Friday, 2nd June 2023

I’ve tried my best to serve as president —Buhari 

By Guardian Nigeria
01 January 2023   |   4:30 am
As President Muhammadu Buhari enters the last year of his second term in office today and prepares to exit in a few months, he has, again, told Nigerians that he tried his best to serve the country as President.

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari

• President List Security, Economy, Anti-corruption As Priorities In Last 5 Months
• Pledges Electoral Will Of Nigerians’ll Be Achieved
• 2023, Year Dreams’ll Come True – APC Presidential Campaign Team
• Atiku Urges Hope Despite Harrowing Experience
• Labour Says Workers Going Through Dark Tunnel, Expects Turn-around With General Elections
• Berates Presidential Candidates On Petrol Subsidy Pronouncement
• Fayemi, NASFAT, Omo-Agege, Oluwo, Others Preach Peace, Tolerance

As President Muhammadu Buhari enters the last year of his second term in office today and prepares to exit in a few months, he has, again, told Nigerians that he tried his best to serve the country as President.

In his New Year message yesterday, which he used to sum up achievements of his administration in the last seven and a half years, and also highlight action plans for the remainder of his time in office, Buhari said he welcomes both accolades and criticisms of his performance by all.

He said he was mindful of the various thoughts and opinions of people about his administration’s legacies, while rolling out plans to be executed in the remaining five months of his administration, especially in the three key areas of security, economy and the anti-corruption campaigns.

“As we welcome the New Year, let us look with hope to 2023, a year to move forward as a Nation, towards unity, progress and prosperity. I offer my personal felicitations, mindful of the various opinions and interpretations of our executive legacies,” the President said.

On his part, the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, in his message to Nigerians on New Year day, urged Nigerians to remain hopeful in spite of what he called their “harrowing experiences in the last seven years.”

In a statement, the former vice president noted that the Year 2023 would be a defining moment for Nigeria and Nigerians. “I am inspired by the compelling need to provide leadership that will propel Nigeria to greater heights, to overcome our challenges and together, as one, recover and rebuild a united, strong and prosperous Nigeria.

“I thank God for His infinite mercies and congratulate all Nigerians for surviving the harrowing experience imposed on our people for over seven years. Do not despair, hope is on the horizon. PDP shall make things right again,” he said.

The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council (APC PCC) assured Nigerians that the country would achieve the desired growth under the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led administration.

In a statement by APC PCC Director of media and publicity, Mr Bayo Onanuga, he noted that 2023 remains the chance to make dreams come true.

“Let us seize the moment. As the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, with 41 million registered members, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu  presents the best vision for the future for our collective prosperity with pledges that are practical, immediate and valuable to our journey towards development,” the council noted.

“The current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has tried its best inspite of its challenges. It is like building a tarmac, a solid, concrete foundation. The coming administration of APC, under the leadership of Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shettima, when elected, shall put an aeroplane on the tarmac already built by President Buhari that will take us at supersonic speed to our destination. Security, infrastructure, education, health, housing, tourism shall be transformed to provide jobs and boost the economy,” it added.

Reeling out his administration’s achievements and the plans for 2023 in his message, Buhari said he would not be shocked if he either gets praised or criticised for how he has steered the ship of state since 2015, and prayed that his successor would sustain the project of making Nigeria a leading nation of the world.

“I welcome and accept both the accolades and criticisms in equal measure, secure in the conviction that I did my best to serve our dear country Nigeria and I pray that the next President will also pick up the baton and continue the race to make Nigeria one of the leading countries of the world by the end of this century,” he said.

The President noted that the new year will be very significant because it will see the transitioning from one elected administration to another and urged Nigerians to do the much that is needed, and not be influenced by disruptive elements who might plan to derail the process.

Buhari said he would see to it that the collective electoral will of Nigerians would be achieved under his watch, assuring that this was his personal commitment.

He assured that one of the most critical achievements of his administration, which is the amended Electoral Act, had been built to help the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to deliver a transparent, free and credible elections next year.

“In the next five months, we would have gone to the polls and elected a new president along with new governors and a plethora of other elected officials at both the national and state levels.

“All these electoral and democratic principles are working in concert because of the transcendent beliefs, beyond partisan politics, of you the great citizens of Nigeria. In addition, it is my personal commitment and executive promise to see to the letter that the 2023 elections being diligently conducted by INEC will be free and fair. The collective electoral will and votes of Nigerians will be fulfilled, even in the twilight moments of my watch.

“In year 2023, Nigerians go to the polls to exercise our right to vote and elect a new Administration, it is an important year for our country to ensure that we have another smooth transition of government, to whoever the people have decided upon. This administration’s landmark Amended Electoral Act will ensure that we have free and fair elections across the Nation,” Buhari said.

Detailing achievements of the administration, he spoke on strides made in various areas, including the gains in the fight against terrorism, banditry and kidnapping; how despite the economic hardship imposed on, not just Nigeria, but the entire world in the outgoing year by the impact of the recent COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia/Ukraine war, the administration has managed to stabilise the local economy and is planning on growing the GDP in the new year.

He said: “Reflecting on year 2022 allows us as a government to examine our legacies of successes and challenges. As we celebrate our wins and review obstacles, we all must understand that governance is a continuum, which still places a transitional responsibility on this administration to provide for the incoming government a non-partisan and objective roadmap for 2023.”

Meanwhile, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has enjoined Nigerians to stand strong and not despair in the face of current challenges as efforts are being made to leave lasting legacies through human-focused projects that would ensure stability in the polity and national revival.

