By Chinelo Obogo and Sunday Ani
Nigerians have been reacting to the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah’s damning verdict that President Muhammadu Buhari would be leaving Nigeria in a worse state than he met it.
An elder statesman in the North, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, agreed with Kukah but noted that his comment was coming rather too late into Buhari’s administration. He stressed that rather than focus on the past, Nigerians should be conscious of electing a better candidate in 2023.
Yakassai stated that Nigerians have suffered through seven years of the Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) government, insisting that they would still survive the remaining five months.
“Whatever Kukah is saying now is coming too late. We have survived Buhari for seven years, so what will the few remaining months cost us? This is no time for regrets. What we should be focused on is who our incoming president would be, and ensuring that we elect someone that is competent because complaining about Buhari is a waste of time,” he said.
For the National Publicity Secretary of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, it is very clear that Buhari was leaving Nigeria worse than he met. “Buhari even knows that he is leaving Nigeria worse than he met it. He is a devout Muslim, and as such he has conscience with critical values of ability to say the truth at all times. So, to that extent, he knows that he is leaving Nigeria worse than he met it,” he added.
He stressed that in all areas of life, the current administration has more than doubled the country’s woes. “Where do we start? Is it insecurity, the value of our Naira, unemployment, corruption or what? What is that area of life that is not worse today than Buhari met it in 2015? It is a fact that is not even debatable. Anybody who says anything to the contrary is dodging the truth and Ohanaeze Ndigbo is known for truth. So, that is the position,” he submitted.
In his reaction, the president of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF), Dr. Pogu Bitrus said he concurred with Bishop Kukah, insisting that his verdict was correct in all aspects of life in Nigeria.
“When Buhari came in 2015, insecurity was restricted to the North East mainly, but now, it is all over the country. Kidnapping which was not an issue then has now become rampant such that even a train was attacked and people kidnapped. Attacks are going on all over the country even as we speak. So, insecurity has worsened; there are people who don’t travel by road anymore because of fear.
“Then, looking at the economy, when he came in 2015, prices of goods were about a quarter of what they are currently because at that time, a dollar was N198 but today it fluctuates between N750 and N900 per dollar, and that has forced prices of things to escalate. Even the price of fuel was N87 per litre when he came in but today it is almost N250 per litre and to even see it is a problem. When he came in 2015, Nigeria was exporting full OPEC quota of up to 2.2 million barrels per day; but today, Nigeria can no longer meet its quota because much of the crude is stolen; so the economy is down.
“To worsen the situation, the debt burden is such that only God will save the country because even the future generation will find it difficult to settle the debts; he kept borrowing, so he is leaving the country certainly worse off. Go out there and see that the level of unemployment, hunger, difficulty and destitution is everywhere. We have never seen anything like this before,” he stated.
Insisting that Bishop Kuka was spot on, he said: “There is no politicking about what Kukah said. It is the reality. Anybody who wants to say the truth knows the truth. So, whether it is t he economy or security or whatever, the situation is worse off today than it was in 2015 when Buhari came in,” he submitted.