Olusola Fabiyi, Olalekan Adetayo, Adelani Adepegba and Olaleye Aluko
The Peoples Democratic Party, the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere; the Kowa Party presidential candidate, Dr Adesina Fagbenro-Byron; and the Campaign for Democracy have berated President Muhammadu Buhari for his broadcast on the 58th independence anniversary of the country.
They noted that the President did not paint the true picture of happenings in the country, adding that what he claimed as his achievements were not true.
Afenifere dismissed the claims made by the President that his administration had tamed corruption.
Afenifere spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, said graft had worsened, pointing out that many corruption cases had occurred under the current administration.
He said, “Did the multi-million naira fraud involving the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (Babachir Lawal) occur before he (Buhari) took office? Was he also not in office when Abdulrasheed Maina, who was sacked for corruption was reinstated to office and promoted?
“What about the multi-billion naira fraud at the NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation)? Was it under former President Goodluck Jonathan? Did Transparency International not issue a statement saying corruption has increased under Buhari?”
Odumakin further said that many individuals facing trial for corruption were in the entourage of the President during his state visit to China.
Afenifere added that unemployment had worsened under Buhari, saying millions of youths were jobless, while a record number of citizens had lost their jobs.
The Campaign for Democracy said Buhari’s administration had not lived up to the expectations of Nigerians in the last three years, especially in the areas of security and economic infrastructure.
The CD President, Usman Abdul, said, “The era of empty promises by the Federal Government has passed. If Buhari had said these things in 2015 when he had not tasted power, we would still have believed him.
But now we see insecurity across the country. We see the lack of economic infrastructure.
“His performance in three years of governance is below the expectations of Nigerians. Buhari’s scorecard is low in the areas of security, economy and poverty alleviation of Nigerians.”
The KOWA Party presidential candidate, Dr Adesina Fagbenro-Byron, who criticised the President, lamented the “poverty which Nigerians have found themselves in.”
He said, “Buhari will not win any election if there was no poverty in this country. It is up to the people to decide to come out of this poverty.
“We have a five point agenda – safety and security; health and education; environment, information and communication technology innovations; infrastructure and economy. We are going to be driven by the national interests.”
Buhari’s address full of false claims – PDP
Also, the PDP described the speech by the President as a litany of false claims, empty assertions and bogus promises.
The party also said the President was allegedly fictitious when he claimed that the economy had made progress under him and that there was an enabling environment for local and foreign investments.
The PDP said rather, the hard economic reality showed that not only had the nation become more economically disadvantaged under him, it presently ranked as one of the world’s poorest.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, stated this in a statement on Monday.
He said, “Perhaps Mr President needs to be reminded that his new Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, had last month raised the alarm that the nation was facing serious revenue challenges, while the Central Bank of Nigeria expressed fears that our country is sliding further into recession due to its poor implementation of 2018 budget.
“In his false economic assertions, President Buhari deliberately failed to mention that his administration has returned our beloved country to a debtor nation by accumulating over N22.4tn debt through which he had mortgaged the future of our country.
“Mr President also failed to respond to the fact that his harsh economic policies and de-marketing tendencies have caused a dearth of local and foreign direct investment, leading to over 30 million job losses as detailed by independent surveys including those by the National Bureau of Statistics.
“Similarly, Mr. President failed to state that due to his incompetence, the naira has fallen from the N165/1USD he met in 2015 to N360 to 1USD.
“He had no words for the increase in the price of fuel from N87 in 2015 to N145, as well as the hike in the prices of staple foods and essential commodities in Nigeria under his misrule.”
Ologbondiyan also said the claim by President Buhari that under his administration, corruption had become a thing of the past was not true.
He said, “Perhaps, Mr. President forgot that the latest corruption perception index released by Transparency International, which saw our nation moving 12 places down the red line, shows that corruption has increased under him.
“What the Buhari Presidency should note is that Nigerians are no longer swayed by the false performance claims of his administration. They have the facts and nobody can beguile them as was the case in 2015.”
The SDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Alfa Mohammed, however, said that Nigeria could only overcome its challenges if the right people were in government.
He said, “We are optimistic that Nigeria will overcome its numerous challenges. However, this can only come through if the right people are in power. We, therefore, appeal to all citizens to be determined to take the destiny of Nigeria in their own hands by ensuring that only men and women of integrity, who can move the country out of its present comatose state, emerge as leaders in the coming 2019 general elections.”
A civil society organisation, Stand up Speak out Initiative, also warned the Federal Government to safeguard the electoral process and ensure credibility in the 2019 elections.
SUSO President, Doyle Edeni, spoke in Abuja, noting that Nigerians must “rise to their responsibilities as citizens and speak out against those who are determined to pull our nation down.”
Edeni lamented that Nigerians at home and outside the country suffered the fate of being discriminated against because of poor government policies, programmes and lack of motivation.
He said, “Nigeria will not be reformed overnight but our current challenges present a good opportunity for a fresh start. There is serious infrastructure gap to address the needs of our nearly 200 million population.
“The Citizens’ Project calls Nigerians to speak out against those who are determined to pull our nation down.”
Presidency hails independence celebration
However, the Presidency expressed delight at the success of the nation’s 58th independence parade held at the Eagles Square, Abuja.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, expressed delight that the programme was held outside the confine of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, for the first time in the last eight years.
He attributed the successful hosting of the programme to the significant improvement in the nation’s security situation.
The presidential spokesman said, “The presidency has expressed happiness that the 58th Independence Day was celebrated successfully at the Eagle Square in Abuja for the first time since 2010. It turned out very well.
“This annual event at the nation’s capital was scaled down and confined to the precincts of the State House following an unfortunate bombing incident by terrorists eight years ago.
“The success of the event this year is due to the fact that the Boko Haram terrorists have been significantly weakened militarily by the policy of the Buhari administration to effectively fund security, modernise and motivate members of our armed forces.
“The significant improvements in security have contributed greatly to the successful celebration of independence day in Abuja and other areas that were once under terrorist occupation.”
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