October 1: Mixed views trail Buhari’s broadcast

President Muhammadu Buhari’s speech at UN general debate

…Comparing your govt to civil war memories says it all, PDP chides Buhari

Media should fact-check President’s performance claim- ACF chieftain

Buhari has done better than his predecessors but…— Chekwas Okorie

By Clifford Ndujihe & Dirisu Yakubu

THE 101-Point Independence anniversary broadcast of President Muhammadu Buhari, Friday, elicited mixed reactions in the polity.

Among other things, the President said his administration had performed more than any of his predecessors since 1999 to return Nigeria to the right path, funders of secessionists have been identified, and admitted that the last 18 months had been very bad and were only better than the 30 months of the civil war.

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said the admission by President Buhari that Nigerians have faced difficulties similar to what obtained during the civil war vindicates its stand that his government “is incompetent, confused and the worst in the history of our country.”

 The party stressed that the fact that President Buhari compared the challenges and sufferings being faced by Nigerians under his administration to the agony of the civil war underscored the horrible situation in the country today.

Quoting the first citizen where he said that “the past eighteen months have been some of the most difficult periods in the history of Nigeria since the civil war, I doubt whether we have seen a period of more heightened challenges than what we have witnessed in this period,” the PDP argued that Buhari is finally coming to terms with the horrors of his stewardship.

In a statement issued by its Spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said “this grave assertion brings to mind the ugly images of the civil war; the killings, lawlessness, violence, human rights violations, poverty, hunger, starvation and other horrible situations as also being currently witnessed today under the All Progressives Congress, APC-led administration.

“From Mr. President’s admission, it is clear that he has nobody but himself to blame for the sorry situation in Nigeria under his watch. It is therefore a pathetic antithesis for Mr. President to attempt to exonerate himself by claiming that no government, since 1999, has done what his administration has done in six years; a claim that portrays a desperation to parry blame for the consequences of the misrule of his administration.

“Rather, what obtains in the public space is that no government has since 1999 brought our nation to her knees on every facet of life like the Buhari administration. It is appalling that in his speech, President Buhari had no concrete assurance on how to revamp our economy and how to end acts of terrorism in our country. Instead, the speech, as usual, dwelt on empty claims that have no bearing with the actual situation in the country. Such disposition further exposes the insensitivity of the APC towards the plight of millions of Nigerians and confirms that our nation will end in ruins if the APC is allowed to stay in power any moment beyond May 29, 2023,” the statement read.

Beam searchlight on Buhari’s claims, Sani tells Media

Meanwhile, a chieftain of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Mr. Anthony Sani, has challenged the media to searchlight the President’s claims to verify whether he was honest or not.

In a chat with Saturday Vanguard, Sani, the immediate past Secretary General of ACF said: “I could not listen to his speech but in civilized climes, the media and public commentators would use fact-check and  cross analyses for the purpose of assessing progress made by the regime given the resources available. There has to be a basis for comparison. Therefore, I appeal to the media to fact-check the speech with a view to informing the public as to whether the regime has truly performed better than any other regime as claimed in the speech.”

 Buhari performed better than others but…–Chekwas Okorie

Also reacting, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Chekwas Okorie agreed that the President had performed better than his predecessors, at least in the South-East.

READ ALSO: No government since 1999 has done what I’ve done in six years, Buhari boasts

According to him, no government had started and finished any project in the South-East since 1970 but Buhari commissioned the Ariaria Power Project in Aba in 2018 and is constructing the Second Niger Bridge to be commissioned next year, paying attention to Eastern seaports such as Onne, Port Harcourt, Calabar, and Warri among others.

He, however, disagreed with the president on the claim that hoarding of foodstuffs by middlemen was responsible for rising costs of foodstuffs in the country

Okorie also advocated dialogue to resolve secession agitations lamenting that no form of dialogue had been deployed since the first arrest, in 2017, of IPOB Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

His words: “I don’t think it is correct to say that the rising cost of foodstuffs is as a result of hoarding. Most food consumed by Nigerians are perishable and cannot be stored for too long. Who will hoard yams, onions and tomatoes?

“Emphasis should be on herders who are the cause of the major setback in food production. Benue is regarded as the food basket of the nation but farmers cannot produce  due to violence. There are other states also suffering the herdsmen menace, a reason some of the states have enacted anti-open grazing laws. Violence is the main reason for high cost of foodstuffs.”

On the battle against secessionists, Okorie said: ” I suggest we emphasis dialogue on the issue of those agitating for secession. I have been suggesting dialogue for a long time right from the time Nnamdi Kanu was first arrested in 2017. Bring in those who can talk to them and dialogue. Arresting, taking them to court and sending them to prison will only escalate the  problem.

“Dialogue was used to bring the militancy to a manageable level for oil production to resume in the Niger Delta. In Kanu’s case, no attempt has been made for dialogue and the problem is escalating. In the past there were road blocks every two kilometres in the South-East. Now, the whole place is deserted. Nigerian soldiers are overstretched. They are not ready to confront the suicidal attackers. All the roadblocks are free and we are at the mercy of the gunmen, who are now targeting politicians. I volunteer myself to be part of the dialogue to restore peace.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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October 1: Mixed views trail Buhari’s broadcast

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