Abuja, December 18, 2021 (NIGERIA)
President Muhammadu Buhari marches to end his second tenure in 2023 as the leader of Africa’s most populous country, but battling to shore-up his sagging image unveiling a plethora of achievements to mark his 79th birthday on Friday.
The image of ex-military general has dipped and diminished following ferocious criticism on his inability to secure lives and properties threatened by raging banditry, terrorism and separatists’ violence.
President Buhari had sold to Nigerians, four point agenda of fighting corruption, insecurity, grow agriculture and build the economy when he contested and won in 2015 and 2019 but critics are up in arms calling the President a failure.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said President Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have made life more miserable for Nigerians and no longer have anything to offer to West African country.
Obasanjo, on December 14, 2021 at a retreat on inclusive security in Abuja, organised by the Global Peace Foundation and Vision Africa, said: “President Buhari has done his best. If we are expecting anything more than what he has done or what he is doing, that means we are whipping a dead horse and there is no need.”
He said Nigerians should be concerned about making the country a better place after Buhari’s tenure.
“What should we do to make post-Buhari better than what we have now? That is our responsibility now, because it concerns all of us.”
Pained by the spike in insecurity, 84-year-old Obasanjo, is a Nigerian political and military leader who served as Nigeria’s head of state from 1976 to 1979 and later as its president from 1999 to 2007, advised that political will should be matched with “political action” to tackle the security challenges.
“The problem of insurgency will not go away, if all we are using is the stick,” We may suppress it, and keep it down a bit, but we have to use ‘carrot and stick’ together to effectively tackle the problems.”
A coalition of 68 civil society organisations (CSOs) had berated President Buhari for failing Nigerians in its primary duty of ensuring the security and welfare of citizens.
In a joint statement released, the CSOs said Nigeria is in dire straits as a result of criminal attacks and extra-judicial killings by state actors.
The group said kidnapping for ransom has assumed “an industrial and deadly scale never witnessed on the African continent” and that children are no longer safe in schools while communities are now “pauperised by terrorists who extort huge ransoms while murdering their hostages”.
The Amnesty International, global human rights’ organisation, said that the directives issued by President Buhari to security agencies against killings in the country have not been fruitful.
Amnesty International lamented in a statement issued on December 8, 2021, that perpetrators of such attacks had not been brought to justice.
“The Nigerian authorities have left rural communities at the mercy of rampaging gunmen who have killed hundreds in the last two years.
“The president claims he has repeatedly tasked security agencies to end the killings so that Nigerians can go to bed with their eyes closed, but clearly nothing has changed.”
President Buhari, also a former military dictator from 1984 to 1985, has continuously defended the government’s approach to solving the security problems, including the procurement of military hardware, rallying of international community and recruitment of more security personnel as well as boosting their welfare.
President Buhari marks the age of 79 on Friday 17, without the joy of being with the family and the country he governs, seeking to maximize bilateral benefits in critical areas of Nigeria’s safety, survival and economic development in a distant country, Turkey.
In Istanbul, Turkey on the occasion of his birthday the embattled President cut a birthday cake that was decorated in Nigeria’s national colours of green-white-green to start the day, went straight to chair a planning meeting with officials in his delegation and thereafter drove to the Dolmabahce Palace for a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Tayyip Recep Erdogan.
In response to the tribute on the occasion on behalf of the ministers and the rest of the delegation rendered by the minister of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, President Buhari said he would put in his best for Nigeria until the last day in office in 2023 when he hands over to a successor and returns to his farm to tender crops and livestock.
“I look forward to the year 2023 when I finish, to go home to take charge of my farm. Between now and that time, I will do the best that is possible to advance the interests of the nation and its people, and carry out my duties as prescribed by the constitution,” he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari also on Saturday called on the Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit to provide concrete support to help defeat terrorism and insurgency on the African continent.
Speaking at the third edition of the Summit, President Buhari said the Boko Haram terrorist group, though fragmented by internal strife and degraded by Nigeria’s defense forces, is still active and preying on soft targets.
The President expressed delight that the Summit convened by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has given due consideration to the issue of terrorism, while also focusing on development and infrastructure in Africa.
A statement by President Buhari’s spokesman, Mr Garba Shehu, said that th President in the last six years, he has had several achievements to his credit. But there are also challenges that need to be met in the balance of 15 months before he leaves office upon the completion of two terms in office.
He listed the major achievements, including the boost in agriculture and economy, technology and start-ups, war against corruption, as well as increase in foreign direct investment as well as protection of lives and property.
“Boko Haram is now reduced to a shell of its former self now holds no territory and not a single militant incident has been recorded for years in the Niger Delta.
“Of course, there is still more to do, but the President’s determination is to end all the conflicts to keep citizens safe.’’
Also the information and culture minister, Mr Lai Mohammed, who responded to the tirade of Obasanjo, warned the former president not to set Nigeria on fire with his “dirty politicking.”
It also boasted that Nigeria is safer than it was in 2015 before the All Progressives Congress (APC) took over power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Mohammed said that President Buhari has done better than his predecessors in tackling insecurity and insurgency in the North East, amidst difficult economic and social conditions.
Mohammed, said: “The polity has recently been awash with heightened commentary on the security situation in the country. The commentary has been triggered by genuine concerns in some circles, and crass politicking or sheer absurdity in others.
“Since assuming office in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari has continued to make the issue of security a major plank of his administration’s policy. This is not a surprise, considering the fact that the fight against insecurity is one of the three priority areas of the APC-led Federal Government.
“Yes, the security situation has continued to pose a great challenge, but amidst the cacophony of voices – some genuinely concerned about the situation and others ready to exploit it for selfish ends – it is easy to forget where we are coming from.
“Today, we only look at the current situation without wondering what would have been had this president not taken the bull by the horns, as far as security is concerned. ‘’
The Save Nigeria Movement (SNM) says Nigerians are proud of what president Buhari is doing to rescue the nation including the historic recapture of territories hitherto held by insurgents and bandits.
” At least president Buhari has not mobilized soldiers to demolish communities and kill scores of innocent Nigerians and has in all sincerity admitted to challenges and taken steps to secure the nation.
” All the government needs now is wise counsel and moral support as opposed to acts that could jeorpardise existing efforts in peace and security of the country.”