The regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), marks six years on Saturday (today).
Before the emergence of the All Progressives Congress, the Peoples Democratic Party had been in power from 1999 to 2015.
Saturday PUNCH reports that Buhari, the candidate of the APC, was inaugurated for his first term on May 29, 2015, after defeating former President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP in the presidential election of that year.
In 2019, he was re-elected when he defeated former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the PDP. He was therefore inaugurated for a second term of another four years on May 29, 2019.
In his campaign promises, the retired military officer had promised to secure the country and improve its economy.
While opinions differ on his performance in office in the last six years, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, on Friday, released a 45-page document of what he described as the regime’s giant strides.
In his accompanying statement titled ‘The Buhari administration at 6: Counting the blessings one by one,’ the presidential spokesman claimed that the regime was recording giant strides enough to make Nigerians proud.
He added that only those who were “dispassionate and fair-minded, not beclouded by political partisanship and undue cynicism” would see the giant strides.
Adesina boasted that by the time the regime would end, the applause would be resounding “even from the worst of sceptics.”
The statement read, “The Muhammadu Buhari administration clocks six years May 29, 2021. This milestone affords the opportunity to reflect and recount the impact that has been made (and is being made) on different sectors of national life.
“From infrastructure, to finance, education, health care, sport, anti-corruption, human development, housing, oil and gas, foreign relations, and many others, the administration is recording giant strides, enough to make Nigerians proud.
“That is, those who are dispassionate and fair-minded, not beclouded by political partisanship and undue cynicism.
“Some people claim: ‘we don’t see what they are doing. We don’t hear about it.’ Well, here it is. A fact sheet, a report card on the Buhari administration, just a bit of the successes, as the milestone of six years is attained.
“As it is said, the past is but a story told. The future may yet be written in gold. When the administration breasts the tape in another two years, by the grace of God, the applause will be resounding, even from the worst of sceptics. Facts are undeniable and always remain so. They are stubborn things.”
On infrastructure, Adesina listed the establishment in 2020 of the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund with more than $1bn in funding so far; the launch of the Nigeria Innovation Fund to address investment opportunities in the domestic technology sector; the 156km Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail nearing completion; and the 327km Itakpe-Warri Standard Gauge Rail completed and inaugurated 33 years after construction began as some of the regime’s achievements.
On roads, he mentioned the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund investing over $1bn in three flagship projects: Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway, and the Executive Order 7 mobilising private investment into the development of key roads and bridges like Bodo-Bonny in Rivers and Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki-Ojota in Lagos.
On social investment and poverty alleviation, Adesina said in 2016, Buhari launched the National Social Investment Programme, currently the largest of such programme in Africa and one of the largest in the world.
“Currently, the National Social Register of poor and vulnerable Nigerians has 32.6 million persons from more than seven million poor and vulnerable households, identified across 708 local government areas, 8,723 wards and 86,610 communities across the 36 states of the country and the FCT.
“From this number, 1.6 million poor and vulnerable households (comprising more than eight million individuals, in 45,744 communities from 5,483 wards of 557 LGAs in 35 states and the FCT, are currently benefiting from the Conditional Cash Transfer programme, which pays a bimonthly stipend of N10,000 per household,” he said.
On education and health, Adesina said since assuming office, the Buhari regime has committed more than N1.7tn of capital intervention to Nigeria’s tertiary institutions, through various means, including TETFund – with the universities taking the lion’s share of the total amount.
He added, “The Federal Government has disbursed more than N170bn in UBE matching grants to states and the FCT since 2015, N8bn in special education grant to states and private providers of special education, and N34bn from the Teachers Professional Development Fund to states and the FCT.”
Other areas highlighted are creative industry and sports; fiscal, trade, monetary and investment reforms; presidential assent to legislative bills; executive orders; support to states; anti-corruption and transparency; security and justice system; diplomacy and international relations; and coronavirus response among others.
Meanwhile, the minority caucus in the House of Representatives, on Friday, said it had taken stock of the performance of the administration of the APC-led Federal Government, describing it as a failure.
The caucus stated that the APC administration had failed on all fronts in the last six years, with its failure to “check the worsening insecurity and mass killing of citizens; its intrinsic corruption, mismanagement of our national economy, as well as the unrelenting assault on our national diversity.”
The caucus gave the verdict in a statement by the Minority Leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu.
The statement by the minority caucus partly read, “As lawmakers, our caucus is worried that exclusionist tendencies, trade restrictions, nepotism in government appointments, disregard to rule law, the relegation of constitutional order and principles of separation of powers; abuse of human rights, electoral malpractices, harassment of opposition and arrogant insensitivity to the sensibilities of the Nigerian people by the APC administration have occasioned instability, economic crisis and avoidable acrimony that are threatening our corporate existence as a country.
“Poor policies by the APC administration have stifled the economy and put the nation in dire straits with a disturbing 33.3 per cent unemployment rate, a scary 18.12 per cent inflation rate, over N32.9tn accumulated debt burden, a progressively devalued currency and collapsed infrastructure.
“Failure of the government to address escalated insecurity challenges has crippled the agricultural sector and disorganised commercial activities leading to imminent food crisis with the cost of food and other necessities of life skyrocketing beyond the reach of Nigerians.
“Nigeria, under the APC administration, has now become the poverty capital of the world, ranking 98th out of 107 in Global Hunger Index, with 22.95 food inflation rate and increasing morbidity and mortality rates.”
It urged the Federal Government to buckle down and use the occasion of May 29 to address the failures of the APC administration by taking urgent steps to tackle insecurity and other problems.
The opposition lawmakers added, “As representatives of the people, the minority caucus is worried that our nation is heading towards a failed state. We, therefore, urge President Muhammadu Buhari to buckle down and use the occasion of May 29 to address the failures of his administration by taking urgent steps to tackle insecurity, ensure respect for rule of law, end corruption in his government, adopt a more inclusive approach to governance and engage better hands to manage our economy.”
PDP cautions Buhari against empty speech, false performance claims
In a related development, the PDP cautioned the President to use the May 29 speech to accept his failure in governance and desist from further exasperating Nigerians with his usual prepared text of false performance claims and empty promises.
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, berated the APC for planning to “beguile Nigerians again with a planned fictitious performance campaign, when, in reality, there is no landmark achievement it initiated and completed for the benefit of Nigerians in last six years.”
The statement read, “President Buhari and the APC must know that Nigerians are no longer interested in their stage-managed Presidential addresses as well as the circus show of their so-called APC Legacy Awareness Campaign, particularly in the face of the horrendous situation they have plunged our nation.
“This is because in the last six years, President Buhari’s speeches have always been litanies of false claims, empty promises and lame excuses for failures, which the APC, in its penchant for lies, propaganda and beguilement wants to accentuate with their legacy awareness campaign.
“If indeed the Buhari Presidency and the APC have any achievement to showcase, would it be organising an awareness campaign to seek the understanding of Nigerians for its mass failures?
“It is trite wisdom that their works ought to be speaking for themselves like those of the PDP administration which are still being seen today in every sphere of our national life?
“If they have anything to show, would President Buhari be begging that history should be kind to him for his failures? Would he go to faraway Paris, France, to declare that his administration is being plagued by ill-luck?
“Our party vehemently rejects this attempt by APC leaders to claim that their party failed because of the challenges that have befallen our nation, when in reality, the APC and the Buhari Presidency should be held responsible for their own failures.”
The PDP said Buhari and the APC must provide answers to why they had failed to forcefully condemn acts of terrorism in our country in addition to why they had failed to take decisive steps to vanquish terrorists, bandits and vandals ravaging the country. ,,