Hard knocks, praises trail Buhari’s Democracy Day national broadcast

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Reactions to Buhari's Democracy Day national broadcast

President Muhammadu Buhari

By Clifford Ndujihe and Dapo Akinrefon

President Muhammadu Buhari’s Democracy Day broadcast, on Friday has elicited showers of hard knocks and praises in the polity.

It didn’t address our problems ― Afenifere

The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, said that Buhari’s Democracy Day speech was more of a campaign outing because he failed to address the issues confronting the country.

Afenifere National Publicity Secretary, Mr Yinka Odumakin said: “The speech of the President on June 12 is more of a campaign outing. Where he should be giving reports of achievements, it was about declarations of intentions and promises of action.

“If you have failed to address corruption, security and economy in five years, what magic do you want to perform in one year? One year because the last two years would be about the politics of next elections

“We do not see any concrete steps on the ground for future success. All we see leads to failure.”

Opadokun concurs

National Publicity Secretary of the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, Chief Ayo Opadokun, shared Afenifere’s views adding that broadcast was aspirational.

Opadokun said: “All that the president has said are aspirational, he has not addressed any of the issues. For instance, the State of the Economy has not witnessed any significant and qualitative upliftment as a result of the centralist and unitarist governance.

“To compound the matter, the President and his government also failed in his promise to trim government bureaucracy in order to decrease the cost of governance. As we speak today,

“Nigeria’s recurrent expenditure remains between 75% -80% of the total country’s earning. How can the Nigerian State justifies the disproportionate pay and emoluments of politicians in the midst of abject poverty of most Nigerians?

“Unemployment is still intolerably high while the standard of living of our people remains intolerably poor.

“In spite of the social investment programme, Trader money, N-Power projects e.t.c., the latest indicators of the world body on Human Development Index put Nigeria within the bracket of the World War ravaged areas— Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Pakistan and others in that category.

“Given the Godly endowment of Nigeria in Human and Natural resources. Nigeria, and its citizens deserve better qualitative lives.”

It falls short of expectation–Junaid Mohammed

On his part, Second Republic politician, Dr. Junaid Mohammed slammed the President’s speech saying it falls short of expectation.
Mohammed said: “As far as I am concerned, where a president has been elected and has not been able to fulfil his promises and then, he is reharshing his campaign promises expecting that people will believe him, I think it is an insult to the intelligence of the people of the country. If he (Buhari) said he has delivered on his promises, has he delivered on what he promised on security? As far as I am concerned, he has not.

Also, he has not been able to deliver as far the economy is concerned. I don’t believe that the country is in a stable situation. I have a saying as a Muslim and this comes directly from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He said: ‘If you are shameless, do what you like, say what you want.’

“To me, for a person in such a position to make a statement which was written for him which are lies, is trying to completely diminish the country, diminish the government and diminish whatever it is that we call democracy.

“Democracy is not a licence to tell lies to your own people. If you can open your mouth and lie to the people, to me, you have contempt for the people you are governing. If a leader has contempt for the people he is governing, then, we are in very serious trouble.

“No matter how prosperous a nation is and no.matter stable it pretends to be, if it does not have political stability, there is no way it can be prosperous or secured.

“In addition to failing to deliver on the economy, the fact is the APC is the principal source of political instability because it is completely divided against itself. There is nothing like internal democracy and it has become more of a cabal.”

It’s mere rhetoric ― PANDEF

Also, Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, the apex socio-cultural body of the Niger Delta people, described President Buhari’s Democracy Day address, as rhetoric, apathetic, and largely, a promissory note.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Ken Robinson, PANDEF said it had expected to hear commitment from  the President on the Amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act, which he withheld assent in 2019; particularly, with off-season Gubernatorial Elections around the corner.

It said:  “After 21 years of uninterrupted democratic rule, the least President Buhari should bequeath to Nigeria, is an Amended Electoral Act, consistent with Citizens’ expectation.

“To strengthen the Nation’s Electoral process, and guarantee credible, free and fair elections, where Votes would truly count. Surprisingly, nothing of such was in his address.

PANDEF, further regrets that the only achievement in the Niger Delta, President Buhari could cite in his address, is the supposed completion of an NDDC Head Office.

In the five years of the Buhari Administration, all that the Niger Delta Region, has continued to witness, are unfulfilled promises, unjust discrimination, and neglect.

PANDEF, considers, as shameful, the situation, where, the interventionist agencies, established to escalate socioeconomic development in the region, particularly, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), have been reduced to political coliseums, and Mr President, has conveniently chosen to remain an unconcerned spectator.

Apparently, the only interest of the federal government, in the Niger Delta, is sustained Crude Oil Production. While the people of the Region continue to suffer socioeconomic and infrastructural depravity.

The strategic East-West Road, which traverses six States of the Region, has been abandoned, and rendered a sanctuary for criminals, and a deathtrap. Phase 5 of the Road, from Oron – Calabar has been totally forgotten.

PANDEF, therefore, implores, President Muhammadu Buhari, to urgently, in NATIONAL INTEREST, abjure the impairing prejudiced propensity of his administration, and assume a broader and fairer approach to the conduct of Affairs of State.”

On the occasion of Democracy Day, PANDEF, also calls for unity and greater understanding among Nigerians. The events of June 12, 1993; where, Nigerians shunned creed and tribal predilections, and voted en masse for Chief MKO Abiola, a Southern Moslem, for president, with a Northern Moslem Running Mate, Babagana Kingibe; are symptomatic of the true essence of Nationhood.

“We, therefore, urge all Nigerians, irrespective of religion or ethnicity, to reflect on the State of the Nation, in view of current realities. As Citizens of Nigeria, whether, North, South, East or West, we are one people. We should, therefore, fashion out ways to, collectively, deal with the grim social, economic and security challenges, confronting the country.

“The Banditry in parts of the North West, and the dreadful actions of the Boko Horam in the North East, should be of concern to all Nigerians.

“Just as the atrocious activities of herdsmen in the North Central, and parts of South East, South West and South South, should be disconcerting to all.

“So also, should the resultant environmental degradation of oil and gas exploration activities in the Niger Delta, and the rather, paradoxical, and dismal state of critical infrastructure in the region.”

Vanguard News Nigeria.

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