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Monday, August 15, 2016

Nadir El Rufai posts on his page calling on Nigerians to Support President Buhari's Government for success

In defense of Buhari: Is this the Change we
voted for? Yes, It Is! -

THE LAST COUPLE of weeks have witnessed the
heaviest public criticism of the Muhammadu
Buhari administration since he came to power
after inflicting a heavy defeat on the Peoples
Democratic Party and their candidate Dr
Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Much of it has been
on account of the unresolved social and
economic problems facing the country.

Unfair criticism of the Buhari administration
especially on account of escalating prices of
foodstuff and the liberalization of the currency
exchange needs to be challenged before it
overshadows the commendable job the
President has done in fighting terrorism as part
of overall effort to secure the country, reducing
corruption and yes, arresting the economic slide
before it sinks the the nation.

The Hausa have a saying: “Ba zomo na kashe
ba, rataya a ka bani,” meaning literally “I
killed no rabbit, I am helping to carry the
Wherever they go these days, in London, Dubai,
Beijing, Washington, New York or Tokyo,
Nigerians get the good feeling of being asked
the question, how is President Muhammadu

It is a proud moment for many citizens that the
country is being perceived differently now that
it has a different kind of leader creating a
positive buss abroad, the kind of sentiment
that can lead to foreign investments when
properly capitalized upon.
The lavish praise the President gets abroad and
the wide public support he enjoys among the
lower segment of the local population is, by
contrast, given a short shrift in the local press,
mainstream and online. At its lowest point,
this unambiguous media rebuke has created a
wave of sympathy for anyone with a view that
runs counter to the President’s.

Boko Haram terrorist leader, Shekau or the
pipeline vandal form the Delta region is more
likely to get newspaper front pages today than
the Minister of Labour, Governor Emeka Ngige
or the Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun talking
about jobs creation in the economy.

I don’t say that media criticism is not reflective
of the feeling of the citizens.
President Buhari has himself on numerous
occasions admitted that the change mantra
has brought with it pain and suffering which
he likened to the pains of labor. It is a passing

Whenthey ask the question, is this the change
we voted for, the critic forgets how far we have
come from the scam-tainted years of the PDP

How many people have given a thought to the
possibility of Nigeria doing something that the
combined strength of Europe and America have
failed to do?
There are many today who take for granted the
declared victory over the Boko Haram terrorists,
forgetting the reign of the bomber who made it
almost impossible for regular attendance in
Churches and Mosques in many of our cities,
including the Federal Capital City, Abuja.
Victory over Boko Haram has brought peace not
only to Nigeria but to the countries in the Lake
Chad region.

The world leaders are still at work trying to
contain the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, ISIS,
which threat sadly continues to become more

Everyone living in Nigeria knows that there is
a major movement against corruption as part
of the ongoing change. This war has forced the
return to the treasury of billions of Naira and
millions of Dollars stolen by past officials.
On account of this war, government suspects
that the biggest trigger of the opposition to the
change agenda is the army of the corrupt.
With the enormous resources at their disposal;
money that is unearned, these forces are ready
to throw in everything to gag the Buhari

When he assumed office, President Buhari said
he understood the outcry of Nigerians and was
determined to right those wrongs.

I will remind
you of his inaugural speech where he said: “At
home we face enormous challenges. Insecurity,
pervasive corruption, the hitherto unending
and seemingly impossible fuel and power
shortages are the immediate concerns. We are
going to tackle them head on. Nigerians will
not regret that they have entrusted national
responsibility to us. We must not succumb to
hopelessness and defeatism. We can fix our
problems.”(Emphasis added).

He has said times without number that his
government is dedicated to the poor. As can be
seen from the 2016 budget, this is a
government that is determined to hugely
empower the disadvantaged groups- the poor,
the jobless, the widows and the orphaned
children including those of the North-East.

As a listening government, the President was
prepared to open the door to additional food
imports but given the processes involved, the
turn around in any such import of
commodities would have taken a long time as
to coincide with the harvest of home grown
grains and cereals now in progress. The market
would have been deluged and the local grower
given the short end of the stick.

Calls on Hausa radio by a rabble-rousing
section of the opposition for the “reopening of
borders” to “allow food come in” are redundant
and mischievous because all the county’s
borders remain open till date.