He urged Nigerians to consider 2023 as the year to centre their resolutions on unity of purpose in contributing to the socio-political and economic advancement of the country.

The immediate past Governor of Ekiti State and President of the Forum of the Regions of Africa (FORAF), urged Nigerians to use the opportunity of the New Year to promote the virtues of peace, unity, and tolerance.

In a New Year message issued by the Fayemi Media Office in Abuja, the former Governor enjoined Nigerians to work together to build an inclusive, stable and peaceful society that will be a beacon to other countries in Africa.

Fayemi noted: “Our diversity and complexity can be sources of strength to propel us to achieve our national goals of peace, unity, and prosperity. This New Year presents us another opportunity to restart our efforts to accomplish these dreams of our founding fathers.”
IN spite of the positive assessment of state of the nation by President Buhari, organised labour believes that in the face of hardship in the nation, it is difficult to keep urging workers and ordinary Nigerians to hold on to hope.

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, who noted that many Nigerian workers and ordinary people were currently going through the dark tunnel of soaring inflation marked by very steep increases in the prices of essential goods and services.

He added that the situation is compounded by a general apprehension about their security and personal safety as criminals and terrorists hold sway in many parts of the country, looting, raping, kidnapping and killing.

However, despite the numerous challenges witnessed in 2022, he expressed hope that Nigeria’s brightest dawn was just ahead in the New Year, especially with the 2023 general elections. According to him, there is no bigger harbinger of hope than the opportunity to select a fresh set of political leaders.

Noting that political leadership is the match that lights the torch of hope, the NLC chief said every country would rise and fall with its choice of political leadership, stressing that Nigeria was no exception. He urged workers to be very deliberate in their engagement with the political process come 2023, adding that elections are the time to ask critical questions and make rational choices.

“Workers must identify with political party candidates who demonstrate commitment to lighting up the end of the tunnels of economic downturns marked by soaring inflation, widespread insecurity, deepening poverty, escalating crises of unemployment, especially among the youth, decadent physical infrastructure, and brazen corruption in high places,” he said.

Corroborating Wabba, President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Festus Osifo, who noted that the year 2022 has been one of the most difficult years for Nigerian workers, said the labour movement’s hope is not dampened as the masses have a unique opportunity to turn things around in 2023 through their votes.

Setting agenda for the incoming government, the umbrella body for employers in the country, the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) stressed the need to reduce the cost of governance, curb corruption and budget padding.

NECA lamented the rising public debt, with the government’s debt crossing the N41 trillion mark and an unregulated borrowing by state governments.

Director-General of NECA, Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, noted that the outgoing year remained one of the most challenging for organised businesses. He said the pandemic-inflicted leadership and sustainability challenges forced organisations to take extraordinary measures in real time, with zero planning.

NLC also flayed the planned removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) by leading presidential candidates in the upcoming elections.

In its New Year message in Abuja yesterday, NLC President, Wabba stated that pronouncements made so far by those seeking election as the President of the country have failed to address fundamental issues underpinning the downstream sector.

His words: “Pronouncements by some leading presidential candidates to remove petrol subsidy if elected do not address recovery of local refining, affordable refined products, decent jobs, economic expansion, wealth generation, and shared prosperity. The penchant to mouth subsidy removal as solution to government’s criminal neglect of our public refineries is not only wicked but also betrays a predilection to lazy quick fixes, surrendering our economy to foreign interests, transfer of government inefficiency on Nigerians, and enslaving our people with poverty and hardship.”

Wabba maintained that the labour movement will stoutly resist this neo-liberal agenda. Underpinning the destructive effects of the policies of the Bretton Woods institutions on the economic development of the African countries, Wabba submitted: “When our irresponsible politicians are not talking of removing petrol subsidy without solutions for local competitive production of petroleum products, they are talking of privatizing state-owned enterprises. Such statements fail to take in the benefit of hindsight.”

He insisted that most of the privatized public companies are either lethargic, have closed shop or have been so stripped of core assets that they are not deserving of the pun shop.

The deputy President of the Senate and Delta State APC Governorship candidate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, while wishing Nigerians a happy and healthy New Year, empathised with Deltans and other residents whose patience and forbearance have kept the State peaceful even in the face of undue hardship and deprivation from their entitlement to good governance.

He assured that “we will overcome whatever challenges we faced collectively and individually in the past as citizens and residents of one proud State and as a people.”

Members of the Senate of Southern extraction under Southern Senators Forum, also noted that Nigeria could only witness progress and prosperity if all citizens value unity and patriotism.

In a statement marking the new year celebration by the forum’s Chairman and Senator representing Ekiti Central Senatorial District, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, the Senators expressed the need to forge a united nation to fortify the country bonds and make it strong to overcome the cankerworms of corruption, insecurity and economic deprivation.

In his New Year message, the Chief Missioner of Nasrul-Lahi-l-Fatih Society (NASFAT), Imam Abdul-Azeez Onike advised politicians to play politics by the rules, and put the interest of the populace at hearts.

He said politicians should not make their ambition a do-or-die affair, knowing that what has been destined for every individual will not miss him. He prayed that Allah (SWT) continues to make peace reign supreme in Nigeria.

Also in his new year message, the Paramount Ruler of Iwoland, HIM Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi, cautioned Nigerians to consider voting credible candidates with corruption free agenda in the 2023 general elections.

Oluwo stated the need to restore Nigeria’s glory, saying the manifestoes of each candidate with special interest in corruption fighting should be considered.

He noted that the decay in Nigerian system is occassioned by corrupt leaders, urging electorates to speak by voting credible candidates with track records and pledge of corrupt free administration.