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PDP, Southern, M’Belt leaders, others fault Buhari’s independence speech

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Muhammadu Buhari


President acknowledges improvement in girls’ enrolment

Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s broadcast yesterday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has declared that the comparison between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia in fuel prices was a slap on Nigerians’ sensibilities.

It noted that there was no logic in the comparison of Nigeria’s fuel cost with Saudi Arabia’s, urging the president to wake up to reality and take urgent steps to address his administration’s divisive tendencies and poor economic policies, which are fast decimating the country.

The PDP stated this, while reacting to the president’s address to mark the 60th Independence Anniversary in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan.

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It argued that Buhari’s attempt to justify the increase in fuel price by comparing it to the N168 per litre cost in Saudi Arabia was a morbid joke, noting that Saudi Arabia’s minimum wage was N305, 113 (3000 Saudi Riyals), ten times higher than Nigeria’s N30000, which has not been implemented.

The PDP urged the president to engender harmony and productivity by allowing more robust discourse that would lead to affordable prices for fuel and other essential commodities in our country.

“It is ridiculous that President Buhari is hyping his ‘Better Together’ theme when his administration runs on nepotism, disregard for rule of law, human right abuses, corruption, political intolerance, suppression of free speech and aggression towards dissenting voices,” the statement added.

But in spite of the criticism, the president avowed at a United Nations (UN meeting to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the fourth World Conference on Women, that Nigeria was witnessing an increase in girls’ enrolment and retention in schools.

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In a message to the virtual meeting, convened by President of the UN General Assembly’s 75th session, Volkan Bozkir in New York, he (Buhari) attributed the success to the implementation of the Universal Basic Education Programme, Girl Education Project and Safe School Initiatives.

BESIDES, Oyo State chapter of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) chided President Buhari for his comment on the hike in petrol price to the effect that it was unreasonable to sell petroleum products lower than those sold in neighbouring countries.

But reacting to the president’s submission, Oyo State Chairman of TUC, Comrade Emmanuel Ogundiran, argued that there was no basis for the comparison, saying the present administration was only out to inflict more pains on Nigerians.

Also yesterday, the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), said Buhari’s speech was disappointing and likened it to a tale full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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Spokesmen of the forum, Yinka Odumakin (South West), Guy Ikokwu (South East), Bassey Henshaw (South-South) and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), said amid the challenges facing country, which required the leadership to summon the constituent units to seek solutions, Nigerians were only being treated to the usual bland sermons and empty rhetoric.

RELATEDLY, an Abuja-based constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), described President Buhari’s Independence Day broadcast as lame, defensive and lacklustre.

However, Director of Research, National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, near Jos, Prof. Pam Dung Sha, said although there were some achievements in the president’s speech, there was still room for improvement.

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