Following the budget, the administration has
begun rolling out several social welfare
programs. The direct cash transfer to the poorest
of the poor, the school feeding and the
recruitment/skills training of about one
million jobless citizens are such an example.
In addition to hard work, all leaders need luck
on their side to create what is sometimes seen
as economic miracles. As leader, President
Buhari never had the luxury of high oil prices
as did his predecessors in office.

When he first emerged as the military Head of
State, General Muhammadu Buhari saw oil
price, the mainstay of the nation’s economy
sank to as low eight Dollars a barrel.
He rolled up his sleeves, worked on
diversification strategy of the economy only to
be eased out of power just as they began to
take hold. Thereafter, his successors abandoned
these efforts.

On his second coming, this time as a
democratically elected leader, the collapse of
oil prices has challenged President Buhari to
quicken efforts towards the diversification of the
economy with emphasis given to agriculture
and solid minerals mining. Every crisis, it is
said, is an opportunity. Not so in Nigeria.

is a county that inherited massive
technological inventions from Biafra, yet failed
to take it forward. We must not lose this
opportunity to diversify the economy and our
foreign earnings presented by the present oil

As the country hopes for a bumper harvest this
year, government is taking steps to ensure that
no farmer will sell at a loss or fail to find
markets for their harvests. Grain silos are being
readied nationwide to receive excess produce for
warehousing to ensure food security, avert
market glut and price collapse. By this,
government will ensure a minimum
guaranteed price.

In dealing with challenges of the economy, the
administration is devoting attention to ridding
the country of its notoriety as a difficult place
of doing business.

The government has been making quiet but
significant progress in this area, thanks to the
leadership given by the National Economic
Council under the Vice President and the
combined efforts of the Ministries of Trade and
Investment, Finance, Interior, Foreign Affairs,
Budget and Planning and the Customs under
new leadership.
Everyone in this sector is doing everything in
their power to boost up Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s infrastructure
initiatives will see country making progress
with intractable projects such as the Second
Niger bridge, the East-West expressway, the
green field Lagos-Abuja expressway and
important national railway projects, Lagos-
Calabar and Lagos-Kano which had been on
the drawing boards for as long as anyone can
These projects will be counted among the
accomplishments of the administration
alongside the 4,000 MW Mambila power plant
which the President has declared a national
priority. Government has also taken several
bold steps to boost renewable energy. It has
opened the door for a new conversation on the
environment with decisive steps towards the
clean-up the Ogoniland in the Niger Delta.
The currency liberalization and the
deregulation of the petroleum products sale
will make President Buhari one of the best
presidents till date. The removal of subsidies on
the petrol products has saved the government
more than two trillion Naira annual
expenditure in this respect.
President Buhari’s foreign trips have brought
many things to the country. He has energized
our foreign policy. Beyond the enormous
goodwill reaped from “resetting” age-old but
damaged relations with neighbors and distant
partners and friends, the President has
attracted foreign development assistance and
direct investments (FDI). It is generally accepted
that good foreign relations bring foreign direct
investment. So much is currently being done
one year into the administration. This is in
spite of the world economy being sluggish and
It bears repeating that President is a different
kind of leader, who just happens to be a victim
of the tyranny of high expectations. He has
brought positive intention, commitment,
honesty and personal integrity into governance.
This is why the country’s poor hold him so
dear; this is why the world is in love with him.
His knack for prudent spending and effective
management of resources is in the belief that
this country can only prosper when there is
transparency, reduced corruption and a drastic
cut in bureaucratic red tape.
His decision to have a small cabinet, reducing
government ministries from 46 to 24 has the
effect of relieving the treasury of the burden of
salaries, allowances and miscellaneous
expenses now being counted in billions of
President Buhari should be credited for the the
unblemished record of his ministers. This is a
government that has stayed above scandal for
a year.
If all of these are not desirable changes, to be
appreciated and adored, it is hard to know or
determine what some of our critics want.
These reforms certainly represent major
milestones in change which have led to a
decline of corruption at the top.
As to the question of these leading to a
resurgent economy, it all means that in a
democracy everything takes times. The President
needs our support with understanding and
patience. No matter how hasty a president
wants to bring changes, there is no magic
wand in that office to make everything change
from bad to good or make all of us prosperous
with a wave of the hand. This change is on
course. It requires patience.

The change is working for the nation and
sooner than later, the testimony shall be given.
Garba Shehu is the Senior Special Assistant to
the President on Media and Publicity.

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