President Muhammadu Buhari will hand over in 2023, a buoyant nation, a more diversified economy and better infrastructure than what he inherited from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015.
Giving this assurance in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) faulted what it described as “the warped position of the spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) would have completely wrecked the country by 2023.
“We know that the one-time super permanent secretary had in recent times been gallivanting from one TV station to the other to bad-mouth President Buhari and the ruling party, but we never knew it would get to the level of the mischief he displayed on Channels Television’s Politics Today recently.
” Dr Baba-Ahmed’s vituperation on the programme showed that he is still bitter that he lost out in a local power play as an APC member in Kaduna state, though he was later rehabilitated by former Senate President Bukola Saraki, after the party leadership backed Governor Nasir el-Rufai rather than his APC-Kida group in 2018.
“We are of the view that a man who likes to flaunt his academic and professional accomplishments as a civil servant, with a level of pride, should have attempted to do justice to his background rather than paint a picture that is at variance with reality.
“We expect someone who had acknowledged the rot that characterized the PDP years to compare that period with what President Buhari has done in the last six years with an open mind, rather than allow the bitterness of his loss of privilege to becloud his judgement.
“But just in case he has forgotten, we wish to remind him that the former ruling party left behind a public debt stock of $63bn in 2015 even after the country made a total of $300bn from crude oil sales alone between 2010 and 2015, according to a report by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).
“Conversely, Nigeria made about $118bn between 2016 and 2019 during which the Buhari administration added only $20bn to the nation’s debt profile, but still has a number of completed and ongoing projects to show for it, compared to the portfolio of local and international debts with nothing of substance to signpost the PDP years of the locusts.
“In fact, we dare say that there is no single major infrastructure project that the previous PDP-led administration began and completed before the May 29 2015 handover date.We challenge the leadership of the party to prove us wrong”.
The group also provided an insight into some of the legacies it says the Buhari administration is building for posterity, contrary to Baba-Ahmed’s doomsday prediction.
“Baba-Ahmed gleefully predicted that APC would have completely wrecked Nigeria by 2023, but what many Nigerians are almost certain to see is a country with a modern railway network that was not built during the oil windfall but is now taking shape on President Buhari’s watch, and will link many of the country’s urban centres to one another.
“We also invite Nigerians to note that the country is gradually moving from one that depends solely on crude oil to a nation with a diversified economy to the extent that the non-oil sector now contributes over 90% to the GDP. This speaks to a conscious effort to wean the country off oil which has also seen the Buhari administration working at exploiting the nation’s natural gas reserves which stands at an estimated 200.4 trillion cubic feet (tcf).
“Like the President, we acknowledge that the country has a security challenge but the government is also working hard to stem the tide and has done more to equip the military, far more than all former administrations combined; we make bold to say that never in the country’s modern history has the armed forces been so well equipped.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Air Force alone has had 32 brand new aircraft, including six Super Tucano that were delivered a few days ago added to its inventory. We are still expecting six more Super Tucano jets and at least eight armed military drones which have been paid for and will be delivered in a few days.
“And of course,we won’t forget the Second Niger Bridge which had been on the drawing board for decades and had been repeatedly used as campaign promise by the PDP in the South East.The bridge is due to be completed in 2022 and will undoubtedly be part of the Buhari legacy, alongside the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano highway which are all being funded under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund ( PIDF).
“On Buhari’s watch, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is dropping its garb of opacity and making public its operational expenditure and audit reports while the country’s sensitivity to corruption is now so high that stealing is now synonymous to corruption”.
“No one will also forget the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) which has been described as one of the largest social welfare schemes in Sub-Saharan Africa, in a country that has for years had no social safety net programme for the less privileged”.
BMO reassured Nigerians that there is no way the Buhari administration will not leave the country better than what it met on assuming office, and maintained that history will be just to President Buhari.