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Buhari’s speech offers hope, say Nigerians

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Reactions are trailing President Muhammadu Buhari’s New Year broadcast. He has been criticised for his comments on restructuring and employment. Below are the various comments from Nigerians.

The President’s New Year broadcast has been drawing reactions from Nigerians. To many, the address raises hope of a brighter future for the country. Others say it fell short of their expectations.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s acknowledgement of the pains Nigerians were subjected to during the Yuletide, was lauded by many. But, his comment on restructuring drew flaks by those who took it in isolation.

The President said the problem with Nigeria was not the structure but the process of doing things.

According to him, the country had tried many political models in the past and had to dump them because they did not work.

Buhari explained that if things were done properly by all citizens, the country would perform better.

He also expressed regrets over the suffering Nigerians were going through, owing to the prevailing petrol scarcity, which he blamed  on blackmailers.

The President, who promised to get to the root of the matter and sanction culprits, however, assured all that he would intensify the fight against corruption.

In Yobe State, a cross-section of Nigerians said the speech offered hope for accelerated infrastructural development.

A retired civil servant, Usman Habibu, told reporters in Damaturu that the government’s commitment to build roads and railways would enhance speedy development in the country.

Habibu said: “It is sad that these sectors were abandoned for decades. This contributed to the poor economic growth of Nigeria.”

He said that providing railways would save the roads and the huge resources being used on their maintenance.

Mustapha Abdullahi, a civil servant, said the attention given to security was gratifying, adding, “the relative peace achieved, especially in the North east should be sustained.

Alhaji Bukar Makinta, a farmer, said government’s efforts to diversify the economy through agriculture and solid minerals development were impressive, adding, “this gives hope to agricultural development, food security and economic growth.”

Musa Garba, a politician, however appealed for a working synergy between executive and legislative arms of government to improve the living standard of the people.

In Adamawa State, the Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Ahmad Sajoh, described the President’s speech as a patriotic leader’s show of genuine concern to the plight of citizens.

Sajoh told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yola that the president’s speech had given the nation hope and showed his administration’s commitment to address the challenges facing it.

He said: “The president has given us hope; he has painted a picture of hope for the nation.

“The president did a good thing by appreciating the hardships being experienced by Nigerians particularly the fuel scarcity and his show of resolve to address it.”

The commissioner said that the President’s caution against politics of primordial sentiments as the nation approached election period was timely and a food for thought for politicians that were contemplating using the country’s diversity negatively.

Some commuters, who reacted to the address in Yola, lauded the commitment shown by the President to roads construction and rehabilitation which they said would greatly ease transportation in the country.

They said that with good roads and rails, there would be easy and cheaper transportation and the economy would record a boom.

Iliya Baba, a motorist, identified bad roads as a major problem of commercial drivers and any administration that showed commitment to providing good roads should count on the support of drivers.

“We commend the present ongoing work on the Yola–Gombe road and hope the project would be completed as scheduled,” Baba said.

Former Governor of old Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa, has called for economic restructuring to ensure delivery of positive and impactful governance.

According to Musa, the country’s problem had always been leadership rather than structures, explaining that regional system failed because leaders were pursuing secessionist agenda.

Aligning with Buhari’s position that the process of governance needed to be improved, he faulted the economic system being operated currently.

Musa said the economy was in the hands of the private sector, hence the impoverishment of the masses, and suggested the restructuring of the economy to ensure that the government played a greater role.

The former governor said: “The economy should be restructured. What we are operating now in which the economy is in private hands cannot help us.

“We should restructure the economy so that government can play a greater role for sustainable development.”

He also agreed that saboteurs were behind the lingering fuel crisis, urging the government to address the situation.

Musa also called on the President to form a government of national unity in the New Year for all-inclusiveness, adding that Nigeria would be better in the New Year if people subordinated personal interests to public interests.

In his reaction, the Publicity Secretary of the local chapter of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Lagos State, Shakirudeen Olofin, commended the president for restating commitment to the fight against corruption.

He, however, advised the President to the speedy resolution of all pending cases on corruption to serve as deterrent to others.

Olofin urged Buhari to be decisive in dealing with the fuel crisis, especially persons suspected to be responsible for the situation.

The Advocacy for Integrity and Economic Development (AIED) carpeted the President over what he called his decision to jettison the nationwide demand for restructuring, describing it as a retrogressive and callous act.

In a statement signed by its Deputy Director, Adekoya Boladale, the organisation frowned at the stand of the President, calling it a myopic decision guided by sentiment and archaic reasoning.

He said: “We read with shock the New Year’s address of President Buhari where he made an open disdain for the resounding clamour for proper restructuring of this country.

“It is important we draw the attention of the President to his promise on restructuring and power devolution while seeking for power in 2015: ‘Initiating action to amend the Nigerian Constitution with a view to devolving powers, duties, and responsibilities to states in order to entrench true Federalism and the Federal spirit’.

“It was on the strength of this promise, alongside numerous others that Nigerians voted for President Buhari. It is therefore absurd that he can turn around and betray this solemn oath.

“Any progressive leader worth his salt will agree that while process is germane for productivity, process without a distinctive structure encourages redundancy.

“Beyond the goof on restructuring, the President’s address is a cacophony of deceptions, patronizing and a psychological blackmail.

“There is nothing worthy of celebration in power generation as the much-touted megawatt is a far cry from the promised 20,000MW.

“Surprisingly, President Buhari did not have a single progress report to give on his flagship anti-corruption campaign having realised that his administration has not only inculcated graft but knighted same in the nucleus of every section of our nation’s life.

“As a matter of interest, when did President Buhari suddenly realise job provision is no longer the duty of the government? For a government that promised three million jobs per year and has created nothing but hyper unemployment and dysfunctional economy which has collapsed the small, medium and large scale enterprises, this attempt to blame the citizens for its own inefficiency is ridiculous.

“The Buhari-led administration has failed in all ramifications and an emergency attempt influenced by the desire for a second term will not clean the monumental mess this government has made.” the statement read.

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