothing bad in it except that his standpoint is different from our own standpoint in the PDP. There is hunger in the land, people are suffering,” he lamented.
He further argued that a reform of the electoral act would give the people the opportunity for them to elect leaders of their choice. “I would have expected him to spell out what he wanted to do with the electoral act of the country so as to give the people of Nigeria the freedom to elect those they want to rule them,” he added.