Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Baro, Niger
President Muhammmadu Buhari has assured that under his leadership for another four years, Nigerians will achieve the country of their dream.
He gave the assurance at the State House Conference Center, on Sunday evening at the Testimonies of Change, an event put together by the Ministry of Information and Culture, to showcase the achievements of the present administration which has impacted on the lives of the citizens and the country in general.
Represented by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, President Buhari, described the event as an innovative way of showcasing the impacts of his administration’s achievements.
He said: “What I have just witnessed is a clear testimony that this administration has indeed impacted positively on the lives of citizens of this country.
“Hearing directly from Nigerians lends great credibility to the impact of our policies and programmes.”
While congratulating all the testifiers, President Buhari urged them to continue to spread the good news. He assured that “this administration will continue to implement programmes that the largest number of our country men and women.
“In my second term, we will build on this momentum, we will do even more; Nigerians should look forward to greater prosperity, more opportunities, recaptivation of growth, growth that will be diversify, inclusive and sustaining.
Under my leadership we will achieve the Nigeria of our dreams.”
Meanwhile, the ex-staff of the now-defunct Nigeria Airways have announced that they will be hosting a rally in Lagos and Kano first week in February, in support of President Buhari’s second term bid.
Buhari’s administration’s included N22.86 billion in the 2019 budget for settling ex-staff of the now-defunct Nigeria Airways. In 2018, the Federal government had paid N22.6 billion, which is 50 percent of the total entitlement meant for the staff.
President, Aviation Union Grand Alliance (AUGA), Lookman Animashaun, one of the testifiers at the Testimonies of Change event said: “In appreciation of what President Buhari has done, for bringing life and hope to our people, we are holding a solidarity rally for him first week in February at Lagos Airport; it will be followed by another one in Kano. You can imagine 6,000 strong members and their dependents in the rally but we are projecting to have at least 3,000 members come out.”
Animashaun recalled that for 14 years since the liquidation of the airline by the administration of then President Olusegun Obasanjo, it had been tortuous for workers of the defunct national carrier.
“After the liquidation, we have been in the trenches fighting for payment of our severance benefits. The last time our pensions were paid was during the administration of former President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2008, who paid five years arrears, while his successor President Goodluck Jonathan told us bluntly he would not pay until President Buhari wiped our tears.”
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, in his remarks said the testifiers were ordinary Nigerians whose lives had been impacted by the policies and programmes of the present administration.
According to him, “there is no better evidence of what this administration has achieved than that given by Nigerians, who have been positively impacted by the policies and programmes of government.
“No one can better tell Nigerians about the impact of the home-grown School Feeding System than the 9.2 million school children who are fed one meal a day, five times a week, or the over 90,000 cooks who have been employed under the programme. No one can better tell Nigerians about the impact of the N-POWER than the 500,000 graduates who have been employed under the scheme.
“If you want to know about the success of Tradermoni, ask any of the 2 million beneficiaries. If it’s Marketmoni, ask any of the over 350,000 beneficiaries. Who can better communicate the efficiency of the Abuja-Kaduna rail transportation that the thousands of people who are daily ferried between the two cities. And if the government says it has paid pensioners from the defunct NITEL and Nigeria Airways, among others, is it not better to hear directly from those who have received their pensions after waiting for many years?
“This is exactly what we have done. We asked Nigerians, volunteers, who have benefitted from the various programmes of government, to relate their experiences to fellow Nigerians. That’s how the testimony series was born.
“Starting late last year, the testimonies have been running on radio and television stations across the country, as well as in the social media. Just as we envisaged, this testimony series has been a huge success. In fact, it so rattled the opposition that they were forced to issue a statement in which they acknowledged that the media space is awash with the testimony series.
“Now, we won’t be surprised if the naysayers, who have never seen anything good in this administration, say that those who participated in the testimony series are either card-carrying members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) or were even coerced to do so. That is not the case. These are everyday Nigerians who are simply giving their personal testimonies.
“We therefore decided to present them to Nigerians, in flesh and blood, hence this event, tagged TESTIMONIES OF CHANGE, which is unprecedented in our recent history. The achievements of this administration are real, and the administration has impacted positively on millions of Nigerians, in just three and half years and with very limited resources, compared to other Administrations that have presided over the affairs of our dear country since 1999.”
Some of the testifiers include the son of late MKO Abiola and Kudirat, beneficiaries of tradermoni, N-power Programme and President of Association of Retired War-affected Police Officers among others.